Male and female he created them

God created mankind as male and female and… indeed it was very good Gen 1:31 Some People believe that the difference between the sexes by caused by cultural norms. A female sociologist set out to prove that men and women are fundamentally the same, and that girls act differently only because they are raised differently. To prove her theory, she raised her daughter like a boy. Instead of giving her dolls and a toy kitchen, she gave her trucks and toy guns. The researcher admitted that she became a bit frustrated when the little girl instated upon tucking each of her trucks into bed at night. Yet another mother who gave her daughter unisex toys was surprised to see her daughter cuddling a fire truck in her blanket, saying, “Don’t worry little truckie, everything will be all right.”1 From this rather satirical story it is abundantly clear that gender is not a social construct but a dimension of our being that we receive at the very beginning of our lives. Pope John Paul II said that the “dignity and balance of human life depends at every moment of history and in every place upon who man will be for women, and who women will be for men.” TOB 43:7. Today I will be reflecting on John Paul’s TOTB as well as looking at aspects of masculinity, femininity and relationships, also looking at the communion of man and woman in marriage and the issues of chastity and contraception. Recently a friend told me from his reading of Scripture that, “Man was created from dust, but woman was created from flesh. Woman was created from a rib because she wanted to be under the arm and close to the heart.” Bill Crosby explained that when Adam first saw eve he exclaimed, “Whoaa….man” and henceforth woman was named. A great deal of emphasis in our postmodern era has been placed on establishing equality above and beyond all else. The equality mantra has been sung in insistence of equal pay at Wimbledon, to the equality act of 2007 and creating equal opportunities in the workplace. Amongst the gender confusion and the battle of the sexes, such insistence on equality is easily capable of misunderstanding that ‘equal’ is not equivocal with ‘sameness.’ It is possible to be equal, yet different. The book of Genesis describes how equality is based on our identity as sons and daughters of God. It is not what we do that matters to God, but who we are. As male and female we complement each other in our differences. Our equal dignity is realised in our “physical, psychological and ontological complementarity.”2 It was due to original sin that the original unity of man and woman was lost. This marked the arrival of concupiscence. Concupiscence comes from the latin: con cupere which literally means with desire. Sexual desire in and of itself it not wrong because it has been created by God. I Timothy 4:4 clearly states that everything created by God is good.
1

Louann Brizendine, the female brain (new york: morgan road books, 2006), 12. mentioned in Theology of his body, p20). 2 Ratzinger, Collaboration of men and women in the Church, n.7

Concupiscence is what inclines us towards sin. St John mentions the existence of a three fold concupiscence that exists: “The concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life” (cf. 1 Jn 2:16). These things were not from God. Because of this, equality, love and respect are necessary in the relationship between men and women and according to God’s original plan, can be lost.3 With the damage and removal of the male/female relationship ordered according to God’s plan, the devil is destroying the most fundamental icon of God’s love on earth.4 Ratzinger, who wrote the collaboration of men and women in the Church document in 2004, goes on to say that problems relating to sexual difference should not be worked out by competition or retaliation, but by a relational approach.5 Some people think that because of concupiscence and lust, our bodies are intrinsically and inherently bad! This is a heresy! Pope John Paul talks about the heresy of Manichaeism in his teaching. This Gnostic sect believed that matter in and of itself is evil. Therefore, in Machicaeism, the body is also evil, and this brings disvalue to all things sexual. John Paul says that the Manchicaen way of understanding and evaluating man’s body and sexuality is alien to the Gospel. The appropriate interpretation of Christ’s words must be free of Manichaen thoughts in word and in attitude. Christianity assigned a value to the body and sex beyond compare. Christians believe that sexual desire or Eros is something that is good, true and beautiful in the right context. Purity in this sense, according to the words of Christopher West, “does not annihilate sexual desire, it perfects it.”6 Pope John Paul says that, “Purity is the glory of the human body before God. It is the glory of God in the human body, through which masculinity and femininity are manifested (TOB 57:3). Although it is a demanding task, purity is a requirement of love. It is the dimension of its interior truth in man’s heart.7 Purity is achieved not through a rigid adherence to rules and regulations but by life in the spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to live and answer this call, as to the pure all things are pure (Titus 1:15). God knows that our sexuality is not something that is dirty and unmentionable. It is in fact meant to be a reflection of God’s own plan for mankind as we are to be eternally united with him in love.8 God is not sexual (CCC 42, 239, 370), but the relationship between man and woman is a reflection of God’s love for mankind. St Paul exhorts husbands and wives to love their spouses as Christ loved the Church because we can compare the two different relationships. Our culture tries to divide what is sexual and what is sacred. But God knows what he is about and what he has made. Christopher West states that Christians need to redeem the erotic realm for Christ, so that the true grandeur of eros can be revealed.9
3 4

Ratzinger, ibid (collaboration), n.7 Theology Of His Body, Jason Evert, p26 5 Ratzinger, collaboration, n.8 6 Christopher West, heaven’s song, p86 7 Theology of the body, human love in the divine plan, Pauline books and media, 1997, Boston, p177 8 Theology Of His Body, Jason Evert, p8 9 Christopher West, heaven’s song, p111.

How important and vital this task is for our culture. The top two words in the whole world searched under Google are God and sex. In other words, the two subjects that people in the whole world are interested in, judging by search criteria is God (religion) and sex. Both topics are of considerable interest! John Paul describes how our hearts are a battlefield between love and lust. “lust… deprives man of the dignity of giving, which is expressed by his body through femininity and masculinity.”10 Lust creates a particular unease of conscience.11 It is a threat to self control and self mastery through which the human person is formed. Man does not possess himself in such simplicity and naturalness. Lust gives birth to shame. Christ when he speaks about lust, appeals to the human heart and the interior law. Lust seeks to satisfy the body, but usually at the const of the full communion of persons. Concupiscence brings the loss of the interior freedom of the gift. Pope John Paul II also mentions the eyes of the LORD, ten thousand times brighter than the sun, Observe every step a man takes and peer into hidden corners. (Sirach 13). Femininity Pope John Paul has written about the ‘genius of woman’ and the fact that she is master of her own mystery. There are three feminine traits that a most striking: women are made for relationships, they possess great beauty and have a deep element of mystery. Women are extremely adept at relationships. Teresa Benedicta of the cross said that a woman’s natural and maternal yearning was to, “To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth.” They are faster to mature than men and are quick to note the seriousness and responsibility of tasks. The woman’s body is the tabernacle of life. The miracle of conception occurs within her (Tob 21:6). But a woman cannot be purely defined by her capacity to give life. Motherhood has both a physical and spiritual dimension. Every woman is called to be a bride in some form or another. For those that are unable to have children, it is especially important to remember that parenthood is both physical and spiritual. It is possible and wonderful when others can be spiritually adopted (e.g. Godparents), and the transmission of values can occur easily. A Personal example…. Women have the singular capacity to persevere in adversity, to keep life going even in extreme situations, to hold tenaciously to the future, and finally to remember with tears the value of every human life.12
10 11

Theology of the body, human love in the divine plan, Pauline books and media, 1997, Boston, p126-7 Theology of the body, human love in the divine plan, Pauline books and media, 1997, Boston, p115 12 Ratzinger, collaboration, p13.

Alice von hildebrand writes in the privilege of being a woman (p91), “If little girls were made aware of the great mystery confided to them, their purity would be guaranteed. The very reverence which they would have towards their own bodies would inevitably be perceived by the other sex. Men are talented at reading women’s body language, and they are not likely to risk being humiliated when a refusal is certain. Perceiving women’s modesty, they would take their cue and, in return, approach the female sex with reverence.” Masculinity Men are called to be the initiators of human love. Each man is a son of God, and our responsibility is to be an image of the father on earth. Authentic love always encounters sacrifice, and “Every man who seeks the kingdom of God finds himself.” For this reason we cannot afford to be passive, with no deep convictions. Men are called to spiritually lead the family and to speak truth unwaveringly with conviction. Some men are passive, fear rejection and never have the courage to initiate relationships. Most of this fear is a concern about the self. Other men have different methods of attempting to attract and lure women. Some try to make them feel guilty, seduce by gestures or initiate by physical gestures. Such gestures deny the intrinsic dignity of the human person. To use a person is incompatible with loving kindness. The yearning to unite with feminine beauty is a reminder that a soul longs for the beauty of heaven. The rehabilitiation of Chastity Many consider that chastity is in fact a dangerous and repressive practice, in fact harmful to human beings. Some even consider it harmful to the human person. The viewpoint that chastity is a purely negative virtue is a very mistaken viewpoint. Benedict XVI mentions in Deus Caritas Est that Nietzsche thought that Christianity had poisoned eros. This could not have been further from the truth. Chastity is indispensable for healthy relationships between men and women. The then Karol Wojtyla mentioned in his book, love and responsibility, “Chastity can only be thought of in the association with the virtue of love. Only the chaste man and woman are capable of true love.” (p169). The opposite of to love is to use somebody. Enjoying someone can replace loving them. To use a person is incompatible with loving kindness. Chastity is a difficult, long term matter, involving humility, one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is a sure way to happiness. It involves constantly being part of the will of God. The unity of man and woman as husband and bride Marriage is the celebration of the unity of man and women and promise their love to be full, total, faithful and fruitful. All married life is a gift (even the struggles, Letter to Families, n. 12). John Paul describes that marriage is in some sense the prototype or

model of all the sacraments. (TOB 98:2). But he also mentions elsewhere that, “A man can commit adultery in the heart even with his own wife, if he treats her only as an object for the satisfaction of instinct.” (TOB 43:3). Contraception What John Paul II actually said about contraception. In John Kippley’s book: sex and the marriage covenant, he shows that John Paul II consistently and emphatically held up the teaching of Humanae Vitae in the theology of the body. This is in light of Lumen Gentium n.25 which states that the mind and will of the Pontiff can be known from frequent repetition of the same doctrine and must be respected as divine and Catholic truth in matters of faith and morals. He states that John Paul II said that marital non contraception ●Is a teaching whose truth is beyond discussion (June 5, 1987) ●Is a teaching which belongs to the permanent patrimony of the Church’s moral doctrine and a truth which cannot be questioned (March 14, 1988). ●Is a teaching which is intrinsic to our human nature and that calling it into question “is equivalent to refusing God himself the obedience of our intelligence.” (November 12, 1988) And…. ●To hold out for exceptions on contraception is as if God’s grace were not sufficient is a form of atheism (September 17, 1983). ●Denying the doctrine of marital non contraception is “equivalent to denying the Catholic concept of revelation.” (April 10, 1986). ●“What is being questioned by rejecting that teaching… is the very idea of the holiness of God.” (November 12, 1988) He clearly stated that to assume not to be the co-operators of God’s creative power but ultimate depositaries of the source of human life is equal to maintaining that in human life situations it might be lawful not to recognize God as God. In other words, we like to put ourselves in the place of God when we refuse to co-operate with him. The effects of contraception on marriage are most striking when you look at the divorce rate. Contracepting married couples have a divorce rate of 40%, as compared with a rate of 1-3% for those that use NFP.

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