One of my readers made the following comment in a recent blog thread of mine which is entitled: “What is wrong with everyone?”
“There are plenty of evangelical, protestant, orthodox, and adventist churches, where sex in marriage is not covered in the pulpit. This problem is not confined to the Catholic Church. Many other congregations have the exact same difficulty. Human sexuality is not covered at all within those faith groups, or if it is, it is discussed in terms of sin: Do not fornicate, do not commit adultery.”
I posted the following lengthy response to what was being discussed in the thread. Please do not take offense to what I am sharing. No offense is meant towards any Christian Faith. My point in all this is to encourage us all to be bold enough to do whatever is necessary to fix what is broke in our marriage and in our marriage bed.
In the first place the teaching of healthy marital sexuality need not be "from the pulpit" to be effective. It can be taught just as well in sufficient premarital counseling and/or in classroom settings. In regards to marriage bed issues on TMB forum--- I do not mean this in an insulting way. I am just trying to explain how I see it from my POV of having been in all three Christian Faiths. Which Christian Faith is most represented on TMB forum by a good 80% or higher? The Protestant Faith, of course. So if this is a huge problem for Roman Catholics (RC) and Christian Orthodox why are more of them (us) not on TMB crying for help? Also of the three Christian Faiths it is the Protestant Church (PC) who is most at liberty to preach/teach anything they want "from the pulpit" so why are they not doing it? If pulpit teachings on sex are the answer, why is it not being done in the PC?
My opinion? Respectfully, I think the keeping of secret sins of porn, premarital sex, sexual refusal in marriage, etc., is more rampant in the PC because of the huge public shame put on those who are caught in these sins AND because true confession before a pastor/priest is not exercised in the PC. Instead Protestants are told, "Your sin is only between you and God. You do not need a mediator so when you sin, just confess to God and all will be well." The problem that we saw when we were in the PC is that most people chose to ignore their sexual sin. If you refuse to acknowledge sin even to God, how can you possibly confess it and turn away from it? We can only turn away from that which we acknowledge to be sin in our lives. Even as adults, having a Father confessor can be greatly helpful in guiding us to thoroughly search our hearts so that nothing gets overlooked.
Rather than undergo public humiliation that many PC are known for putting people through when caught in sexual sin, the guilty parties choose to keep this sin secret as long as they are able until the sin is discovered by a distraught spouse. By then the lies and deception are so great that it takes twice the time and effort to correct the wrongs if they are ever corrected. From personal experience this is why my dh and I finally felt the need to walk away from the PC and to join the Christian Orth Faith. For years as a Protest Christian I had little conviction of the way I spoke to my dh or of my sexual refusal AND I knew that if I confessed anything to our pastor in search of help I would have been humiliated beyond what I felt I could handle.
Secret sin-- It is a horrible, terrible habit to keep sin secret. You are essentially telling God, "Am I not the good Christian? I do not do anything in public that you would call 'sin' but do not bother me about how I behave behind closed doors." This kind of reminds me of the many Protestant denominations who adamantly state, "We do not drink or smoke because it is sin." At one time we were in such a church and I cannot tell you how many folks in our church made that claim while drinking and smoking in secret." Who are we kidding with secret sin?
Really, this is not about RC vs. PC vs. Christian Orth. Rather it is about all Christian Faiths stepping up to the plate to practice deep soul searching, true confession, seeing lies and deception as sinful as other sins, eliminating the useless public humiliation over sexual sin, etc. PC can make fun of RC and Orth use of a Father confessor but I can tell you that when we became Orthodox and I began confessing my sins to God before our priest, it was like I had an "ah-ha" moment as I learned to dig deep and quit hiding secret sin. That was when I first began acknowledging that my sin of sexual refusal was indeed sin.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if it is broke, ditch the game plan and find a new one that will work. Having a Father confessor works for my dh and me. We have also seen it work for our kids for things that in the past as Protestants they would have kept secret but now have no reservations in confessing before our priest.
Btw- Technically we do not confess TO our priest. We confess to God WITH our priest present as witness and spiritual adviser. We know we can confess ANYTHING with our priest and he will keep it in confidence and counsel us to spiritual health. In the event that the counsel needed is over his head, he does not hesitate to point us to the appropriate professional.