Priest Claims Church Must Rethink Its ‘Anachronistic’ Sexual Ethic

The Catholic Church’s “established, dogmatic models of the theological approach to sexuality have become anachronistic,” a moral theologian told a conference on sexuality and culture at the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome.

Developing a new theological ethics of sexuality is “a task for the entire church community,” Salesian Father Ronaldo Zacharias, a professor of moral theology at the Salesian University of São Paulo, told the conference March 21.

“We cannot ignore that in recent decades there has been a remarkable evolution regarding terminologies, concepts and descriptions related to sexuality,” he said, noting the strong influence such developments have had on people’s conceptions of their own sexuality.

The church, therefore, “should not talk about sexuality without considering the understanding we have of it today,” he said, while also keeping in mind potential problems with modern understandings of sexuality.

Citing the Brazilian theologian Augustinian Sister Ivone Gebara, he said that the church’s “theology of binary sexuality is no longer able to understand the complexity that we discover in ourselves.”

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