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Catholic

Main article: Catholicism and sexuality See also: Theology of the Body

The Catholic Church affirms the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. The Church believes the human being has been created in the "image and likeness of God", and that human life should not be weighed against other values such as economy, convenience, personal preferences, or social engineering. Therefore, the Church opposes activities that they believe harmful or devalue divinely created life, including euthanasia, eugenics, death penalty and abortion.

The Church preaches that Manichaeism is a heresy. Therefore, the Church does not preach that sex is sinful or an impairment to a grace-filled life. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." then the human body and sex must likewise be good. The Catechism teaches that "the flesh is the hinge of salvation."

However the Church does refer to sexual intercourse outside of marriage is contrary to its purpose. The "conjugal act" aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul" (Catechism 1643) since the marriage bond is to be a sign of the love between God and humanity (Catechism 1617).

Pope John Paul II's first major teaching was on the Theology of the Body. Over the course of five years he elucidated a vision of sex that was not only positive and affirming but was about redemption, not condemnation. He taught that by understanding God's plan for physical love we could understand "the meaning of the whole of existence, the meaning of life." He taught that human beings were created by a loving God for a purpose: to be loving persons who freely choose to love, to give themselves as persons who express their self-giving through their bodies. Thus, sexual intercourse between husband and wife is a symbol of their total mutual self-donation.

For John Paul II, "The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine." He says there is no other more perfect image of the unity and communion of God in mutual love than the sexual act of a married couple, whereby they give themselves in a total way—exclusively to one another, and up to end of their lives, and in a fruitfully generous way by participating in the creation of new human beings. Through this perspective, he understands the immorality of extra marital sex. It falsifies the language of the human body, a language of total love worthy of persons by using the body for selfish ends, thus treating persons and things and objects, rather than dealing with embodied persons with the reverence and love that incarnate spirits deserve. John Paul II stresses that there is great beauty in sexual love when done in harmony with the human values of freely chosen total commitment and self-giving. For him, this sexual love is a form of worship, an experience of the sacred.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates that sexual relationships in marriage as a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity and lists fornication as one of the "Offenses Against Chastity" and calls it "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action" because "use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose."

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