The Sexual Believer is intended for adults who have grown up with traditional religious teaching about sexual morality. The book discusses the foundations of traditional teaching in the bible and the “natural law” philosophy, and explores with an open mind the value of sexual activity within marriage and in a variety of other contexts, including teenage sexual activity, co-habitation, and gay-lesbian-bi relationships. Suggestions are offered for helping young people and married couples form better relationships. Every chapter is followed by questions for reflection and discussion.
My purpose in publishing these opinions is not to try to persuade the Catholic Church (or any other church) to change its teachings about sexuality. No doubt the Vatican will decide to alter some of its viewpoints over the course of decades, generations or centuries to come. Contemporary believers, however, cannot wait for the Vatican to decide; we must make our decisions now.
This book is intended to stimulate discussion and to reassure people of faith who make responsible decisions every day. No one can be a faithful follower of Jesus all by oneself; decisions are best considered within a context of community. For some generations, many Catholics have ignored traditional teaching about sexuality; many have felt defiant rather than guilty in the process, even though we realize that many of our clergy are scornful of our behavior and our opinions. Still, we take courage because our bishops have acknowledged that it is possible to be a faithful Catholic in good standing while disagreeing with some Catholic teachings.
We are good people, trying to be faithful Christians living in a turbulent world. We care about our maturing children, we want them to have the benefit of a community of faith, and we need to consider how to advise them about these important issues.
The community of faith to which we belong to may be described as “the community of disheartened believers,” people of integrity who need the support and encouragement that can be found in listening to each other and sharing our experiences honestly. We are one component of the church. We can be sexual believers.