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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S GENERAL APPROACH TO SEXUALITY AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas, IMS Director General The Catholic Health Association.

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Presentation on theme: "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S GENERAL APPROACH TO SEXUALITY AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas, IMS Director General The Catholic Health Association."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S GENERAL APPROACH TO SEXUALITY AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas, IMS Director General The Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI)

2 Introduction: The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: Sexuality, not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such An integral part of the love, proper and exclusive to spouses, by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death – with complementality and mutual support Present Discussion focuses on: 1. Catholic Church’s General Approach to Sexuality 2. Recent Developments - Open and Positive Pastoral Approach 3. Church & HIV/AIDS 4. Conclusion

3 CATHOLIC CHURCH’S GENERAL APPROACH TO SEXUALITY Pro-life Approach Inviolability of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death Whole Person Approach Physical, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions Committed to and advocating Equity Approach Fundamental rights of the marginalized and vulnerable be protected The right to life entails a right to the means for the proper development of life, including adequate health care.

4 CHURCH TEACHINGS – HUMAN LIFE & SEXUALITY Prohibits abortion, that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable foetus, except on unavoidable medical grounds Forbids the making use of human tissue obtained by direct abortions & embryonic stem-cell research - commodification of human life, to be bought and sold.

5 CHURCH TEACHINGS – HUMAN LIFE & SEXUALITY (Contd.) Marriage is a covenant & the conjugal love signifies and promotes the mutual self-giving - by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children and adolescents - a scandalous harm done to physical and moral integrity of the young - scarred by it all their lives As part of responsible parenthood, parents may limit the number of their children by natural family planning.

6 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS - OPEN & POSITIVE PASTORAL APPROACH Recent development within the Catholic Church is one of “open and positive pastoral approach”, caring and compassionate and non-judgemental Instrumentum Laboralis (IL) - essentially a planning paper (a compilation of Catholics’ responses from around the world) for the incoming synod of bishops worldwide in October 2014, on “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” IL aims “to promote the dialogue and development

7 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS - OPEN & POSITIVE PASTORAL APPROACH (Contd.) Need of sex education in families and educational institutions - offer young people an adequate idea of Christian and emotional maturity to allow them to face even the phenomenon of homosexuality. IL highlights the observations - the fact of "counter- witness" - continuing clergy sexual abuse crisis and the "lavish lifestyle” of some among them. Not an exclusive but an open and positive pastoral approach towards persons who are separated, divorced or single parents, etc.

8 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS - OPEN & POSITIVE PASTORAL APPROACH (Contd.) Though the Catechism of the Catholic Church strongly disapproves homosexual acts, the same document takes a compassionate and non-judgemental approach to persons with such orientation. The same sentiment is also being echoed by Pope Francis “... They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” The same is resonated in Instrumentum Laboralis. Do not turn away same-sex parents who want their children to be baptized but to engage them in their ongoing spiritual development.

9 CHURCH & HIV/AIDS The Church provides support to millions of people living with HIV around the world – her service is recognized by various international bodies like UNAIDS and the UN. Co-operates closely for the elimination of new HIV infections in children, and keeping their mothers alive, as well as increasing access to antiretroviral medication. The International Bodies consider the Catholic Church’s position on AIDS prevention such as sexual abstinence before marriage, and monogamy inside marriage, are means of limiting the spread of the epidemic.

10 In Conclusion The Catholic Church’s pro-life approach promotes “the value and dignity of every individual as a human being, without any distinction of race, nationality, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation or social class,” taking a proactive stand for "culture of life" against “the culture of death” before birth and before time”.

11 In Conclusion (Contd.) Mr. Harsh Vardhan, the Health Minister of the newly elected Govt. under Mr. Narendra Modi in India, stated in an interview: that fidelity was a better AIDS prevention measure than condoms... integrate value education with course content.... focus on safe sex as a holistic concept which includes highlighting the role of "fidelity to single partners". The basics of all religions regarding sexual/marital discipline, sexual expression and the issues therewith may be ultimately the same The critical dogmas may not change but the way we handle the human beings affected by these dogmas and the issues they face do change.

12 In Conclusion (Contd.) The recent shift of approach or emphasis on how the Church handles her faithful affected by issues of sexuality certainly reflects Catholic Church’s “open and positive pastoral approach”. The Catholic Church along with other faith communities may have to and can play a greater role in de- constructing and eradicating the sexual Taboos that are barriers to communicating, preventing and controlling HIV, and providing care and suppor

13 My Heartfelt Thanks To the Organizing Team & All the Participants Of 20 th International AIDS Conference Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas, IMS Director General - CHAI


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