Friday, July 08, 2005

Twins, Communion, Civil and Sacramental Marriage and the Theology of the Body

Fr. John Oldfield, O.A.R., tells me that Pope John Paul II's theology of the body is quite different than St. Augustine's view of sexuality. The above link is to a blog entry by one of my favorite bloggers, "Clueless Christian." Scroll down to the 7/4/05 entry. It includes a modern Catholic view of love, sex, and marriage.

St. Augustine in the Greek Orthodox Tradition

While not directly connected to The Confessions, this is a slightly formal overview of the Greek Orthodox Church's view of Augustine and his teachings.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Purity: The Way of the Celibate, by Paula Huston

The link above points to a very interesting, contemporary exploration of chastity, drawing heavily on the thought and experience of St. Augustine. With examples from her own life, the author spends time sorting out romanic love, eros, power, control, self-image, acceptance, etc., from agape. She much ground and makes many interesting points.

What I don't like about statements like this is what they leave out. They never face the fact that raw sexual desire is necessary for the propagation of the human race. If it weren't for raw sexual desire, we wouldn't be here. If everyone were celibate, the human race would cease to exist. And after all, God created sex and sexual desire. The simplistic Augustinian resolution as has been traditionally taught in Catholic schools can't be the last or perfect word. There's got to be a better understanding. Or am I just rebelling against my Catholic upbringing? If we followed the moral teachings that we were taught in Catholic school, none of us would ever get married. We would never have had a lustful thought in our head. We would never have thought about the opposite sex. We would never have even kissed a girl or held a girl's hand. I know someone, about 15 years older than me, who once said that, at his Catholic high school, the Brothers said, that if you kiss a girl, you shouldn't let yourself experience any more pleasure than if you were kissing your sister. Who wants to kiss their sister! In my Catholic grammar school, we were taught that, even in a marriage, it was sinful to have sex merely for the sake of pleasure. For it to be licit, we were taught, the potential for pro-creation must also be present. I doubt there are many people in this world who have had sex purely for the sake of having children. Anyone who thinks they have is fooling themself.

Yet, St. Augustine was a strong advocate of marriage for most people. I'd say that in modern Christian thought there is a massive gap in the understanding of sexuality that needs to be filled by the next great thinker.

Comments, please!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Augustine: Now and Forever

The above link is a short, stimulating read on the contemporary value of the life and teachings of St. Augustine, from Godspy.