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Valuing authentic relationships


In the face of widespread sexual promiscuity and strong negativity toward official Catholic teaching, the church needs to connect with the deepest hopes of its members by calling them to sexual relationships that are “authentic, vulnerable, and committed.”

I have taught a course called “Sex, Gender, and Christian Ethics” at St Louis University for nearly a decade. In it we read from the book Sex and the Soul (Oxford University Press), in which author Donna Freitas describes the sexual “hook-up culture” that permeates the vast majority of college campuses.

Though hook-up culture is an undeniably strong force, my experience in the classroom leads me to believe that young adults cannot be characterised this simply or this negatively.

The students I see value strong, committed relationships, even if they haven’t managed to have one yet. They want to know and be known by someone special. They yearn to be real, to be authentic, to be themselves.

In spite of their busy lives they find time to celebrate, commiserate, and hang out with friends. They are deeply committed to accepting people in spite of differences and failures. Yet many have found little in the church that is relevant to the relational side of their lives—the very thing they value most.


Looking at love and relationships (US Catholic)

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