May 2, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Holy sex!—God’s blessed gift to married couples

Shirley Vogler MeisterA few years ago, I would not have written a column about sex. Traditionally, it seemed to be a taboo subject.

Why do so now? Because sex has been over-publicized, over-dramatized, trivialized and demeaned in so many areas of our society that God’s plan for sex and procreation needs to be re-elevated to the sacred level that it deserves.

Now there is a book which places sex at that level: Holy Sex!—A Catholic Guide to Toe-curling, Mind-blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory K. Popcak.

Popcak (pronounced POP-chak) is a nationally recognized expert in pastoral counseling. He earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, a master’s degree in social work and clinical specialization at the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in human services, with an emphasis on pastoral counseling, at Capella University in Minneapolis. He and his wife, Lisa, and their three children live in Steubenville.

The easy-to-read, fascinating book is recommended by many experts, including Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville.

There are four parts to the book: “Christianity’s Best-Kept Secret,” “The Five Great Powers of Holy Sex,” “The School of Love” and “Overcoming Common Problems.” The book ends with quizzes and exercises.

Strangely, non-Catholics often believe that the Catholic Church insists that married couples have large families, and many couples actually do.

Regarding this, Popcak quotes the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who once observed that, “Millions of people hate the Church for what they think she teaches. But there aren’t 10 people who hate the Church for what she really teaches.”

This book tells the truth about sex. Popcak promotes only what the Church teaches, including Natural Family Planning, an enriching holy goal that works well despite naysayers. I learned much more than expected.

I especially recommend the book for engaged and married couples. However, children would not be scandalized if they see the book in their home. In fact, it could serve as an educational tool, even for pre-teens learning about the true purpose of sex.

The book includes a statement by Pope John Paul II from a July 1994 Angelus address: “Unfortunately, Catholic thought is often misunderstood ... as if the Church supported an ideology of fertility at all costs, urging married couples to procreate indiscriminately and without thought for the future. ... In begetting life, the spouses fulfill one of the highest dimensions of their calling: they are God’s co-workers. ... They must not be motivated by selfishness or carelessness, but by a prudent, conscious generosity that ... gives priority to the welfare of the unborn child. ... Therefore, when there is a reason not to procreate, the choice is permissible and may even be necessary.”

Holy Sex! is published by Crossroad Publishing Company. For more information, call 800-707-0670 or log on to

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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