Book Review: What the Church Teaches About Sex

What the Church Teaches about Sex: God’s Plan for Human Happiness
By Robert L. Fastiggi
Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2009

If asked to name the one issue that Catholics have the most difficulty with, most would answer the Church’s teaching on sexuality. Whether it be pre-marital sex, cohabitation, or contraception, the majority of Catholics choose to ignore it. Why is that? Is it that the teaching is out of touch with the modern world, that the standard is set too high, or that Catholics are simply ignorant of the teachings and the reasons behind them? Yes, the Church’s standard for our sexual expression is high and difficult to live up to, but the supposed sexual freedom that many embrace today has led to a whole lot of heartbreak and many failed relationships, not to mention the use of abortion as a birth control method. Maybe the Church’s teaching is worth a second look.

Robert L. Fastiggi, Ph.D. is Professor of Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. In “What the Church Teaches about Sex: God’s Plan for Human Happiness” he writes that he hopes “people will take a second look at the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church on sexual matters. I am convinced that this morality is grounded in the truth of what God wants for us as men and women called to love and bring forth new life. It is a morality that is realistic, challenging, compassionate, and true. May God give us the courage and wisdom to embrace and defend the good news of Catholic sexual morality!”

Fastiggi offers a historical perspective on the Church’s sexual teaching, spending considerable time on the teachings of St. Augustine, a man who lived to regret and repent his sexual immorality. He then focuses on the Theology of the Body put forth by Pope John Paul II which guides the Church’s understanding of sexuality today. Fastiggi then goes on to explore the beauty and purposes of the sexual aspect of marriage as well as the challenges of living chastely in all the states of life. He discusses various sexual sins and what it means to let conscience be one’s guide.

“What the Church Teaches about Sex” is an informative exploration of the Church’s teaching on sexuality. No one who reads it will ever be able to claim ignorance of the Church’s positive standards for this life-giving beautiful act.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on What the Church Teaches About Sex- God’s Plan for Happiness.


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