The Catholic Church and Sexuality

This is a Catholic site dealing with sexuality.
The Catholic Church and sex have often been seen as hostile to each other. We present a modern view based on academic scholarship and pastoral experience.

French English NederlandsItalian
A young couple in love with each other - "Eternal Springtime" by Auguste Rodin

"How beautiful are your feet . . .
o prince's daughter!
The curve of your thighs
is like the curve of a necklace
work of a master hand.
Your navel is a bowl well rounded
with no lack of wine,
your belly a heap of wheat
surrounded with lillies.
Your two breasts jump like young deer
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is an ivory tower,
your eyes like the pools of Heshbon . . .
How beautiful you are, how charming,
my love, my delight!"

from the Old Testament Canticle of Canticles 7,2-7.

A young couple in love with each other
"Eternal Springtime" by Auguste Rodin

Sculptures in the topbar from left to right by:
Michelangelo, Rodin and (probably) Epigonos 3rd cent. BC

The Body and SEX

Catholic morality has been tainted with negative views on sexuality. It may be said truthfully, that the Catholic Church - through its teaching - represses a healthy Christian sexuality. The reasons are manifold: a mistaken enthusiasm for radical purity, the heritage of writers like St Augustine who had been infected with a Manichean fear of the body, undigested medieval philosophies, the influence of Jansenistic thought especially in France.

Unfortunately, the situation has not much improved today. Church leaders still base official Catholic sexual teaching on outdated views of so-called 'Natural Law'. For instance:

  • Catholic couples may never, under any circumstances, use contraceptives. So said Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii , Encyclical on Christian marriage, 1930 and Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae of 1968.

  • Catholic homosexuals must abstain from all sexual intimacy since this is judged to be 'intrinsecally evil'. This is what Pope Paul VI decreed in Declaration on Certain Issues Concerning Sexual Ethics, 1974. The condemnation was repeated by Pope John Paul II in 1986, 1992 and 2000.

  • Our present Pope Benedict XVI maintains the same line of teaching. From an early age, Catholics are imbibed with an unwarranted sense of guilt. Many have an exaggerated fear of masturbation. They are denied the joy of sex: a true gift from a Creator who is Love itself.

    On this site we present a balanced view, supported by modern Catholic theology. We carry responsibility for our sexuality, as for any other gift we have received. We may not harm others or ourselves. On this site we try to preserve a healthy balance, asserting that sex is good & sacred, while avoiding left and right extremes:


"The body is not meant for fornication;
it is for the Lord
and the Lord for the body . . .

A man who lies with a prostitute
is one body with her,
since the two, as Scripture says,
become one flesh . . .

Keep away from fornication.
All other sins are committed
outside the body;
but to fornicate is to sin
against your own body.
Your body, you know is a
temple of the Holy Spirit
who is in you because you
received the Spirit from God."

from Paul's Letter to the Corinthians 6,13-19.

The ultimate purpose of sex is to cement a loving and productive bond between two persons - "The Kiss" by Auguste Rodin 1886

The ultimate purpose of sex is to cement a loving and productive bond between two persons
"The Kiss" by Auguste Rodin 1886

AMRUTHA. novel by John Wijngaards
how to escape outdated Christian sexual morality
The Christian Enjoyment of Sex Frequently Asked Questions
Fantasies Nakedness Contraceptives Guilt Homosexuality Masturbation
Is love simply sex? When is sex sinful? Periods
New Focus in Catholic Sexual Morality - academic sources Origin
of negative attitudes to sex

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

This website is maintained by the John Wijngaards Catholic Research Centre.

Our emblem - based on a 14th century illustration - shows Sophia, "Wisdom", in action. She was known to have been God's designer who danced at creation (Proverbs 8,12-31). In the image she is teaching geometry to medieval scholars.

We chose this for our emblem because it shows both respect for exact science and a recognition that the Spirit of God is at the root of all human research. Please help us if you can.

Natural Law and Conscience Synod on the Family 2015