At Synod, Sex-Obsessed Catholic Church Finally Talks About Sex, Finally

Need a good laugh this morning? NBC's Ann Curry delivers. The headline: 

Can They Say That at the Vatican? Pope Francis Promotes Sex Talk 

The gist: Everybody knows that the main thing about the Catholic Church is that it is obsessed with sex, and can't stop meddling with people's sex lives, and thinks it has all the answers about sex, and the Church has no business having all these opinions about sex because Catholics have too many babies and think about sex all the time, and has way way too much to say about gay sex and unmarried sex and married sex, and why can't the Church stop talking about sex all the time, the big pervs? Also, this just in: the Church is finally talking about sex, finally! The big pervs.

No, really, that's pretty much what the article says:

For the first time, synod discussions are not in Latin, lay couples have been invited to speak and, perhaps most stunning of all, is the degree to which topics considered sensitive for the Church, including the value of sex, are being talked about.

And it goes on, with not one but two references to "raised eyebrows," to marvel that bishops -- Catholic bishops, of all people! -- apparently have formed some opinion that sex is kind of important, and so is marriage, and that they would like to talk about it, where people can hear them, despite being bishops. 

And it is stunning! As long as you are the kind of person who wakes up stunned to see the sun rise, stunned to find that you have feet at the end of your legs, stunned to discover that the floor under those feet is still made out of wood, just like it has been for decades and decades. 

Dear Stunned Ms. Curry, the Church has been talking about sex for centuries, even millennia. But let's pretend, for a moment, that you have no idea how to do even the most basic form of research. Let's pretend that there is no internet, no online Catechism, no Catholic Answers, no Google by which one can search for the words "Catholic" and "sexuality" and instantly realize that it is more or less The Thing Catholics Are Talking About. Let's pretend that you have to rely on your own memory to figure out if this "Church says sex is a big deal" thing is really something new. 

You're old enough to remember this guy, right?

Oh, hi! I'm John Paul II, and I wrote and delivered 129 groundbreaking lectures on the Theology of the Body, which was about, among other things, sex and how important it is. I said it into a microphone. Before tens of thousands of people. And had it all written down, and people like Janet Smith, Christopher West, Greg Popcak, Michael Waldstein, Jason Evert, George Weigel and a thousand, thousand others (including - ahem - a fair number of amateurs) have been talking about it ever since. 

So much, in fact, has been written about the meaning and importance of sex that Catholics are now impatiently reminding each other that the Theology of the Body was about more than sex. Emily Stimpson's These Beautiful Bones and Susan Windley-Daoust's Theology of the Body Extended continue the Pope's work and apply it to our lives beyond the bedroom.

In other words, Catholics already know sex is important. Catholics are yearning to tell the world what they know about sex. More and more, popular, non-Catholic sources are independently arriving at ideas about sex that Catholics have been teaching for decades: for instance, that porn is bad for marriages, that masturbation is unhealthy and damaging, that blanketing Africa with condoms will make AIDS worse, not better. 

Yes, it's good that the Bishops are talking about sex, among other things, at the Synod. It's magnificent that the laity are getting a voice, not to change Catholic teaching (ain't gonna happen) but to help priests and other Catholic educators understand how to reach their current flock, with its specific problems, confusions, and needs -- how best to convey a message that we are yearning to hear.

Yes, it's wonderful that the Church is talking about sex. No, it's not new. The only thing that's new is that people like Ann Curry are finding it harder to ignore. Excelsior!