The Gift of Human Sexuality

Franciscan University strives to creates a campus environment where virtue can flourish. Our goals to create a genuine community in which students, faculty, and staff can discover their dignity as men and women, made in the image of God, and in which everyone seeks to respect that dignity, in both themselves and others.

The existence of such a community depends on charity, which means to "love God above all,things" and to love "our neighbor as ourselves for love of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1844). Chastity is the spare charity takes in the sexual realm. It is the virtue that enables all Christians - regardless of their vocation or state in life -- to rightly order their sexual desire and make a complete gift of themselves to God and one another (CCC 2346-2349).

Franciscan expects each person who freely enters our community to respect our Catholic identity - an identify that includes promoting moral, spiritual, and religious development in the context of Christian moral principals. In order to help all members of the Franciscan community live in accord with Catholic teaching during their time here, we provide generous pastoral, sacramental, and fraternal support. Regarding human sexuality, Catholic teaching includes, but is not limited to, the following key principles:

1. Human sexuality is a gift from God. When understood and lived in accord with God's plan, it brings, joy, peace, and health to individuals and cultures (Gen 1.28; CCC 2332, 2360).


2. God created us male and females, unities, of body and soul. Sexuality is not incidental, accidental, or changeable. Nor is our sexual identity as a man or woman something we choose. Rather, our sexual identity is a gift, central to God's plan for making himself known in creation and and evident to us by the physical, psychological, and generic markers that differentiate men and women (Gen 1.27; CCC 2333).


3. Man and woman are equal in dignity. Each is the image of God. The differences between men and women are a gift, and the mutual complementary of the sexes makes it possible for family life and society to flourish. As such, both sexes are called to respect and value each other. Acts of emotional, physical, or sexual violence disrupt the harmony that should exists between the sexes and disrespect the dignity of the human person and the gift of male/female complementary (CCC 2333, 2356).


4. Marriage is a faithful, fruitful, and life-long committed relationship between one man and one woman (Gen 2:18-24; CCC 1660, 2364,2366, 2380, 2382).


5. Certain kinds of physical affection, including the marital act, are reserved exclusively for marriage. Engaging in those behaviors outside of marriage is contrary to charity and the dignity of the human person (Matt. 15:9, Gal. 5:19, Eph. 5:3; CCC 2354).


6. In God's design, sexual intimacy between a husband and wife must reflect an openness to both love and life. Inside and outside of marriage, sexual acts that are inherently closed to life (such as masturbation) or that employ the use of contraception are grave and moral evils (Gen. 1:28; CCC 2352, 2354-2356, 2366).


7. Sexual affection or romantic relationships of any kind between members of the same sex are outside the boundaries of God's plan for human sexuality and contrary to human dignity (Gen. 19:1-11, Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:10, 1 Tim. 1:10; CCC 2350, 2357).


8. Reducing a person to his or her sexual attractions (eg., heterosexual or homosexual) is inconsistent with the truth and dignity of the human person. Any human person can experience tendencies or temptations toward sexual acts that are not open to life and love or that are contrary to sexual complementarity these temptations and tendencies run contrary to the truth and meaning of human sexuality and God's plan for human love, but they are not sinful in themselves and do not define the person who experiences them (CCC 2351, 2357, 2520).


9. Pornography is a grave offense against chastity and the dignity of the human person. It reduces people to objects for profit and pleasure and harms every person involved, including actors, vendors, and consumers (CCC 2354,2396).

As a Catholic, Franciscan community, we call upon all members of our community to respond to human weakness with charity, mercy, and compassion. For each of us, the journey to holiness is marked by temptation, struggles, and falls. Our task is to accompany each other on that journey, loving our fellow sinners as Christ loves us.