Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shame and Catholicism: Bedmates

Denial, shame: Catholic.
First, read this (it's not long, and is quite interesting).

Second, my response to the article linked above:
I personally think that the Catholic heirarchy, were they allowed to legitimately indulge their sexual desires, would have a very different view of sexual intimacy. I really don't hear tale of the Eastern Orthodox church having sexual scandals or legalisms surrounding sexual pleasure between consenting couples. Their priests are allowed to get married, and allowed to enjoy the benefits that confers.
In Catholic quarters, their psycho-social and sexual development is stunted by the blunt force of useless prohibitions on sexual exploration between couples, masturbation, and other harmless hedonisms. Predictably, some Catholic clergy therefore have unacceptable deviances, and Catholic couples are demeaned and disempowered by imposed guilts and harmful preachments about how they should use their body (bawdy!) parts.

I find it a supremely interesting observation that Catholicism stands against legalisms in devotional life (i.e., the notion that one can effect favour with God through efforts at purity) but sets in place a massive legalistic social framework for its adherents (e.g., Canon Law). Is it any wonder that people feel horrible when they come to the instinctual understanding that their devotion to God has resulted in a shame-based identity with their church? This confusion around sexually acceptable practice is one among many, many, many crimes against sanity.
What are your thoughts about this issue?


Skeptigirl said...

I think sex is awesome. It is a part of my spiritual life. I am calling out to God all the time while in the act.

Kane Augustus said...

Skepti: LOL! Then you're doing it right!

I'm a fan myself. And I don't feel guilty at all.

Anonymous said...

I see purity as a matter of the heart, and that affects all areas of your life. And I definitely agree with Skeptigirl that sexuality is linked with spirituality.

Kane Augustus said...


How nice of you to stop by again! It's been a while.

It would seem to me that sexuality has to be wholistic (however one chooses to define that). There's no sense in relegating sexuality to simple primal motivations, or to some mystical overture. However a person experiences life as a whole is inextricably linked with how they view their sexuality.

Hoping you're well!

Anonymous said...

I like the word "holistic" and agree wholeheartedly!
I also like the word "organic" as a descriptor. I have witnessed so many young relationships that I could describe as naively primal, and have wondered if they expected something organic to just be there ... like expecting a full-grown tree to be transplanted where there was previously just a tiny seed.
It is a relationship that grows in an environment where it is nurtured.
I wonder if this can be overworked? If a definition is even possible. But I love the term organic in describing it. As with anything in life that is so intricate, there is an element of beautiful mystery involved.
A word that does not describe that beauty is "casual" and perhaps that is where sense of shame enters in.
It is a sad thing when individuals regard this aspect of their being in a way that is only primal. They miss out on so much.

Gregory said...

I personally regard the article as straight-up bullshit, ignoring the facts of the beliefs and the deviations of those beliefs that do occur in Eastern Orthodoxy, and attributing an atmosphere of shame or psychological stunting to the Catholic notion of sexuality where none exists.

For someone ostensibly so concerned with facts and with certainty, your choice of reading material leaves much to be desired.

Kane Augustus said...


Are you saying that no shaming exists in the Catholic church? That everyone who experiences Catholic teaching and living is free of shame regarding their sexuality and sexual experiences?