Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Catholic Church's Teaching on Sexuality is What Every Woman Wants

This talk was given at St Mary's in Bayswater, London, on April 18, 2013, as the first of a series on the Theology of the Body, for the Archdioces of Westminster (North London). 

For more info, or to register for future events, call Catherine Macgillivray on +44 207 931 6064 or email

Here are my notes from the talk:


The first question you might have is, "what is a man doing giving this talk?"

"You have never given birth what would you know?" In Blessed Pope John Paul II's Introduction to Love and Responsibility he says about priests and marital life:
"Their lack of direct personal experience is no handicap because they possess a great deal of experience at second-hand, derived from their pastoral work.  For in their pastoral work they encounter these particular problems so often, and in such a variety of circumstances and situations, that a different type of experience is created, which is certainly less immediate, and certainly 'second-hand,' but at the same time very much wider.  The very abundance of factual material on the subject stimulates both general reflection and the effort to synthesize what is known."
When it comes to topics they may not have first hand experience in like womanhood, marriage, or other things they DO have secondhand experience that has:
-depth - confession, spiritual direction, rich psychological content-breadth - sheer number of women, age, state in life, culture 
-height - relating to the gospel 
- Charity - I am consecrated to women
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY - Women need men's affirmation and vice versa because many of the wounds that women carry around were caused by men and only by a man would they be fully healed.

The second question you might have may pertain to the title of the talk.  What do we think of when we hear that title?
- How to sexually satisfy women
- Sexuality - we hear "sex" or "sexual intercourse"
YET - I will in fact talk about this but this is not deepest in woman's heart and NOT what the Theology of the Body is primarily about, despite it's presentation as such by some - This is a symptom of the misconception that we don't even realize we are dealing with

What does it mean to be a woman?

Listen to the Song "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys

She's just a girl, and she's on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, 
lonely like a highway
She's living in a world, 
and it's on fire
Feeling the catastrophe, 
but she knows she can fly away  

Everybody stands, as she goes by
Cause they can see the flame that's in her eyes
Watch her when she's lighting up the night
Nobody knows that she's a lonely girl
And it's a lonely world
But she gon' let it burn, baby, burn, baby

This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She's walking on fire
This girl is on fire

I'd like to think she has the same understanding of woman's dignity of the Church:
"And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" Revelation 12:1
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears here as the Woman on Fire!  She is the model and measure of womanhood.  She is the perfect woman, walking in royal dignity, lifted up to the heights of heaven, ennobling and enriching everyone with whom she comes into contact.

However, sadly we know all too well that most (not necessarily Alicia - haven't sat down with her yet) feminism is another vision, this is true especially because when Alicia sang a song about a wonderful man at the London iTunes festival last year, a song about a man who is a good and faithful friend, she prefaced the song with, "I identify in no way with this song," meaning, she probably has been hurt by men and likes to think of a strong woman not like Mary, as the complement and co-worker with man, but as independent from him, his competitor, maybe even his predator.

Femininism and womanhood appears from women who have been hurt by men:
- Women must assert themselves to be men's equal, or better, superior
- Women are in competition to men, set at odds with them
- "Men are pigs" and therefore women must be liberated by men
- Feminists are not some evil people who simply hate the Church, but have been hurt
- This is the result of most women who have been hurt, particularly by men
- Many wonderful women develop this philosophy, this armor, this battle gear

New Feminismfrom Wikipedia:
New feminism is a philosophy which emphasizes a belief in an integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men.[1] 
New feminism, as a form of difference feminism, supports the idea that men and women have different strengths, perspectives, and roles, while advocating for the equal worth and dignity of both sexes. Among its basic concepts are that the most important differences are those that are biological rather than cultural. New Feminism holds that women should be valued in their role as child bearers, both culturally and economically, while not being viewed as a "home maker" in the broader sense of the meaning.[citation needed] It main aim is to promote the idea that women are individuals with equal worth as men; and that in social, economic
and legal senses they should be equal, while accepting the natural differences between the sexes. 
The term was originally used in Britain in the 1920s to distinguish New feminists from traditional mainstream suffragist feminism.

New feminists campaigned strongly in favour of such measures as family allowances paid directly to mothers. They were also largely supportive of protective legislation in industry.   
Recent Use 
In recent years, the term has been revived by feminists responding to the Vatican's call for a "'new feminism' which rejects the temptation of imitating models of 'male domination' in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation".[2] "The true genius of women" is the idea that all of the ways in which women give of themselves are ways that reflect their capacity for physical or spiritual motherhood.  
John Paul II had begun his theologically-based affirmation of integral gender complementarity in his Wednesday audiences between 1979 and 1984, in what is now compiled as the Theology of the Body. In this work, he describes his belief that men and women are formed as complementary human beings, whose purpose, strengths and weaknesses are reflected in the physical make-up of their bodies. In 1988, John Paul II sent out an apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem, or, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.[3] In this letter, John Paul II called on women to value their "feminine genius"[4] as mothers and caregivers as well as  their participation in politics and economics. He describes the 'feminine genius' as including empathy, interpersonal relations, emotive capacity, subjectivity, communication, intuition and personalization. 
John Paul II continued this call in his Apostolic Letter to Women prior to the 1995 Beijing Women's conference.[5]
So...What is it that women really want?

This can be reduced to one word. 
Love?  Too misunderstood and not personal enough.  What is love's face?
God?  Still too abstract and not personal enough.
Jesus?  This may be surprising to some but Jesus Himself would be the first person to say that he is not the end of the spiritual life and still not the deepest reality in a woman's heart, there is one person yet deeper.
God the Father?  Yes, but what is a better word for him that reveals at one in the same time His tenderness and woman's littleness?

ABBA!!!  He is the only thing that can fully satisfy woman in the deepest aching of her heart.  He is woman's deepest longing, her highest aspiration, he hearts true love.

Only God the Father is the completion of the Son - Even Jesus is "incomplete" - He would be the first one to tell you that you come to him so that you may come to the Father.

Theology of the Body - Triptych

Three chapters of the TOB - Beginning, Now, End - Father, Son, Holy Spirit

The Father - sees woman in Christ before time began as his beloved daughter 

Jesus - Accepts Woman with all of her armor - the Woman at the well - peeling away the layers

Mary Magdalene is the icon not only of all mankind but of every woman:
- Jesus frees her from her demons by his pardon
- She then sits at his feet taking instruction
- She gifts her woman hood to him by wiping his feet with her hair
- He calls her by Name in the Resurrection - He is SO new she doesn't recognize
-Her womanhood is so new she would never recognize him
Holy Spirit - Brings us to bridge the gap in between where we are now and where we need to go
- Brings us to do the same for others in a specific calling and vocation

Each woman's vocation is:

- TO gift yourselves to Abba Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit
- Married woman gives herself to God through her husband and to her husband through God
- Consecrated Life - gives her body directly to God

Women have a special role in the world and in the Church

Pope Francis at his Easter Wednesday, General Audience, April 3, 2013 said:
"Women were the first witnesses. This implies that God does not choose in accordance with human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus were shepherds, simple, humble people; the first witnesses of the Resurrection were women. And this is beautiful. This is a part of the mission of women; of mothers, of women! Witnessing to their children, to their grandchildren, that Jesus is alive, is living, is risen. Mothers and women, carry on witnessing to this! It is the heart that counts for God, how open to him we are, whether we are like trusting children.
"However this also makes us think about how women, in the Church and on the journey of faith, had and still have today a special role in opening the doors to the Lord, in following him and in communicating his Face, for the gaze of faith is always in need of the simple and profound gaze of love."
What is woman?

Pope John Paul says - the language of the body of woman tells us what her interior is like:

- to receive the gift of man - of humanity - this is where she is most fertile, most fruitful -
-Actively Receiving God that he may be made Real or Incarnate - TO give new life to humanity through the agony of childbirth - the Cross
-Mary was wailing aloud in agony to give birth to anew humanity

This is what she does in all of her human activities:

-First place this is important is in actually giving birth to persons and caring for them
-PJPII not afraid to talk about consecrating woman to the undivided care of persons
- What is the highest commodity in society? Money or persons?
- The most excellent of creatures should be consecrated to care of persons

- Consecrated Life
- The vocation to be a homemaker here is elevated to the utmost - it is to be consecrated to the undivided care of persons
- Woman's Body is beautiful - should not be objectified - nor should it be thought of as ordinary
-When women dress with elegant modesty they raise the bar of society

Married Love -
Follows the language of the body - sexual intercourse is itself an icon of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit
-Father and Son love each other so perfectly there eternally issues forth the Holy Spirit 
-Man and woman love each other so perfectly nine months later you have to give it a name a woman gifs her womanhood, her femininity, her fertility, her motherhood to God through husband
-When the husband protects, cares for, cherishes till death does part this act is heavenly
-He makes love to her whole person - body and soul -
-This is when a woman is most frequently and intensely sexually satisfied.
-The people who have the most and best sex are highly religious married people
- Contraception is a lie of the body - use me for pleasure - kills off real love
Natural Family Planning is the truth of the body and soul - 99.98% success rate while contraception besides causing cervical and breast cancer has a 50% success rate in keeping couples together 
-IVF has a 20% success rate - NFP has a 80% success rate in conceiving life.


BE WOMEN ON FIRE! Clothed with the Father's Love.  We must follow the glorious example of Our Lady to gift God to the world by the way we love and nurture it in the wonderful witness of motherhood, whether it is of children of the womb or of the spirit.

Pope Paul VI at the close of Vatican II and PJPII's beginning of Mulieris Dignitatem:
"But the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is under-going so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling." 

1 comment:


    This was like the icing on the cake of my healing journey - the reality that Abba was the first one to touch or know me. It is entirely pure and holy, and sooooo very uplifting!!

    You do good work Fr. Sam - I continue to pray for you every day!