"What the Church Teaches About Sex"–A Book Review

I recently became a book reviewer for The Catholic Company. The first book I received as a part of the program was Robert L. Fastiggi’s book, “What the Church Teaches About Sex.” It is a very well written book that gives a lot of insight into the history of the Church’s teaching on sex. It also explains in easy to understand terms why the Church holds the stance that she does.

While overall it was a very good read, there is one chapter in particular that I want to focus on for this review: Chapter 4: Sexual Sin and God’s Mercy. Fastiggi explains that “sins engaged in freely and repetitively inevitably result in ‘perverse inclinations, which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil'” (59). He goes on to point out that lust is a capital sin and that:

As a capital sin, it leads to other sins and a lessening of the love of God and neighbor. What other sins are engendered by lust? Frequently, it involves the exploitation of others for one’s own gratification, which is a grave offense against charity and justice. Patterns of manipulation likewise come into play, and lustful people often employ deception to seduce others. Lust can also lead to reckless behavior, infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions. (60)

There has been a progression of moral decline in sexuality over the past 50 years. It started with the wide acceptance of artificial contraception and then moved to the sexual revolution. It has led to an increase in the divorce rate and a proliferation of pornography and the murder of unborn babies. In his book, Fastiggi spends time talking about these different types of sexual sin: pornography, masturbation, homosexual acts, fornication, cohabitation, and contraception. He states that “these sins are so widespread in our present culture that many people find it difficult to understand how they are sinful at all” (62). We are sliding down the slope towards complete moral depravity. If the murder of babies is now accepted by much of our culture, I fear what comes next as we continue this slide. What could be worse?

There is, however, an answer to all of this. God’s mercy. Our God is a loving God. He sent His Son to die for us because of His love for us. Fastiggi notes that “Jesus came to call sinners, and the Catholic Church is well aware of the weaknesses of human nature. Those who ‘miss the mark’ in sexual matters must humbly and sincerely ask God for mercy, forgiveness, and the grace to resist temptations in the future” (63). We have, as Catholics, the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation. We need to make use of it. We also need to guard our minds and souls from the temptations and attacks to give into sexual sin. We need to seek out the strength of the Lord to help us.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 11:06 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Tim: Wanted to let you know I’ve got your blog on my RSS feed and you do a great job; nice post today about this particular book and the Church’s teaching about sex; keep it up!

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