The meaning of human sexuality

Each human is a unity of body and soul, and the body has innate dignity as part of God’s creation.

Each human is a unity of body and soul, and the body has innate dignity as part of God’s creation.

by Joe Bollig

Catholicism is the sexiest religion of all time.


Back up.

Did he just . . . ?

Yes, Catholicism is the sexiest religion of all time — but you have to understand what we’re talking about.

First, go to the Bible: “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it was very good” (Gn 2:31). That “everything” includes the complementary nature of the two human genders, male and female.

God invented gender and sex. God is OK with sex, and so is the church.

But wait, there’s more! Sex isn’t just “good” or even “very good.” Theologian Scott Hahn explains:
“Sex is not good. Campbell’s Soup is good — mmm, mmm good. Sex is not great. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are gr-r-reat! Sex is holy. Sex is sacred. Our sexuality has been made by God to surpass what is merely good or great. Nothing in the natural order is so holy. When the two become one, they become three in one. Sex is holy. Therefore it must only be expressed in covenant. It is a sacramental sign that points to a supernatural reality.”

Creation, which is a reflection of God’s glory, is sacred and has sacramental meaning. In the sacraments, material things are consecrated and made signs and instruments of God’s grace — the free gift of divine life.

And Jesus, God’s own son, entered history by taking human flesh to become one of us — one divine person with two natures, truly human and truly divine.

Each human is a unity of body and soul, and the body has innate dignity as part of God’s creation.  Our sexuality has purpose and dignity, too.  Thus, sexuality misused or disordered is a major source of confusion and sin.

Marriage exists because it is intrinsic to human beings “created male and female” for fellowship and procreation under the covenantal relationship with God.

Human sexuality is not merely functional. It is a vocation to self-giving, expressed as living the call to become fathers and mothers in the context of love, care and fidelity.

Man and woman — who share an equal dignity that comes from God — are willed for each other.

Their sexual difference “is a primordial reminder” that we are made to give ourselves to each other, guided by virtue.

So, marriage is a part of God’s plan, but what of celibacy? Both “converge on the shared premise that sexual intimacy . . . belongs and flourishes in the context of a covenant.” Celibacy “honors sex by insisting that sexual intimacy serves and is served by the covenant.”

Both the married and the celibate are called to live the virtue of chastity, which is living our sexuality with dignity and grace in the light of God’s commandments. Chastity is “a great ‘yes’ to the truth of humanity created in the image of God and called to live in the covenant.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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