Applied Theology of the Body: Catholic Sexual Morality – The Call to Live and Love as Embodied Persons

Authored by Dr. Donald P. Asci in Issue #8.1 of The Catechetical Review

Over the past few years, the findings from surveys done by the Pew Research Center and Gallup polls have consistently painted a dismal, disturbing, and almost depressing picture of how Catholics in the US view the teachings of the Church in the area of sexual morality. According to these sources, the vast majority of Catholics surveyed say that they dissent from the truths of our faith on almost every issue within sexual morality.

For me, these reports are not only distressing but also somewhat bewildering because they do not match my own experience from the past twenty-five years of presenting the truth of God’s plan for human sexuality to thousands of people from all walks of life. In my own work, I have seen the majority of people respond enthusiastically and with a sense of relief and satisfaction to the truth of Catholic sexual morality, especially when it’s grounded in the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II and his monumental catechesis on the theology of the body (henceforth TOB).[1]

All of this leads to some obvious questions. Have those who claim to reject Catholic sexual morality ever heard it proclaimed authentically or ever understood it accurately? Are they rejecting Catholic doctrine on human sexuality or some distorted caricature of our faith? And perhaps more importantly for us, what can we do to help ensure that people are encountering the beauty of God’s plan for human sexuality and hearing it proclaimed in the most personally appealing and most intellectually meaningful way?

In this series of articles, I will share what I have found to be the most important and most attractive truths from TOB to focus on when proclaiming Catholic sexual morality, beginning here with the basic outlook and fundamental reference points provided by TOB. In the subsequent articles, I will apply all of this to specific moral issues.

[1] John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them, trans. Michael Waldstein (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2006).

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting

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