Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seksualiteit en liefde

Ek het gister 'n merkwaardige, eerlike onderhoud met Kardinaal Martini oor die tamheid van die kerk geblog. 
Saam daarmee ontvang ek van Celia sy ewe merkwaardige uitsprake oor seksualiteit. 
Hy skryf in die studie aangrypend oor die innerlike dinamiek in seksualiteit wat groter vriendskap en intimiteit tussen man en vrou in die huwelik bewerk. Sy woorde laat my herken hoeveel skoonheid daar in liggaamlikheid kan wees.
Die skuinsgedrukte dele oor liefde in die onderstaande stuk het my diep geraak. Egte liefde oorkom die aftakeling van die tyd en fisiekheid, en skep uiteindelik 'n innige band tussen twee mense. Dit is boeiend om te lees wat skryf hierdie man, gedryf deur sy lewenservaring, oor die onmeetlike krag van seksualiteit om mense naby, onvoorstelbaar naby aan mekaar te bring.
Martini: “Sexuality is a very complex subject, about which there is also a “conflict of interpretations.” It’s a murky field, deep, fluid, difficult to define. It’s a part of existence in which the subconscious (and the unconscious?) especially come into play, where rational explanations can find, in the individual but also in social groups and cultures, an inner resistance that fails to be persuaded. This is no doubt also due to the fact that there are within us dark caverns and impenetrable mazes. Furthermore, the evolutionary strand that also touches mankind is not [yet] completed, and therefore we cannot easily predict the developments of the next millennia. It is data that is new in kind, and that somehow makes us afraid. Personally I am not competent on this topic and I am tackling it here just to try to say simply what  life has taught me. But first I would like to hear from those who have scientific knowledge to start in some way from them.
Marino: “Sexuality, by definition, is an interpersonal relationship and as such should be fully received as an exchange and a gift and has an important role for human beings, regardless of age, gender, origin, culture. From the biological point of view it represents a fundamental aspect of life as do sleeping and eating. Much is due to the production of hormones from organs such as gonads, the pituitary, the adrenal cortex and the hypothalamus that regulate and encourage sexual activity. Certainly, coupled with the biological aspects that relate to sexuality, there is the cognitive dimension and the cultural one, which includes the ethical and moral aspects. They are spheres often difficult to fathom and inevitably influenced by a person’s education and psychological experience.
Science has long occupied itself with the study of sexual behaviour of human beings for different reasons: from birth control, to the transmission of diseases, to understanding the differences between human sexuality and that of other animal species. Most animals, in fact, seek a mate for reproductive purposes, whilst among humans  sexual behaviours are not biologically linked only to reproduction, as well as not being only determined by hormones. The brain, in fact, has a key role in helping to increase or decrease the response to sexual stimulation, for example through learning, which plays a decisive role in sexual orientation. It is precisely for this reason that much attention should be given to full and proper sex education in the early stages of growth, to avoid creating feelings of guilt or punitive attitudes toward one’s body and one’s sexuality. It’s clear, and in my opinion not understandable, that the Catholic Church, in the course of several centuries of its history, has often ignored the issue of sexuality, or else viewed it in a way that was geared to give rise in the faithful to a sense of guilt with respect to sexual activity detached from reproductive purposes. I believe that this approach should at least be discussed because, as confirmed by scientific knowledge, sex cannot be considered as an  element foreign to the human being, but rather as a natural fact.”
Martini: “First and foremost, it is something very personal and difficult to express in words. It is better expressed in poetry or what is called “the language of love.” In fact, the subject-matter is  part of the great theme of love, as is well noted by Pope Benedict XVI. Early in his encyclical “God is love” (December 25, 2005) he speaks of eros and agape, connected to the major theme of classical literature. It seems to me that human sexuality is covered by a “vertical dynamism,” or “influence”, by an inner force that makes it become little by little the tool and place of deep friendship and intimacy of souls, to become, in the Christian view, a preparation for that great communion of hearts that is the goal of humanity’s journey. A true love is also a mature and lasting love, that when it is well lived goes to the heart of the person and overcomes the inevitable wear of time and a merely sensitive/emotional and bodily aspect, to become a union of souls. And here I would like to quickly note that, from personal experience, such a dynamic may also lead to such a love of God “with all [your] heart and with all [your] soul and with all [your] strength” (Dt 6.5) as to totally surpass the physical factor and thus become a chaste and intense friendship-love. From the above it appears that sexuality is primarily a force of nature, which however tends to prolong the species. It is a continuous struggle, relentless, against death. In this sense, sexuality is not only proper to mankind. But as I said above, in men and women it arises in the context of a dynamic that tends to make it scale the heights, bringing sexuality to a level of friendship and a deep understanding, almost incommunicable to others, of two people. Thus understood, it is essential for a happy married life and is a source of growth for husband and wife as well as their children: this applies particularly in the years when children become adults, a period that is getting longer as the average age increases. Only those who have developed a serious friendship continue to get along well with the other spouse even when the children are by that time all out of the house.
In this context, sexuality remains in itself a force that tends both to generation as well as to the communion of persons. The fact that you can also have children in a test tube does not change the nature of sexuality. It is always a natural tendency to self-giving between a man and a woman with a view to the realisation of a stable community of people.”

Blog Archive