St. Augustine on sex and marriage.

As promised, here are some quotes from St. Augustine’s Of the Good of Marriage. New Advent explains that Augustine’s work is in response both to St. Jerome’s writing on the subject, as well as the original piece by Jovinianus that Jerome was responding to:

This treatise, and the following, were written against somewhat that still remained of the heresy of Jovinian. S. Aug. mentions this error in b. ii. c. 23, de Nuptiis et Conc. “Jovinianus,” he says, “who a few years since tried to found a new heresy, said that the Catholics favored the Manichæans, because in opposition to him they preferred holy Virginity to Marriage.” And in his book on Heresies, c. 82. “That heresy took its rise from one Jovinianus, a Monk, in our own time, when we were yet young.” And he adds that it was soon overborne and extinguished, say about A.D. 390, having been condemned first at Rome, then at Milan. There are letters of Pope Siricius on the subject to the Church of Milan, and the answer sent him by the Synod of Milan, at which St. Ambrose presided. Jerome had refuted Jovinian, but was said to have attempted the defense of the excellency of the virgin state, at the expense of condemning marriage. That Augustine might not be subject to any such complaint or calumny, before speaking of the superiority of Virginity, he thought it well to write on the Good of Marriage.

Augustine allows for two ways a person can have sex in marriage without sinning.  The first is if the person is having sex not for pleasure, but to create a child (all emphasis mine):

For intercourse of marriage for the sake of begetting has not fault; but for the satisfying of lust, but yet with husband or wife, by reason of the faith of the bed, it has venial fault: but adultery or fornication has deadly fault, and, through this, continence from all intercourse is indeed better even than the intercourse of marriage itself, which takes place for the sake of begetting.

The other time Augustine explains one can have sex in marriage without sinning is if they are only having sex out of duty.  Specifically, he is talking about a scenario where one spouse wants to have sex not specifically to have a child, but out of sexual desire.  The spouse who wants sex in that scenario is sinning, but this is a minor sin.  The spouse who only has duty sex however is not sinning.  Given that Augustine says it is better to abstain even from pro-creative sex, unwanted sex for the sake of the marital debt is the only time a married person can not only not sin by having sex, but can also be doing what is best:

But because that Continence is of larger desert, but to pay the due of marriage is no crime, but to demand it beyond the necessity of begetting is a venial fault, but to commit fornication or adultery is a crime to be punished…

Augustine explains that an unmarried woman who has sex not for pleasure, but only to become pregnant with an illegitimate child, is more worthy than a married woman who has sex with her husband out of sexual desire:

But further, if from that intercourse, so far as pertains to herself, she has no wish but for sons, and suffers unwilling whatever she suffers beyond the cause of begetting; there are many matrons to whom she is to be preferred; who, although they are not adulteresses, yet force their husbands, for the most part also wishing to exercise continence, to pay the due of the flesh, not through desire of children, but through glow of lust making an intemperate use of their very right…

Augustine extends this comparison to a husband who has sex with his wife while she is pregnant.  A woman who fornicates but doesn’t like it is better than a man who has sex with his wife for pleasure:

For, although it be shameful to wish to use a husband for purposes of lust, yet it is honorable to be unwilling to have intercourse save with an husband, and not to give birth to children save from a husband. There are also men incontinent to that degree, that they spare not their wives even when pregnant.

He also argues that certain sexual sins are less sinful if combined with other sexual sins.  Therefore it is less sinful to have “unnatural” sex with a harlot (combining unnatural sex with fornication) than with your wife:

12. For, whereas that natural use, when it pass beyond the compact of marriage, that is, beyond the necessity of begetting, is pardonable in the case of a wife, damnable in the case of an harlot; that which is against nature is execrable when done in the case of an harlot, but more execrable in the case of a wife. 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.

Note that there is also the message that the wife should be in control*.

Augustine’s permission even for natural sex is given grudgingly.  He urges married couples to stop having sex at as young an age as possible:

But now in good, although aged, marriage, albeit there has withered away the glow of full age between male and female, yet there lives in full vigor the order of charity between husband and wife: because, the better they are, the earlier they have begun by mutual consent to contain from sexual intercourse with each other: not that it should be matter of necessity afterwards not to have power to do what they would, but that it should be matter of praise to have been unwilling at the first, to do what they had power to do.

At the center of the controversy for both Augustine and Jerome is Jovinian’s claim that:

virgins, widows, and married women, who have been once passed through the laver of Christ, if they are on a par in other respects, are of equal merit.

Having explained that marriage is not intrinsically sinful, Augustine gets on with the business of explaining that men and women today who marry are less holy than men and women who married in the times of the Old Testament:

19. Therefore as many women as there are now, unto whom it is said, if they contain not, let them be married, are not to be compared to the holy women then, even when they married. Marriage itself indeed in all nations is for the same cause of begetting sons, and of what character soever these may be afterward, yet was marriage for this purpose instituted, that they may be born in due and honest order. But men, who contain not, as it were ascend unto marriage by a step of honesty: but they, who without doubt would contain, if the purpose of that time had allowed this, in a certain measure descended unto marriage by a step of piety. And, on this account, although the marriages of both, so far as they are marriages, in that they are for the sake of begetting, are equally good, yet these men when married are not to be compared with those men as married. For these have, what is allowed them by the way of leave, on account of the honesty of marriage, although it pertain not to marriage; that is, the advance which goes beyond the necessity of begetting, which they had not. But neither can these, if haply there be now any found, who neither seek, nor desire, in marriage any thing, save that wherefore marriage was instituted, be made equal to those men. For in these the very desire of sons is carnal, but in those it was spiritual, in that it was suited to the sacrament of that time. Forsooth now no one who is made perfect in piety seeks to have sons, save after a spiritual sense; but then it was the work of piety itself to beget sons even after a carnal sense: in that the begetting of that people was fraught with tidings of things to come, and pertained unto the prophetic dispensation.

*The full scope of this problem is visible when you consider the potentially expansive meaning of “unnatural” given that according to Augustine the only truly sinless reason for marital sex is out of a desire to have children (otherwise at least one spouse is sinning).  Under that constraint, anything which goes beyond P in V sex for the purpose of achieving ejaculation inside the vagina could rightly be considered unnatural.  While RCC Doctrine (HT ACThinker) includes both procreation and unitive purposes as valid reasons for marital sex, there are some even today who make this very argument:

So, for example, a husband cannot deliberately stimulate the genital organs of his wife in order to give her sexual pleasure, for such an action is defined within the Catechism as a type of sexual act which is “intrinsically and gravely disordered.”

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40 Responses to St. Augustine on sex and marriage.

  1. Pingback: St. Augustine on sex and marriage. | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. Hey Dal, your last link contains the url twice. The correct link is

    [D: Thanks! Fixed.

    Just to clarify, even though the URL says catechism, that is not an RCC page.]

  3. So the Song of Solomon isn’t in the Bible then?

    “It’s an allegory.”

    Why would God use an extended sin as allegory?

    This is all very strange, it’s like saying sex is ok if it’s for procreation, but only if you don’t enjoy it. In the SoS no one is thinking about children really, and it’s pretty bare knuckle about the physicality of the act. And when it comes to wifely stimulation my memory is fuzzy but I recall hands being put by the whole of the door and innards being “moved”.

  4. @JeremyVanGelder

    Just read that link and that’s just insane. By that logic it seems like he’s saying you shouldn’t kiss your wife because she might get aroused by the act and kissing won’t make her pregnant. You wouldn’t just need a hole in the sheet you’d need a hole in a piece of particle board lest you inadvertently stimulate your wife with anything other than your dick.

  5. Aye, greenmantlehoys. That article brings to mind Colosians 2:20-23

    “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

  6. SnapperTrx says:

    What part of “Be fruitful and multiply” don’t you understand? Did God intend for us to procreate via ranged osmosis??

  7. It is entirely correct that in a proper natural law understanding of sex, only p in v sex is moral. I believe the article is technically incorrect, however, that sexual stimulation outside of that is immoral, so long as that is where climax occurs; handjobs and oral are entirely immoral.

    Kissing is an entirely separate thing, as it does not involve the genitals at all; however, if the kissing is intended to lead to climax, it should end in p in v.

    Later, the article claims this is a heresy:

    Furthermore, an immoral act which is partially completed is still immoral. Even if stimulation by an unnatural act is not completed with sexual climax, or is followed by climax within natural marital relations, the former unnatural act is still immoral because it is intrinsically disordered; it cannot be justified by being partial, nor by being combined with another act.

    This seems wrong; the act is not an immoral act because it is sexual stimulation with the intended result of p in v climax. Taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean one is not morally allowed to desire sex before sex occurs, which is just absurd.

  8. And, though the website is named after the Catholic Catechism, I have not found a quotation of that catechism in the article. Nor any indication of who the author is.

    [D: Correct.]

  9. Murray says:

    I’m Catholic, and so far as I know the Church has no official detailed teachings on the matter of sexual pleasure in marriage, but lots of arguments from Church Fathers and Doctors as to what is and isn’t permissible. Many traditionalists seem to err on the rigorist side, probably on the grounds of “better safe than [eternally] sorry”. I’m quasi-traditionalist myself, and while I instinctively recoil from the rigorist argument as being cold and inhuman, I can’t say with any confidence that they’re wrong. On the other hand, “no kissing during intercourse” seems almost self-parodic, so who knows?

    Post-Vatican II, there’s a much greater emphasis on the “unitive” end of marital relations as opposed to the “procreative”, and some apologists (like Christopher West) go so far as to argue that pretty much everything is permissible as long as the act is completed in the natural manner. But just as the rigorists seem to empty conjugal life of its natural affections, this position tends to err towards laxism. We can all imagine situations in which one spouse treats the other essentially as a masturbatory aid, even if the act is completed p in v, as malcolm says.

  10. Dalrock says:


    This seems wrong; the act is not an immoral act because it is sexual stimulation with the intended result of p in v climax. Taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean one is not morally allowed to desire sex before sex occurs, which is just absurd.

    He is going even further than that though. He is saying a husband touching his wife’s genitals to excite her or give her pleasure during P in V sex is forbidden:

    Unnatural sexual acts are always wrong, even if done with a good intention or purpose. Each and every unnatural sexual act is always objectively gravely immoral, even if it is preceded by, combined with, or followed by an act of natural marital sexual relations. These acts are immoral, even if such acts are between a man and a woman who are married to each another. Always means always. There are no exceptions.

    This isn’t RCC doctrine, but it is entirely consistent with Augustine’s claim that the only valid purpose for sex in marriage is sex intended to result in a child (aside from duty). Stimulating your wife during intercourse doesn’t get her pregnant, and in fact creates the very lust Augustine is saying is sinful.

  11. pb says:

    “There are also men incontinent to that degree, that they spare not their wives even when pregnant.”

    But what if she wants it? I’d like to know what the post-Reformation casuist manuals had to say on this point, and what contemporary manuals for confessors would say. It is said now that sex during pregnancy is even helpful for the mother to have an easier delivery.

  12. We can all imagine situations in which one spouse treats the other essentially as a masturbatory aid, even if the act is completed p in v, as malcolm says.

    In theory, sure, but this seems to allow for a whole range of things FAR more varied than the article implies.

    Jeremy is right that the article seems weirdly suspect; unlike the current official Catechism it does not seem to cite any documented teachings.

  13. @Malcolm

    Blunt language disclaimer

    Exactly because I really don’t think manual stimulation is in the same league as oral or anal intercourse. If you don’t want it to be painful some warming up as it were needs to occur. Old kind of true saying that men need sex to relax and women need to relax to have sex.

    Saying that all manual stimulation is wrong is like trying to eat so long as you don’t chew. Yeah it’s possible but it’s not natural. Also why draw the line below the waist? Seriously why specifically?

  14. KPP says:

    All I can say is thank God St. Augustine wasn’t writing Scripture.

  15. Saying that all manual stimulation is wrong is like trying to eat so long as you don’t chew. Yeah it’s possible but it’s not natural. Also why draw the line below the waist? Seriously why specifically?

    All manual stimulation is not wrong, it’s just wrong if it doesn’t end in P in V, from my understanding.

    As for why below the waist, for the exact same reason homosexual sex is immoral or barfing up food you’ve eaten to lose weight: Because it is an unnatural use of the sex organs.

  16. Dalrock,

    “Combined with” is a really weird phrase, and I’m not sure if they’re saying what you think – not that that matters, since I pretty much agree with you that the article is rather suspect.

  17. Wow, this is just silly. I mean, he’s reduced sexual intercourse to a matter of utility.

    We’re not animals. The mere fact that women can have an orgasm demonstrates that sexual intercourse was designed to be more than just for simple procreation.

  18. Pingback: Like a rutting buck. | Dalrock

  19. Oscar says:

    @ pb says:
    December 21, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    “I’d like to know what the post-Reformation casuist manuals had to say on this point, and what contemporary manuals for confessors would say.”

    The Puritans were so supportive of sex in marriage, that denying sex to your spouse could get you excommunicated.

    “James Mattock was excommunicated because ‘he denyed Coniugall fellowship unto his wife for the space of 2 years together upon pretense of taking Revenge upon himself for his abusing of her before marriage’ (Cited by Morgan, ‘Puritans and Sex’, 593).”

    As for the reformers…

    “Marital love must be sexual, so that both marital partners can give themselves fully to each other with joy and exuberance in a healthy relationship marked by fidelity. Reformers such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin established this aspect of marriage by abandoning the medieval Roman Catholic attitudes that marriage was inferior to celibacy, that all sexual contact between marital partners was a necessary evil to propagate the human race, and that a procreative act that involved passion was inherently sinful.

    This negative view was rooted in the ancient church and based on the writings of such notables as Tertullian, Ambrose, and Jerome, all of whom believed that, even within marriage, intercourse necessarily involved sin.

    Puritan preachers taught that the Roman Catholic view was unbiblical, even satanic. They cited Paul, who said that the prohibition of marriage is a doctrine of devils (1 Tim. 4:1–3). Even the Puritan definitions of marriage implied the conjugal act. For example, Perkins defines marriage as ‘the lawful conjunction of the two married persons; that is, of one man and one woman into one flesh’. In contrast with Desiderius Erasmus, who taught that ideal marriage abstained from sexual intercourse, Cotton said in a wedding sermon that those who call for marital abstinence follow the dictates of a blind mind and not those of the Holy Spirit, who says that it is not good that man should be alone.

    The Puritans viewed sex within marriage as a gift of God and as an essential, enjoyable part of marriage. Gouge says that husbands and wives should cohabit ‘with good will and delight, willingly, readily, and cheerfully’. ‘They do err’, adds Perkins, ‘who hold that the secret coming together of man and wife cannot be without sin unless it be done for the procreation of children’.”

  20. Dalrock says:



    “Combined with” is a really weird phrase, and I’m not sure if they’re saying what you think – not that that matters, since I pretty much agree with you that the article is rather suspect.

    He repeats multiple times that if the act is wrong in one context, it is always wrong. He sandwiches the “combined with” part between:

    Unnatural sexual acts are always wrong, even if done with a good intention or purpose.


    These acts are immoral, even if such acts are between a man and a woman who are married to each another. Always means always. There are no exceptions.

    I see no reason but to take him at his word that when he says always, no exceptions, even during natural sex, it is immoral.

    But again this is one (unnamed) man (or perhaps woman) arguing what he thinks RCC teaching is, not RCC teaching itself. I only included this to show what “unnatural sex” would mean if one follows Augustine’s argument, instead of RCC doctrine that marital sex is also unitive in purpose. If Augustine is right, manually touching your wife’s genitals during intercourse would indeed be unnatural.

  21. Feminist Hater says:

    What part of “Be fruitful and multiply” don’t you understand? Did God intend for us to procreate via ranged osmosis??

    Whilst I don’t really want to disagree, your point is moot, completely. Both in Dalrock’s case and St. Augustine. It has zero bearing on the matter at hand, for both Dalrock and St. Augustine agree that married sex is the way to have children. Thus both fulfill in totality, i.e. completely, God’s command.

  22. Jeremy VanGelder says:

    Well, I have read to the bottom of the article where the author has affixed his name. A certain Ronald L. Conte Jr. He claims to be a Catholic Theologian and runs a number of websites. Including one where he tells us all about himself:

    Missing from that account is any mention of what parish he attends or what bishop he is under. This website says that Mr. Conte refuses to disclose that information to anyone.

    So, although we cannot say that his writing represents the teaching of the Catholic church, we can say that Augustine’s ideas still live in parts of Catholic “little t” tradition.

    Back to Conte’s article, his quotation of Hebrews 13:4 seemed a bit funny. My church recites that passage every month, in a responsive reading which lines up the Ten Commandments with the same commands in the New Testament. From the NASB:

    “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

    It turns out that Mr. Conte has made his own translation, the Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version. And that is what he uses on his page.

  23. RICanuck says:

    As a Catholic, I did not know that St. Jerome seduced Roman matrons to abandon their husbands and follow him. Sounds like adultery to me. If true should he really be regarded as a saint, if he did not repent of his sins before death. Very problematic to me.

    I came of age during the 70’s, second wave feminism, a regrettable time. Before feminism, most common law jurisdictions had a tort called ‘Alienation of Affections’. If someone lured away a husband or wife from their spouse, the aggrieved spouse could sue the person who alienated the affections of the wayward husband or wife and receive monetary damages. There was no need to prove sexual adultery, just that the defendant caused the husband or wife to leave.

    I don’t know if this tort still exists, but I heard of a US court case, where a widow attempted to sue her husband’s mistress to recover funds. The case was dismissed.

  24. RICanuck says:

    The pastoral practice of the Catholic church in North America was not always as it is today.

    I remember reading a Time magazine article during the 70’s discussing how bad WASPs were to Catholics during the 19’th century. One anecdote mentioned how scandalized North Eastern Protestants were, when word got out that a Catholic priest, during a homily, stated that a husband could use other stimulations to bring his wife to satisfaction if she felt the need for it after his completion.

    I once found a 1920’s examination of conscience left in the lobby of my parish. The section on sexual sins would be very different today. Among the mortal sexual sins listed were:
    reading salacious novels or magazines (bodice rippers were considered sinful back then!)
    unreasonably refusing your spouse
    sex with animals (yes, unreasonably refusing your spouse was smack dab in between adultery and bestiality)

  25. Pingback: St. Augustine on sex and marriage. | Reaction Times

  26. Oscar says:

    @ RICanuck says:
    December 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    “I don’t know if this tort still exists, but I heard of a US court case, where a widow attempted to sue her husband’s mistress to recover funds. The case was dismissed.”

    “Alienation of affection lawsuits are usually filed against third-party lovers, but anyone that interfered with a marriage can be named as a defendant, such as parents, in laws, clergy members, and even therapists who recommended divorce to a deserting spouse.

    Almost all states have abolished these types of cases, but the following seven states still allow homewrecker lawsuits; Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah.”

  27. Ron Conte, eh? Explains some things…

  28. Wood Chipper says:

    Given that sex after marriage was considered more sinful, I bet it made Christian women of the day extra feisty. Like reverse psychology, churchianity should bring this back and see if those men still in the pews can find a pulse and some new life in their wive’s libidos. These church ladies can feel like bad girls from their 20’s all over again.

  29. Lyn87 says:

    And once again we see the wisdom behind 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 with regard to those who hold ecclesiastical authority in the church. The very idea that married men should feel obligated to submit to the authority or judgement of celibate men with regard to what sexual acts are permissible with their own wives strikes me as absurd.

    This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) – 1 Timothy 3:1-5

    For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. – Titus 1:5-9

    Elders (episkopos – overseers, including pastors) are to be married men who have demonstrated their ability to properly exercise authority in the church by first demonstrating their ability to exercise authority with their wives and children. Even deacons (diakoneō – those who minister as servants) are to be married men:

    Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. – 1 Timothy 3:8-13

  30. Robert What? says:

    I’ve sometimes heard it said that Christians don’t believe in sex before marriage … nor after. Now we know where this comes from.

  31. red6020 says:

    Ron Conte was the writer of that linked article. I’m default suspicious of him, especially since he’s made a lot of weird and very specific end-times predictions.

    But Dalrock, I think you miscontrue St. Augustine’s teaching there. I don’t read it as “putting the wife in control” but instead that the wife should resist unnatural and, therefore, sinful relations with her husband. Indeed, such would be her duty. Otherwise, it would make the husband the sinner and the wife just the “unfortunate” participant who still enjoys the fruits of the crime. The husband has no authority to command what is sin since his authority comes from God and God cannot legitimate sin. (Additionally, this is why I shrink back from St. Augustine’s view of “venial sin when for lust” view). Therefore, the husband can command no sin which includes unnatural sexual acts.

    I agree that celibacy is superior to marriage (Mt. 19, 1 Cor. 7) and that procreation is the primary end of the marital act, but disagree that marital acts beyond the purpose of begetting children are sinful because this end is not thwarted nor meant to actually be accomplished with each act.

    Of course, it may be up to argument exactly which acts (or parts thereof) St. Augustine considers sinful, but the Catholic Church has always considered the inherently sterile sexual acts as unnatural and sinful. (See Genesis 38)

  32. Durandel A says:

    Dalrock, here is a direct link to the Catholic Catechism in the latest edition on chastity and marriage:

    The Vocation to Chastity:

    followed by the The Love of Husband and Wife

    If people want to properly see what the Church says on this matter, it is better to review those two pages than to read that link from Ronald Conte, who is not a recognized theologian. He supposedly studied with a recognized theologian, Dr. Peter Kreeft, but he seems to be a self-declared theologian. And even if he was a theologian, they merely provide more educated opinions on the faith. Or in many cases, very academic sounding nonsense about the faith.

  33. necroking48 says:


    You have extensively quoted Augustine’s patently unbiblical, and downright Satanic beliefs in regard to sex and sexual pleasure….No coincidence that it also mirrors the Roman Catholics beliefs down throughout history,….their hostility to anything sexual is well known

    I think it behooves you at this point to put a disclaimer on this thread, that YOU personally think Augustine and his ilk are dead wrong instead of letting it be anyone’s guess where you stand on this issue?

    I for one would love to know where YOU personally stand on these things, and whether you think Augustine was a complete nut job lol

  34. Christian Reactionary says:

    Be fruitful and multiply does not apply anymore, as the Bible teaches it’s best not to marry. It was a command for the first two humans, and then for Noah. It is not a commandement for us today.

  35. Christian Reactionary says:

    It’s also interesting that Augustine goes into detail regarding the claim of vain persons who ask how shall the human race persist if all be continent? For it’s more important to convert existing persons to Christ than create new souls. And I have never really gotten a satisfying answer why we should have children at all, if they could end up in hell. After all, Matthew 26:24 teaches it’s better never to have been born than to be cast into the lake of fire.

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  38. Disordered Deacon says:

    A venial sin can be erased by a Pater Noster.
    So no biggie. If anything, this measure kind of limits population a bit better than the later development of unitive+procreative (as always, scholastics+Trent to the rescue). Although it might have also made Catholics moodier, it is understandable it is not doctrine; even if it remains inspiring, as sexual restrain can indeed enhance the libido if not pushed to the edge. Obviously the extremes of old, of marked
    Namecalendars of when and when not to, and big shirts covering everything during the act (and again, not just Catholics), these are counterproductive. No wonder courtly love eventually appeared, specially amongst the propertied classes that barely ever married for love, and now wouldn’t even do it for sex.

    This was probably St Augustine’s (and other Fathers and Doctors, but certainly not all) way of interpreting the current belief of closeness of end times (only few kids should be had, and they should all be Christian kids), as well as the fact that different cultures that made up the converts of Christianity had different mores, from the former Stoics to the recovered Bacchus followers. Probably the cults of unabashed pagan orgies at a time of increasing urban populations and decadence (meaning, lack of hygiene) made people more weary of even pleasurable sex. Even then, like I mention, St. Augustine calls pleasurable sex a venial sin, far dialing back the nice but a bit volcel St. Jerome (the claim about him making church ladies leave their husbands, such protpaganda).

    None of this trumps Ecclesiastes (Sirach) nor Proverbs, but these books were definitely qualified as being before the coming of Christ, and therefore meant to fulfill the prophets of the OT only that wanted a nice big Israel. This doesn’t apply now, just like rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem should be futile as well, if not apostasy… but I Catholically digress. At any rate, whether “like a rutting buck” was meant to apply to the New Covenant as well or not, it is certain that there was enough plausible doubt about it for the Church Fathers to disagree to varying degrees. Either way, let’s stop pretending that celibacy was a Hellene/Gnostic innovation, there is few but indeed valid Scriptural support as well – Christ did indeed mention the eunuchs born that way, and indeed some people will not mate so best deal…

    (And for the record, I don’t mind the viri probatii idea for Catholic priesthood, but I’m just afraid it will lead to the usual split into dynastic factions; just like female subdeacons would get the ball rolling for everything else)…

    Couple parts I wanna clarify: the part about unnaturally being better to go unnatural with someone else than have pleasure with your wife is more of the reverse, it is stated it is less sinful, but because both are heavy sins, just that with a wife it would defile her even worse. Obviously you might say, ah but this encourages prostitution – but then, wouldn’t you say that making your wife available for all sexual acts as long as she is yours, would encourage eventually for you to be best at all of them – and perhaps even later feeling “defrauded” if not? I know, longer slippery slope, but it is true divorce is easier for non-Catholics (some Protestants believe proudly so, even).

    Another section, the part about having an illegitimate son being less a sin than married pleasurable sex – again, sounds like allowing for adultery (and even modern unnatural conception, although it is clear that there was no such thing back then and therefore it cannot possibly have referred to it). But, the point of St Augustine here is that if an unmarried woman who back in those days needed a son for sustenance later in her old age sinned out of desperation (instead of recurring to the church, and the church forgetting her as well), this woman was at least a bit more deserving of a break than someone who enjoyed lust even if married. Obviously, as stated above on the above paragraphs, the question of what is lust still haunts many Catholics, and the other Christians as well.

  39. Pingback: 15 Reasons Chastity is Harmful and Has to Go - Beyond Chastity

  40. Benjamin says:

    This dude is fucking retarded when it comes to sex. He probably just wanted to fuck his concubine and never take care of a woman.

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