Saturday, 11 August 2012
During the week I have thought how useful it might be for us to engage in some imagining.
Imagine, for example, that the reason procreative marriage is so important has its roots (sic) historically not in some existential verity but in the fact that communities are flimsy. And dependent on the succession of generations
This is very obvious in the Old Testament, the patriarch Abraham longs for descendants as numerous as the stars and as uncountable as the sand grains on the beach. This in fact is the promise of God to him.
It is an idea that has entranced me about my own family.
(Though we appear to be stalled in the next generation ....I am sure this won't last for ever...and any way there are already great nieces and nephews and I am an unashamed and proud patriarch!)
You don't have to wholeheartedly accept this idea, but it is not beyond the bounds of credibility that tenuous communities worried about their survival would feel that it is important that numbers increase .
It was important to have sons and daughters. Sex was about and for procreation. [This would seem to be, by and large, the Roman Catholic Church's position about the purpose of marriage]
This is of course has a certain truth about it, but also not so urgent. Communities are (by and large) not on the edge of extinction. It is no longer necessary to breed ourselves into existence. Rather the reverse.
We are in danger in various parts of the world, not the least in our fragile continent, of threatening our delicate world with too many people.
So let's imagine, what seems to be scientifically obvious. There is no longer a breeding imperative!
Let us also imagine that we are now mature enough to recognise that the human being is a sexual being.
If modern psychology has taught us nothing else it is that sex is not shameful, rude, or embarrassing ...but rather that it is key to our human identity. The human being is a sexual being.
Psychology would tell us that to be a whole person we need sexual fulfilment (along with a whole lot of other things...emotional, creative, spiritual, physical, intellectual...) but certainly the healthy person will have a mature and healthy sexuality.
Now we don't have to imagine very hard what we now know.
Our world is almost full and sex doesn't particularly (or at all) require us to generate children.
BUT, the human being is a sexual being. And some human beings are not sexually attracted to members of the other sex.
No one should be being denied a healthy sexual relationship.
They can choose such....but where do we get the idea that God requires celibacy for the homosexual.
Indeed to do so is to actually say you are not to be a full person.
So we play games
The Catholic Church has promoted this long untenable proposition that sex can only be about making babies.
Life, touch, sex education, the Pill, psychology etc. etc. tells us that sex is good and no one need to not be sexual.
BUT some people will not be having sex with the opposite gender! They are just not made that way.
Let us honour the fact that men and women, women and women, men and men, women and men will also say "I commit!" to another person . Just imagine