Sexuality in Catholic Tradition
understanding sexuality in the catholic church
In the last half century, the two events which have most impacted the Catholic Church in the United States touch on issues of sexuality: Humanae Vitae and the unfolding sexual abuse crisis.
The first was the 1968 publication of Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI that dealt with contraception. Many today point to that document as a watershed event due to the fact that many Catholics openly disagreed with the specific recommendations of the pope. The second, more recent event has been the unfolding of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States and abroad.
These events point to an urgent need for a holistic understanding of sexuality in Catholic teaching. From its earliest days, the church has developed its understanding of sexuality as a gift of God. View the C21 Center's reference list of specifically theological treatments of sexuality. This list is not exhaustive, since there are many treatments from psychological, biological/medical, sociological, and other perspectives that have informed Catholic theology. Rather, it gives an overview of recent work in the areas of sacramental and moral theology that seek to understand the meaning of sexuality in the Christian life.
Search under Relationships and Sexuality on our C21 Videos page to find all events related to this focal issue.
Living Faith Together: Spiritual Practices in Marriage: In Spring 2009, Timothy P. Muldoon, Suzanne Muldoon, Cynthia Dobrzynski, and Daniel Leady discussed how the experience of marriage is nourished by the living of spiritual practices from the Catholic Tradition.
In 2004 Dr. Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea discussed the psychosocial roots of the sexual abuse scandal. She is the co-author of a book entitled Treating the Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse with Jody Davies, a model for treatment of survivors of childhood sexual abuse that integrates psychoanalysis with the latest findings from the literature on psychological trauma and sexual abuse.
Listed below are some past events on Sexuality in the Catholic Church. You can watch them on our C21 Videos page.
- Psychological and Spiritual Impact of Sexual Abuse on Children with Professor Elizabeth Sparks
- Vatican II and the Contemporary Crisis in the Church with Professor Joseph Komonchak
- Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church with author George Weigel
- Family Dynamics of the Church: Love and Disagreement with Rev. Jim Keenan, SJ
- Sexuality and Marriage with Professors Cristina L. Traina and Christopher Kaczor
- Marriage Symposium: In 2007, as a part of the National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage, the C21 Center sponsored a Marriage Symposium to address the theme of marriage ministry. Read more about biographies, summaries, and papers.
- Read more about the issue of Sexuality in the Catholic Church
- Read issues of C21 Resources related to this issue:
- C21 Book Series
- Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church edited by Lisa Sowle Cahill, John Garvey, and T. Frank Kennedy, S.J.
- Church Ethics and Organizational Context: Learning from the Sex Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church edited by Jean M. Bartunek, Mary Ann Hinsdale, and James F. Keenan.