Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics

The Church document entitled “Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics” was presented by Mr Joe Fitzgerald On March 4, 2011. A Summary of the document follows:…


The corruption of morals has increased as indicated by the unbridled exaltation of sex.

The Church cannot remain indifferent to this confusion of minds and relaxation of morals.

The Law Written by God

False concept: The people of our time are convinced that they should discover, by the light of their own intelligence, the values innate in their nature; The Church’s teaches: In moral matters man cannot make value judgments according to his personal whim: because:

• In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose on himself, but which holds him to obedience. For man has in his heart a law written by God.
• This Divine Law can be grasped by reason
• God orders, directs and governs the entire universe by this Divine Law
• God governs the ways of the human community, by a plan conceived in wisdom and love, and manifested by the teachings and example of Christ
• Man has been made by God to participate in this law.

False Concepts:

• People are in error who today assert that one can find neither in human nature nor in the revealed law any absolute and immutable norm to serve
• People put forward the view that so-called norms of the natural law or precepts of Sacred Scripture are to be regarded only as given expressions of a form of particular culture at a certain moment of history.

Christ instituted His Church as “the pillar and bulwark of truth.

• The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit

• The Church ceaselessly preserves and transmits without error the truths of the moral order.
• The Church authentically interprets the revealed positive law
• The Church authentically interprets those principles of the moral order which have their origin in human nature itself” and which concern man’s full development and sanctification.
In the domain of sexual ethics there exist principles and norms which the Church has always unhesitatingly transmitted as part of her teaching. Sexual ethics concern fundamental values of human and Christian life.
• The opinions and morals of the world have been opposed to the Church’s principals and norms.
• These principles and norms in no way owe their origin to a certain type of culture, but rather to knowledge of the Divine Law and of human nature.
• The fact there is widespread disobedience to them does not mean that they are nullified.

False Concept: the moral goodness of the sexual act depends solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives

The Church declares that the moral goodness of the sexual act:

• Must be ordered according to true human dignity.
• Must be based on the Church’s teachings
• Must preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving
• Must preserve the possibility of human procreation in the context of true love.
• Declares that the use of the sexual function has its true meaning and morality in true marriage.

Moral Offenses against God

Sex before Marriage

False Concept: The man and woman have a sincere and firm intention of getting married so they justify, or others support, the right to sexual union before marriage.

False Concept: Some men and women defend and insist on the recognition of their universal right to sexual union, if both consent.
These opinions are contrary to Church’s doctrine which states:

• Sexual acts must be within the framework of marriage. It is a stable union that Jesus willed; one of sincerity and fidelity, and protected from whims and caprices.
• Dissolute sexual union defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit which the Christian has become.
• Most often, in fact, premarital relations exclude the possibility of children.
• Sexual intercourse outside marriage is formally condemned I Cor 5:1; 6:9; 7:2; 10:8 Eph. 5:5; I Tim 1:10; Heb 13:4; and with explicit reasons I Cor 6:12-20.

Homosexual Lifestyles

False Concept: Based on observations in the psychological order, some people have begun to judge that some homosexuals are incurable because their tendency is so natural, and therefore justify these homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage.

This concept is in opposition to the constant teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people. The Church teaches:

• These homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties.
• Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts.
• These homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality, such as, procreation.
• These acts are condemned in Sacred Scripture as a serious depravity.
• This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.


False Concept: It is said that psychology and sociology show that masturbation is a normal phenomenon of sexual development, especially among the young. It is stated that there is real and serious fault only in the measure that the subject deliberately indulges in solitary pleasure.

This opinion is contradictory to the teaching and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church. The Church teaches:

• The deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty as it lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order.
• It lacks the full sense of mutual self-giving and the possibility of human procreation in the context of true love.” All deliberate exercise of sexuality must be reserved to this relationship;
• The tradition of the Church has rightly understood it to be condemned in the New Testament when the latter speaks of “impurity,”
• The frequency of the phenomenon is linked with man’s innate weakness following original sin; and with the corruption of morals engendered by the commercialization of vice, with the unrestrained licentiousness of so many public entertainments and publications, as well as with the neglect of modesty.
• In the pastoral ministry, in order to form an adequate judgment, the habitual behavior of people will be considered in its totality.

Sins against Chastity

False Concept: The sins against the moral law in the field of sexuality are minimized and are not regarded as grave sins in person’s actual lives.

The Church teaches: it is wrong to say that particular acts are not enough to constitute mortal sin.

According to the Church’s teaching:

• A person sins mortally when his action comes from direct contempt for love of God and neighbor,
• A person also sins mortally when he consciously and freely, for whatever reason, chooses something which is seriously disordered
• The moral order of sexuality involves such high values of human life that every direct violation of this order is objectively serious.
• “Man looks at appearances but God looks at the heart.” Prudence is recommended in judging the subjective seriousness of a particular sinful act, it in no way follows that one can hold the view that in the sexual field mortal sins are not committed.
• Pastors of souls must therefore exercise patience and goodness; but they are not allowed to render God’s commandments null, nor to reduce unreasonably people’s responsibility.
• Christ Himself gave examples of how to deal with people. Having come not to condemn but to save, He was indeed intransigent with evil, but merciful towards individuals.”

The Virtue of Chastity

St. Paul includes chastity as among the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

From the words of St. Paul we have the following to ponder:

• “We have been called by God to be holy; not to be immoral
• Not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God.
• Anyone who objects is not objecting to a human authority, but to God, Who gives you His Holy Spirit ”
• These actions are injurious to one’s neighbor and to the social order
• Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
• You should use your body for the glory of God.

The concupiscence deriving from original sin is not suppressed, nor are the promptings to evil in this world.

The Church recommends living a chaste life by:

• the discipline of the senses and the mind,
• watchfulness and prudence in avoiding occasions of sin,
• the observance of modesty,
• moderation in recreation,
• wholesome pursuits,
• assiduous prayer
• frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.
• develop devotion to the Mother of God, and take as examples the lives of saints who excelled in the practice of chastity.

Duty to Proclaim Moral Teachings

This traditional doctrine must be studied more deeply in order to bring forward the meaning and value of human sexuality.

These principles and norms of moral living must be faithfully held and taught. It must be given in perfect fidelity to Catholic doctrine.
Catechetical instruction must alert the faithful against erroneous opinions regarding sexual behavior.
Parents must endeavor to lead their children not only by advice but above all by the example of their own lives.
Artists, writers and all those who use the means of social communication should exercise their profession in accordance with their Christian faith and with a clear awareness of the enormous influence which they can have.
Each individual in his or her own domain must show tact, discretion, moderation and a true sense of values in matters of sexual behavior.

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