Category Archives: Sexual morality

Detailed Regulation of Marital Sex is an Invasion of Privacy

Does a detailed focus on the morality of actions a married couple while “making love” interfere with the privacy necessary for the good of intimacy? I am thinking especially of sexual moral casuistry coming from a religion. There is a natural sexual morality but religious embellishments of this natural morality brings in outsiders, viz.,the religious moral casuists who monitor “bedroom behavior.” It is disrespecting the privacy of a married couple to speculate, let alone evaluate, what they do for arousal, foreplay and erotic joy. Natural sexual morality shows that there should be no intention to have the husband ejaculate outside his wife’s vagina. That would be an intention to stop the basic human good of procreation. The language of their bodies tells them “that’s not the life giving way for it to happen.”

Natural morality without aid of moral theological casuists tells them coitus interruptus, use of condoms, fellatio up to ejaculation, anal intercourse to ejaculation are wrong. However, cunnilingus and other stimulation to bring the wife to climax are not naturally immoral. But it is best not to think about these kinds of topics; especially with respect to other couples.

What I have written directly conflicts with the opinions of a lay Catholic theologian, Ron Conte Jr. presented in a blog post Grave Sins . I have endorsed the so-called “One rule” Conte condemns.

Conte wrote “Over at a popular Catholic discussion group, a question is frequently raised as to which sexual acts are moral in the marital bedroom. And unfailingly several Catholics will emphatically and even angrily assert that all sexual acts are moral for the spouses, as long as the husband intends to ‘complete the act’ (so to speak) in the natural manner. This “one rule”, as it is sometimes called, has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of the Church on the basic principles of ethics, nor on sexual sins more specifically. If a sexual act is immoral to do apart from natural marital relations, then it is immoral to do in conjunction with the natural act.”

The concept of sexual act is vague. But the vagueness does not prevent people from using it carefully For instance, Conte quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Each and every sexual act in a marriage needs to be open to the possibility of conceiving a child.” [p. 409]. In this context, the authors of the catechism are thinking of coitus of a married couple. They are expressing the decision of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. They are offering moral guidance on birth control. Especially, they are pointing out that the possibility of conception for coitus cannot be directly inhibited even if on the whole their coitus conception is not intentionally blocked.

It is not misusing the concept of sexual act to characterize a woman handling a man’s penis as a sexual act or a man placing his hand on a woman’s vagina as a sexual act. Outside of marriage depending upon circumstances people handling the genitalia of the other sex, is immoral. So, there are case of sexual acts outside marriage being immoral. But handling the genitalia of one another is not immoral for a married couple. Indeed, coitus outside marriage is immoral but not withing marriage. So, Conte’s principle that marriage is not a morally relevant circumstance is incorrect.

He quotes Alice and Dietrich von Hildebrand as characterizing some sexual acts as pornification of marriage. Yes, if we start to think about what some couples might do for foreplay and sexual arousal, we think of what would be pornography. These thoughts are like a masturbator’s fantasies. So, we should not think that way. The couple making love are not making pornography. They are acting in private for their own good of marital relations. It is only pornography to outsiders who imagine what they are doing. We ought not violate marital privacy in this way.

Sexual Privacy Necessary for New Life

In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, I appealed to the decent opinion of humankind to recognize my right to criticize the LBGTQ+ agenda as promoting immorality. In general, I exercise this right by defending traditional sexual morality. In particular, I illustrate defending traditional sexual morality by making a case that coitus in public is immoral. This apparently unusual issue may diminish anxieties that criticism is based on some non-moral tabu about the sexuality of LGBQT+ people.

An example shows how public coitus could be a reality for “ordinary” people. Massive pornography shows that public coitus is all too real. The standard careless utilitarian reasoning, preaching that what does not hurt anyone is permissible, is unable to locate any immorality in the example scenario. In search of alternative ways of reasoning about sexual morality, I turn to ancient Greece. We read of the Cynic Philosopher Crates morally criticizing his wife Hipparchia for being ashamed of public coitus. I dismiss Crates’ non-utilitarian reasoning for thinking that it is positively moral. I go on to set aside St. Augustine’s non-utilitarian reason criticizing Crates. Then combining elements of the new natural law morality of G. Grisez et al. , Kantianism and St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, I offer a line of reasoning to a conclusion that the marriage act, the coitus of a married couple, ought not be public. I indicate how a persuasive case can be made for crucial premises in the line of reasoning. The case for the premises uncovers the moral requirements inherent in sexuality. This shows that reasoning about sexual morality is not topic neutral; that sexuality is not morally neutral.

Dan and Lisa are hosting a small party in their apartment after returning from their honeymoon. The guests are two couples they have known since high school. After drinking a little wine, there’s a little bawdy chatter about how married life is really pretty good. As a serpent in Eden, someone proposes to the newlyweds “Why don’t you guys strip down and show us some of the kinky tricks you learned on your honeymoon?” Stunned silence, nervous laughter, then “”No, no, not really kinky” from Lisa. More suggestive remarks suggestive remarks. With more cajoling from the others, Lisa seems to waver. That breaks down all of Dan’s hesitation; Lisa and Dan start pawing on one another. They quickly pull off each others’ clothes to engage in especially passionate love-making inflamed by wine and the sense of being watched. With nervous “good by’s” the party prematurely dissolves.

There is no going back. Eden is no more.

Why was their love-making immoral? Immediately, we try to answer with what can be considered standard moral reasoning about sexuality. What harm was done? We can quickly imagine all sorts of disastrous consequences. Regret and shame might destroy their respect and love for each other leading to early divorce. But this example has been proposed for philosophic consideration of the issue. So, details are added setting aside all possibilities of physical or emotional harm. First might be added the detail that pregnancy resulting from this marriage act was highly desired by Dan and Lisa. Questions about emotional damage are set aside by specifying that somehow all present enjoyed a type of amnesia about the event. So, when all possibilities of physical or mental harm have been ruled out, standard moral reasoning leaves us with no resources for saying that anything wrong – morally wrong occurred. It is fair to require those of us who want to show that a type of act is intrinsically wrong to consider the act abstracted from all non-moral harm. It must be shown that it is wrong regardless of the consequences.

For perspective, let us look back to Athens around 300BC. In the Hipparchia article in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, we can read

[…] Crates of Thebes…was so passionate about Cynic ideas that, leaving behind the wealth of his father, he moved to Athens with his wife Hipparchia, who was an equally zealous follower of his doctrine. And when he wanted to lie down with her in public, and she…pulled over her cloak as a cover, she was scolded by her husband: “obviously you are not yet wise,” he said, “since you don’t dare to do in the presence of others what you know well to be the right thing to do.”
The story of Hipparchia’s Cynic marriage quickly became the premiere example of that virtue, which is based on the Cynic belief that any actions virtuous enough to be done in private are no less virtuous when performed in public. As exemplars of anaideia, Hipparchia and Crates influenced their pupil Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism.

About six hundred years later, St. Augustine comments on this case.

It is this which those canine or cynic philosophers have overlooked, when they have, in violation of the modest instincts of men, boastfully proclaimed their unclean and shameless opinion, worthy indeed of dogs, viz., that as the matrimonial act is legitimate, no one should be ashamed to perform it openly, in the street or in any public place. Instinctive shame has overborne this wild fancy. For though it is related that Diogenes once dared to put his opinion in practice, under the impression that his sect would be all the more famous if his egregious shamelessness were deeply graven in the memory of mankind, yet this example was not afterwards followed. Shame had more influence with them, to make them blush before men, than error to make them affect a resemblance to dogs. And possibly, even in the case of Diogenes, and those who did imitate him, there was but an appearance and pretense of copulation, and not the reality. Even at this day there are still Cynic philosophers to be seen; for these are Cynics who are not content with being clad in the pallium, but also carry a club; yet no one of them dares to do this that we speak of. If they did, they would be spat upon, not to say stoned, by the
mob. Human nature, then, is without doubt ashamed of this lust; and justly so, for the insubordination of these members, and their defiance of the will, are the clear testimony of the punishment of man’s first sin. And it was fitting that this should appear specially in those parts by which is generated that nature which has been altered for the worse by that first and great sin—that sin from whose evil connection no one can escape, unless God’s grace expiate in him individually that which was perpetrated to the destruction of all in common, when all were in one man, and which was avenged by God’s justice. Augustine, City of God Book 14.20*

Let us examine the reasoning.

I interpret Crates’ browbeating Hipparchia that she should not be ashamed to have coitus in public with him as follows.

Coitus with me is morally permissible in private.
What is morally permissible in private is morally permissible in public.
Hence, coitus with me is morally permissible in public.
Shame which is based on public opinion but not nature inhibits you from engaging in public coitus with me.
You ought not let that which does not come from nature inhibit you from engaging in public coitus with me.
So, you ought not let shame inhibit you from engaging in public coitus with me.

The argument demands Hipparchia work on developing the Cynic virtue of anaideia (an-ah’-ee-die-ah’ ) which means shamelessness.

Crates’ line of reasoning to twist Hipparchia loving him into a means for making a philosophic statement is terrible.

What is right in private may be wrong in public. A guideline for good management of employees is” Criticize in private, praise in public.” He assumes a ridiculously reductive sense of human nature. What is not natural for dogs who have no culture by nature is not natural for humans who by nature have cultures.

Augustine is not foolish as Crates. Mostly from the later part of the passage, I interpret Augustine as arguing that Hipparchia ought to let shame inhibit her from engaging in public coitus with Crates.

Shame is the instinct we have for hiding from public view that which clearly exhibits our fallen nature.
Actions which clearly exhibit being driven by passion far more than reason clearly exhibit our fallen nature.
Coitus is an action which clearly exhibits being driven by passion far more than reason.
So, coitus clearly exhibits our fallen nature.
We ought not clearly exhibit our fallen nature.
So, we ought to use shame to hide coitus from public view.

Augustine is correct about our being fallen creatures. To say that we are fallen creatures is to say that human beings collectively and individually are not as they ought to be. We are fallen creatures. However, admitting our falleness does not require admitting that what is good for us is any less good than “before the fall.” Our falleness resides in the weakness of intellect and will to know what is good and then choose correctly from what is good. In particular, coitus with its special mixture of thought and sentiment might well be as good now as “before the fall.” Actions driven far more by passion than reason do not clearly exhibit our fallen nature.

This critique of Augustine segues to a line of argument basing sexual morality on the goodness of sexuality

Sexual intimacy is a basic human good.
Sexual intimacy requires privacy.
To intentionally choose to engage in the marriage act in public is to intentionally choose to inhibit the basic good of intimacy.
One ought to never intentionally choose to inhibit a basic human good.
So, one ought never intentionally choose to engage in the marriage act in public.

The marriage act is a tri-partite basic human good. Conception, sexual pleasure and intimacy are the three components. The focus is on intimacy. Long discussion of conception , sexual pleasure and their connection to intimacy would distract from the line of argument. Contrary to Augustine, note in passing that a component of the good of the marriage act is a special type of pleasure, or erotic joy, whose moral value ought not be overlooked. At the right time, in the right way, with the right person sex is and ought to be sexy.

Why, though, is in private the right way? The marriage act is doubly life giving. It is the biological procreative act and the human act for creating and re-creating the life long one flesh entity of a man and woman. It is to be life long for to bring to life that unity with an explicit or implicit intention to not hold the unity is to intend to abort the new life being created. A couple seeks privacy so that they can say, or signal, to one another “Right now, we have no interest but each other .” They strive to be one. They need, or need to be seeking, that aloneness so that they have nothing else to pull them apart. To intentionally preclude the possibility of that solitude necessary for that unity of will is to preclude the basic human good of the one flesh unity of a man and woman.

I could go on trying to articulate the necessity of privacy for the one flesh unity. It is important that this task can be left for non-philosophers. If intimacy is a basic human good, then its being so and its necessary conditions are accessible to all. The best support for the premises of my line of reasoning is the testimony of sensitive, wise and experienced men and women. Traditional sexual morality is to be defended by those who realize its truth. Philosophers only point out crucial premises for which testimony is needed.

In closing, reconsider how that night might have struck at the unity of Dan and Lisa. Imagine two continuation of their lives.

Dan and Lisa are mortified. They cannot believe they did what they did that night. Trust in themselves and one shaken. With our ability to push to the back of our minds the many stupid things we do in our youth, they go on with their lives as if it never happened. Yet, there is a new sadness in their lives. But life goes on. They delight in the daughter born nine months after that night. Over the next few years, they are feel blessed with two boys. In the eyes of their children their unity is being parents. God has forgiven them, long before they forgive themselves.

Dan and Lisa are surprised and delighted about how bold they can be in pursuit of sexual excitement. After that night, they start seeking out other couples interested in group sex. In the eyes of the group sex subculture, their unity is that of a team seeking sexual excitement.

Venial sins wound the soul. Mortal sins kill the soul.

*Source. Translated by Marcus Dods. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.)

With What Right Do I Accuse The LGBQT+ Agenda of Promoting Sexual Immorality?

During the eight years since I published a book on sexual morality, I have been reflecting on how to strengthen my case for a fundamental principle of male sexuality. I called it the Paternal Principle.

A free copy of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism is available by emailing me at

The Paternal Principle states:
A male may intentionally attain a sexual climax only in coitus, performed in private, with a consenting woman to whom he is bound by a life-long, monogamous, socially recognized union for procreation, In addition he should:(1) intend to cooperate with his spouse to protect and promote the lifelong natural development of any conception resulting from this intercourse and (2) strive to appreciate with his spouse the natural value of their sexual satisfactions and cooperate with her to enhance those satisfactions.

Of course, someone who accepts this principle, such as I, condemn the LGBQT+ agenda as promoting sexual immorality. Why do I seek to improve a case for this principle since I already accept it? It is always well to seek further support for our beliefs. But my primary motive for seeking a strong persuasive case for this principle is to justify my actions of condemning the dominant current sexual morality of the cultures in which I live. Analogous to religious apologetics, my work is sexual morality apologetics. I aim to provide considerations for public discourse because a decent respect for the opinion of humankind requires explaining rejection the dominant opinion.

The explanation for upholding what can be called traditional sexual morality is long. I have been working it out in my book and in numerous blog posts ever since. For the most part I use only assumptions everyone can understand. The assumptions about God and the supernatural are only introduced to strengthen my case for the religiously inclined. Now, as my dismissal of formal arguments as satisfactory arguments indicate, my explanation needs to be given in a book or series of essays. I have these available. Readers can click back through my posts. I will continue providing the bits and pieces of my rationale for condemning the LGBQT+ agenda in subsequently blog posts.

There is, though, a verbally short consideration which may take a long time to follow. The verbally short consideration is for men to just think honestly about their sexuality. This honest thinking may take some time. In my eighty-seven years, feedback from my body has convinced me that the principle is correct.

Divine Commands and Theology of the Body I

This is not an interpretation of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. This post dismisses what is most likely a misinterpretation.

I have read all of John Paul II’s Angelus Addresses collectively titled “Theology of the Body.” I have read much, if not all, of Christopher West’s Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary of John Paul II’s “Gospel of the Body”, Boston, 2003. In 2005, I bought West’s book at St. Therese’s Retreat House in Columbus, Ohio where I was making a weekend retreat with talks by Fr. Joseph Murphy from Josephinum Seminary on the theology of the body. Five years ago, I completed a six week On-line STEP course offered by the McGraft Institute at the University of Notre Dame titled “Theology of the Body.”

So far, however, I have not appreciated of the theology of the body. I keep trying to use its major themes to formulate compelling premises in arguments about sexuality. Because of my focus on finding compelling premises I did not use any theology of the body themes in my book making a case for traditional Catholic male sexual morality. A free copy of my book: Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism Tulsa 2014 is available by emailing

I can outline formal arguments with premises and conclusion which are most likely caricatures of the moral reasoning implicit in the theology of the body. My understanding does not enable me to do more. Below is an example of such a caricature condemning artificial birth control addressed to married couples in general who engage in coitus with chemical or mechanical means in place to stop conception.

An argument against contraception by technical means is appropriate for illustrating use of themes from theology of the body. For, it seems to me, that most people who take an interest in theology of the body are concerned with how well, or poorly, it supports Paul V’s 1968 condemnation of birth control in his encyclical Humanae Vitae .

The theology of the body theme I use is that actions of our bodies make statements. These bodily statements can be attributed to both us and God. They can be attributed to us because we perform the actions. They can also be attributed to God because in creation of nature God created our bodies to make these statements with bodily actions. Characterization of bodily actions as statements of God makes this theology of the body.

It is not bizarre to interpret bodily actions as giving information. A zoologist from another planet studying the human species could properly interpret the actions of a couple courting and then copulating as giving the information that they are engaging in reproduction of the species. And it is not too far fetched to regard the information given as a statement having been made.

1. If you engage in coitus, what God by nature has your bodies say is ”We are promoting conception.”
2. If you intend to prevent conception in coitus, you have your bodies say “We are not promoting conception. “ (Bodily actions of putting birth control devices in place make statements in body language.)
So, (3) if you engage in coitus and intend to prevent conception, you have your bodies contradict what God says your bodies are doing.
4. You ought not contradict what God says by nature, your bodies are doing
So, (5) you ought not have your bodies say, “We are not promoting conception.”
Hence, finally,(6) you ought not engage in coitus and intend to prevent conception.

I dismiss this type of reasoning because premise (4) is too vague to be accepted as correct. I accept that God has, by the nature He has created, given human bodies the capacity to give messages. Indeed, my project is to make sense of God giving us moral commands by what happens in our bodies. Here, I want only to offer a reminder that frequently what we ought to do is have our bodies conflict with what our bodies say by nature.

For instance, suppose I am very tired and have a severe headache. When sitting by myself, my bodily action is looking miserable and holding my head. I hear someone coming to whom I should appear welcoming. I perk up to look normal. I have my body contradict what my body is now saying silently.

I could go on to remind us how much of the development of virtue requires making our bodies act in a way conflicting with what our bodies naturally say.

Also, there are many cases in which a physical description of what we do can be described as injuring a person. However, if this injuring, eg. surgery, can be described as not injuring the person.

I stop this critique of this caricature argument because it drifts into a critique of those caricatures of natural law moral reasoning. The caricatures of natural law moral reasoning are criticized by attributing to them a premise to the effect that we ought never inhibit natural processes.

There are two flaws in my caricature of theology of the body reasoning.

The first law is to interpret what the body says by nature, and hence by God, are only indicative claims about what is being done. I need to work on making sense of holding that what the body says by nature, and hence by God, are also imperatives; hence, divine commands.

The second and more serious flaw in the caricature argument is my presupposition that constructing formal premise and conclusion arguments is of fundamental importance in moral reasoning. This is the erroneous presupposition that the argument gives the imperative. Or more accurately: There is a presupposition that intelligent readers or hearers of the argument receive an imperative when they reach the conclusion. Presumably, God, reason, morality or whatever the moral authority might be uses arguments as the transmitters of moral commands.

I shall go on to outline a theology of the body for sexual morality. But John Paul II et al. cannot be blamed for it. Moral arguments will have the exhortative function of directing us to pay attention to features of our bodies to receive moral imperatives from these bodily features. The theological presupposition is that God’s commands are these bodily imperatives.

Moral Deism is Not an Antidote to Nihilism

How are divine commands are given and received?

I have long set aside confronting this apparently fundamental question for any divine command moral theory. I had no idea of how to start answering. I dreaded the prospect of inventing a scenario in which “God the angels and saints” somehow told people what to do. It would appear as silly superstition.

Do I need to give any account of the origin, development and functioning of morality as divine executive action? I interpret morality as divine commands. In philosophy, interpretation can be used as a “reduction operator.” How so? The interpretation for the facts is provided after the facts are obtained. The interpretation of the facts is to be given regardless of what the facts are. Hence, the questions of what the facts are reduce to questions not using the concepts of the interpretation. For instance, many of us interpret the universe as created and sustained by God – the Transcendent. But we rely on natural science using no theistic concepts to describe and explain God’s universe. God, so to speak, is acknowledged after the facts. So, the question “How are divine commands given and received?” reduces to “How are moral commands given and received?” This last question is a question for scientific but also ordinary human knowledge “How is morality discovered and transmitted throughout humankind?”

This question is to be answered as much as possible by natural sciences and then the answer receives a supernatural interpretation. Nothing is changed about the content of morality. Psychology and sociology are needed to tell us how morality is attained in individuals and transmitted in communities. I add “ordinary human knowledge” because natural science is not capable of describing and explaining all morality. To talk of morality, we need some basic “supernatural concepts.” These are not necessarily theistic concepts but they are concepts of the supernatural, as I have characterized supernatural.” There are basic notions of morality: Obligation, good and free will. Normative agent causation – free will—is part of ordinary understanding of morality; it is not explicable by natural sciences.

My regarding moral talk as using supernatural concepts is not bizarre. With increasing secularization fusing moral talk with theistic notions may decrease. But currently it is common to talk as if God, if such there be, would not be pleased with great cruelty. Indeed, people who profess atheism because of the evil in the world, think of God and morality as closely connected. It is certainly not bizarre to point out that ordinary talk is filled with supernatural concepts; vague as they may be. Presidents end speeches with “God bless America.”

What is the result of using interpretation of morality as divine commands as a reduction operator accomplished? It has led to moral deism.

Unfortunately, moral deism undercuts the rationale for understanding morality as based on divine commands. Man is still the measure of all things. Whatever man measures is interpreted as what God commands. God is not cited in moral reasoning. When moral deism is connected with deism about nature, as is logical, then there is an effort to explain the main psychological fact supporting authoritative morality as a purely natural fact. This psychological fact is the sense of transparency. All our actions are known to whatever it is behind morality. Explaining away transparency explains away a moral authority. Setting aside a moral authority sets aside the main reason for developing a divine command interpretation of morality. See Transparency for a discussion of the notion of whatever we do being exposed to the moral authority.

I am moving very quickly here. I’ll have to remedy this later. Moral deism is not an adequate antidote to nihilism. It evaporates into secularism with consequentialism as the only plausible types of moral theory.

To propose a significant divine command morality, I need to add some factual claims that will entail in conjunction with my theory of authoritarian morality some moral claims that some others will reject. To harken back to positivism of the twentieth century, I need to have falsification conditions for my divine command theory for it to be meaningful. This will mean that I have to profess as true some facts with moral implications. I will not write of God the angels and saints speaking to us. I will be writing under the influence of a religion, my Catholicism, as a basis for understanding human nature. I will not cite Catholic teaching. But I am sure they influence me. I will use this understanding of human nature, a Catholic anthropology, as a foundation for morality. Moral arguments will ultimately refer to facts about human nature. But this will be a human nature understood as given by God with moral implications.

God gave us his moral commands in the way he created our minds and bodies. Since, in humans mind and body are inseparable, we can say God gave us moral commands in how He built our bodies.

Since sexual morality is on use of our bodies, it might be well to investigate sexual morality to see if we can uncover how God gave us built sexual morality into our bodies.

Pregnancy is Not Sexual

How are moral commands given?

In my effort to characterize how God’s moral commands are given and received, I start by describing ways we might block ourselves from hearing divine commands. Perhaps, knowing how we suppress them will show what we are suppressing.

These ways of deafening ourselves to divine commands are commonly called “rationalizations.” Not all rationalizations are conscious. Indeed, becoming aware of a rationalization may facilitate hearing the divine moral command. For often the rationalizations expose themselves as poor reasoning once they become explicit.

In my previous post, I sketched out a far-fetched rationalization for abortion. See “Abortion Stops a Coitus.” The foundation for this far-fetched rationalization is a very popular belief which to many sounds like common sense. The foundational belief is the moral neutrality of sexuality. I regard the moral neutrality of sexuality as the major rationalization deafening the opinion forming elites to divine moral commands for sexuality. If pregnancy is morally neutral, abortion can be justifed on utilitarian grounds.

I continue to criticize the moral neutrality of sexuality by showing how it supports another far-fetched rationalization for abortion. I expose it as leading implicitly to an absurd extension of the sexual. The gist of the rationalization is that pregnancy is a sexual matter and because sexual matters are morally neutral so is pregnancy

How could the condition of pregnancy be regarded as sexual? One way is the far-fetched rationale I gave in my previous post is that pregnancy is still sexual because it began with sexual intercourse. Another way is to extend the imprecise, but legitimate and important, notion of sexual privacy to pregnancy.

The notion of sexual privacy needs much examination and clarification. But I think that any analysis of sexual privacy will admit that there is such a thing and that whatever it exactly may be the first premise of the syllogism below is true. However, such an analysis will expose, I believe, that only a desire to justify abortion by making pregnancy morally neutral leads to the second premise.

What is sexually private to a woman is something with which a woman may treat according to her will.
Her pregnancy is something sexually private to a woman.
Hence, her pregnancy is something with which a woman may treat according to her will.

Abortion Terminates a Coitus; Not a Human Life. What??

Consider a defense of abortion which I have never heard anyone present. I present it to show the baneful distortions in thinking stemming from accepting the moral neutrality of sexuality.

Abortion is categorically prohibited even for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape. Abortions are direct intentional stopping a human life. It is a hard teaching. Much grievous individual and social pain is eliminable by some abortions.

Why do so many decent people ignore the fact that abortion is an intentional direct taking of a human life? Many of my fellow Catholics simply will not look at abortion as murder. They look only at the problems to be solved by termination of a pregnancy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most of these decent people also accept the moral neutrality of sexuality. What I want to show is that looking at pregnancy in a certain way along with accepting the moral neutrality of sexuality provides a moral defense of abortion. If people unconsciously look at pregnancy in this certain way to justify abortion, then we have an explanation of why decent people vigorously defend abortion.

What is this special way of looking at pregnancy? It is looking at pregnancy as a continuation of coitus. Of course, this is far fetched but not totally incoherent. When exactly does coitus end? Upon ejaculation the male might be pretty well finished. But coitus is a mutual act and it is not clear that the woman’s part is over once the man withdraws. It is possible to consider fertilization as a continuation of a single mutual action of ovulation and ejaculation. I do not want to continue with details because this is all fuzzy thinking. The point I want to make is that there is a line of loose unconscious thinking which connects pregnancy primarily with sexuality for moral purposes. Indeed the exception some ardent pro-lifers grant to allow abortions for pregnancy starting from an incestual coitus or rape suggests that they may be identifying these pregnancies as parts of impermissible sex acts.

If pregnancy, for moral purposes, is looked at primarily as a condition connected with the coitus initiating it, then continuation or termination of the pregnancy falls under sexual morality. In the very widely held stance of moral neutrality of sexuality, viz., there are no categorical prohibitions of any sexual act, then abortion is open to being justified by references to its consequences.

An ultra sound is a fact check showing that pregnancy is no longer a matter of sexual morality.

Gibt es Kein Gott, nur die Pflicht steht gegen das Nichts

The title of this post is taken from p. 269 of my book on sexual morality -actually only male sexuality- where I asked indulgence to speak as a Teutonic philosopher to express the major premise of my case for traditional male sexual morality. That major premise in English runs: If there is no God, then only duty provides us something indestructible to have lived for when at biological death each of us confronts totally vanishing if there has been nothing indestructible in our lives for which we lived. Nihilism is accepting your vanishing.

When asked for a short answer about what I wanted to show in my book claiming in its title that traditional sexual morality is an antidote to nihilism, I begin my answer with a warning that I try to use only assumptions which can be accepted by secular analytic philosophers. (Frequently, fellow Catholics ask me what I was trying to show.)

I address those who sense some anxiety about nihilism when they consider their biological death. I do not address the blessed innocents, even if intellectual geniuses, who sense no such anxiety.

I argue that living to make ourselves people who obey invariant moral laws is something indestructible in ourselves for which to live – that is duty die Pflicht. I go on to argue that we must find such laws governing our sexuality. I continue my argument by pointing out that if we do not find them in our sexuality, we are unlikely to admit such laws as governing any other area of our lives.

So, if there is no God in any traditional sense and no traditional sexual morality, then for each of us biological death is eternal total annihilation.

Perhaps, the implicit recognition of the nihilism conveyed by the moral thought of global elites helps explain the terror of COVID-19 infections. The prospect of infection, with even a slight chance of biological death, makes vivid “vanishing into the infinite pit of nothing” -total emptiness.

I worry that finding the meaning of life in conformity to moral laws is very close to nihilism. Most of my philosophic thought is a struggle against nihilism. So since publishing my book in 2014, I have been searching to find more in morality than laws.

I have found much more. The thought which has exploded into a rich picture of morality has been the hypothesis that the harm of violating a moral law is creation of a new moral law that some harm ought to be. This notion of a moral harm has led to personalizing morality as obedience to a moral authority which finally I interpreted as God. That is why in subsequent posts, I defend and develop a divine command morality. I have set aside the hypothesis: Gibt es kein Gott.

Email me your postal mailing address, and I will mail you a free copy of my booK: Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional sexual morality as an antidote to nihilism, Tulsa 2014.


Why the Modest Goal of Moral Apologetics?

In my previous post I wrote the following about the purpose of making a case making a case for a moral principle commanding what could accurately be labeled “Traditional Catholic Sexual Morality.

“We seek assent, even if grudgingly granted to our rationality and decency along with assenting to the claim that the principle we are defending is not irrational. Seeking that type of assent for a moral principle can properly be called moral apologetics.

Why do I take such a humble stance? I satisfy myself with moral apologetics because of the community I hope to reach. I a addressing the secular, or de facto secular, community of progressive and dominant opinion on sexual morality in the early twenty first century.

This dominant opinion forming community accepts, explicitly or implicitly, the moral neutrality of sexuality. Those who hold this view hold that in principle no sexual act is morally wrong. Immoral sexual acts, if any, are determined by the circumstances in which the act is performed, the intentions of the actors and the consequences of the act.

Amongst progressives the moral neutrality of sexuality is regarded as almost self-evident. I have set myself the task of confronting the dominant view on sexual morality with arguments to dislodge any assumption of self evidence and prerogative of moral decency for the moral neutrality of sexuality.

In my book I made clear that my goal was moral apologetics to contemporary secular society. Unfortunately, my book has probably never been read; let alone reviewed.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. See Ch. I in which I explicitly acknowledge that my goal is moral apologetics. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.

To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

There Ought to Be Suffering

This post interrupts the line of thought in my past several posts. That line of thought was why and how should we try to prove a moral principle. Here I return to the theme of moral harm as harm which ought to be as a result of violating a moral principle. I do not want reflections on proving a moral principle to lead me away from exploring implications of this notion of moral harm for understanding the Christian doctrine of redemption.

I review how I developed this notion of moral harm from an essay of Steven Pinker.* Then I apply it to the sensitive topic of my morally condemning homosexuality.

Pinker’s passage which led me to develop the notion of moral harm as harm which ought to be is the second “hallmark” in the following:

“The first hallmark of moralization is that the rules it invokes are felt to be universal. Prohibitions of rape and murder, for example, are felt not to be matters of local custom but to be universally and objectively warranted. The other hallmark is that people feel that those who commit immoral acts deserve to be punished. . .

we are born with a universal moral grammar that forces us to analyze human action in terms of its moral structure, with just as little awareness.”

I developed that hallmark into a thesis about a fundamental component of moral thinking, viz., if a moral law is violated harm ought to occur. I left the principle at a high level of generality. There was no specification of what the harm might be, on whom it should befall and how much. The very general thought is merely that moral principles carry sanctions. This does not mean that these subsidiary questions cannot be answered. There simply needs to be further moral thought to answer them.

Let me add here that right now I think that moral thinking contains almost no provisions for numerically measurable thinking on the quantity of harm and good.

I return to this notion of moral harm by considering its ramifications for a moral judgment I make. I think homosexual acts are morally wrong. I have argued for that position in my book**. Hence, I judge that the homosexual acts of 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg are immoral. Concomitant with that judgment is a judgment that he ought to suffer some harm for his homosexual behavior.

This thought that I ought to think that he ought to suffer some harm poses a problem for me. First, the proposal that there ought to be some suffering is repugnant. Second, I confess to not caring that Pete Buttigieg suffers. However, as I have argued in several posts, we are not serious about morality if we do not think that there ought to be unpleasant consequences for immoral behavior. Not caring whether the sanctions for violations of morality be applied is irrelevant for thinking that they ought to be applied

So, what kind of suffering do I think Pete Buttigieg ought to undergo? Not getting nominated as the 2020 Democrat candidate is a type of disappointment which is too loosely connected with his homosexual behavior to be a proper punishment.

Here is my proposal for the kind of suffering a man who has a practice of immoral sexual behavior such as: frequent masturbation, homosexual activity, fornication and adultery. From the stance I take on sexuality, proper sexual activity is confined to coitus open to conception in a lifelong monogamous marriage. Basic human goods are realized when sexuality is so confined. The harm which man who does not so confine his sexual activity ought to suffer is twofold First there is failure to attain these basic human goods along with a sense of not realizing these goods. Second, there is a realization, perhaps quite dim, that people who think properly about sexual activity judge that he ought not realize the goods of proper sexuality. Broadly speaking, he ought to suffer a sense of unworthiness, guilt and shame.

If I am right that this kind of inward moral suffering ought to occur in men who misbehave sexually, it seems reasonable that we should proclaim traditional sexual morality to facilitate occurrence of these negative moral feelings in ourselves and others when needed. Trying to post proofs of principles of traditional sexual morality is a way of proclaiming traditional sexual morality.

Mr. Butttigieg knows everything I could say. In so far as I care, my sympathies are that he does not suffer too much from the negative moral thoughts and feelings he ought to have.

* Pinker Article .

** My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. See Ch. IV for my justification see pp. 72ff. for discussion of moral harm. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.

To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.