Sexual Morality and Church Teaching

A Theology of Human Sexuality Based on Natural Law Ethics

Leonardo da Vinci: The Proportions of the Human Figure (Vitruvian Manek) (1490; Pen, ink and watercolour over metalpoint) Attribution: Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less

Leonardo da Vinci: The Proportions of the Human Figure (Vitruvian Manek) (1490; Pen, ink and watercolour over metalpoint) Attribution: Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less

by Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS

The Church’s teachings on sexual morality are supported by the philosophical foundation of natural law ethics, which is a most common-sensical, teleological, goal/purpose-oriented system of ethics, first articulated by Aristotle, adopted by Aquinas, reconciled with Christian theology, and, ultimately, accepted by the Magisterium as likely the most philosophically sound foundation for its understanding and rational explanation of the moral teachings promoted by the Church of Christ.  In a nutshell, natural law is an ethical philosophy which is largely based on the human person’s understanding of that which is truly perfective of his or her human nature, a nature that he shares with all other human persons, coupled with the reality of the teleological, goal/purpose-oriented nature of human acts.  Thus, from a theological vantage point, the moral commands according to which we, as Christians, are expected to live our lives, are entirely rational, purposeful, and spring from the very essence, nature and composition of the human person.  Thus, moral actions are those human acts that are committed knowingly and willingly, which are authentically perfective of our nature as human persons, and which are carried out for a specific purpose or goal which, in itself, is morally upright.

Thus, we, as human persons who possess the rational faculty of intellect, are clearly aware that committing any of the seven deadly sins (even if we have not had the good fortune of a basic training in theology, and, therefore, do not know, explicitly, what the seven deadly sins are by rote memorization) constitutes irrational behavior that will inevitably result in some form of malady, as it is a precept of right reasoning that vice is its own punishment, and virtue, its own reward. (more…)