In the UK, 62% of Catholics now say that same-sex relationships are “not at all wrong”.
This finding, from the authoritative, annual British Social Attitudes Survey for 2017, is particularly dramatic when viewed over the long term, the thirty years from 1986 and 2016. This transformation in attitudes applies to all Christians, but especially to Catholics, for whom moral acceptance of same-sex relationships rose from just 9% 30 years ago, to 62% in 2016.
A formal research investigation by a Münster University research group in 42 countries worldwide, has shown that an overwhelming majority of German Catholics disagree fundamentally with Vatican doctrines on sexuality. This will not surprise anyone: the German bishops are far ahead of their international colleagues on many of these issues, professional German theologians have taken the lead in calling for a fundamental rethink on all issues of sexual teaching, and the culture of clericalism in the Church, and the largest lay organisation recently called for the Church to begin offering formal church blessings for same – sex couples in committed, permanent relationships (such as civil unions). Continue reading Human Sexuality:What Catholics Believe→
Of course, we knew this: my daughter Robynn says of gay parents “I recommend them” (aHEM!) – but still good to have it confirmed in a major meta – analysis of all available academic research: . “Same-sex couple adoption doesn’t have any negative effect on children”
A 2013 study addressed the question directly, evaluating the outcomes of adoptees less than 3-years old who had been placed in one of 56 lesbian and gay households since infancy. It was a fairly small sample size, but the study found no significant associations between parental sexual orientation and child adjustment. In other words, no downside related to same-sex adoption was reported. The same can be said about this new study.
Now, a new study conducted by University of Colorado Denver research found that children of same-sex parents experience ‘no difference’ in terms of social and behavioral outcomes to children of heterosexual couples. The study examined thousands of peer-reviewed articles referencing same-sex parenting for patterns in citation of work by other researchers. Jimi Adams, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies at CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wanted to review all existing literature on the issue, and see if a consensus was reached. By the time he reached the 1990s, a consensus was already starting to develop, and by the time he reached 2000, he discovered that researchers had reached ‘overwhelming’ consensus on the issue. Basically, virtually all researchers reported that same-sex parenting is just as fine as opposite sex parenting, but they just weren’t aware of each other’s results.
It’s a myth that Catholic support for contraception is restricted to the wealthy countries of North America and Western Europe. A 2014 global survey of self-identified Catholics in twelve countries (those with the largest Catholic populations) has found that overall, 78% of Catholics worldwide support the use of contraception. Even in Africa, Catholics are divided, without a clear majority backing the official Catholic prohibition.
Do you support or oppose the use of contraceptives?In this diagram, “100%” represents the extent of agreement with the Vatican position, and so the points closest to the centre are those most strongly disagreeing with the Humanae Vitae prohibition on artificial contraception. It’s clear that none of the countries included show any strong support for the Vatican position, and most are firmly against. Continue reading Worldwide, 78% of Catholics Support Contraception.→
There is an abundance of research evidence to show that US Catholics reject Vatican doctrines on almost all elements of sexual doctrines, from contraception through masturbation and cohabitation, to gay marriage. Conservative Catholics often respond to this evidence with the claim that outside North America and Europe, things are different. From a global perspective, they claim, most Catholics support church teaching. Findings of a new global survey show they are wrong.
Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds
Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision.
On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.
Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.
The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.
A new review of research by the Australian Government’s Institute of Family Studies has found that kids who are being brought up in families headed by gays and lesbians do as well as their heterosexually parented peers
24 JANUARY 2014 | BY ANDREW POTTS
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released a report on the well being of children raised by gays and lesbians and found they did just as well as those raised by heterosexual men and women.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is the Australian Government’s key research body in the area of family well being and provides an evidence base for developing policy supportive of the well being of families in Australia.
The report was authored by Dr Deborah Dempsey – a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology.
‘Research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children,’ the report found.
2352Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
Question: If masturbation, like “homosexual acts”, contraception and cohabitation is indeed “gravely disordered”, why is the Church not talking about it? (It’s not as though nobody does it.)
As always, let’s begin by considering some simple facts, the reality behind the theology.
It is widely known that to some degree or other, masturbation is widely practised by both men and women, of all ages, partnered or single, alone or with others, in all humans societies. It is also common in all animal species that have hands – and even some that do not (dolphins use their flippers).
The clear hostility of orthodox doctrine is not based directly on scripture, or on the teachings of the early Church Fathers.
A study by Giovanni Cappelli of the church’s stance on masturbation during the first millennium CE shows that:
The Bible is silent on the topic.
None of the Apostolic Fathers wrote about masturbation.
The first mention of masturbation within the Catholic Church is found in sixth century CE penitentials.
Later, Church opposition for many centuries was unequivocal, largely based on the writing of St Thomas Aquinas, who named it as one of the three classes of “sodomy”.
Yet other religions have a range of views. Some conservative Christians agree with Catholic doctrine that the practice is sinful. Other Protestants, both liberal and evangelical, see it as morally neutral, or even as a suitable release to avoid more serious sin.
James Dobson, chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit Christian organization, considers it part of normal adolescent exploration and strongly urges parents not to shame their children over the act lest they have marital difficulties later because of shame over their sexuality….Dobson says fathers should urge their sons, if they masturbate, to imagine their future wife, and never some girl they may know.
Other faiths are also divided, with some branches of Islam merely restricting the practice during times of fasting, some reformist Jews recommending it in some circumstances, and the Hindu Kama Sutra advising on the best technique to follow.
In spite of Church claims that the “moral sense of the faithful” has no doubt on the matter, the overwhelming evidence from research is that ordinary Catholics simply do not agree with Church teaching on this.
Medical views long ago abandoned any claims that masturbation is harmful, unless practiced in excess.
The Catholic church has been curiously silent on the subject for years. All the references I have come across in Church documents seem to be based on quotes from the relevant section of the CDF document on human sexuality “Persona Humana“, which was released in 1975.
Now, let’s move on to some reflection. Why has the church been become so silent? Even when the US bishops released their document on sexual ethics earlier this year, reminding American Catholics once again of the moral gravity of contraception and cohabitation, there was no mention of masturbation. Informally, there has been some clear movement. I recall sitting in a parish “faith enquiry” evening, when the subject came up in question time. The parish priest replied unequivocally that modern theologians would see this as a “weakness”, and no longer as a sin. On another occasion, when I spoke of some sexual frustrations with my spiritual director (a senior man in his order, and with a doctorate in spirituality), he asked whether I had considered masturbation as a solution. (My reply? It’s not a very satisfactory substitute for a human interaction with another person).
This was the reply of another priest, to an on-line query at Catholic and and A:
Can masturbation be sinful? I think the only time masturbation could be considered seriously sinful is if someone is using this activity to avoid one’s obligations to one’s spouse. Modern moral theologians tell us that masturbation is a normal part of one’s psychosexual development. Most people go through phases of masturbation, during adolescence, for example, individuals separated from their spouses in war time, the elderly, and others in unique situations of life. It’s hoped that individuals not become fixed or stuck in only this form of sexual expression, but rather develop a relationship with another person with whom one can express one’s own sexuality in an appropriate loving and intimate way.
What of the clergy themselves? We known that a significant proportion of them, priests, bishops and cardinals alike, do not keep strictly to their vows of celibacy, and conduct sexual relationships with others, either furtively, or sometimes even more openly. What of the rest, who avoid sex with others. How many also avoid solitary pleasures? Or do they fall back on the advice of so many Protestant theologians, and accept self-stimulation as a way to avoid more serious temptation?
I suspect that there can be only two possible reasons for the continued institutional silence on the matter. The first is simple embarrassment: they know that they cannot defend a prohibition that they ignore themselves.
The second is far more intriguing. This is that my former parish priest and Fr Ruffo, quoted above, are right. Modern theologians have agreed that the old prohibition is unsound, and can no longer be defended. To say so though, would create untold difficulties. For the basis of the argument is that no genital activity outside marriage and ordered to procreation is acceptable, “Every sperm is sacred”. To accept some circumstances where masturbation is not sinful, also calls into question the implacable arguments against contraception, premarital sex, and homoerotic relationships.
When I was still teaching, the headteacher at one of one my schools regularly advised the staff to “Choose our battles”, to avoid taking a stand on issues we could not win. This, I think, is the key to understanding the present Church position on masturbation. They know that the traditional stance is a battle they can not win.
If that is so, perhaps that is all the more reason for us to take up the challenge instead. Perhaps progressive Catholics should be forcing a reasoned, public discussion. This is one battle where indeed, we can win.