By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Over the past few days, I noticed people posting about Pope Francis’ alleged appreciation of a lingerie model on Instagram… Personally, I’ve always found it a bit odd that the Catholic Church holds its ministers to such unrealistically high standards.
Sexuality and sexual attraction are normal aspects of being human. What is more unusual is when people are completely asexual – without any sexual attraction at all. Asexual people do exist, but the majority of people have a sexual aspect to themselves and there is nothing strange, wrong, or inherently sinful about that.
Indeed, without sexual attraction and sex itself, there would be no people on this earth at all, our species would go extinct! Sex and sexuality should therefore be celebrated, not condemned, or used to guilt trip people.
Perhaps in time the Catholic Church will reconsider its stance on what they call “Original Sin”, a euphemism for sex. Religion shouldn’t condemn something so natural and inherent to our species’ very survival.
I don’t know if Pope Francis really clicked ‘like’ on an Instagram model’s photo or not… Indeed, it was more likely than not some young admin tasked with looking after the Pope’s Instagram account. But even if he did, I certainly wouldn’t think any less of him. All it would show is the man is human after all.
I don’t see sexuality, sexual attraction, or sex itself as being obstacles to spiritual growth or being a good person. I think it’s a mistaken approach to take, and what is needed is something more nuanced.
Even in the Catholic Church, there was a time when its ministers got married and raised families. The original concern within Christianity was not that sex is evil or sinful, but that it is kept ‘holy’. Now, what is meant by that? One explanation is that it means when sex is between people who genuinely love and care about each other, and ‘making love’ rather than just some mechanical act to ‘get off’.
When sex is enjoyed between people who genuinely love and care about each other, it can strengthen their relationship and even contributes to their spiritual growth. But unfortunately, in today’s world both sex and relationships have been cheapened, more often enjoyed from selfish motives with partners being used and quickly discarded after being enjoyed…
This is what hurts and harms people’s souls, and this is the concern raised in all faiths and higher philosophies about when sex is not part of loving relationships, but becomes simply a way for people to quickly gratify their urges with whoever is willing or available, without forming genuinely loving partnerships, relationships, and families.
But that doesn’t mean sex itself is inherently evil, it isn’t! Sex and sexuality are beautiful aspects of human nature to be celebrated, when they contribute to loving relationships and spiritual growth.