It symbolizes our desired union with God. This is why even pornographers call out to God during the sexual act. But pornography is idolatry, treating sex as something that can deliver a person from the loneliness of a heart that is restless without God. Ironically, it is the Catholics who understand this, as well as understand the true symbolism of the sexual act, who are the realists, while the pornographers and sex ed enthusiasts are selling a fantasy world. Fr. Quay, again showing his genius, knew this thirty years ago:
No man is capable of giving all of himself to his wife. Even if he could, he may not do so; he belongs to God. Similarly, no woman may give all of herself to her husband. Neither owns himself. They love each other, they are bound to each other; but only God truly possesses either or can claim the total love of either. Total union with one who is not God is impossible. And were it possible, it would be idolatry, giving the creature the status of the divine. And on the other hand, only God can own and take total possession of any person without destroying or degrading that person.
The Christian Meaning of Human Sexuality is desperately needed in our culture today. The publisher, Ignatius Press, should produce an anniversary edition.
a journalist and filmmaker, is the author of
Damn Senators: My Grandfather and the Story of Washington’s Only World Series Championship
A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.