Understanding human sexuality: personal, physical self- giving

In this field, the Church is strengthened by some unquestionable certainties ... Love is a gift of God, nourished by and expressed in the encounter of man and woman. Love is thus a positive force directed towards their growth towards maturity as persons. In the plan of life which represents each person's vocation, love is also a precious source for the self-giving which all men and woman are called to make for their own self-realization and happiness. In fact, man is called to love as an incarnate spirit, that is soul and body in the unity of the person. Human love hence embraces the body, and the body also expresses spiritual love.1 Therefore, sexuality is not something purely biological, rather it concerns the intimate nucleus of the person. The use of sexuality as physical giving has its own truth and reaches its full meaning when it expresses the personal giving of man and woman even unto death.

From THE TRUTH AND MEANING OF HUMAN SEXUALITY: Guidelines for Education within the Family (THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY, Rome 1995), #3

Excerpted and presented by the Catholic Perspectives project at the Caltech Newman Center