St. Jerome on marriage

The other day ConantheContrarian asked for a source for the idea that it is shameful for a man to have passion for his wife.  I offered the example of St. Jerome in Against Jovinianus (Book I), written in AD 393:

Hence Xystus in his Sentences tells us that “He who too ardently loves his own wife is an adulterer.” It is disgraceful to love another man’s wife at all, or one’s own too much. A wise man ought to love his wife with judgment, not with passion. Let a man govern his voluptuous impulses, and not rush headlong into intercourse. There is nothing blacker than to love a wife as if she were an adulteress.

As foreign as this concept may seem today, for significant periods in Christian history this has been a widely held view.  Jerome held extreme anti marriage views, but the quote above is a sentiment you will see as well from the much more moderate St. Augustine, and even fits fairly well with this argument by Pope John Paul II*.

Having shared Jerome’s more tame arguments on marriage in Against Jovinianus, I thought I would share some of his more extreme arguments in the same piece.  Time permitting I’ll do a follow up post with some of Augustine’s more moderate arguments.

I’ll start with Jerome’s striking interpretation of 1 Cor 7:1, explaining that Paul is saying sex in marriage is evil, albeit a lesser evil (all emphasis mine).

“It is good,” he says, “for a man not to touch a woman.” If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one: for there is no opposite to goodness but badness. But if it be bad and the evil is pardoned, the reason for the concession is to prevent worse evil. But surely a thing which is only allowed because there may be something worse has only a slight degree of goodness.

Jerome continues to 1 Cor 7:2, explaining that Paul was referring to Christians who were married before becoming Christians, and encouraging married Christians to not have sex unless they felt that they could not otherwise contain themselves:

But, because of fornications let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. He did not say, because of fornication let each man marry a wife: otherwise by this excuse he would have thrown the reins to lust, and whenever a man’s wife died, he would have to marry another to prevent fornication, but have his own wife. Let him he says have and use his own wife, whom he had before he became a believer, and whom it would have been good not to touch, and, when once he became a follower of Christ, to know only as a sister, not as a wife unless fornication should make it excusable to touch her.

Next he explains that 1 Cor 7:3-5 is saying that while it would be better for a married Christian to abstain from sex, they are duty bound to do so if their spouse wishes, even though married sex is bad because it is incontinence that hinders prayer:

But inasmuch as he who is once married has no power to abstain except by mutual consent, and may not reject an unoffending partner, let the husband render unto the wife her due. He bound himself voluntarily that he might be under compulsion to render it. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves unto prayer. What, I pray you, is the quality of that good thing which hinders prayer? Which does not allow the body of Christ to be received? So long as I do the husband’s part, I fail in continency. The same Apostle in another place commands us to pray always. If we are to pray always, it follows that we must never be in the bondage of wedlock, for as often as I render my wife her due, I cannot pray.

Jerome moves on to interpreting 1 Pet 3:

When he says likewise, he challenges the husbands to imitate their wives, because he has already given them commandment: 1 Peter 3:2-3 beholding your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel: but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. You see what kind of wedlock he enjoins. Husbands and wives are to dwell together according to knowledge, so that they may know what God wishes and desires, and give honour to the weak vessel, woman. If we abstain from intercourse, we give honour to our wives: if we do not abstain, it is clear that insult is the opposite of honour. He also tells the wives to let their husbands see their chaste behaviour, and the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit. Words truly worthy of an apostle, and of Christ’s rock! He lays down the law for husbands and wives, condemns outward ornament, while he praises continence, which is the ornament of the inner man, as seen in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit. In effect he says this: Since your outer man is corrupt, and you have ceased to possess the blessing of incorruption characteristic of virgins, at least imitate the incorruption of the spirit by subsequent abstinence

To Jerome, it seems that any piece of Scripture can be read as a condemnation of marriage:

Proverbs 30:15-16 The horseleech had three daughters, dearly loved, but they satisfied her not, and a fourth is not satisfied when you say Enough; the grave, and woman’s love, and the earth that is not satisfied with water, and the fire that says not, Enough. The horse-leech is the devil, the daughters of the devil are dearly loved, and they cannot be satisfied with the blood of the slain: the grave, and woman’s love, and the earth dry and scorched with heat. It is not the harlot, or the adulteress who is spoken of; but woman’s love in general is accused of ever being insatiable; put it out, it bursts into flame; give it plenty, it is again in need; it enervates a man’s mind, and engrosses all thought except for the passion which it feeds. What we read in the parable which follows is to the same effect: For three things the earth does tremble, and for four which it cannot bear: for a servant when he is king: and a fool when he is filled with meat: for an odious woman when she is married to a good husband: and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. See how a wife is classed with the greatest evils. But if you reply that it is an odious wife, I will give you the same answer as before— the mere possibility of such danger is in itself no light matter. For he who marries a wife is uncertain whether he is marrying an odious woman or one worthy of his love. If she be odious, she is intolerable. If worthy of love, her love is compared to the grave, to the parched earth, and to fire.

*To my knowledge none of these arguments represent Catholic doctrine.

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120 Responses to St. Jerome on marriage

  1. Pingback: St Jerome on marriage | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. pb says:

    Yes, it would just be the opinion of one Church Father — a consensus of Church Fathers is a better witness to Tradition.

  3. Lost Patrol says:

    If we abstain from intercourse, we give honour to our wives:

    See how a wife is classed with the greatest evils.

    Is Jerome is the Patron Saint of CBMW? or MGTOW? Can it be both?

  4. Spike says:

    I take it that this is why the Protestant revolution became popular – so that such texts did not have to be considered canonical.
    Did any of the Church Fathers work out sexuality from first principles – that a sex drive in men is God-given and therefore good, and that marriage was the appropriate context in which to express it, as the history of civilization has proven?

  5. infowarrior1 says:

    Goes to show that church fathers aren’t infallible and that when comparing their works to the whole counsel of God in scripture then scripture takes precedence.

  6. SirHamster says:

    Still reading through the link to St. Jerome’s writing, but I dare say he had a sense of humor.

    “But granted that Paul allowed second marriages: upon the same grounds it follows that he allows even third and fourth marriages, or a woman may marry as often as her husband dies.”

  7. JPII’s sermon seems solid enough. There’s a general distinction between Eros and lust in Catholic thought. That seems to be what JPII was getting at, not St. Jerome’ s super anti-marriage views. JPII was VERY pro-marriage.

  8. Spike,

    Those texts aren’t canonical.

  9. Anonymous Reader says:

    Lost Patrol – looks like MGTOW to me. The CBMW wouldn’t condemn sex, just sex on the husband’s terms, because husbands obeying wives is what Complementarity is all about.

  10. Jack says:

    @ LP: “Is Jerome is the Patron Saint of CBMW? or MGTOW? Can it be both?”

    Ha! I would say he’s patron saint of MGTOW, not CBMW. This phrase in Against Jovinian is as true today as when he wrote it 1,600 years ago: “he who marries a wife is uncertain whether he is marrying an odious woman or one worthy of his love. If she be odious, she is intolerable.” This is just one of the many reasons why MGTOW folks shun marriage.

    Jerome’s views reflect the fact that in much of the history of the Church (especially in the early Church), sex was widely regarded as intrinsically dirty, even within marriage. This is one of the main underlying reasons for the Doctrine of the Incarnation. The Church reasoned that there is no way that Our Lord could have been conceived through something as dirty as sex. Many early Church leaders, not just Jerome, often exalted the virginal state and held it in much higher esteem than the married state. This was also reflected in ancient culture outside the Church [e.g. the Vestal Virgins].

    Of course, the Church today does not promote Jerome’s MGTOW views. Many, arguably most, of the pezzonovante of the Church believe that people should either marry or enter religious life. They often regard those who don’t as somewhat deficient, if not outright sinful.

    If you’re Catholic and a priest tells you to be serious about looking for a wife, you should quote Jerome against Jovinian to him. That will be sure to annoy him, but it will leave him struggling to find a good comeback.

  11. Jack says:

    @ SH: “I dare say he had a sense of humor.”

    Absolutely. He was a great man of letters. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Virgil and Cicero, so much so that he joked in one of his letters that some of his opponents (perhaps Jovinian) might argue that Jerome is not a Christian at all, but “a Ciceronian”.

  12. There is nothing blacker than to love a wife as if she were an adulteress.

    I’ve found Brundage to be remarkably helpful in establishing the context of remarks like that. In “Sex, Law and Christian Society In Medieval Europe” Brundage stated (page 91):

    Since sex was a usual (and, in his view, a regrettable) feature of most marriages, Jerome and like-minded writers argued that couples had a moral obligation to limit marital relations to an absolute minimum. Jerome was bitterly critical of married men who loved their wives excessively. This was a “deformity,” Jerome believed, and he cited with approval the Stoic writers Seneca and Sextus, who had declared that “A man who loves his wife too much is an adulterer.” There can be little doubt in this context that Jerome identified love with sexual relations and that what he attacked so fiercely was immoderate indulgence in sex by married persons. Marital sex, Jerome thought, should be indulged in only very infrequently and then with sober calculation, not with hot desire. “Nothing,” he asserted at one point, “is filthier than to have sex with your wife as you might do with another woman (51).”

    Footnoted as:
    51. Jerome, Adv. Jov. 1.49, in PL 23: 281, relying on Sextus, Sententiae 231, ed. Chadwick, pp. 38-39; Fulgentius, Epist. 1.4, in CCL gl: 190; Jean-Louis Flandrin, Families: parente, maison, sexualite dans rancienne societe (Paris: Hachette, 1976), p. 157.

    It is only by virtue of the opinions of men like Jerome and Gregory of Nyssa that it is possible to paint Augustine’s gnostic position as “middle of the road” because Jerome’s Stoic position that was even worse. The truth is that neither Augustine or Jerome took their cues from Scripture, but rather from a combination of Gnostic teaching, Stoic philosophy and Roman law.

    The net effect of Augustine and Jerome was to discard the Bible’s teaching on sexual morality in favor of their view that sex was wicked, evil and sinful.

  13. Dalrock says:

    @malcolmthecynic

    JPII’s sermon seems solid enough. There’s a general distinction between Eros and lust in Catholic thought. That seems to be what JPII was getting at, not St. Jerome’ s super anti-marriage views. JPII was VERY pro-marriage.

    I wasn’t comparing JPII’s sermon to Jerome’s anti marriage views, but to the quote from Jerome that a man commits adultery if he has too much passion for his wife. Jerome and JPII aren’t identical here, but there is some similarity.

  14. I think the distinction is that JPII looks at list as pure sexual DESIRE, on its own, as opposed to erotic love that encompasses the whole human, INCLUDING sexual desire.

    But I’m no theologian, so hey.

  15. (Lust, of course, not “list”.)

  16. RICanuck says:

    There are a lot of sick currents of thought in the Catholic Church. I will say that it is the Church founded by Christ, and everyone should believe that! But many Catholics and non-Catholics find it hard to accept once they get to know Catholics.

  17. BillyS says:

    I recall reading that Luther wrote about having passionate sex inside marriage. I find that much more consistent with the Scriptures than the historical information in the OP.

  18. Mike T says:

    “It is good,” he says, “for a man not to touch a woman.” If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one: for there is no opposite to goodness but badness. But if it be bad and the evil is pardoned, the reason for the concession is to prevent worse evil. But surely a thing which is only allowed because there may be something worse has only a slight degree of goodness.

    Proof that binary thinking has been with us since men started thinking abstractly. Paul couldn’t possibly have been getting at “it’s ok to touch your wife, but it is really good to avoid women and serve God.” I think Paul would have been horrified to see his arguments turned on their head to make the core of marriage into something rotten and the idealization of a gnostic vision of the flesh within Christian marriage.

  19. Damn Crackers says:

    I’ve always wondered if this line of thought led to the commonplace of the mistress in European/Catholic male cultures. You can do filthy stuff to the “gumar” that you can’t do to the mother of your own children.

  20. Damn Crackers says:

    By the way I guess according to Catholic tradition St. Joseph was a virgin too.

  21. Lyn87 says:

    As wonky as Catholic doctrine has been on a dizzying array of subjects in its 1703 years of existence, I’m sorry to say that not all of my fellow Protestants are immune, either. I’ve met Protestants with some pretty anti-sex-even-within-marriage views.

    One guy in particular fell just shy of channeling Jerome.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I spent a few years teaching in a couple of Christian schools between hitches of military duty, and I recall one guest speaker who was adamant that sex was solely for the purpose of procreation within marriage, and anything else was bad. I was flabbergasted, and I wasn’t the only one.

    Fortunately I don’t think anyone bought it, and I vaguely remember some of the teachers bringing it up as being unsupported by scripture.

  22. Scott says:

    Scott on December 20, 2016 at 7:44 pm
    I can’t wait for Novaseeker to show up because I would fail miserably to give the Orthodox perspective here.

    However, I do understand, as was mentioned above that a consensus of the fathers on any given matter gives it precedence on the hierarchy of tradition. (There is consensus, for example on birth control).

    Jerome is out on a limb here so it probably needs further illumination.

    We also don’t have the magisterium which is another level of interpretation and doctrine setting we don’t rely on like the RC does.

    Very interesting stuff though.

  23. donalgraeme says:

    As has been pointed out by myself and others, Gnosticism has been a rot the Church has been fighting for nearly 2000 years. Many early Fathers of the Church fell for it. In many respects it is not too much different from what befalls many Christian leaders today- they take much of their perspective from the general culture and then throw a veneer of Christian teaching on it.

    This wasn’t even the worst bit of teaching, either. In Spain for a while a number of leaders of the Church advocated that married men who became priests should set aside their wives completely. If it wasn’t for a pushback from the Eastern Church that might have truly taken hold. As it was it instead found a different method with the prohibition of ordination for married men in the West.

    If it isn’t sex, it is something else from the outside/general culture that will try and infect Christian doctrine and thought. The faithful must always be vigilant against it- this will be with us until the End of Days.

  24. donalgraeme says:

    @ Scott

    I am fairly that John Chrysostom and Jerome are not in agreement here. Which likely explains some of the different thought and approaches of the West and East regarding this issue.

  25. Novaseeker says:

    Orthodox and Catholic views on this are fairly consistent with each other. Sex is not viewed as Jerome or even Augustine described it, but there *are* limits, both on types of sex acts (sodomy is frowned upon, even between married couples), and making sex about lust rather than eros, as Malcolm is talking about above. Also, in the Orthodox ascetical tradition, the guideline is that married couples are expected to abstain from sexual relations on all fasting days — something which includes Wednesday and Friday of pretty much every week barring a few, and also long periods of fasting seasons like Lent. This isn’t because sex is viewed as dirty or evil but rather, as with food, our natural appetite for sex should be tamed and be under our spiritual control, and therefore we fast from it, as we fast from foods, to develop better control over our appetites in general, which strengthens our ability to resist actually sinful temptations when they arise (we are more trained at resisting our appetites in favor of our spiritual priorities due to the fasting). So there’s that aspect of our approach to marital sexuality as well to take into account, which is quite different from the praxis in the Western Church, whether Catholic or Protestant.

  26. Lost Patrol says:

    @AR + Jack: MGTOW it is then. I was thrown off by the notion you could honor your wife even more by abstaining from sex, which a lot of CBMW ladies would be all about. But of course I forgot that obeying her takes precedence.

    Jerome’s views reflect the fact that in much of the history of the Church (especially in the early Church), sex was widely regarded as intrinsically dirty, even within marriage.

    Despite our girls gone wild culture, this idea lingers, as Lyn pointed out. A man today could find himself successfully tracking down and securing a bona fide virgin bride, only to learn her church experience included enough guilt about dirty old sex that he loses in the end anyway. A man might lose out with either a promiscuous or a virgin bride. He will sorely need God’s Grace to navigate these treacherous waters and win in the end.

    I learned plenty about knights, chivalry, courtly love, et al. in my youth. Naturally it was nearly all wrong, and this latest series by Dalrock has been truly informative. Great posts and comments.

    “We’re all ignorant – just about different things.” Will Rogers. Or Samuel Clemens. Or somebody is going to come up with another dead philosopher for this quote.

  27. Pingback: St Jerome on marriage | Reaction Times

  28. Damn Crackers says:

    A few pull quotes from the Gnostic/Pythagorean/Stoic Sentences of Sixtus (Xystus):

    5. You have in yourself some thing similar to God, and therefore use yourself as the temple of God, on account of that which in you resembles God.

    65. No good originates from the body.

    59. You are permitted to refuse matrimony, in order that you may live incessantly adhering to God. If, however, as one knowing the battle, you are willing to fight, take a wife, and beget children.

    345. It is better to die than to darken the soul because of the immoderation of the belly.

    231. He commits adultery with his wife – every one who is intemperate.

    232. Do nothing out of sheer sensual pleasure.

  29. Major Styles says:

    The great think about Paul is that he rose the middle finger to circumcision, allowing generations or Christian men to experience natural sexual pleasure.

  30. RichardP says:

    Some dude: “The same Apostle in another place commands us to pray always. If we are to pray always, it follows that we must never be in the bondage of wedlock, for as often as I render my wife her due, I cannot pray.”

    God: ” … in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth …”

    Again, it baffles me why folks even begin to pay attention to what someone said when it directly contradicts what God said. Ever tried to get pregnant with a limp dick??? One that will get you pregnant (the “multiply” part of God’s admonition) must be rigid. To be rigid, arousal must be present. Arousal and lust kind of go together, gliven that both spring from our baser nature (limbic system). Do we think God intended for us to pray without ceasing and get aroused at the same time??? To use our higher-ordered thinking powers (prayer to something abstract) at the same time as we use our limbic system (lust/arousal). I think science has pretty well documented that using one precludes the simultaneous use of the other.

  31. @Jack:

    ‘sex was widely regarded as intrinsically dirty, even within marriage. This is one of the main underlying reasons for the Doctrine of the Incarnation. The Church reasoned that there is no way that Our Lord could have been conceived through something as dirty as sex’

    I’m sure that may have been true of the Gnostically inclined, but the virgin birth is more about the absolute otherness of God.

    By the way, the best opponent of Gnosticism among the Church Fathers is St. Ireneus of Lyons.

  32. desiderian says:

    Jerome was known to keep a harem of upper-class women, who he encouraged to take vows of chastity (i.e. not to have sex with their husbands), two of whom followed him when he departed Rome for Antioch. I’m not sure what purpose is served studying the writings of such a man, other than a cautionary one.

  33. Dismal Farmer says:

    Are you sure of the translation you’re using and that your exegesis of the text is correct? I’m not all that familiar with Jerome’s writings but the older translations that I find in a quick online search condemn as an adulterer a man who is “too ardent a lover” of his wife. That’s quite a different meaning! And yes, it is much closer to St Pope JP2’s interpretation of Jesus’ admonition that it is adulterous to look at any woman, even one’s own wife, as if she were a pornographic object and not a real person.
    Thank you for prompting me to study 1 Corinthians once again. It’s always good to be prompted to read and study sacred scripture. In 1 Corinthians we see that this is a letter Paul is writing to the congregation in Corinth in order to set straight some errors into which they have fallen and in order to settle some disputes arising from those errors. Thus, as Jerome points out, some in Corinth had asked if they ought to abstain from sexual intercourse even with their wives. Paul answers that abstinence is of course good.
    I, for one, don’t see the spin you’re putting on Jerome. His interpretation of Paul doesn’t seem particularly shocking to me when read in light of Paul’s purpose in 1 Corinthians. To suggest Paul is completely against marriage one has to completely ignore his letter to the Ephesians, for example. Remember that for the most part our Christian ancestors assumed that it was necessary for married couples to have intercourse in order to satiate the emotions of the wife, who is less capable than the man of rationally controlling her emotional urges.

    And this is why it is always a bad idea to engage in personalized exegesis of sacred scripture rather than reading by the illumination of the Magisterium.

  34. Mycroft Jones says:

    @Major Styles certainly, because the God of Israel wouldn’t want his chosen people to experience the pleasures of natural sex. Heaven forbid! (that was sarcasm). You have no clue about the effects of circumcision on sexual pleasure. Few men have before and after for comparison sake.

  35. JamesH says:

    Folks, St. Jerome was almost certainly homosexual. Read for example his letter to Rufinus, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001003.htm

    This also helps explain his attitude towards married sex. Realizing his desires were wrong, did he not want to allow natural God-given sexual fulfillment for others inside of marriage?

  36. infowarrior1 says:

    @desiderian
    What is described is in truth frigidity rather than chastity. Chastity as biblically described is sex like rabbits within the context of marriage and virginity outside of it.

  37. Dave says:

    This only goes to show that our religious leaders, throughout history, have been deficient in their religious knowledge, and that it is the responsibility of the taught to be like the Berean Christians, who “searched the Scriptures daily, [to prove] whether those things [they were being taught,] were so” (Acts 17:11).

    God created sex, unprompted. At no time did Adam went to God to beg Him to create sex. He thought of it, designed it and created it. And he proclaimed that sex, along with everything else that He had made, was good—indeed, very good.
    And God hid the very continued existence of the species upon the regular performance of the sexual act. He made it such that, when properly done, sex is highly beneficial to all involved, and strengthens the most fundamental unit of human existence. Even Apostle Paul stated clearly that “the marriage bed is undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4)—-in other words, couples should be free to explore their sexuality without guilt (assuming of course that God’s other laws were not violated).

    God who created sex and the desire for sex knew exactly how we should handle it: through their full, free and unlimited exploration with a dedicated partner in a marital relationship. Unlike the indulgence of other appetites, you cannot have “too much sex”, provided both parties are up to it. All things being equal, the only recognized limitation placed on marital sex is a mutually agreed upon period of abstinence during prayer and fasting. Even then, this period was not to be overly prolonged (1 Corinthians 7:4-6).

    But some of our former (and current “leaders”) would say otherwise. In their mistaken belief to preach holiness, they espoused asceticism that has been proven not to make anyone holier, but only causes needless grief (Colossians 2:23). Like the Pharisees of old, they “bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4), while they didn’t bother to lift a finger to help.

  38. White Guy says:

    I just gotta say. I love you men, Dalrock and all the posters here you strengthen me every time I visit. You men are like a Crees flashlight in world of tea candles and glow sticks, Shining light into all the dark crevasses of this fallen world. I hope y’all have a blessed Christmas!

    White Guy.

  39. Feminist Hater says:

    …but woman’s love in general is accused of ever being insatiable; put it out, it bursts into flame; give it plenty, it is again in need; it enervates a man’s mind, and engrosses all thought except for the passion which it feeds.

    This encapsulates modern women to a tee. Showing that at no point in time were women any different, merely that they were controlled or at least, learnt to control themselves.

  40. ACThinker says:

    Jack @ dec 20 5:55
    The church exulted and says that it was a virgin birth because the Prophet Isaiah said she would be. Obviously depends today on your translation which in places have “young woman” instead of “virgin.” But the Septigint used the word virgin, and word ‘young woman’ was used after AD90 by the Jewsih copyists as an anti Christian measure.

    Novaseeker @ Dec 20 8:22
    The bit on our physical selves being under our spiritual control is spot on. This is part of the reason behind any kind of fasting, be it food, computers, or sex.

    As for JP2’s statements, they do have to be understood in the context of what the Catholic Church defines lust as. “Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. ” CCC 2351.

    So lust (and adultery) enter in marriage when the sex act is about self, and not the other – and this can be for either spouse. And when the is not open to children – this is important, it must be open to children, it doesn’t have to bear fruit.

    St. Jerome here strikes me as “proof testing.” Just taking part of a whole passage and making it the whole message. The thing about the bible is that the teaching all hold together around a central idea, and no part can be seperated from another. And all passages on a topic must be considered and considered in the context that they are made. St. Jerome fails this test. Even if he was versed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, that doesn’t mean his exagesis is right.

    I do find it interesting that he is setting up the idea of the body being intrinsictly evil, and thus only the spririt matters. This idea has been repudiated repeated by the Catholic Church. After all if physicallity is so evil, how did Jesus become physical? (and expand from there) It would in the West again find purchase in the Cathar heresy in southern France in the 1200’s.

  41. Feminist Hater says:

    I do find it interesting that he is setting up the idea of the body being intrinsictly evil, and thus only the spririt matters. This idea has been repudiated repeated by the Catholic Church. After all if physicallity is so evil, how did Jesus become physical? (and expand from there) It would in the West again find purchase in the Cathar heresy in southern France in the 1200’s.

    I don’t think necessarily either point is wrong. Our physical presence on this planet is rife with temptation, deception and destruction. Our physical body dies are returns to the dust from whence it came as well. It’s not important in the grander scheme of things. However, that doesn’t make our form evil and is also spot on when it comes to Jesus. He had to be made manifest as a human to take on our worst qualities and redeem us. It’s not the physical attributes that make us corrupt but that they make us corruptible through the abuse of pleasures in this life.

  42. @ Dave

    Even Apostle Paul stated clearly that “the marriage bed is undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4)—-in other words, couples should be free to explore their sexuality without guilt (assuming of course that God’s other laws were not violated).

    Little quibble but the vast majority of scholars do not think that Paul wrote Hebrews.

    The writing is too different stylistically and linguistically.

  43. Toddy Cat says:

    “It’s not the physical attributes that make us corrupt but that they make us corruptible through the abuse of pleasures in this ”

    True enough,but the spirit has its temptations as well, such as spiritual pride, that are arguably worse than the temptations of the flesh. Lucifer did not rebel due to love of physical pleasure. Also, most Christian Churches teach the Resurrection of the Body, which would not be the case if it was an inherently sinfulobject

    As for St.Jerome was obviously under the influence of pagan philosophers and Gnostics. When you find yourself quoting heretics with approval, it’s a pretty good indication that you are heading off the reservation. As another commentator noted above, there was a lot of this in the early Church. Origen, for example, castrated himself in order to combat sexual desire. To say that this did not become part of Church Canon is an understatement…

    As for the Christian position on sexual desire and marriage, it’s obvious that sexual desire was created by God, and cannot be inherently evil. Like all passions,it must be used properly, and governed appropriately. There can of course be disagreement as to what constitutes appropriate governance, but we have the plain word of Scripture that one of the main purposes of marriage (indeed, the only one mentioned by St. Paul) is the legitimate satisfaction of sexual desire. Of course, sex also involves another human being, and our sexuality is to be person-driven, not just genital-driven, as John Paul said. So a husband should not treat his wife like a convenient semen receptacle, and a wife should not treat her husband like a vibrator with a wallet. There can be disagreements about details (with St. Jerome and Origen at one loony extreme, perhaps, and some of the modern hippy-dippy “sex is a Sacrament” guys and gals on the other) but this much would seem to be obvious.

    I’m no theologian, but that’s the way I understand it.

  44. Lyn87 says:

    Dave says:
    December 21, 2016 at 5:40 am

    +1. You’ve captured the essence of it. What a lot of people don’t understand is that marriage is more than just the venue for sex, but that the two are intertwined nearly to the point of being synonymous. There is nothing a married couple can legitimately do that they could not legitimately do before they were married other than have sex.

    Literally nothing. That is the only thing that changes.

    And as Paul makes clear, “The marriage bed is undefiled.” Refraining from sex within marriage not only does not make a person a better Christian, but doing so is expressly forbidden in I Cor 7:5. Other scriptures support the view that physical passion within marriage is good and acceptable in its own right, such as Gen 26:8.

    The New Testament contains the message that a single person is better able to devote time and effort to God. I Cor 7:32-34 even tells us why in plain language, “I want you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the work of the Lord, how he can please the Lord; but the married man is concerned about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife, and his interests are divided.” (There’s nothing esoteric here, obviously focusing one on thing leaves less time to focus on something else.)

    It’s always important to look at the totality of Scripture when forming doctrines. And the only understanding that makes sense is this:

    1) Marriage was created and ordained by God as THE proper outlet for sexual desire, and anything sexual that a husband and wife choose to enjoy is without defilement (assuming it does not violate some other commandment or prohibition – like the prohibition on bestiality as an extreme example). Hebrews 14:3

    2) Some people have a “gift” for celibacy and are able to focus more on God because they don’t have the competing priorities inherent within marriage. 1 Cor 7:32-34. Those people are excluded from holding positions of authority within the church. Titus 1:5-7 and 1 Tim 3:1-5.

    3) The vast majority of people do not have that “gift,” and they are to marry to avoid sexual temptation and being distracted by their desires. 1 Cor 7:9.

    That brings up an interesting point: unless a man is among the relative few with the “gift” of celibacy, he’s going to be distracted by something: the married man will be distracted by his wife, and the single man will be distracted by his unfulfilled sexual desire. Since he’s going to be distracted no matter what, we are told to default to marriage since, “It is better to marry than to burn with passion.” In fact, Jerome has it exactly backwards, because a married man who refrains from sex is doubly distracted: he has the distraction of a wife in his house, plus he has the distraction of unfulfilled sexual desire. (As if 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 weren’t sufficient reason to exclude never-married men – like Jerome – from being deacons and elders.)

    4) The Bible has harsh words for those who deny marriage on theological grounds: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” I Tim 4:1-3. (And while some argue that 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are not intended to exclude never-married men from holding ecclesiastical authority, it is unarguable that any doctrine that deliberately excludes married men from such positions is clearly and blatantly false.)

  45. BillyS says:

    DC,

    By the way I guess according to Catholic tradition St. Joseph was a virgin too.

    I heard that people thought he was married before (a widower) which is why Jesus had siblings in the Scriptures. I don’t agree, but that was the explanation I heard many years ago.

    Novaseeker,

    the guideline is that married couples are expected to abstain from sexual relations on all fasting days — something which includes Wednesday and Friday of pretty much every week barring a few, and also long periods of fasting seasons like Lent.

    Can you briefly clarify what a “fasting day” is? I had not realized they were so common, so I assume they are not “only water” days.

    MS,

    The great think about Paul is that he rose the middle finger to circumcision, allowing generations or Christian men to experience natural sexual pleasure.

    I do not believe that this was a major influence on anything in most cases. Sex is perfectly fine when circumcised, at least for most of us.

    MJ,

    @Major Styles certainly, because the God of Israel wouldn’t want his chosen people to experience the pleasures of natural sex. Heaven forbid! (that was sarcasm). You have no clue about the effects of circumcision on sexual pleasure. Few men have before and after for comparison sake.

    I believe an 8 year old child can handle that surgery much easier than a grown male. You are right that it is idiocy that God wanted His called people to have less joy in sex when He created sex in the first place.

    Jerome was known to keep a harem of upper-class women, who he encouraged to take vows of chastity (i.e. not to have sex with their husbands), two of whom followed him when he departed Rome for Antioch. I’m not sure what purpose is served studying the writings of such a man, other than a cautionary one.

    Sounds like hypocrisy in church leaders has been around a long time….

    Only do it with me, not anyone else. Yeah, that is a productive aim.

  46. BillyS says:

    Missed the proper attribution in the last quote. That was desiderian.

  47. Chris says:

    “I recall reading that Luther wrote about having passionate sex inside marriage. I find that much more consistent with the Scriptures than the historical information in the OP.”

    Luther took the unpopular, but correct, view of the Sermon on the Mount, namely that the Lord’s words about lust and anger weren’t meant to be taken literally. Most prominent church leaders since then have taken the opposite interpretation, be it Jerome centuries ago, or their more recent counterparts like Joshua Harris and Steve Arterburn.

  48. Hmm says:

    OT, but John Piper weighs in on whether it is a sin for a woman to be pregnant before she marries. He indicates that the woman can sin in the act that got her there, but seems to put the major blame on the guy who “should take better care of her”. Living in the world of 50 years ago, I guess. FWIW:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-it-sinful-to-be-pregnant-before-marriage

  49. To expand on what I said earlier:

    ‘the virgin birth is more about the absolute otherness of God’

    It is fascinating that what we’ve discovered about genetics does not contradict the Incarnation nor the creation of Eve.

    Take the case of Eve from Adam’s side. Genetically, she is literally two X chromosomes, which is one ‘side’ of Adam’s XY. The inverse is not possible: Eve (or any woman), having only XX to draw upon, cannot produce a male without external assistance (namely a Y donor).

    Therefore, Mary, or any woman, could not without the same type of assistance come up with a Y on her own to produce a male offspring such as Jesus. The maleness of Christ is a reflection of God the Father, yes, but it is also a guarantee of otherness, of outside intervention.

    This is why we have such an invention as a paternity test, but a maternity test? Not so much.

  50. Novaseeker says:

    Can you briefly clarify what a “fasting day” is? I had not realized they were so common, so I assume they are not “only water” days.

    Not only water, no. Eastern Orthodox abstain from meat, dairy, olive oil, alcohol, and sex on fasting days. So basically it’s restricted but not water only. Not everyone follows the full fast, and especially not if there are health or age-related issues at play, and fasting is not “required” in the sense that failing to fast is a sin of any kind. It’s more like highly recommended spiritual calisthenics.

  51. Lyn87 says:

    Hmm,

    There’s quite a lot of word-salad in that link. The lengths “Pastor John” goes to in order to soft-pedal the issue is telling. It’s not that what he wrote was wrong, but that he could have conveyed the correct answer in a single short paragraph… the rest appears to be “feel goodism,” including the seemingly-obligatory reminder: “Don’t forget that the man sinned, too!”

    Of course he notes that the woman’s sin is easily forgiven (fair enough, but that doesn’t erase the consequences he declined to address, which would have been helpful since he “going long” anyway), but he makes no mention of the man’s sin being just as easily forgiven, even though he is the one who brought it up.

  52. While St. Joseph may well not have been a virgin if he was a widower, I do find it somewhat amusing that it is supposed to be mildly scandalous that even St. Joseph can be – Gasp! – a virgin as well.

    Yes, the woman AND the man would have had to control themselves if Catholic teaching is true.

    Anyway, in any case it IS true to say that St. Paul definitely and quite clearly considers unmarried life to be superior to married life. Which doesn’t even come close to implying what St. Jerome says it does.

  53. Hmm says:

    One of the great mysteries in the early Church was the move from Jewish morality, which assumed men and women would marry and have children, to the high value placed on virginity even in the earliest Christian circles. Some of it certainly comes from Paul, and some more from the idea of the imminent end of the world. There were more profitable ways to spend time than dallying in marriage!

    But the whole idea of virginity got out of hand in the medieval Catholic church. Both Protestants and Catholics talk about “virgin birth”. But what Protestants really mean is “virgin conception” – Jesus was conceived without violating Mary’s virginity, but he was born the normal way. And many (not all!) Protestants believe that Jesus had younger brothers and sisters by Mary.

    But when Catholics talk about “virgin birth” and the “perpetual virginity of Mary”, they not only mean that she had no other children, but even that Jesus was born without violating her virginity – that he was born in some other way than through her birth canal. To be anatomical, Mary died with her hymen intact.

    Thus, on Catholic accounts, Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” were either his cousins or children of Joseph by an earlier marriage which widowed him. This follows necessarily from their doctrine of Mary’s virginity.

  54. Hmm says:

    Or maybe I shouldn’t have said “Mary died”. I haven’t studied the doctrine of her bodily assumption…

  55. Lyn87 says:

    desiderian may have given us the big clue to unpack Jerome’s stance:

    Jerome was known to keep a harem of upper-class women, who he encouraged to take vows of chastity (i.e. not to have sex with their husbands), two of whom followed him when he departed Rome for Antioch. I’m not sure what purpose is served studying the writings of such a man, other than a cautionary one.

    Some years ago I was reading a book about various cults and how they came to be formed. One fairly common theme involved some charismatic man who convinced people that he had a special relationship with some higher power and who managed to get people to follow him. Once he had some followers he would “reveal” that married couples should stop having sex (or at least the ones wherein the wives were pretty). Needless to say, it wasn’t long before he was bedding those women himself. Whether the cuckoldry was open or not varied with the cult, but the result was the same: the “holy man” was awash in women (often including other men’s wives), while their husbands kept the women fed and housed and supported the bastards. (Both Joseph Smith and Jim Jones were examples of this.)

    So here we have “Saint” Jerome, telling married women to shun their husband’s sexually (and telling the husbands to play along), and then running off with a couple of the wealthy ones to the edge of the Empire. We cannot know what Jerome was up to, but his behavior was certainly consistent with cult leaders of modern times who somehow always end up in bed with their followers.

  56. Frank K says:

    >The great think about Paul is that he rose the middle finger to circumcision, allowing generations or Christian men to experience natural sexual pleasure.

    Unless you’re an American Christian.

  57. The Question says:

    @Dalrock

    Judging only by these selected quotes, it seems that what St. Jerome wrote has some similarities to the modern church teaching regarding marriage and sex, but his views are fundamentally different in several critical areas. He is coming from more of a MGTOW mindset, whereas churchianity has a strong feminist bent.

    Jerome apparently believed that not only is a husband’s sexual desires for his wife bad and, at best, something to be heavily contained, but he also considered marriage itself something to avoid. I’m only going off of his writings you’re quoted here, but it seems he isn’t granting women additional spiritual authority or power over men in or outside marriage.

    This is distinct from modern churchianity, which teaches that avoiding marriage is a sin (for men) and that men need to “man up!” by marrying the first post-carousal spinster interested (stalking) him. They also hold the wife as the supreme authority regarding sex. It is good for men to sexually desire their wives, but they must “earn” that access by meeting their wives’ stipulations first.

    Where St. Jerome and churchianity seem to agree is their opposition to the plainly biblical notion that it is good for husbands to sexually desire their wives and that a godly wife makes herself sexually available to her husband.

  58. This is basically the same thing that happens in every age, just in variation.

    “You must not have sex any more than absolutely necessary.” “You must marry, to be single is a sin.” “If you refuse to marry more than one woman you are in sin.” “If you marry more than one woman you are in sin. If you have two wives even before you became Christian, you must divorce one.” <- dispite god hating divorce, by the way. "If you are unhappy, your husband isn't doing his duty, and you must divorce." "You must not eat meat on Friday." "Despite receiving the lord, you must circumcise your children."

    Despite Matthew 11:29-30: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

    As Paul writes in Romans 14

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=NASB
    14 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the [a]servant of another? To his own [b]master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    5 One person [c]regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, [d]does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

    10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
    And every tongue shall [e]give praise to God.”
    12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

    13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced [f]in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be [g]spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then [h]we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats [i]and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have [j]as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

    Similarly, if a wife and husband choose only to have sex when one of them feels the need is great, that is their choice, so long as both agree. If they choose to have sex 3 times a day, I am cool with that too, so long as it is with each-other. If a man chooses to marry 0, 1, 2, or 3 women, I might think it's a bad idea, but so long as he does not have sex outside of marriage, or lust after a woman he cannot have, that doesn't inherently make it sin.

    Honestly, I see a bigger problem when a Muslim who converts and has multiple wives is told he must divorce some of them.

    You want to forego meat on Friday, and say fish doesn't count as meat? Okay. Just don't tell me I can't have a steak on Friday, and we're good. You've given up chocolate for lent? I won't eat it in front of you (though I might forget and goof up). I also won't drink wine in front of an alcoholic who has forsworn it.

  59. Gunner Q says:

    “for there is no opposite to goodness but badness.”

    He went wrong here. 1 Corinthians 7:36-37: ” If anyone … feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing.” To marry is good, not to marry is good. Jerome sounds like the kind of Christian who takes God’s warning of suffering as an actual command and looks for opportunities to make the world less happy.

    Lost Patrol @ December 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm:
    “Is Jerome is the Patron Saint of CBMW? or MGTOW? Can it be both?”

    He’s definitely Churchian, shaming men for their natural desire for women. “Get married if you burn with lust, but don’t you dare act on that lust!” is classic. Barbie who married for Beta Bucks isn’t going to be upset by this kind of teaching.

    Had Jerome been MGTOW, he would have opposed marriage instead of opposing the enjoyment of marriage. That, at least, is supportable by the teachings of Christ & Paul.

  60. Scott says:

    To be honest I can’t imagine my marriage without maintaining the mild infatuation it takes to keep the fire burning.

    It makes the rest of life’s b%}#t bearable.

  61. Lyn87 says:

    At the risk of repeating myself: there may be less here than meets the eye… Jerome’s words and actions are consistent with men who use religion to persuade people to stop having sex and then step in to “fill the breach” themselves. It’s the perfect set-up for those guys: they get a standing harem of married women who aren’t having sex with their husbands, and everyone voluntarily goes along because of fervent religious conviction. They even get paid to do it by the husbands. Such arrangements are AF/BB on steroids, in hyperdrive, with a double pancake spin and a triple salchow.

    It is VERY common behavior among cult leaders. That’s not to say that Jerome WAS banging those women (we don’t know), or that he didn’t believe what he was telling others to do (he may have), but we DO know that some men who say what Jerome said and did what Jerome did have amassed harems of willing women who allowed them unbridled sexual access.

    Beyond the tragedy accruing to the people involved, the greater tragedy is that the Roman Catholic Church, 1) gave Jerome’s teaching credence. and 2) actually canonized him.

  62. thedeti says:

    From St. John Paul II’s “Interpreting the Concept of Concupiscence” linked in Dalrock’s post:

    “Even if he looked in this way [lustfully] at the woman who is his wife, he could likewise commit adultery in his heart.”

    This is quite remarkable. The Catholic faith actually interprets this to mean that a man should not express his sexual attraction to his wife. Or, even, a man should not be sexually attracted to his wife. A man should not have sex with his wife for the sheer purpose of expressing that attraction.

    I have just lost that much more respect for the Catholic faith. I can also see a part of the basis for many Catholics’ attitude toward sex, even in marriage.

  63. Damn Crackers says:

    St. Jerome was around the time when you were measured as a good Christian by how long you could stand on a pillar or how many body parasites you could cultivate on your body. Jesus saved us from suffering; one shouldn’t have to needlessly have suffer themselves.

  64. thedeti says:

    @ malcolmthecynic

    “JPII was VERY pro-marriage.”

    But apparently, very anti-sex within marriage. And apparently, very anti-sexual attraction within marriage. I don’t see these as good things. I don’t see his sermon as acknowledging the humanity of flawed humans, to whom marriage was given as a good and safe place for married couples to have sex, and to have it enthusiastically and for the purpose of pleasure, nor as acknowledging these as basic human needs.

  65. “Thou shalt be stupid” – instinctively taken as the Greatest Commandment by Christians in it for the “Soul Insurance” parts since 33 AD. I used to take it as a modern invention, but as we’ve worked our way back through the early & middle periods of the Church, it’s clearly a human instinct that has to be controlled.

  66. Jack says:

    @ ACT: “I do find it interesting that he is setting up the idea of the body being intrinsictly evil, and thus only the spririt matters. This idea has been repudiated repeated by the Catholic Church. After all if physicallity is so evil, how did Jesus become physical?”

    The problem really originated with Paul. He goes on ad nauseam about how Christians need to live in the spirit and ignore or fight against the temptations of the flesh. He was quite clear in asserting that those who live in the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom. Jerome took this to extremes and, more crucially for the future of Christianity, so did Augustine.

    Augustine ultimately remains the most influential theologian in the history of Western Christianity in both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Augustine isn’t really any less extreme than Jerome on sex. Augustine believed that original sin is transmitted from one generation to the next through the dirty act of sex. This is why there’s been a long tradition of the denigration of sex throughout Western Christian history and this tradition has many manifestations:

    – constant praise of Mary for her virginity
    – the celibate Catholic priesthood, one of the reasons for which is that the Church considered it to be improper for priests to be spreading original sin through procreation
    – Catholic religious orders that don’t eat meat because they believe that eating meat arouses sexual passions
    – the emergence of extremist sects, like Cathars and Shakers who believed in complete abstention from sex, even within marriage (this had the unfortunate but inevitable consequence of causing the Shakers to literally die out).

    Augustine was never particularly influential in the East and that’s why the Eastern churches have a more healthy attitude to sex and they allow priests to marry. The Eastern churches aren’t weighed down by Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, which really comes more from Augustine’s past immersion in Manichaeism than it does from Genesis and Paul.

  67. Lyn87 says:

    Jack,

    Those if us who accept that the Bible is the Word of God delivered through men writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit have to reject the notion that Paul wrote “ad nauseum” about anything. He wrote what he was told to write in order to clarify… and even with all that detail there are still a lot of people who don’t get it.

    As for what he wrote, Paul does not say the urges of the flesh don’t matter or are bad… 1 Cor 7:9 specifically says that the purpose of marriage is to satisfy sexual desire, since marriage is the only legitimate outlet for it.

    How anyone could extrapolate a generalized anti-sex doctrine from Paul’s epistles is beyond me.

  68. BillyS says:

    Chris,

    Luther took the unpopular, but correct, view of the Sermon on the Mount, namely that the Lord’s words about lust and anger weren’t meant to be taken literally. Most prominent church leaders since then have taken the opposite interpretation, be it Jerome centuries ago, or their more recent counterparts like Joshua Harris and Steve Arterburn.

    How does that follow? Those words were quite literal and a challenge to realize that thoughts were more important than just outward actions.

    Not getting tied up in the modern dating scene, which is really debauchery for many teens, is quite smart to do if you want chastity. That has nothing to do with enjoying sex fully inside marriage.

    Novaseeker,

    Not a bad discipline to follow. Thanks for the details. (Except for the long sex abstinence or even a regular abstinence in that area.)

    Hmm,

    And many (not all!) Protestants believe that Jesus had younger brothers and sisters by Mary.

    [Mat 13:55-56 NKJV] 55 “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this [Man] get all these things?”

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  69. Damn Crackers says:

    @Lyn87 “As for what he wrote, Paul does not say the urges of the flesh don’t matter or are bad…

    For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    Romans 7:18-25

    There is a line of thought that St. Paul may have been bitten by the Gnostic bug too.

  70. Jack says:

    @ Desiderian: “Jerome was known to keep a harem of upper-class women, who he encouraged to take vows of chastity (i.e. not to have sex with their husbands), two of whom followed him when he departed Rome for Antioch.”

    @ Lyn87: “At the risk of repeating myself: there may be less here than meets the eye… Jerome’s words and actions are consistent with men who use religion to persuade people to stop having sex and then step in to “fill the breach” themselves.”

    There isn’t a remote possibility that Jerome was banging the Roman aristocratic women who followed him. He firmly believed that he would justly face eternal hell fire if he did so. Besides, Jerome read and wrote constantly. You can’t imagine how much reading and writing he did. He probably only slept a few hours a night and the rest of the time was spent reading and writing. He didn’t have time for sex.

    However, there is some good red pill insight that explains why these women followed him. Red pill knowledge tells us that women long to submit to a strong alpha male. For his Roman aristocratic female followers, Jerome was that man. He was firm in his beliefs, he was a great writer, he never backed down from intellectual warfare (e.g. his attack on Jovinian). He had all the attributes of an alpha to whom a woman would willingly submit. This is why his aristocratic followers literally abandoned their families and sailed with him across the Mediterranean to Bethlehem to serve Jerome and live under his rule.

    The desire for women to submit to an alpha male is not merely sexual. They want to submit to his superior authority regardless of whether any sexual relations occur. I am guessing that the aristocratic men that these Roman ladies were married to were weak betas. These ladies subconsciously felt that it would be far better to live a sexless life under a great alpha than to have unenjoyable sex with their disappointing beta husbands.

    In this sense, Jerome is actually not much different from Christ Himself. Like Jerome, Our Lord was confrontational and completely self-assured. He did not care who He offended. He was a strong, energetic, magnetic man. It’s no wonder some of his closest followers were women (e.g. Mary Magdalene, Martha & Mary). Despite the fact that some scholars have suggested that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, this is really just modern wishful thinking. Jesus had a pure divine mission and He could not be distracted from it by sex and marriage.

    There are examples of this phenomenon in later Christian history too. St. Elizabeth of Hungary was a Medieval aristocrat who became a widow when she was quite young. She then placed herself under the spiritual directorship of Konrad von Marburg, a strong, unyielding priest who believed in constant self-flagellation and other means of fighting against the flesh. He imposed severe punishments on Elizabeth.

    Elizabeth’s family and relations were appalled by this, but she was determined to submit to her strong alpha male superior, even though there was absolutely no sex involved. She died young, perhaps partly as a result of the suffering she was made to endure at Konrad’s hands. Incidentally, Konrad was murdered by a group of aristocrats who considered him dangerous because Konrad was a fighter of heresy and, naturally, he was an enthusiastic torturer of heretics. He also was a bit too quick to believe accusations of heresy.

  71. Lyn87 says:

    Damn Crackers,

    Once again… we have to look at scripture in its totality. In Romans 7 Paul was discussing the difference between carnal living and spiritual living for Christians. If the Bible is the inerrant Word of God (as Protestant believe), then there can be no contradictions in it, which means that anything that appears contradictory on the surface is the result of taking something out of context. Fortunately, there is no contradiction here when we look at Romans 7 in the context of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Paul acknowledges that the flesh desires to please itself no matter what (which is the result of our fallen nature), but he also says that marriage is the legitimate, God-created-and-approved remedy for sexual desire for believers.

    Paul recognized that the fallen nature of our flesh is something we must fight against (he wrote about that quite a lot, in fact), but that’s a far cry from saying that God condemns what he created even before the Fall (sexual desire between husband and wife).

  72. Lyn87 says:

    Jack,

    Like I said… we don’t know what Jerome did in private… we only know what he said and did in public. He may have been as pure as the driven snow in his motives, but his words and actions were consistent with the cynical leaders of both ancient and modern sex cults whose private actions we know only too well.

    Certainly we can agree that a man who told rich married women to stop having sex with their husbands, abandon them, and follow him to the far corner of the Earth at least looks pretty suspicious.

  73. SirHamster says:

    There’s quite a lot of word-salad in that link. The lengths “Pastor John” goes to in order to soft-pedal the issue is telling. It’s not that what he wrote was wrong, but that he could have conveyed the correct answer in a single short paragraph… the rest appears to be “feel goodism,” including the seemingly-obligatory reminder: “Don’t forget that the man sinned, too!”

    In the wake of the election, I engaged with some liberal Christian friends and ended up triggering.

    I’m thinking that I was too direct; a more indirect and circumspect approach may have given them food for thought without raising their hackles. I don’t think of what I said as wrong, but I didn’t expect the effect, and would rather a different outcome.

    Just a thought that there may be a need for word salad; or word salad is the opposite failing of too blunt. The goal is not to personal preferred expression, but effect on target.

  74. SirHamster says:

    @ GunnerQ

    “for there is no opposite to goodness but badness.”

    He went wrong here. 1 Corinthians 7:36-37: ” If anyone … feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing.” To marry is good, not to marry is good. Jerome sounds like the kind of Christian who takes God’s warning of suffering as an actual command and looks for opportunities to make the world less happy.

    I read the entire linked essay, and agree with Jerome here: Paul does not call marriage good here.

    Search for use of “good” in 1 Corinthians 7 across different translations.
    http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/7.htm

    Jerome interprets Paul in the essay:

    What he says is something like this— God indeed permits marriage, He permits second marriages, and if necessary, prefers even third marriages to fornication and adultery. But we who ought to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service, should consider, not what God permits, but what He wishes: that we may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It follows that what He merely permits is neither good, nor acceptable, nor perfect.

    I think there is a difference in what Jerome meant by “good”, how Paul meant it, and how we here mean it.

  75. Damn Crackers says:

    @Lyn87 – I think your assessment is right. Nevertheless, according to St. Augustine there was no sexual desire before the fall.

    I also take St. Paul’s words with a grain of salt. Remember what St. Peter had to say about him:

    “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

    Regardless of how we think these guys are right or wrong with their ideas or words, they are all considered Saints who are by definition in Heaven.

  76. Lyn87 says:

    SirHamster,

    I only have a couple of minutes because my cat has a vet appointment, but I’ll say this before I go:

    I see your point, and we should certainly avoid giving unnecessary offense, but I see a distinction between…

    1a) speaking the truth in love and
    1b) being thorough,

    and…

    2) beating around the bush to avoid feelbad at all costs, to the point that the message is diluted or obscured.

  77. Pingback: St. Augustine on sex and marriage. | Dalrock

  78. thedeti,

    Seeing as you are reading the clear words of the sermon then following them with “He appears to be saying…”, I will listen to what JPII actually said.

    JPII did not say that a man “Should not express sexual attraction to his wife”, deti said that JPII said that. He said he should not look at his wife lustfully. You apparently missed the entire preceding conversation where a distinction was made between erotic love and lust.

  79. Hmm,

    But when Catholics talk about “virgin birth” and the “perpetual virginity of Mary”, they not only mean that she had no other children, but even that Jesus was born without violating her virginity – that he was born in some other way than through her birth canal.

    That was one strain of thinking for awhile among some theologians, but it is far from any sort of official Catholic teaching as far as I’m aware. It is more like a theory, and I know nobody nowadays who thinks it’s true.

  80. thedeti says:

    @ malcolm:

    “He said he should not look at his wife lustfully. You apparently missed the entire preceding conversation where a distinction was made between erotic love and lust.”

    I don’t see how it is possible for a man to “look at his wife lustfully”. In the context of marriage, there is no “lust”; it’s possible only for a man to “lust” after that which is not his. His sexual desire for his wife is appropriate in marriage.

  81. thedeti says:

    And, following up, it is always appropriate for a man to desire his wife sexually; and to have that fulfilled and expressed in marriage. That is not lust. His satisfaction of his sexual desire in his marriage to his wife is not lust.

  82. deti,

    Again, you missed the entire conversation up to this point, then, where a distinction throughout has been made between lust and erotic love. It’s all there; if you want to know what I and others meant, read the thread. Or better yet, look up what the Church means, and know JPII is not saying what you say he is.

  83. thedeti says:

    Malcolm:

    I know what’s said: It’s “lust” if the man is doing nothing other than meeting his own need, other than having sex because he wants to have sex. Basically using his wife’s vagina for self gratification with no regard for her needs. Rubbing his penis in or on her body.

    Any expression of his sexual desire is appropriate in marriage, short of physical violence. But that’s not what is discussed in the thread or the sermon or the encyclical.

  84. Jeff Strand says:

    The actual (meaning pre-Vatican II) Catholic teaching on the sexual relations between husband and wife is pretty hardcore. To whit:

    St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Chapter 11, 12, A.D. 401: “… nor be changed into that use which is against nature, on which the Apostle could not be silent, when speaking of the excessive corruptions of unclean and impious men. For necessary sexual intercourse for begetting [of children] is free from blame, and itself is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity [of begetting children, such as sensual kisses and touches] no longer follows reason but lust. … they [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God… by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife. Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of creation, that… when the man shall wish to use a body part of the wife not allowed for this purpose, the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman.”

    The expression “that use which is against nature” refers to unnatural and non-procreative sexual acts, such as oral, anal, or manual sex (masturbation). St. Augustine condemns such acts unequivocally. He even states that such unnatural sexual acts are more damnable (i.e. even more serious mortal sins) when these take place within marriage. The reason why is that God is even more offended by a sexual mortal sin that takes place within the Sacrament of Marriage, since this offense is not only against nature, but also against a Holy Sacrament. “So then, of all to whom much has been given, much will be required. And of those to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)

    The Catechism of the Council of Trent: “Matrimonial faith also demands, that husband and wife be united by a certain singular, and holy, and pure love, a love not such as that of adulterers, but such as that which Christ cherishes towards his Church; for this is the model which the Apostle proposed, when he said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25); and very great indeed was the love with which Christ embraced his Church, not a selfish love, but a love that proposed to itself the sole interest of his spouse…” (Question XXIV. — What is Faith in Matrimony, and how it is to be preserved)

    Therefore, non-procreative sexual acts cannot be justified by saying that it leads to the marital act; it is by nature a separate action whose object is gravely immoral. St. Thomas Aquinas confirms this fact: “Now the end which nature intends in sexual union is the begetting and rearing of the offspring. … Accordingly to make use of sexual intercourse on account of its inherent pleasure, without reference to the end for which nature intended it, [procreation] is to act against nature, as also is it if the intercourse be not such as may fittingly be directed to that end.” (Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 65, Art. 3) The meaning of St. Thomas is that, if the intercourse is, in part or in entirety, unnatural or non-procreative in nature, such as by acts of foreplay or sensual kisses and touches before, during or after the normal marital act, it is an “act against nature” and thus a mortal sin against the Natural Law since it is not “directed to that end [procreation]” in addition to the fact that it is “to make use of sexual intercourse on account of its inherent pleasure” alone, which the Church have always condemned.

    Indeed, it is clear that St. Thomas defines all non-procreative sexual acts as “vice against nature” since he says that: “the sin of lust consists in seeking venereal pleasure not in accordance with right reason… Now this same matter may be discordant with right reason… because it is inconsistent with the end of the venereal act [procreation]. On this way, as hindering the begetting of children, there is the “vice against nature,” which attaches to every venereal act from which generation cannot follow [such as foreplay and sensual kisses and touches etc. which are inherently non-procreative sexual acts from which generation cannot follow]”. (Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 154, Art. 1)

  85. Pingback: Like a rutting buck. | Dalrock

  86. Jeff Strand says:

    Hmmm said: “Or maybe I shouldn’t have said “Mary died”. I haven’t studied the doctrine of her bodily assumption…”

    No worries, you’re on solid ground. The Catholic Church teaches that she did indeed suffer natural death; it is called the Dormition. After this, she was assumed into Heaven body and soul. (“Assumed”, because it wasn’t by her own power, but by the power of God that she was taken up to Heaven. In contrast to Christ who was not “assumed” into Heaven, but “ascended” by His own power as God)

    There is a tradition that near the end of her life, Our Lord appeared to her as the Risen Lord and offered for her to skip death and be taken immediately to Heaven. So great was the love and respect Our Lord has for His Blessed Mother. However, it is said that Our Lady graciously declined and said that she could not consent to have the cup of death pass her by, when her Holy Son had deigned to drink from it to the dregs. So she did indeed “fall asleep” in death (the literal meaning of “dormition”)

    After her assumption, she was crowned Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Angels. This is offfical Catholic teaching. She also appears in the Book of Revelations as the “woman clothed with the sun”, who has a crown of stars, and before whom all the nations do her homage.

    To quote St. Louis de Montfort: “Concerning Mary, nothing is sufficient!”

  87. SirHamster says:

    @Lyn:

    2) beating around the bush to avoid feelbad at all costs, to the point that the message is diluted or obscured.

    Point taken, I have not read the article and he may have erred into obfuscated word salad. I don’t think we can expect fire-breathing correction from the older generation. That’ll be our job, or the next one’s. We’ll be the the extremists and bad cops.

  88. Feminist Hater says:

    This is quite remarkable. The Catholic faith actually interprets this to mean that a man should not express his sexual attraction to his wife. Or, even, a man should not be sexually attracted to his wife. A man should not have sex with his wife for the sheer purpose of expressing that attraction.

    I have just lost that much more respect for the Catholic faith. I can also see a part of the basis for many Catholics’ attitude toward sex, even in marriage.

    It’s even more remarkable because it makes the term adultery meaningless. Adultery is the committing of a sexual act with someone other than your spouse. Thus what the Pope is saying here is quite bizarre. By not committing adultery, you are in fact… committing adultery. Funny one Mr Pope!

  89. Feminist Hater says:

    Saint Paul says to marry if you burn with passion for someone. However, it would seem that once you marry that person, you must stop burning with passion for them, else you are committing the very sin you were trying not to commit by marrying them in the first place. All awfully contrived to cause maximum confusion.

  90. Feminist Hater says:

    After her assumption, she was crowned Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Angels. This is offfical Catholic teaching. She also appears in the Book of Revelations as the “woman clothed with the sun”, who has a crown of stars, and before whom all the nations do her homage.

    So… do they believe in the Holy Threesome or Foursome?

  91. SirHamster says:

    It’s even more remarkable because it makes the term adultery meaningless. Adultery is the committing of a sexual act with someone other than your spouse. Thus what the Pope is saying here is quite bizarre. By not committing adultery, you are in fact… committing adultery. Funny one Mr Pope!

    Adultery has a meaning beyond extramarital sex.

    “Although both words come from Latin and share the same first five letters, adultery is from adulterāre (“to pollute, defile, commit adultery”), a word formed ultimately from the Latin elements ad- “to, near” and alter “other.””

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adultery

    If man’s highest purpose is to worship God, a man who makes his greatest passion his wife has adulterated his life’s purpose. That is adultery of man’s purpose, and as far as marriage is sanctioned by God so our sexual desire does not hinder worship of Him, it is adultery of marriage as well.

  92. Feminist Hater says:

    Two distinct separate meanings, context is everything. In marriage, adultery has the meaning of sex outside that marriage. If we use the more generic meaning, it actually makes more sense and I would have to agree partially with what the Pope says. It actually helps quite a bit, same with the ‘commits adultery in his heart’ part, giving direct effect to the idea that idolizing a woman above God is adultery. Nullifying it’s most brutal use as a battering ram against men in the Church, the idea being that it is purely sexual sin in nature and thus merely the looking at a woman being adultery.

    Still, how far are we meant to take this, your generic definition fits everything we do, eat, see, love and enjoy? Thus it means nothing more than the old adage of ‘everything in moderation’. If that’s the case. This is all much-a-do about nothing. Either sex within marriage is perfectly fine as long as neither spouse is elevated above God or his purpose for them, which we already know.. or it’s not, and the meaning of adultery in this frame is an extra-marital affair and not the generic defintion.

  93. Gunner Q says:

    Hmm @ 10:12 am:
    “One of the great mysteries in the early Church was the move from Jewish morality, which assumed men and women would marry and have children, to the high value placed on virginity even in the earliest Christian circles.”

    No mystery. Ancient Israel was a highly engineered society meant to exist in stasis. It’s a way of life that intentionally (Egypt & Exodus) had no common ground with any other society. We have more freedom to do things like not marry because we don’t exist for the purposes Israel did. None of God’s promises will fail if we Gentiles don’t produce heirs.

    I hear one reason Jewish women are intolerable is because Jewish men have a divine mandate to marry them no matter how badly the women behave.

    SirHamster @ 1:23 pm:
    “I’m thinking that I was too direct; a more indirect and circumspect approach may have given them food for thought without raising their hackles. I don’t think of what I said as wrong, but I didn’t expect the effect, and would rather a different outcome.”

    You did right the first time. Your words made enough of an impact to “trigger” an honest if unpleasant response. Our duty is only to present the truth, not to push acceptance of it, and they definitely heard.

    In fact, bluntness may be something they’ve never encountered before. Liberal culture does a lot of hand-waving and weasel-wording just on general principles. It’s possible you represent Christ to them just by being the one ‘straight shooter’ they know.

    Jeff Strand @ 3:56 pm:
    “The Catechism of the Council of Trent: …and very great indeed was the love with which Christ embraced his Church, not a selfish love, but a love that proposed to itself the sole interest of his spouse…”

    That’s disgusting. Christ does not enjoy us His followers? He never laughs or brags about us, or is pleased by our loyalty? Was the Crucifixion’s purpose making humanity an eternal leech on God’s ankle? As soon as we finish our mortal chores of suffering, God is going to host a huge party and play with us forever. It will be more fun than sex! Methinks a few killjoy intellectuals will be upset by that.

  94. SirHamster says:

    @GunnerQ

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  95. Jeff Strand – The information you shared seems to be erroneous and sounds very much like the writings of Ron Conte who is a Catholic theologian whose opinions in many areas veer away from Church teaching. I’m not sure if that is the souce of the info you shared but either way it’s not right.

    Catholic married couples can engage in foreplay as long as none of those acts end in ejaculation outside the vagina as that would cut the procreative function out of the act. Foreplay must also take into consideration of the dignity of the other and of course, use of porn is out as well. The admonitions of the saints against oral sex and such are to be understood as illicit if the act is completed outside intercourse not that it can’t be respectfully done as foreplay.

  96. Jeff Strand says:

    Two cent Woman,

    Regarding your last sentence, that is the position of the post Vatican II church, yes.

    But as you can see by the quotes above from St Jerome, St Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Council of Trent, etc (one could list many more), such was never the consensus of Holy Mother Church before the 1960’s. I don’t know Ron Conte and I don’t care, I’m taking about the saints, popes, and Church Councils.

    It is not licit to commit an unnatural act for the simple reason that it is against the law of nature…and therefore the will of God. The fact one’s accomplice in such acts are one’s spouse does not legitimate it, nor does following up the unnatural act with the natural marital act to completion.

    Otherwise, if you and the post-Vatican II “Catholic Church” are correct, then one could engage quite lawfully in anal sex…provided only that the participants are spouses, and that they follow it up with natural intercourse to completion. And I think you and I both know that all the saints, popes, and theologians throughout history would be appalled at such a claim. Same applies to oral sex, which is of course also an act that is contrary to nature. These things have always been considered mortal sins, and been forbidden to all…including married persons. At least until the great enlightenment of the “Spirit of Vatican II” (insert eye roll here).

  97. RichardP says:

    This, spoken by God: “… That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:20)

    The word “that” at the beginning of the quote – to what does it refer? “That” = “because he can’t control his passion”??. That was God’s intent for why a man and woman would cling together?

    So many references to what Paul said in the comments above. Haven’t seen any references to what God said.

    Paul cannot possibly be saying that the reason God created Eve for Adam, the reason that man would leave father and mother and cling to his wife, was because he couldn’t control his passion. Because if he was actually saying that, he is contradicting what God said was the reason he created a woman for a man, a wife for a husband. And we know that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, right??

  98. Any expression of his sexual desire is appropriate in marriage, short of physical violence.

    Marriage isn’t a magical state where sexual sins disappear. It means that sex itself is no longer sinful, yes, but all sorts of “expressions of sexual desire” are immoral in or out of a marriage. Any type of ejaculation outside of the vagina, for one. Contraceptive sex, for another.

    When you take a wife, it is of course better to want to do more to her than “rub your genitals” on her; this doesn’t entail – in the slightest – the other extreme of frigidity or the wife controlling the marital relationship. We SHOULD want to please our wives.

  99. Lyn87 says:

    “Marriage isn’t a magical state where sexual sins disappear. It means that sex itself is no longer sinful, yes, but all sorts of “expressions of sexual desire” are immoral in or out of a marriage. Any type of ejaculation outside of the vagina, for one. Contraceptive sex, for another.”

    — Citation Needed —

    (From scripture, of course.)

  100. Lyn87,

    Not all things need to be expressly written down word for word in scripture to be immoral, which you know and I don’t actually need to say.

  101. Warning long but necessary comment-

    Jeff Strand – Your quote attributed to St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Chapter 11, 12, A.D. 401, is so chopped up from the whole of the context from which those sentences are pulled that if they were left in place in their entirety it would be clear that St. Agustine is talking about the “it’s better to marry than to burn” Scripture and the pardonable use of intercourse for the sake of incontinence in marriage. Also, the commentary surrounding the quotes tries to make the quotes say something that they really aren’t saying. None of the quotes are talking about all the particular acts leading up to lawful intercouse but rather the sin of making use of various acts as an end that prohibits the begetting of children.

    What is the source for the quotes and commentary you shared? Do you know who the author is?

    For example, your quote begins“… nor be changed into that use which is against nature” and leads to “But that which goes beyond this necessity [of begetting children, such as sensual kisses and touches] no longer follows reason but lust…”

    Those three little dots before “nor be changed into” represent these preceding words, “But he allows, as matter of “pardon,” that sexual intercourse, which takes place through incontinence, not alone for the begetting of children, and, at times, not at all for the begetting of children; and it is not that marriage forces this to take place, but that it procures pardon for it; provided however it be not so in excess as to hinder what ought to be set aside as seasons of prayer,”

    So what he is explaining is that sexual intercourse as a matter of nature is for the begetting of children but when it happens in marriage for the sake of incontinence there is a fault of lust there but that fault is pardonable in marriage. Your quote adds the implication of “such as sensual kisses and touches” as the meaning of “beyond the necessity of marriage” even though the quote is not talking about the specifics of how the couple approach intercourse but instead is talking about the motivation of approaching it for reasons of incontinence as opposed to begetting.

    Moving on. After the words “no longer follows reason but lust” there’s those three little dots again before and after a small snippet pulled from the quote “… they [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God…” Here is the full quote those dots represent after “no longer follows reason but lust.”

    “And yet it pertains to the character of marriage, not to exact this, but to yield it to the partner, lest by fornication the other sin damnably. But, if both are set under such lust, they do what is plainly not matter of marriage. However, if in their intercourse they love what is honest more than what is dishonest, that is, what is matter of marriage more than what is not matter of marriage, this is allowed to them on the authority of the Apostle as matter of pardon: and for this fault, they have in their marriage, not what sets them on to commit it, but what entreats pardon for it, if they turn not away from them the mercy of God, either by not abstaining on certain days, that they may be free to pray, and through this abstinence, as through fasting, may commend their prayers;”

    So again, he’s talking about yielding to the partner because of their incontinence so the partner doesn’t fall into mortal sin as pertaining to the character of marriage. We shouldn’t exact or incite lust but if our partner is inconintent, it is pardonable to have intercourse for that reason. Then he talks about what is really a matter of the heart in that the couple should love the good of intercourse for begetting children above using it for the sake of incontinence. He explains that this is allowed to them on the authority of the Apostle as a matter of pardon and that they shouldn’t set out to commit it but that it is pardonable if they have to make use of it. He also mentions that this making use shouldn’t hinder their abstaining on certain days or their prayers.

    Next, we have “by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife” which the Church interprets as having sex for reasons of lust while prohibiting the begetting of children by spilling seed other than where nature intended.

    Lastly your quote says ” Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of creation, that… when the man shall wish to use a body part of the wife not allowed for this purpose, the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman.” So here again we have those three little dot after the word “that” and then it jumps to “when the man” but there is a whole lot of quote in between those snippets that puts things in context. Here is the whole passage-

    “Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of Creation, that, in matters allowed us to use, even when the due measure is exceeded, it is far more tolerable, than, in what are not allowed, either a single, or rare excess. And, therefore, in a matter allowed, want of moderation, in a husband or wife, is to be borne with, in order that lust break not forth into a matter that is not allowed. Hence is it also that he sins far less, who is ever so unceasing in approaches to his wife, than he who approaches ever so seldom to commit fornication. But, when the man shall wish to use the member of the wife not allowed for this purpose, the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman. Therefore the ornament of marriage is chastity of begetting, and faith of yielding the due of the flesh: this is the work of marriage, this the Apostle defends from every charge, in saying, “Both if thou shall have taken a wife, thou hast not sinned: and if a virgin shall have been married, she sinneth not:” and, “Let her do what she will: she sinneth not if she be married.” But an advance beyond moderation in demanding the due of either sex, for the reasons which I have stated above, is allowed to married persons as matter of pardon.”

    In marriage we are to bear with the other’s burning “in order that lust break not forth into a matter that is not allowed.” He’s pointing out degrees of sin or fault and what is pardonable and not pardonable. It’s less a sin to constantly request intercourse from your spouse than to approach so seldom that you commit fornication. He also explains that using “the member of the wife not allowed for this purpose” is worse when it’s your wife than if it were another woman. This again is interpreted by the Church as spilling seed somewhere else other than the rightful place for begetting children. He says, “the ornament of marriage is chastity of begetting [not prohibiting it in any way], and faith of yielding the due of the flesh [helping your spouse by preventing their falling into mortal sin].

    I’m not one of those who believe that everything after Vatican II is wrong and only accepts everything leading up to it. However, there is constancy in the Church’s teaching on these matters both before and after if certain quotes from writings and documents are read in context rather than just pulling select snippets out of context.

    I’m bowing out of the conversation from here due to lack of time as I’m preparing for Christmas. You can have the last word. Blessed Christmas and New Year to you and yours.

  102. ConantheContrarian says:

    Thank you, good sir.

  103. thedeti,

    Not to mention, you said this:

    I know what’s said: It’s “lust” if the man is doing nothing other than meeting his own need, other than having sex because he wants to have sex. Basically using his wife’s vagina for self gratification with no regard for her needs. Rubbing his penis in or on her body.

    …Which means you do NOT think this:

    The Catholic faith actually interprets this to mean that a man should not express his sexual attraction to his wife.

    So I don’t think you knew what the previous conversation was about. I think you read about it after the fact and switched your argument around accordingly, since the second point is not implied by your first point at all.

  104. Jeff Strand says:

    Two cent woman,

    All that verbal diarrhea in your last post…all to try to cover up what you know very well is an untenable position you have taken. Namely: that it is licit for people to commit sexual acts contrary to nature (such as anal or oral sex or masturbation)…provided only that the participants are spouses and that at some time after the unnatural sexual act, they proceed to have normal sexual intercourse to completion.

    Certainly from a Catholic viewpoint (and I would even assume, from many Protestant’s viewpoint), such a claim is not just false…but really almost absurd. An unnatural act (i.e. an act contrary to natural law) does not cease to be an unnatural act just because your accomplice in the commission of the act is your spouse. Being married is not a permission slip to commit sex acts that are contrary to nature. It’s precisely because such acts are contrary to the natural law that they are NEVER licit, in any circumstance. Marriage has no bearing on this.

    Really, that this even would need to be explained to anyone calling themselves Catholic is just another sign of how far the Church has collapsed since Vatican II.

  105. Pingback: Rubbing Body Parts Together | Malcolm the Cynic

  106. Jeff Strand says:

    “Lyn87,

    Not all things need to be expressly written down word for word in scripture to be immoral, which you know and I don’t actually need to say.”

    Very true. Otherwise one could have no objection to abortion, since it is not specifically condemned in the canonical Scriptures. (Though it is in the Didache)

  107. Lyn87 says:

    Malcolm,

    Not so fast… if something is not mentioned in scripture, then who are you, or Augustine, or Jerome, or JP2, to declare it to be “immoral?”

    The fact is that the people who make these extra-Biblical claims do so on the say-so of men who have neither the authority nor the experience to make those claims. You can declare the actions to be “immoral” all you like, but that doesn’t apply to anyone but you (James 4:17). And since I suspect you want to be a strong Christian, you should be aware that 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14:15 – 15:1 are pretty clear that Christians should try to avoid giving offense by exercising our freedoms, but that the person who is offended by that exercise is the “weaker brother.”

  108. Lyn87 says:

    Jeff Strand,

    You can do better than that. Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 24:44, and Psalm 139:13 all testify to the humanity of an unborn child, and the prohibitions against murder are well-founded in scripture. So abortion is, in fact, “specifically condemned in the canonical Scriptures.”

  109. Jeff Strand says:

    Lyn,

    It’s not very specific. Which is why Jews accept those passages you named as Scripture, but still accept abortion.

    I don’t want to get into the whole Catholic-Protestant debate of “Sola Scriptura”, but I honestly don’t understand how any intelligent person can buy the idea that the Bible is a comprehensive catechism of the Christian faith. First of all all, the Bible is not a book – it is a library of books. Secondly, you can see in, for example, the Epistles of Paul, Peter, etc…they were writing to a specific new Christian community, and were addressing specific concerns that affected those communities.

    There was never even an ATTEMPT on the part of the N.T. writers to write a comprehensive catechism of the Faith. And everyone was aware of this. This is why St. Paul writes that THE CHURCH (not the Scriptures!) is “the pillar and foundation of truth”. And this is also why it wasn’t until after 1500 years went by and the Protestant revolt happened that people started even pushing the Sola Scriptura thing.

    I have many problems with the post-Vatican II RCC, but still, I could never be a Protestant. Because it’s just contrary to reason. Plus, I’ve studied enough history to know that all the Church Fathers embraced doctrines that today we recognize as clearly Catholic. They were no Protestants in the early church…the religion didn’t come into existence until the 16th century.

    Hence the quote from John Henry Neumann: “To be steeped in history is to cease to be a Protestant”.

  110. Lyn87 says:

    Jeff Strand,

    For someone who I doesn’t “want to get into the whole Catholic-Protestant debate of “Sola Scriptura,” you make some bold claims on behalf of a sect that was founded by Constantine in the 4th Century A.D.. Protestantism did not “come into existence until the 16th Century”… Christianity came into existence at the time of Christ. The Protestant Reformation was not the creation of something new, but an attempt to return Christianity to its pre-Roman Catholic origins. To be aware of history is to become a Protestant.

    Also, to my knowledge nobody here has ever declared that the Bible is a “comprehensive catechism.” The NT in particular has a good deal to say about our freedom in Christ, and how we should not seek to impose extra-Biblical interpretations on each other (like, for example, asserting that husbands and wives are severely constrained in the bedroom.)

  111. Gunner Q says:

    Jeff Strand @ 10:51 am:
    “I don’t want to get into the whole Catholic-Protestant debate of “Sola Scriptura…”

    Then don’t go there.

    “…but…”

    You went there.

    “… you can see in, for example, the Epistles of Paul, Peter, etc…they were writing to a specific new Christian community, and were addressing specific concerns that affected those communities.”

    Important question here, is there ANY spiritual or moral difference between those early Christians and us today? If no then those “specific concerns” remain relevant. If yes then ancient Church traditions are no more valid than Christ’s ancient words and you’ve debunked the RCC’s claim to legitimacy. Maybe God wants us to be Muslims now? How could you prove any different?

    Was legalism only a problem for Galatia? Was sexual perversion only a problem for California, excuse me, Corinth? Was Phillipi the only church that suffered? When Saint John wrote “If we say we have not sinned then we’re liars” (1 John 1:8), he only meant his immediate audience and not perfect people such as me?

  112. Jeff Strand says:

    “You went there”

    Oh man…and I was trying not to.

    You got me, lol

  113. Jeff Strand says:

    Lyn 87,

    You will frequently find the Church Fathers (long before Constantine) referring to things like confession to a priest, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, prayers for those in purgatory, Holy Orders, etc and so forth. And more than a few of these Church Fathers were instructed in the Faith by the Apostles themselves! (like Clement who was instructed by Peter, and Polycarp and Ignatius who were instructed by John). Many more were instructed by those that had been instructed by the Apostles (such as Polycarp’s disciple Irenaeus). So my point was that if Catholicism is wrong, then Christianity has been wrong since the First Century A.D. I recommend the book “Four Witnesses”, which goes into detail on this question and quotes at length 4 of the Church Fathers (who all lived centuries before Constantine).

    But putting that aside, as Dalrock’s site is more about male-female issues that doctrinal ones, I have a question for you. You badmouthed the idea that “husbands and wives are severely constrained in the bedroom”. I’m curious as to your thought process on this.

    Do you maintain that no sexual activities are prohibited (i.e., are sinful) to married couples? Even if the acts be contrary to the natural law? How about artificial birth control? Anal sex? Oral sex? Masturbation? All these things are licit, in your opinion? And based on what?

    Just curious.

  114. Lyn87 says:

    Jeff Strand,

    I’m willing to accept the Peace of Westphalia if you are.

    In answer to your question: Except for things are sinful in their own right (like adultery, homosexuality, or bestiality) I view whatever goes on in the “marital bed” as licit because I reject that what transpires between a husband and wife is “contrary to natural law.” Our bodies were designed – by our Designer – to experience physical pleasure of the sexual variety. It is, I posit, just about the most natural thing there is. That said, our Designer also gave us a legitimate means to satisfy those God-given desires through marriage. I think that if God had meant for us to refrain from doing all sort of things that come quite naturally to us – under pain of eternal damnation – He would have said so.

    Instead, we are told to “rejoice in the wife of your youth.” We are told that Isaac “sported” with Rebecca. We are given the Song of Solomon. Having said that, I have no desire to try some things… but that doesn’t give me cause to declare them sinful if someone else feels differently.

    That is the crux of our differences, I believe. You are approaching this from a position that certain men (celibate men, no less) have an inside track into the mind of God regarding marital sex, and that all of us should consider their judgements to be binding. In my view, those men have taken the very real body/spirit dichotomy and extrapolated beyond what the text will support both in letter and spirit.

  115. Feminist Hater says:

    Because it’s just contrary to reason.

    Lol okay, always never wanting to take on the debate but always resorting to under handed blows. Nice one.

  116. Hmm says:

    @Malcolm

    On the eternal virginity of Mary, here’s an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=12100

    Note the fourth bullet: “that the supernatural influence of the Holy Ghost extended to the birth of Jesus Christ, not merely preserving Mary’s integrity, but also causing Christ’s birth or external generation to reflect his eternal birth from the Father in this, that “the Light from Light” proceeded from his mother’s womb as a light shed on the world; that the “power of the Most High” passed through the barriers of nature without injuring them; that “the body of the Word” formed by the Holy Ghost penetrated another body after the manner of spirits.”

    Mary’s “integrity” was preserved as Jesus “passed through the barriers of nature without injuring them…[penetrating] another body after the manner of spirits.” I believe this is mainstream Roman Catholic belief, and of ancient origin.

  117. craig says:

    Jeff Strand says: “an untenable position … that it is licit for people to commit sexual acts contrary to nature (such as anal or oral sex or masturbation)…provided only that the participants are spouses and that at some time after the unnatural sexual act, they proceed to have normal sexual intercourse to completion. … An unnatural act (i.e. an act contrary to natural law) does not cease to be an unnatural act just because your accomplice in the commission of the act is your spouse.”

    Fair enough. But unless you precisely define what is the unnatural ‘matter’ of specific acts, you will end up with the absurd position that it is unnatural and prohibited to touch one’s spouse to elicit sexual arousal. (I have read about African tribes supposedly preferring ‘dry sex’, but their preference is not due to Christian teaching.) It is clearly against nature that the reproductive organs should enter the excretory system, so anal is right out. But the ‘matter’ of other kinds of stimulation, as a preparation to normal intercourse, is less clear.

  118. @Lyn87:

    ‘Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 24:44, and Psalm 139:13 all testify to the humanity of an unborn child’

    You left one out: Luke 1:41-44

    As for the beginnings of the “Catholic Church’, your about three centuries tardy. That term was coined by Ignatius of Antioch, who lived 35 A.D. – 108 A.D.

    @Gunner Q: You missed Jeff Strand’s meaning entirely. He wasn’t downplaying St. Paul against later traditions, but rather giving the idea of Tradition, which was there from the beginning a co-equal seat at the table. Refer to the final two chapters of John’s gospel, where he tell the people of that time *and* the peoples of *all* time that not everything could be written down.

  119. Gunner Q says:

    unwobblingpivot @ 10:06 am:
    “You missed Jeff Strand’s meaning entirely. He wasn’t downplaying St. Paul against later traditions, but rather giving the idea of Tradition, which was there from the beginning a co-equal seat at the table.”

    My point was that Jeff’s reasoning against Scripture also negates Tradition. You can be a good Catholic without the preposterous belief that human nature is so dynamic that what used to be a vice might now be a virtue. That is the implication of “but the Epistles weren’t written to us specifically” thinking.

  120. @Gunner Q: You continue to miss Jeff Strand’s meaning (I say this as one who does not entirely agree with him on every point he makes). His larger point is that the Bible is not a Catechism. You take it farther than he meant. You are reacting to something that isn’t there. You merely assume it is.

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