Thursday, April 27, 2017

The marital act performed for pleasure only is condemned as a sin for both the married and unmarried people alike

Note: None of the teachings on our site must be deemed absolutely infallibly or true, and the reader must be advised to follow his own conscience. Even if our teachings proclaim this or that position to be true (according to our own interpretation), the reader must understand that this is our own private interpretation of saint quotes and church teachings, dogmas and encyclicals. Whatever the case may be, always follow what you think the church teaches on any matter; and do not trust blindly on what is taught on our site (even if we claim this or that position is a mortal sin) – even if our position may seem true and infallible (you may, however, follow what we teach blindly if you think this is the true position). If you have worries about any position, ask a knowledgeable friend or priest for guidance; and if you have further concerns, ask another priest or even several priests to see what he thinks about this or that position. No one can be forced to believe in any position that is uncertain, and the reader must be advised to follow his conscience. So if you think any position is uncertain according to your own conscience, make a reasonable judgment, and then ask for advice or continue to study the issue until you have made a right judgment – according to your conscience.

The Catholic Church teaches that the normal, natural and procreative marital act when it is performed for the sole sake of pleasure, is at least a venial sin, and many times a mortal sin, provided one is not against conception or hinder it from taking place in anyway in either deed or thought.

Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #9, March 4, 1679: “THE ACT OF MARRIAGE EXERCISED FOR PLEASURE ONLY IS ENTIRELY FREE OF ALL FAULT AND VENIAL DEFECT.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI. (Denz. 1159)

St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book 1, Chapter 17, A.D. 419: “It is, however, one thing for married persons to have intercourse only for the wish to beget children, which is not sinful: it is another thing for them to desire carnal pleasure in cohabitation, but with the spouse only, which involves venial sin. For although propagation of offspring is not the motive of the intercourse, there is still no attempt to prevent such propagation, either by wrong desire or evil appliance.”

As we can see here, it is at least a venial sin to have normal, natural and procreative marital relations merely for lustful motives, provided that the spouses are open to conception (and do not hinder it in anyway) and no other sinful deed or thought is committed during the act of marriage. From this can be understood that a couple must have a reason (other than carnal pleasure) for coming together without sin during the act of marriage, and this motive is procreation according to the teaching of the Church, since the Church teaches that “There would be no adulteries, and debaucheries, and prostitution of women, if it were known to all, that whatever is sought beyond the desire of procreation is condemned by God.” (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes 5:8, A.D. 307).

The Holy Bible is also clear that spouses when they perform the marital sexual act shall be “moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayst obtain a blessing in children”. (The Holy Bible, Tobias 6:22) Thus, spouses are not to come together for whatever lustful reason or desire they may come to think of—for that would be, at least (if not more than) a venial sin according to the Catholic Church. All venial sins open up the soul to graver sins, and that is why one must always guard oneself very carefully from falling into venial sins.

The Catholic Church’s condemnation of even natural and normal so-called marital relations performed solely for lustful motives shows us that the Catholic Church absolutely abhors and condemns all sexual acts that are unnecessary for conception to occur (such as oral sex or masturbation of self or spouse, before, during or after the marital act). Every unnecessary and non-procreative form of a sexual act (such as sensual kisses, touches and masturbation) are obviously even more evil and depraved than the normal, natural and procreative “act of marriage exercised for pleasure only,” which the Church condemns as a sin even though this act is directly procreative in itself. This clearly shows us that Holy Mother Church absolutely condemns all sexual acts performed for the sake of sensual pleasure that goes above or beyond what is inherent in the marital act itself, and that is necessary for conception to occur.

St. Athanasius the Great (293-373 A.D.): “Which use [of marriage] are you referring to? That in the Law which God allowed by saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth?” (Gen. 1:28), which the Apostle [St. Paul] approved when he said, “Marriage be honorable, and the bed undefiled” (Heb. 13:4); or that which, while popular, is performed secretly and adulterously [even by married people]?. . . The same argument holds with regard to copulation. Blessed is the man who in his youth having a free yoke employs his natural parts for the purpose of producing children. But if he uses nature licentiously [that is, in a sexually excessive, unrestrained, or immoral way], the punishment of which the Apostle writes shall await whoremongers and adulterers (Heb. 13:4).” (First Epistle of Athanasius the Great addressed to the Monk Amun, Quoted in The Rudder, pp. 576-77)

St. Athanasius the Great is very clear that spouses in a marriage who performs acts “secretly and adulterously”, and thus defiles the purity of the marital bed, will be damned. “Marriage is good, as long as sexual relations are for procreation and not for pleasure. … The law of nature recognizes the act of procreation: have relations with your wife only for the sake of procreation, and keep yourself from relations of pleasure.” (St. Athanasius the Great, Fragments on the Moral Life, Section 2)

The Church teaches that all unnecessary and non-procreative sexual acts are sinful before, during and after the act of marriage, and that these acts may never be performed in any circumstance or for any reason whatsoever by anyone. For just as it is blameworthy and sinful to have sexual relations only for sensual pleasure for both the married and unmarried people alike, so too is this true with other pleasures as well, such as “eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only,” and kissing “for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight which arises from the kiss”. This has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church and Her Saints.

Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #8, March 4, 1679: “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only, are not sinful, provided this does not stand in the way of health, since any natural appetite can licitly enjoy its own actions.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI.

Pope Alexander VII, Various Errors on Moral Matters #40, September 24, 1665 and March 18, 1666: “It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded.” – Condemned statement by Pope Alexander VII. (Denz. 1140)

St. Alphonsus Liguori, one of the most well known doctors of the Church, expounds on this teaching of Pope Innocent XI in his masterpiece “The True Spouse of Jesus Christ”, showing us the inherent evilness of acting in accordance to our sensual desires: “Pope Innocent XI Odescalchi has condemned the proposition which asserts that it is not a sin to eat or to drink from the sole motive of satisfying the palate. However, it is not a fault to feel pleasure in eating: for it is, generally speaking, impossible to eat without experiencing the delight which food naturally produces. But it is a defect to eat, like beasts, through the sole motive of sensual gratification, and without any reasonable object. Hence, the most delicious meats may be eaten without sin, if the motive be good and worthy of a rational creature; and, in taking the coarsest food through attachment to pleasure, there may be a fault.” (The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 282)

This condemnation of “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only” and kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight” is not only reasonable, but part of the Natural Law, yet it may come as a surprise to many, but this is only because so many commit sins of this nature.

Ask yourself this question: Which is the most pleasurable of the acts of “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only” or kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight”? An honest person can only answer that kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight” is a much more pleasurable experience. Since it is obvious that the act of “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only” is a much less pleasurable action than the act of kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight” since those who eat or drink “even to satiety for pleasure only” are normally not intoxicated by this inherently evil act as those who perform sensual kisses are, it is clear to all but liars, that if God condemns one unreasonable or unnecessary act that is less pleasurable, he also condemns the other act that is more pleasurable, since it too, is unreasonable and unnecessary.

In truth, since the act of the act of “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only” does not normally make a person intoxicated like the act of kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight”, it is patently absurd to claim that God condemns a much less inherently evil action, while he allows the more intoxicating and pleasurable action to be performed. Since both the act of “Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only” as well as the act of kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight” are unreasonable and unnecessary, we can therefore know by natural instinct and thus through the Natural Law, that both of these actions are inherently evil and sinful, but while both are sinful, we can also know that the act of kissing “performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight” is a much greater sin since it not only is unreasonable and unnecessary, but also shameful and intoxicating.

Indeed, all people who fall into these kinds of sins have become slaves to their passions and do not order their acts in accordance with natural reason, but in accordance with their unmortified desires, like beasts, and yet, even worse than beasts.

St. Augustine, Sermons on the New Testament, Sermon 1, Section 24: “Seeing then that… the faithful man descends to both [marriage and food] as matter of duty, and does not fall into them through lust. But how many are there who rush greedily to their eating and drinking, and make their whole life to consist in them, as if they were the very reason for living. For whereas men really eat to live, they think that they live to eat. These will every wise man condemn, and Holy Scripture especially, all gluttons, drunkards, gormandizers, "whose god is their belly." [Phil. 3:19] Nothing but the lust of the flesh, and not the need of refreshment, carries them to the table. … And so in that other duty of marriage, sensual men seek for wives only to satisfy their sensuality, and therefore at length are scarce contented even with their wives. … Nevertheless, if you were to say to such a man, "why do you marry?" he would answer perhaps for very shame, "for the sake of children." But if any one in whom he could have unhesitating credit were to say to him, "God is able to give, and yea, and will give you children without your having any intercourse with your wife;" he would assuredly be driven to confess that it was not for the sake of children that he was seeking for a wife. Let him then acknowledge his infirmity, and so receive that which he pretended to receive only as matter of duty.”

For those who want to read and learn a lot more on sexual ethics, I can recommend the following interesting and informative article that is absolutely packed with quotes from the popes, saints and fathers of the Church:

Sexual Pleasure, the Various Sexual Acts, and Procreation

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