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not just for Christians

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Dec 07, 2006

For Christians, sex is anything but trivial.

Thus the Catholic bishops of Ireland, in their statement opposing a lower age of consent for sexual activity.

Your excellencies, would you accept a friendly amendment? Let's strike those first two words: "For Christians."

Sex is anything but trivial. This is a reality for all human persons. Christians may recognize that reality, and others may ignore it, but ignoring reality doesn't change it.

Or to put it in practical terms: The moral laws against fornication and adultery are not sectarian rules, which apply only to the members of certain specified religious organizations. They are universal rules, applicable to everyone, based on a natural law that is engraved in every human heart. When those laws are violated, it doesn't just bring more work for confessors; it also brings misery to those involved and to society at large.

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  • Posted by: Pete133 - Dec. 08, 2006 4:22 PM ET USA

    The Natural Law also tells us that we should not take something that belongs to another. Having nothing to do with "urges", that portion of the Natural Law SHOULD rule out adultery, where we are taking something that is NOT rightfully ours. Adultery steals something from a spouse--either our own or another's. Fornication misuses the natural use of the sex act--it rightfully belongs within a marital union. Using something against its natural purpose violates the Natural Law.

  • Posted by: Gino - Dec. 08, 2006 4:19 PM ET USA

    Before any of our "learned" bishops writes anything or makes a statement; he should have to have it approved by Diogenes! That is simple and would save them and the Church much embarassment!

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 08, 2006 6:18 AM ET USA

    Yes, fornication and adultery are contrary to the natural law, but as the popes have taught, we cannot limit the natural law to a kind of raw physicality. When we offend against our spiritual nature, one common to all humans, we violate the NL. One way to determine that offense is to ask the question, "would you want your future wife to fornicate?" Answer obvious. Therefore don't you fornicate.

  • Posted by: ladybird - Dec. 07, 2006 4:48 PM ET USA

    Tomecom, the explosive epidemic of STD's, HIV/AIDS, cervical/ovarian/breast cancer cases, certainly speaks to the fact that fornication, adultery and promiscuity are all contrary to Natural Law. I read recently that the chemical changes that occur in the brain during the sex act, especially in women, encourages emotional bonding (love) besides physical bonding (lust). Another biological (natural) argument for monogamy within, and chastity and celibacy outside of, a stable union (marriage!)

  • Posted by: Phil - Dec. 07, 2006 4:05 PM ET USA

    Tomecom, C.S. Lewis offered a simple and persuasive explanation in his book, The Abolition of Man.

  • Posted by: JW - Dec. 07, 2006 3:33 PM ET USA

    Serviam, my comment has nothing to do with "urges." My understanding of natural law is that one is supposed to be able to determine it by observing nature; e.g. sodomy is clearly against the natural law because the organs involved don't fit together. Since heterosexual sex is clearly natural, I don't see how fornication or adultery are actions that could be determined to be immoral based on the observation of nature. Perhaps someone can explain this? Thank you.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 07, 2006 3:11 PM ET USA

    tomecom mistakenly takes natural law as something to do with our "natural urges". It is not. It is God's law written in our hearts. For much of the time in the Old Testament (and today, too) we humans were too hard of heart. We ignored God's law - deadening our consciences. We can only discern natural law when we look for the right path and not concentrate on satisfying our urges.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Dec. 07, 2006 2:57 PM ET USA

    Well, St Paul's tomb was uncovered, so I'd say the Saints are not terribly pleased with what we've been doing.

  • Posted by: JW - Dec. 07, 2006 2:01 PM ET USA

    Forgive my ignorance, but can someone explain why fornication and adultery are against the NATURAL law? Clearly they are against the law of God, but the NATURAL law? What is unnatural about fornication? What in the natural law dictates monogamy, which even God's law did not demand for much of the Old Testament?

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