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Friday, 3 July 2009

Prudence and the Theology of the Body

A good dose of sound commonsense and orthodox moral theology come via Fr Maurizio Faggioni OFM, a professor at the Pontifical Academy “Alphonsianum” which specialises in moral theology.

In a recent interview with Catholic News Agency (Renowned moral theologian weighs-in on Theology of the Body debate), Fr Faggioni addressed some of the issues that have been strongly criticised in Christopher West's presentation of the Theology of the Body. He warned that:
“it is simply not true that the traditional Catholic moral supports the use of acts that Thomas Aquinas call contra naturam -against nature- (such as anal sex) as something ordinary.”
The distinction iuxta naturam (in accord with nature) and contra naturam (against nature) is a crucial one on moral theology and needs to be more widely known.

Fr Faggioni said:
“the traditional moral theology certainly does not prohibit intimacy among spouses, but it never regards them as a substitute for the marital embrace and accepts intimacy only as a path toward a complete sexual union.”
This is indeed a welcome reminder and will help young couples to find their way out of the filth of many modern "sex manual" types of advice and place the marriage act in its proper context as something that is sacred - yes - but ordered to the procreation of children.

Fr Faggioni is quite right when he says:
“This is not prudishness, but the wisdom of the Church that has time and again demonstrated the importance of discretion and prudence when it comes to sexual issues,”
His intervention in this debate is a breath of fresh air. Some of the exaggerations surrounding the Theology of the Body have led people to dismiss it all together. I believe that Pope John Paul II made a vital contribution to the "Civilisation of Love" as he called it, and it would be a shame if over enthusiastic, or just plain erroneous interpretations were to compromise his achievement.

And as for the "blessing of genitals", I share Fr Faggioni's "real perplexity" and congratulate him on a rather English understatement.
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