By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE are all familiar with that gospel episode where some leading Jews tested Christ by asking him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. (cfr. Mt 19,3-12) That is where Christ clarified about man being created as male and female, and about the indissolubility of marriage. It’s a gospel episode that somehow clarifies for us about the current hot-button issue of gender and human sexuality.
We therefore have to realize that in any effort to clarify certain aspects of our humanity, especially nowadays when all sorts of man-made ideologies are being forwarded to explain things, we should first of all approach Christ through the Church which he founded and endowed with enough powers for it to authoritatively transmit the teachings of Christ.
After all, Christ is the God made man who is the fullness of divine revelation so we would have the right knowledge of things that, in our case, include spiritual and supernatural realities. We just cannot depend our own estimation of things, no matter rigorously scientific that estimation is made.
In this regard, it definitely is good to refer ourselves to a Vatican document issued in 1995 entitled, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.” It needs to be brought out more in the open. Given the many issues in this area that have managed to generate a lot of confusion and complications, the document offers a basic and comprehensive primer especially to parents who are the first teachers and formators of their children.
What we have in society only reflects and is a result of what we have in the families. If the families do not do well or even fail in the education of their children in human sexuality, we cannot expect a society to have a healthy attitude toward this very important aspect of human life.
The naked truth is that problems in this area have multiplied not only in number but also in kind. Wherever we go, even if we just take a cursory look around, we can immediately see that there are things that are not quite right or, shall we say, that at least raise eyebrows, provoke questions and concern, etc.
Pornography is now so easily accessible that even little innocent children can already get exposed to them. Teen-age pregnancy is on the rise, together with casual sex and hook-ups, STD, abortion, contraception, and illegitimate children. This is not to mention the rise of problems related to the confusion in sexual identity and gender.
There is a tendency not to talk about these issues, except when they involve people who are supposed to be the teachers, defenders and models of healthy human sexuality either in the state of marriage or celibacy.
In a way, there is good reason not to talk too openly about human sexuality, because it touches on very private, personal, confidential matters. Besides, it’s such a sticky thing that it would require some precautions before talking about it.
But we really do have great need now, more than ever, to talk about this topic both openly and discreetly, realistically and prudently. Obviously, the more proper venue for this talk would be within the family, and personal conversations between parents and children, the father with the boys, and the mother with the girls.
Discussions of this topic in public should be done in subsidiary roles, focusing more on explanations and reminders of relevant moral principles than on displaying certain techniques, more on appeal to virtues than on simply enumerating a list of do’s and don’t’s.