Catholics and sex

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Christian2
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Catholics and sex

#1

Post by Christian2 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:47 am

Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#2

Post by Philip » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:59 am

Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
It is irrelevant, because A) it goes against Scripture and B) it's just more made-up nonsense, just like so many man-made teachings.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#3

Post by Christian2 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:34 am

Philip wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:59 am
Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
It is irrelevant, because A) it goes against Scripture and B) it's just more made-up nonsense, just like so many man-made teachings.
What scriptures does it go against? Thanks.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#4

Post by Philip » Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:59 am

Christian 2: What scriptures does it go against? Thanks.

We ARE to love our wives - and sexual relations within the bonds of marriage are but one way of expressing this. So, instead of asserting this and instead of offering a stern warning against marrying for a mere utilitarian motive behind a marriage (having children), it asserts there should be no sexual enjoyment during the try to conceive. This is tragic advice! Read the Song of Solomon - where one reads of the joy of sexual expressions of love are celebrated and modeled. What Clement suggests takes one bad thing (marrying merely to produce children) and makes it even worse (having sex without love, joy or pleasure) and essentially condones it as long as there is no physical enjoyment during the act by the man (Yeah, right!).

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Re: Catholics and sex

#5

Post by Stu » Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:13 am

Philip wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:59 am
Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
It is irrelevant, because A) it goes against Scripture and B) it's just more made-up nonsense, just like so many man-made teachings.
Exactly. Catholics have been making up stuff for as long as they have existed.
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Re: Catholics and sex

#6

Post by Byblos » Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:41 am

Christian2 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:47 am
Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
Ignorant quips and knee-jerk reactions aside, don't you find it curious that in the same sentence they objected to, Clement emphatically states a man ought to love his wife? I mean that alone ought to give you pause that there's more to what he's saying than meets the eye.

Clement's Stromata Book III is devoted to marriage but the right type of marriage, not one based on fleshy desire but true love as well as procreation, both of which are the directed goals of natural law.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#7

Post by RickD » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:57 am

Byblos wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:41 am
Christian2 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:47 am
Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
Ignorant quips and knee-jerk reactions aside, don't you find it curious that in the same sentence they objected to, Clement emphatically states a man ought to love his wife? I mean that alone ought to give you pause that there's more to what he's saying than meets the eye.

Clement's Stromata Book III is devoted to marriage but the right type of marriage, not one based on fleshy desire but true love as well as procreation, both of which are the directed goals of natural law.
Byblos,

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was talking about restraining bowel movement (continence) for the sake of marriage.
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Re: Catholics and sex

#8

Post by Byblos » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:35 am

RickD wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:57 am
Byblos wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:41 am
Christian2 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:47 am
Clement of Alexandria:

"A Man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will."

What exactly does this mean?

Thanks.
Ignorant quips and knee-jerk reactions aside, don't you find it curious that in the same sentence they objected to, Clement emphatically states a man ought to love his wife? I mean that alone ought to give you pause that there's more to what he's saying than meets the eye.

Clement's Stromata Book III is devoted to marriage but the right type of marriage, not one based on fleshy desire but true love as well as procreation, both of which are the directed goals of natural law.
Byblos,

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was talking about restraining bowel movement (continence) for the sake of marriage.
This is not a thread for self reflection Rick. :mrgreen:
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Re: Catholics and sex

#9

Post by Philip » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:24 pm

Clement's Stromata Book III is devoted to marriage but the right type of marriage, not one based on fleshy desire but true love as well as procreation, both of which are the directed goals of natural law.
I can tell you that the right type of Christian marriage DOES anticipate and looks forward to celebrating fleshly desire WITHIN THE BONDS OF MARRIAGE. And most people aren't blind - as physical attraction (fleshly / sexual desire) is natural, God-given, and one of the first things that attracts a man and woman to each other - even if consummating it must be delayed until married. So, desiring kids with a person is okay but one is not to desire the act that they also know comes with marriage that will conceive those children? They want children but will abhor having to do "that deed" to get them? The admonition's emphasis should be to never marry except for love! Why the focus on not enjoying sex ("must practice continence?"). That makes it sound that marrying and engaging in sex only for procreation and children is just fine, as long as it's not enjoyed. How absurd! Why even discuss the sex part, and not just warn to only marry for love! Apparently, this was a problem at the time. And it was likely driven by a tradition of arranged marriages - often made to unite tribal factions or gain economic status and power.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#10

Post by Byblos » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:57 pm

Philip wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:24 pm
Clement's Stromata Book III is devoted to marriage but the right type of marriage, not one based on fleshy desire but true love as well as procreation, both of which are the directed goals of natural law.
I can tell you that the right type of Christian marriage DOES anticipate and looks forward to celebrating fleshly desire WITHIN THE BONDS OF MARRIAGE. And most people aren't blind - as physical attraction (fleshly / sexual desire) is natural, God-given, and one of the first things that attracts a man and woman to each other - even if consummating it must be delayed until married. So, desiring kids with a person is okay but one is not to desire the act that they also know comes with marriage that will conceive those children? They want children but will abhor having to do "that deed" to get them? The admonition's emphasis should be to never marry except for love! Why the focus on not enjoying sex ("must practice continence?"). That makes it sound that marrying and engaging in sex only for procreation and children is just fine, as long as it's not enjoyed. How absurd! Why even discuss the sex part, and not just warn to only marry for love! Apparently, this was a problem at the time. And it was likely driven by a tradition of arranged marriages - often made to unite tribal factions or gain economic status and power.
I'm sure your heart is in the right place Philip and I really don't disagree with much of what you say, looking at Clement's quote without the proper context.

To that end, you simply could not be more wrong with respect to what Clement stated, given the purpose for which he wrote his Stromota book III in particular was, as it was most of the writings of the early church fathers of the time, to combat all kinds of heresies. In this case it was the Gnostic heresy of asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence). The Gnostics were opposed to marriage and advanced asceticism as a form of self-discipline. Clement's book 3 was in fact in defense of marriage against the Gnostic heresy that Christians should reject their family in pursuit of self-discipline (an idea that may be linked to Luke 14:25–27 by the way). And sex for the purpose of procreation is not exclusive to Catholic teaching. As I stated, natural law which many secular philosophers subscribe to, states that sex has two purposes of equal veracity, the union of man and woman and procreation. They are two sides of the same coin and nothing in Clement's book 3 contradicts that.
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Re: Catholics and sex

#11

Post by Philip » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:29 pm

Byblos, you are correct, I do not know the entire context based on his writings. I'm only going on what the contents of the statement actually say. And that statement, unless I'm missing something here, is simply wrong! He says marrying ONLY for the motivation of producing children is wrong - yes, it is. The statement assumes the man is ALREADY married and that he must practice continence, or control his SEXUAL desire, as it also assumes such a man did not marry for love and still does not love his wife. That much seems to be clear.

Further, the stated reasons for not allowing himself to feel or experience sexual desire is "so that it is not (sexual) desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love (which is correct - he should love her), and that be beget children with a haste and controlled will." The statement no doubt asserts that one should only marry in love - which is correct. But then it positions and either/or statement - that only in a marriage of love should one enjoy the physical pleasures of sex - as if it somehow holding back sexual desire would morally even out the marriage motivation made simply for producing help around the farm. In the first place, what were our sexual pleasure receptors created for - and did they come with an on/off switch - how absurd. And physical intimacy and pleasure also builds emotional intimacy and bonding - think that just might influence a man to begin to love his wife - even if initially he married her not doing so. But instead of experiencing what would come natural to experience (sexual pleasure), he would have the man have just a "wham, bam, hope your pregnant mam," cold experience. And do you think a woman treated in such a way would feel closeness and love for her husband - no, she would instead feel used only for baby making and would become distant and cold. So, his advice actually DISCOURAGES a loving marriage. Least purely upon the basis of the quoted statement ALONE. And for whatever good motivations he has to encourage marrying for love, the isolated statement and reasoning contradict Scripture.
Byblos: And sex for the purpose of procreation is not exclusive to Catholic teaching.
Irrelevant what other than Scripture teaches.
Byblos: As I stated, natural law which many secular philosophers subscribe to, states that sex has two purposes of equal veracity, the union of man and woman and procreation.
Also irrelevant what secular philosophers think.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#12

Post by Byblos » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:43 am

That's just an emotional appeal with no basis in contextual fact and I'm fine with it, no need to reply other than to state that to not subscribe to the tenets of natural law is to undermine the very tenets of Christian philosophy.

In any case, my aim was to give a hystorical context for Christian2's question.
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Re: Catholics and sex

#13

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:46 am

Irrelevant what other than Scripture teaches.
Sorry, what?

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Re: Catholics and sex

#14

Post by Philip » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:59 am

Paul:
Philip: Irrelevant what other than Scripture teaches.
Sorry, what?
Meaning, if a teaching conflicts with Scripture, I'll go with Scripture.

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Re: Catholics and sex

#15

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:46 am

Philip wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:59 am
Paul:
Philip: Irrelevant what other than Scripture teaches.
Sorry, what?
Meaning, if a teaching conflicts with Scripture, I'll go with Scripture.
Ah, yes, agreed.

Doctrine should be based on EXPLICIT writings in scripture. I don' t think that any doctrine should be based on what is implied or what is suggested in scripture.

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