Articles From the June 1995 Unification News


Lust and Love

by Haven Bradford Gow

A few years ago, Pope John Paul aroused immense and intense controversy and debate concerning his observations about the "lust of the eyes" and how one could "commit adultery with one's own wife." Many expressed wonderment at how "lusting after a neighbor's wife," for example, could be sinful or harmful, or how one could be having sex with one's wife and still commit adultery. But Pope John Paul really was expressing himself with a great deal of spiritual and psychological insight.

Pope John Paul expressed sound moral and spiritual and psychological truths when he made his observations about the difference between lust and love. The act of adultery, for example, often begins with "lust of the eyes." And a husband can commit adultery with his own wife by engaging in sex with his wife while fantasizing about the neighbor's wife or about the attractive new co-worker at the office or the latest centerfold in a pornographic magazine. By so doing, the husband really is having sex with the object of his fantasies while using his wife's body to gratify his lust. Thus, one indeed can commit adultery while having sex with one's own wife.

Pope John Paul deserves praise for having the moral courage to uphold and affirm the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life, especially during times like these when premarital and extramarital affairs are considered socially and morally acceptable. Today's popular sexual attitudes and practices reduce sex to a plaything, human beings to mere bodies and human bodies to sex machines; our popular TV programs, movies and literature glamorize and promote sexual relationships devoid of commitment, responsibility, morality and fidelity.

In sharp contrast to today's fashionable sexual attitudes and practices is the Judeo-Christian view that celebrates and affirms the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life. Writing in the May/June 1995 issue of Faith (Reigate, Surrey, England RH2 OBR), Catholic theologian Father Christopher Maxwell-Stewart expressed the wisdom, beauty and truth of the Judeo-Christian perspective, which insists that "Only love is an end in itself and love is communion of spirits. Loving is wanting and doing what is good for the one I love. In this lies its fulfillment and its happiness." Father Maxwell- Stewart explained that "Sex is the act of life-giving through self- giving," but it is important to recognize, he added, that sex within marriage "is not the ultimate way to say `I love you'." Indeed, observed Father Maxwell-Stewart, "Love comes from the soul in mutual care, respect and attentiveness. Our bodies are the ministers of that loving and there is indeed a natural overflowing of warmth and affection in the experience of loving and being loved, for we are sacramental, spiritual and physical beings. But sex is not the culmination of affection or romantic attraction."

The beauty and wisdom of the Judeo-Christian viewpoint is in its teaching that true love within marriage means a husband and wife not only become two-in-one physically but also two-in-one mentally, psychically and spiritually. True love within marriage means we desire the genuine happiness and good of one's spouse, and there simply is no room for selfishness and the pursuit of a purely self-centered gratification.

Mr. Gow is a columnist who has published more than 1,000 articles and reviews in over 100 magazines and newspapers.


Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information