Anne Lastman

St Paul’s linking of the one flesh union of the man and the woman is the mirror of Christ as bridegroom and the church as his bride.

It’s the conjugal union, or marriage act, when pure and truthful in its entirety, that is clearly illuminated by God and seen as the continuation of His own work and the ecstasy with which He created.

It’s in the seeing of the marital act in the light of the Holy Spirit that the “sacramentality” of marriage is clearly visible.

The body is a sacrament because it makes visible the invisible, just like Jesus in taking on a human flesh (body) made visible for us God, so the body makes visible what is invisible and spiritual.

The language of the body is always meant to be the language of love and truth, because the Nephesh breathed over it is divine.

The body is infused with the language of love with the Nephesh.

To protect marriage from false love these are the needs. Free. Fruitful. Faithful. Total.

When the minister asks at the covenant making moment “do you come freely, without reservation, will you be faithful, will you be fruitful (accept children)” and the answer is Yes, then there is a fulfilment of all the requirements Free.Fruitfull.Faithful. Total. The promises and vows.

Then there is the visible sign of signing the marriage contract. That is the sign of covenant. The visible sign.

This sign of covenant is followed by the (invisible) private at the consummation of marriage. Intercourse enfleshes what has been voiced, signed and promised, and this then is where men and women incarnate divine love.

Every time couples make love, there is a renewal of covenant promises to be faithful, fruitful, whole, and free.

With the body the couple answer yes to the promises made.

In the acceptance of “yes” the couple fulfils the faithful, free, fruitful and total requirements of covenant stipulations which continue to unfold and become enriched throughout life and continue to unfold the great mystery which is life.

Do pornography, masturbation, homosexual acts, fornication acts fulfil the four requirements of Agape love? No. And does contraception fulfil the requirement of agape love or sacramental love. No because contraception blocks, all the 4 requirements.

Whenever the marital act is divorced from its primary orientation (life) it becomes confused and then it no longer becomes necessary to marry. This we see clearly in a society that we have today in which heterosexual couples “live together” rather than make commitment for life. We have homosexual couples demanding recognition as a validly composed couple and demanding adoption and marriage recognition rights.

The homosexual coupling and the emergence of the demands for recognition has happened because sexuality has been divorced from its primary orientation. Life. The homosexual demand for recognition of coupling as marriage covenant is a caricature of the original covenant of marriage. This coupling, even in their utmost sincerity, cannot fulfil the four requirements, most of all “fruitfulness.”

Where marriage was originally intended to demonstrate or make visible the creative life of God, in its faithfulness, fruitfulness, fullness, free, the homosexual/lesbian sexual act is devoid of this creativity, It is always inclined towards the “me” and not the “other.” Indeed it is the antithesis of all that is life giving and life continuing as instruments of God.

Today, we have open fornication with children as young as 11 years of age engaging in intercourse and aborting as young as 12 years. We have abortion as a “right” not even if needed but as a “right” (which in itself is perversion of what is good and holy) and in holocaust proportions.

What got us to the place of culture of death? Contraception.

Until 1930 all Christian denominations stood together against the sterilising of the marital act. Then in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference UK the Anglican Church broke away from previous 2000 years of common belief about the sacredness of the marital act, and decided that contraception within marriage for the spacing of children was acceptable. This set into motion the sexual revolution. It slowly lead to the drug confused 60s and was fuel to speed this revolution.

In 1968 the Holy Father Paul VI published Humanae Vitae (Of human life). This document attempted to curb the sexual revolution and tried to speak to the catholic population that it is very sinful to contracept. That it broke the covenant promises made, and opened the doorway for marriage to be destabilised. If would further lead the male to lose respect for his beloved spouse and see her as someone to be used. (HV. 17).

When contracepting the body is confused and speaks not the language of truth with its orientation towards “Life” but it speaks a language of falsehood with its orientation towards “lust,” and the human vocation of co operation with God in bringing forth new life and new future, is dimmed (HV 7) The vocation to discover the mystery of life is also dimmed.

Contraception proclaims that God is not life-giving but a repetition of the lie spoken by the father of lies, (Gen: 3:5) and it’s death dealing. With contraception there is no life only sterility. God is life giving Love. (Ps 103). Contraception is anti life anti love and does violence to the design of the body. The violence may then be seen in illness, cancers which relate to life areas of the body, mental health issues, (guilt) and in the disrespect shown to the human body in the demands that are made of it including abortion because its not a child but cells.

The document Humane Vitae was written for the whole church and all “sons and daughters” (humanity) with the highest ideal in mind. Something for all humanity to aspire, believe, and live out, and pleads with the Almighty to help achieve this excellent love.

If Humanae Vitae has proven an impossibility for most women, perhaps the answer to the problem is that women thought it was written for them alone (tablet once a day) and not for both of the couple.

Humanae Vitae understood and practised by the woman alone cannot possibly work, practised alone by the male cannot possibly work because it is a document for the married couple. It’s about their intimacy and love and co operation and a knowledge and respect and love for each other’s body. When this is accomplished then Humane Vitae will make sense. Goodwill and obedience amongst the catholic couple population is the most difficult aspect of Humanae Vitae, not the document itself. There needs to be an exegesis of the document, then a promulgation of the document by couples themselves who believe, practice, and love the document. “ Thus there comes to be included in the vast pattern of the vocation of the laity a new and most noteworthy form of the apostolate of like to like: it is married couples themselves who become apostles and guides to other married couples” (HV 26). This is why I think that Humanae Vitae has been short-changed, because we waited for priests (who are meant to be celibate) to preach on it. Couples who live HV are the best teachers.

Humane Vitae needs to be made a marriage preparation priority but in a language understood by the marrying couple, not to frighten them but to help them see the glory that God is calling them to share in.

The Church has always seen human sexuality as being expressive of the greatness and grandeur of human love which is holy, and sanctifying. However, there has to be a willingness (especially in this over sexualised milieu) to study this very important topic, to discover what the real meaning and truth of human sexuality is and to glimpse the glory inherent in it, but also to glimpse the potential ugliness, if abused.

It’s interesting that God chose the conjugal act in order to show His intention for the creation of a new human being. That is how holy it’s meant to be. Yet, today’s understanding about sexuality is so different that the creative work (conception) of God is not seen as Holy, but disposable at will in millions upon millions (abortions).

Anne Lastman B.A. (Psy/ Rel Stds) Dip. Ed., M Rel. ed. MA (theol. Stds) Member Aust Couns. Assoc. (Level 3) Mem. Fed. Victoria Counsellors. Mem. ACA College of Loss & Grief (Level 3) Founder Victims of Abortion Trauma Counselling and Info Services, O Box 6094 Vermont South, 3133. Victoria…Australia +61 408175033.