Dear Bishops:

Our sexuality is fundamental to who we are and how we interact with each other and to how relate to the Divine and to the world around us. Arrested sexual development or suppressed sexuality warps our sense of self, our ability to relate to others, and our sense of God.

I am so very happy you are taking this course: for your own sakes and for the good of the church.

In this first course in “Remedial Sex Ed for Bishops” we will focus on basic principles that I fear you never really learned when you were going through seminary formation. I don’t fault you, but I do fault the institution that formed you. What a pity that men in their 60s, 70s and older now have to learn what they should have learned as teenagers and young men…

So off we go with some basic principles that we will explore together in this first course:

(1)    All of us – yes you too – exist along a sexual spectrum that goes from very straight to very gay. Most of us exist somewhere in between, which means that most of us are bi-sexual to some extent. Don’t be alarmed it is all very natural. Remember natural law!

(2)    Who we are as sexual people is a gift of God. Gay or straight, or in between, God made us that way; and we all know that the benevolent and almighty Creator does not create junk. Sexuality is a grace whether gay or straight.

(3)    Healthy sexuality should be self-liberating. It should lead to self-assurance, thereby enhancing the full development of a person’s potential for growth and self-expression. Exciting stuff really.

(4)    Mature human sexuality is also other-enriching. It gives expression to a generous interest and concern for the well-being of the other. It is sensitive, considerate, thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, and supportive. Obviously gentlemen, pedophilia is not in this category of healthy sexuality – sorry to come back to that but we do have to be very frank with each other in this course.

(5)   Mature and healthy sexuality is honest. It expresses openly and candidly and as truthfully as possible the depth of the relationship that exists between people. It avoids pretense, evasion, and deception in every form as a betrayal of the mutual trust that any sexual expression should imply. Heavy stuff bishops but also wonderful stuff!

(6)   Healthy sexuality is socially responsible. Wholesome sexuality gives expression not only to individual relationships but also reflects the relationship and responsibility of individuals to the larger community.


Well gentlemen, these are the main themes we will explore in Sex Ed 101. I look forward to working with you. And for a nighttime mediation, in preparation for our days together,  I recommend the Canticle of Canticles which begins, as you know, with those memorable lines: “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for your breasts are better than wine, smelling sweet of the best ointments.”

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