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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Sin of Onan - The Moral Subtleties of Sodomy

It would seem that the "theological time bomb" that George Weigel foresaw going off in the third millennium is going off all over the place, with perhaps unimagined effect. 

One would have thought that Christopher West's Theology of the Body feature on Nightline - something no other evangelist/apologist has been able to achieve in our post-christian pagan media culture - would have been met with applause and congratulations. 

However it sparked off a civil war within the ranks of orthodox professional theologians, philosophers and now canon lawyers (Christopher West of course is none of these, he is a popularizer, evangelist and apologist). It has also been an opportunity for fellow Theology of the Body cottage industry insiders to join in the fray to differentiate themselves in the TOB market by attacking Christopher West. (Funny, we haven't heard from Fr. Curran, or Fr. McBrien or Fr. Reese, SJ about any of this, I wonder why?)

But now we have a new vista of debate that has emerged in the on-going civil war: the moral dimensions of "anal penetration" vs. sodomy. Dr. Janet Smith is taken to task for restating the Church's position - that sodomy is gravely immoral, but anal penetration, as foreplay, that ends in normal intercourse is morally licit given mutual consent. Check out the comment section for some light on the topic by Ed Peters - canon lawyer. 

In some way, it is refreshing to know that as Catholics we have an established framework for dealing with this kind of question, again recognizing that we live in a society where the practice is widespread and growing. (The following data is from a comment made by Andy Messaros in a previous post):

From a 2002 CDC report on US sexual activity (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf):

Straight males who have had anal sex with a female:
+ at age 15 = 4.6%
+ at age 22-24 = 34%
+ at age 25-44 = 40%

Females who have had anal sex with a male:
+ at age 15 = 2.4%
+ at age 22-24 = 32%
+ at age 25-44 = 35%

These numbers are approximately double what they were in the 1990s! Why? Maybe pornography.