Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, & Defense, 3rd Edition by William E. May, Rev. Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap., & Joseph Boyle, Jr.
Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur (2011)
Pages: 340 +index
Finished: Sept. 16, 2012
First Published: Aug. 22, 2011
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Genre: non-fiction, Catholic, theology, philosophy
First sentence: "When Cabernet's wing regenerates, he'll head straight for the Capital."
Publisher's Summary: "The authoritative work on the Church's teaching on sexual morality has been thoroughly updated to address dimensions of this complex topic that have emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Since publication of the 2nd edition of Catholic Sexual Ethics, the philosophical landscape of human sexuality has dramatically changed. The rise of such concerns as moral relativism, the drive for same-sex unions, and a drastic redefinition of "marriage" and "family" have underscored the need for an unambiguous, up-to-date understanding of Catholic sexual teaching.
- Summary of Catholic teaching on sexuality from biblical times to our own.
- Presentation of principal elements of the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI on marriage in the early years of his pontificate.
- Discussion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's 2003 Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.
- Integration of more recent materials that clarify issues into the existing framework of the book.
Whether you are involved in ministry, education, or catechesis, you will benefit from having this essential resource near at hand."
Acquired: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, & . The Catholic Company is a great resource for tools to help you participate in the Year of Faith, including Year of Faith bible studies and exclusive Year of Faith personalized gifts. The Catholic Company also has all your Advent needs in stock, such as Advent calendars and Advent wreaths.
Reason for Reading: I am very strong in my faith and have a profound interest in moral theology and ethics.
Sometimes I feel like I've got in over my head when I set out to "review" a book and this is one of those times. Of course I'm not going to actually "review" this as I am nowhere near as intelligent or learned on this subject as the authors. That's one of the reasons I read it! So these brief musings will be my description and notes on this book, to perhaps help another reader decide if it is the book for them. First of all this book is what one would call a textbook; I would presume it is used in colleges, etc, however it is not written in a dry, hard to understand voice, nor is it extremely technical nor does it require complex reading skills. Rather, written for the laymen who is ready to study the topic at a further advanced level beyond an "off the shelf" layman's book. The book does require some thinking and effort but it is by no means unapproachable and at times the reading even flies. But the material is so interesting, inspiring, reaffirming, and possibly life-changing, that one will want to read passages over and over again before moving on.
I'd like to mention that "Catholic Sexual Ethics" is not all about the sex. The last three chapters focus exclusively on sexuality, however the rest of the book concentrates on other topics which are more important than sex and then brings in how sex is related to that topic. One thread that runs through the book is that humans are sexual beings by nature but sexual lust & pleasure does not define who we are as humans. Our relationship with God defines us, and how we express ourselves sexually needs to be with the presence of the Holy Spirit in mind.
Following ethics and morality as taught by the Church is a most glorious and wonderful thing. One cannot imagine the beauty of this life unless one has experienced it and this book attempts to take all the high-faluting language down a few notches so the reader can understand what it means to respect the God-given body, yours and others.
First this book takes us through the history of sexual teaching in three chapters: first the Church's teachings, the Bible's teachings, and finally Catholic Traditions' teaching. These three are all one-in-the-same only with different degrees of clarity and one defines the other to the point of no misinterpretation. These chapters set a foundation on just what sex is, and why it is. The answers are very contradictory to modern society's hedonistic nature, but if one can read this for the true beauty of what the relationship is between God and his gift to us of sex, then you will be prepared for the rest of the book.
Follows are chapters on patterns of thinking in moral theology, Conscience: it's meaning and formation and finally Chastity, Virginity & Christian Marriage (three things which some may be surprised to find do walk hand in hand with each other). This is the first chapter that solely concerns itself with sexuality.
The last two chapters concern Chastity and it's Obligations first for the Married Person and lastly for the Unmarried Person.
Christian Catholic Ethics are not a book or list of rules. They are an explanation of what God expects from us when we are living mature Christian lives; we put God first, we invite the Holy Spirit in us to participate in all we do. This isn't easy, but it isn't any unnatural hardship either. The outcome is beautiful. This book shows us where modern society and biblical (traditional) ethics parted and the damage it does to the soul. If you are anything like me, you will be thinking about how you live your life and possibly making some adjustments. Highly recommended for those teaching this subject, working with youth on the subject and anyone ready to dig deeper into how they can live their life closer to God, while reaping the rewards.