Why a traditional sexual ethic matters


This morning I wanted to share this beautiful and powerful video released by the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC). Thanks to Ian Paul for sharing it and introducing me to it. It beautifully and powerfully presents the case, in accessible terms, for the ethic that sex belongs in marriage between one man and one woman, the Apostolic teaching of the Church, enshrined in Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium: the position laid out by Jesus Himself in Sacred Scripture. 

The presentation locates the discussion of sexuality in the wider question of what has been happening in society at the moment, and our call to share the good news about Jesus.

Importantly, in the opening comments by Jason Roache, it highlights the fact that the Church’s teaching is not something we just improvise, but something we both inherit and pass on, just as Paul comments in 1 Cor 15.3 that he is passing on what has been passed to him. Of course the idea that we are constantly "discerning" the Spirit is an idea driven by the pervasive relativism we see in modern society, which teaches a "me-centred" ethic where the only knowable reality is what you feel.

The presentation also makes clear that the teaching of Scripture is counter-cultural, and so might not be well received—but even if it is not it is good news. The debate about sexuality is located within the broader theological context of our understanding of creation and anthropology—what Scripture says about what it means to be human in the light of who God is—as well as questions of eschatology, where the creation is heading. These theological themes reflect the different ways that Scripture talks about marriage and makes use of the metaphor of marriage in a range of contexts.

It covers the need to value the dignity of every human person and therefore acknowledge the mistakes we have made in the past: this speaks powerfully to the lack of humility we often show as religious people, considering that those who do not live up to the seemingly strict moral code we aspire to makes them less human. This fundamentally contradicts Jesus' teaching in word and deed.

One of the best elements of the video for me is that it covers the universal dimension of the Church. It talks about African Christians who can hardly believe the capitulation of Western Christians before the idol of sexuality, especially when they are literally being killed for their faith. It also, very importantly, acknowledges the way that capitulating on the idea of Marriage as taught by Jesus, utterly betrays all those who have been faithful to Christ up to this point in history.

 

I am happy to share this video - it is not from a Catholic source - because it teaches biblical truth; truth that society is absolutely desperate to hear. This is taking the Gospel to the people and doing it with confidence in Jesus' promises to us.

By contrast, our Catholic leadership appear paralysed on these issues and, rather than "upsetting" anyone, choose silence over their duty. The result is that they appear embarrassed about Church teaching, complicit with the secular narrative or impotent as preachers of the Good News. 

A serious question -- why on earth are we not doing this, or anything like this? The nearest I've found are presentations from the USA, courageous lay Catholics like Chris Stefanick, Jason Evert and Fr Mike Schmitz. There's also this really useful video The Third Way. Really this is minimal given the massive topic this is for society and - most essentially - for our children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I have said before, as a follower of Jesus, the less I hear from the Catholic hierarchy that resonates with Jesus, the more I simply tune in to sources that do feed my spiritual need for closeness with Jesus. The Catholic hierarchy, the pope, the bishops, can't change the Apostolic teaching. I never thought I would be confronted by a situation where I am concerned that that is what is going on, but I won't follow any man away from Jesus.

Moreover, living your faith as a Christian means living and transmitting powerful truths about life which change your perceptions and actions. The foundational teaching of Jesus is metanoia: change in one's way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. I keep saying that we are failing as a community of faith to tackle this issue. Most recently in this post, which discusses the way the culture pervades society and is pushing a clear agenda into our very homes using the medium of our most loved, most watched entertainment platforms. What message is there from Catholics? The loudest voices are ones that contradict Scripture and Church teaching.

This is where the fight is and we are losing it and as a consequence, our moral authority and our platform as a Church. To put it in biblical terms; we are failing to be salt and light!

If, like me, you feel this video speaks a truth that desperately needs to be heard by a broken society, please do share it widely!



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