Sunday, July 6, 2008

from the Sydney Morning Herald...

(I found this while reading a rather disappointing article on WYD in the SMH; this one I thought was interesting, as it's a secular paper. I don't think it is the best "theology of the body" synopsis, but at least it's a start!)

Sex and the Vatican city: it can be awesome if you do it right
Sarah Price
July 6, 2008

SINGLE Catholics be warned. Sacred sex is awesome, the pill and condoms put people at risk and sex outside marriage can leave you with diseases you will pass on to your children.

In the official pilgrim guide for Catholic youth attending this month's World Youth Day celebrations, young singles are warned away from sex outside marriage because of a risk of severe consequences.

While extolling the virtues of sex within marriage and insisting the church thinks "sex is great" and "really is awesome" within marital bounds, the guide details a "dumb sex" story about a man who has sex for the first time when he was 18, drunk at a party.

A few celibate years later he falls in love with a virgin. They marry and have a baby but, at the age of three months, the doctor discovers warts growing in the child's throat.

"My wife was examined and warts were found in her vagina," it reads. "I was devastated. Here were the two most precious people in my life and my one-stupid-night-stand had given them something I never wanted."

The information, run over two pages headed "Sacred Sex, The Single Catholic's Guide", is in the 144-page World Youth Day 2008 Pilgrim Guide, a booklet that will go to all registered pilgrims.

Organisers are expecting up to 225,000 international and local pilgrims. Many will be staying in group accommodation at schools or church halls during a week that will culminate in a vigil at which tens of thousands are expected to sleep under the stars at Randwick Racecourse before the papal Mass.

"Society preaches condoms and the pill — it puts you at risk and keeps you isolated," the guide reads. "Yet the only way to fulfilling sexual intimacy is 'saved sex'. Go on - choose the best. You know it makes sense … Saved sex = awesome sex."

Sexual health expert Jill Michelson, operations manager for Marie Stopes International, said: "You need to ensure people have all their options available to them. In this particular story, you're talking about a couple who have contracted genital warts. If they had been doing the appropriate things, like using condoms and having sexual health check-ups, that wouldn't have occurred."

Mrs Michelson said the Catholic community promoted abstinence to singles, however, "in reality, we know that [abstinence] doesn't always occur".

Yesterday a World Youth Day spokesman said the story printed in the guide was from the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council and was simply reinforcing their message and "putting some of the facts before" pilgrims.

"The Catholic Church encourages young people to have a high level of self-esteem and respect for their bodies and to treat sexuality as something very special and valuable," he said.

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