Women, Virtue, and SexualityNov 2, 2010On Wednesday, the C21 Center brought Lisa Fullam, an associate professor of Moral Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University to speak on the topic “the role of virtue ethics in framing the conversation on sexuality in the context of a Catholic university.” Kerry Cronin, the Director of the Lonergan Institute, introduced Fullam.
Fullam began with a look at the history of the opinion of female sexuality. St Augustine taught that sex was sinful if it was enjoyed. St. Thomas Aquinas believed that women were subordinate and defective, only serving the purpose of procreation. Women were held to be weaker in body, mind, and spirit and are therefore less inclined to virtue and rationality.
The view that Fullam posits is that sexuality is much broader than sex and that a human person is first and foremost a sexual being. Philosophically, the question that should be raised is, “What are the virtues of character that enlighten the end goal of a sex life?” She then offered a three dimensional goal for sexual relationships: feel for incarnation, ability for intimacy, and an eye for insight. Incarnation means the human as a union of spirit and matter. A feel for this incarnation is a closer bond between partners, to love others and ourselves as incarnate beings. It is incomplete to value the other only for the body but also to ignore the beauty of the body and see only the spirit. To only value the body is lust, which is wrong, opposed to “correct” sexual desire.
The ability for intimacy is a matter of depth and degree of the relationship. It helps to keep an eye on the whole relationship, using sex to express the whole person. Insight is more than perception but is a deeper awareness of the other person. It allows one to see beyond the partners in a relationship; to see the relationship in terms of society and God. It leads to compassion for others through our own mistakes.
A handout given to those present listed the Cardinal Virtues for Sexuality that Fullam compiled as a student of Fr. Jim Kennan. These are: Self-Care, Justice, Fidelity, and Prudence. Self-Care perfects the relationship to self, Justice perfects relationships with society, Fidelity perfects special relationships like those between partners, siblings, parents and children, and Prudence perfects practical reason.
The Virtue of Fidelity was broken down into three parts. The first two, to Exercise Freedom and to Seek and Foster Security are reciprocal parts that together Cultivate Mutuality. Fullam explained that when one experiences the wonder or awe of the partner, and is also humbled, the pathway is opened up for honesty about feelings, hopes, and desires. A person grows in these virtues by practicing them. (I'm still trying to determine what is meant by "Virtue" here.)
Fr. Kennan responded to Fullam’s presentation by talking about the tradition of sex and morality. He explained that until 1965, priests were trained in moral theology simply to be able to determine what was sin and what was not, as opposed to knowing the difference between good things and bad things. The understanding of sex was very basic, the only concern was if it was sinful or not. This issue was not raised in Protestant faith traditions because Luther decided to get married at the beginning of the Reformation. The face of moral theology changed drastically in 1975 when Lisa Cahill became the first laywoman theologian.(Yeah, Obama's friend and "advisor" in things "Catholic")
During the questions following the two presentations, an audience member asked Fullam about her opinion of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Fullam takes issue with the opinion of the role of women in the Theology of the Body. She asks, if gender or sex are intrinsic, where is there space for those seeking equality between men and women?
She also challenges the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church that the primary purposes sexual intercourse are to express love between spouses and procreation.
Speaking from her training in veterinary medicine,(What?) she explained that it is obvious when female animals are ovulating but not for female humans. If sex is only for procreation, she says, we should know when females are ovulating and only have sex in that window of time. But because human practices are different than animals, there must be something more to human sexuality.
Well, I guess you know where they stand at Santa Clara don't you. Some "Catholic Professor". Sex is viewed as an activity, not the culmination of Spousal Love. She is indicating here that it's OK to have pre-marital sex. This is a "Catholic" Professor? The problem with this entire approach is begging the question of Marriage. At what point in this entire article is the word "spouse"? Oh, in the part that she DISSAGREES with. She doesn't feel that "spousal love" is the primary reason for sexual intercourse. It seems that all she is talking about as is Fr. Kennan, is a "partner". Sex is to be between married people. Advocating the idea that it's OK if you have sex with a person not your spouse, is NOT Catholic teaching on Sexuality.
We have come up with a few additional articles that are very informative as to the sexual morals of the students at BC. The second part of this post is coming up immediately following this one. BC is no worse than any other State school. Ohhh...it's supposed to be "Catholic". In a pig's eye!
I hope Cardinal Sean reads this, because we are just getting started. The Archdiocese of Boston and Boston College are in drastic need of an overhaul. One gets the impression they like the ideas of Roman Polanski rather than the teachings of Jesus Christ.. I hope Rome get's a copy of all this...they obviously aren't looking on their own.
Jesus is Lord!