I just read Father Robert Barron’s column “Saying No to Nietzche” and have a few questions, which I would like to publicly pose to him and to anyone who would like to answer:
Father, when Jesus spoke of the joining together of spouses in marriage, “They are no longer two but one flesh,” was he really trying to say something “inescapably ‘sexy,” as you write? That is, is ”one flesh” in Sacred Scripture always simple shorthand for the conjugal act? Is it good for the faithful to picture something “sexy” every time they see the phrase? Even when they read Ephesians 5:31-32?
Is “sexy” a word worth claiming for the New Evangelization, given that it connotes lust? If so, why? Are there other words connoting deadly sins that we should claim for the New Evangelization? If so, which ones?
Could a same-sex couple read your essay’s account of sacramental marital love and find anything that does not apply to them? That is, do you make any mention of the procreative end of marriage, or of the inseparability of unitive and procreative love (Humanae Vitae 12, CCC 2366)? If so, where is it in the essay?
Also, one last question, which I’ll answer myself:
Is it possible to synthesize the Church’s entire teaching on human sexuality and marriage into a single 900-word essay?
Maybe not. But if any readers would like to try, the relevant Catechism passages are here and here. I don’t see anything there about the one-flesh union being “sexy.” There is a lot about making babies, though.
Incidentally, I don’t at all mean to question the entire corpus of a priest who is doing great work for the Church—just his “Saying No to Nietzche” essay. In other writings, Father Barron offers an important and needed critique of the hook-up culture, as evidenced by his response to Hanna Rosin.
Please keep your comments civil and G-rated. Thanks!