As a recent alumnus who “feels that Georgetown must change to include more church teaching,” I very much appreciated Lexi Dever’s viewpoint (“The Georgetown That Saved Me,” Oct. 30, 2015, The Hoya). I am glad that Dever has found a home on the Hilltop; Georgetown is in need of a substantive dialogue about the Catholic Church’s vision of human sexuality, and I hope that Dever’s article can be an occasion for it.
Since I became a Catholic at Georgetown, in no small part because of my attraction to the Church’s moral teachings, I feel that my voice may be of some use in this conversation.
Too often, people experience these teachings as oppressive and judgmental — a litany of “thou shalt nots.” But as Pope Benedict XVI consistently articulated, for each “no,” there is a corresponding “yes,” a fundamental human good that affirms the Christian vision of man as a great “yes” to the dignity of persons. I hope to use this space to express some of these values and explain why I have found authentic freedom and peace in them.
The first of these values is human dignity, which follows from an anthropology of the human being created in the image and likeness of God, a unity of body and soul. It is precisely because the Church cares for the body that it celebrates the complementarity of man and woman, which is the foundation of all human relationships, sexual relationships especially.
Since the Church sees the body as good, it takes an extraordinarily high view of sex. In sexual intercourse, the two distinctive forms of the human person — male and female — make a gift of themselves for each other, body and soul. It is because of its great power and dignity that sexual activity is properly expressed within marriage, the lifelong union of man and woman.
The Church affirms the human person as lover, a being who desires. The power and depth of our longings are a testament to the spiritual dimension of our nature
I arrived at Georgetown with an identity shaped by the love of lesser goods – prestige, pleasure, power, wealth. The Catholic Church saved me by teaching me to settle for nothing less than the highest good attainable, which is love of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in Christ, the perfect union of God and man who “fully reveals man to himself,” that we ought to find our identities, not in a lesser good like sexual attraction.
Dignity, relationship, openness to life and love — these are the fundamental human values that the Church’s sexual teachings affirm. These teachings are not easy, but the Church calls us to heroism precisely because of its exalted view of human nature perfected by God’s grace. Ultimately, the Church’s vision of sexuality is about showing us what it means to be fully human, fully alive.
Taylor Colwell (SFS ’15)
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