I am married, 25-year-old Catholic woman and have had a number of issues with the Catholic Church.
When I first met my husband, an Indian man, my very Catholic mother was horrified; and disgustingly racist. She traumatized me greatly in the name of the Catholic Faith, saying God didn't intend me to date and marry those of other skin colors. My very Catholic grandmother went as far to say, God made lions and tigers and he made blacks and whites. They're totally separate and not meant to mix.
There are members of my family who use their Catholic Faith to defend their support of Donald Trump which I find highly problematic. As a married woman, I have found that experiences, when talking about sexual terms associated with the faith, they were very, very archaic. My family never had a sex talk with me and prohibited me from attending school sex talks in the name of the faith. As a result of this, sex makes me incredibly self conscious and I have only recently learned that, not only can woman orgasm, but the female orgasm is completely separate from the process of reproduction.
I am on my very last straw with the Catholic faith and of all the guilt and shame I feel even as a married woman having sex; it will deteriorate my marriage. There are absolutely pathetic stances on the female orgasm and sexuality in the Catholic Church.
Please tell me, as a woman, is it a sin to masturbate?
If not, why did God design woman's body as it is, and why has there been absolutely no talk around this?
Why, as a woman, have I been made to feel so ashamed of something in which its sole purpose is pleasure?
Why are there no published teachings or public announcements from our pope and clergy?
Is it a sin to masturbate and, if not, why did God design us this way and why no talk on this topic? }
There is absolutely no justification in the Catholic faith for your family's assertion that ethnic groups should not be mixed in marriage. The word Catholic means universal and it has always encompassed people of many ethnicities and considered them equal; and there has always been ethnic mixing among Catholics. The idea that God didn't mean for you to mix other skin colors is totally contrary to what the Catholic faith teaches. I'd challenge her to produce the evidence opposing what I have said. (Biblical evidence is not sufficient; it must be from Tradition.) As far as lions and tigers, these are animals of different species. Blacks and Whites are not of different species. The fact that Blacks and Whites can mate and produce fertile offspring is proof that this is not against natural law.
As for Donald Trump, unfortunately the American Catholic Church is in the very difficult position that neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party come even close to representing Catholic interests. Both are, in your words, highly problematic so we mustn't be judgmental about how people voted. Many Catholics look at the extreme hostility of the Democratic Party toward religion and Catholicism in particular, and Trump's, at least superficial (but apparently comparatively firm), embrace of pro-life policies as reasons to judge Trump the lesser of two evils. (After all, if one party wants to, in your mind, kill innocent babies, and the other does not, one could be forgiven for voting for the one that does not, regardless of its other drawbacks.) Unfortunately too many American Christians, Catholics included, confuse the Republican party platform for Catholicism.
It's unfortunate that your parents were remiss in their duties (under Catholic teaching) to educate you properly. That is not the fault of the Catholic Church; that is your parent's fault.
Canon 1136 Parents have the most grave duty and the primary right to take care as best they can for the physical, social, cultural, moral, and religious education of their offspring.
(Code of Canon Law: New English Translation. (1998). (p. 356). Washington, DC:
Canon Law Society of America.)
I think you labor under some misconceptions that your parents and secular society inculcated, and it might do a lot of good to read some solid, positive sources on the Catholic faith. Pope St. John Paul the Great spoke at great length about the deep meaning of human sexuality. Obviously sex is not necessarily a suitable topic for parish homilies because of the presence of children too young to be exposed to it. Therefore it is incumbent upon you to search out good resources and learn.
To answer your question about masturbation, because it is completely devoid of either life-giving capability or the capacity to bond one to a spouse, it fails on the two key meanings and purposes of human sexuality and is a disordered act for both men and women, not consistent with the chastity that Christians are called to.
Human sexuality is a very powerful faculty that we have and it should be exclusively directed toward our spouses. Sex is so much more meaningful when pleasure is given to each other instead of giving it to ourselves.
Sex is very much like fire. Kept in the fireplace of marital love, it's very useful and important. Outside that context, it can be very dangerous. People complain about all the rules the Church has about human sexuality. That's like complaining about all the rules at a nuclear power plant. There is a very good reason for them: The danger otherwise of a great destruction of lives.
There is nothing intrinsically shameful about vaginal intercourse between husband and wife. It is a good thing.
Ignore the misconceptions you've accumulated and enjoy your marriage!
Eric's answer addresses pretty much all your points, but there is one thing that I would add regarding something you said which I would correct:
[That] the female orgasm is completely separate from the process of reproduction.
That is false. Science has shown us that the female orgasm is a spasm at the opening of the cervix, which causes the cervix to dip down into what would be pool of sperm that has been ejaculated there, thereby assisting it in making an easier progress to the reproductive target.
The myth that it has no reproductive function has long been disabused, and can be discarded like some of the other sexual misunderstandings from the past.
God has given both men and women pleasure to reinforce how good it is when we are open to sharing in his creative energy to bring forth new life made in His Image.
First, the Church understands the sexual struggles you, and any living person, have dealt with over scuffles of a sexual nature. The Church in the Catechism states:
The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity.
405 Although it is proper to each individual, (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513) original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the Second Council of Orange (529) (DS 371-372) and at the Council of Trent (1546). (cf. DS 1510-1516)
407 The doctrine of original sin,
closely connected with that of
redemption by Christ, provides
lucid discernment of man's situation
and activity in the world. By
our first parents' sin, the devil
has acquired a certain domination
over man, even though man remains
free. Original sin entails "captivity
under the power of him who thenceforth
had the power of death, that is,
the devil". (Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Hebrews 2:14) Ignorance of
the fact that man has a wounded
nature inclined to evil gives
rise to serious errors in the
areas of education, politics,
social action (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II Centesimus Annus 25) and morals.
408 The consequences of original
sin and of all men's personal
sins put the world as a whole
in the sinful condition aptly
described in St. John's expression, "the
sin of the world". (John 1:29) This expression
can also refer to the negative
influence exerted on people by
communal situations and social
structures that are the fruit
of men's sins. (cf. John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia 16)
409 This dramatic situation of "the
whole world [which] is in the
power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19; cf. 1 Peter 5:8) makes
man's life a battle:
The whole of man's history has
been the story of dour combat
with the powers of evil, stretching,
so our Lord tells us, from the
very dawn of history until the
last day. Finding himself in the
midst of the battlefield man has
to struggle to do what is right,
and it is at great cost to himself,
and aided by God's grace, that
he succeeds in achieving his own
I also think it's important to put things in their proper perspective.
You see, God created both man and woman, with a kind of hierarchy of
pleasures to be used according to His Divine Providence.
Used in the way that the Lord has ordained for both men and women, pleasure is not only OK and very good, but intentionally built into both men and women.
When our Lord created us, he attached certain types of pleasure to things we do.
What am I talking about?
Well, whether you are at work or at home, I am sure there are a number of times you have to go to the bathroom during the day and it has nothing to do with grooming yourself. In our family we call this:
Taking a mother nature break.
I don't think there is one reader of this web posting that will disagree that there is a big pleasure in taking a mother nature break.
Why is pleasure attached to going to the bathroom?
Because if we didn't go to the bathroom, the toxins in our waste would kill us and we would die.
How about eating and drinking?
Surely everyone will agree that, for most of us, this is a pleasurable activity.
Because if we didn't eat or drink, over time, we would die.
What we see during our daily lives are various levels of pleasures attached to certain activities that both men and women do, including:
holding on to our (boy|girl) friend during a date.
petting during a date.
getting our back or feet rubbed by our (boy|girl) friend or spouse
kissing our <(boy|girl) friend> or (our husband or wife)
Of all the pleasures attached to all the activities we do, probably the greatest pleasure is that of sexual activity.
Because it has the potential each time to bring a new life into the world!!
A new life made in the image and likeness of God, made for a specific purpose in life.
As Christians, we are constantly struggling between the divine nature that we share through our Baptism and the concupiscence we struggle within our bodies of flesh and bones.
It reminds me of a question a questioner asked where Paul had to correct me a bit.
Hi, Vamshi —
I would agree with most of what Mike wrote, but I wonder what he means by "light petting".
What is commanded by natural and divine law is that pre-marital couples do nothing intentionally that might sexually arouse either one, because this is the body's way of preparing for intercourse, which is only morally lawful within marriage. This topic would need to be talked over by the ones who are courting, but it's safe to say that for many french kissing and other various kinds of petting could be a cause of this arousal, as is the case with various styles of clothing and language.
It can be very difficult to control the self when the lower self strongly seeks intimacy with the other; but since such intimacy is only appropriate and moral within the sacred commitment of marriage then self-control must be on top of the priority list.
Yeah, I guess I would concur with Paul.
The godly side of me says, he makes sense
while the human side of me says, he's a party pooper : )
Why are there no published teachings or public announcements from our pope and clergy?
One final word on the great job our great President is doing. I do keep up on current events and I personally believe President Donald J. Trump is one of the best (most Pro-Catholic Presidents) we have ever had in U.S. history.
I also think Mr. Biden has no idea how to spell the word Catholic, let alone run this country based on Judeo-Christian principles with Capitalism as a foundation for business.
Based on my assessment of cable channels, I believe Fox News and NewsMax gives me the real, truthful news and provides the whole truth. If you have a false perception that President Trump is a racist or bigot, you have been watching too much MS-NBC, CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS and others. These people are not providing truthful news but are part of the Democratic party which promotes fake news in an attempt to bring President Trump down.
If you put aside some of the rhetoric of President Trump uses and look at the actions and policies he has passed from a Catholic perspective, it's great!
Supreme Court Justices he has put on the court and . . .
those he has gathered in his pool of judicial choices.
Pro-Law and Order/Police
His obvious love for America, its history, and its monuments.
Pro legal immigration <as the Church should morally want> (See CCC 2241)
. . . and is why I am supporting him. On the front and back of my car are bumpers tickers:
Catholics for Trump 2020
Go to Vistaprint and get one made up for your car today!