Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some Recent Visitors - A New Book: Sex au Naturel

In the last ten days, I have had the pleasure of receiving visitors, both family and friends.

It has been delightful to get caught up on relationships, tour the Capital with those who are charmed by the beauty and orderliness of Ottawa (prescinding, of course, from the construction chaos found all around on our streets).

Jesuit Matthew Livingstone dropped in while visiting his parents in Oxford Mills; we were able to catch up on his teaching of philosophy at Campion College, his studies in Damascus, Syria this summer to assist with his interest in Arabic philosophy and his anticipation of embarking on studies preparatory to the priesthood at Regis College, Toronto.

My niece Patricia and her husband Peter came from Burlington to help with their daughter Katie's move into residence at the University of Ottawa where she will start her studies in Fine Arts.

Dear friend Msgr. Michel Palud superior of the Mission Society of Mandeville, a diocese in Jamaica, was a welcome weekend visitor. Some photos:

Matthew Livingstone enjoying the sun deck with Fr. Vernon Boyd

Patricia and Peter Lawson

Katie joins us for dinner in the nearby Byward Market

The Parliament Buildings viewed from Nepean Point make a great photo backdrop

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From time to time, I am asked to read a manuscript to provide a comment for the publisher's blurbs that are on the dustjacket or inside the book.

Recently, I did so for an author with roots in Canada (Halifax and Montreal). Though I knew the book had been published, I had not seen a copy on sale until I noticed it among the new books on display at St. Patrick's Basilica's book store (a good source for a wide selection of Catholic literature). It sells for C$15.95, and is listed at Amazon for US$12.95 (but then there are shipping and handling charges).

Here is what I said:

In Sex au Naturel, Patrick Coffin defends Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humanae vitae and John Paul II’s subsequent papal teaching on sexuality now known as The Theology of the Body.

Witty, provocative and informative, this vademecum for a new generation proud to affirm allegiance to sound Catholic principles will delight and challenge its readers.

A book that is eminently readable, I am pleased to recommend it with enthusiasm.

Here are some other details taken from the Emmaus Road publisher's website:

Sex Au Naturel: What It Is and Why It’s Good For Your Marriage by radio host Patrick Coffin is a bracing ride across the landscape of the Catholic sexual ethic. If you’re looking for intellectual ammo with which to defend and explain the teaching of Humanae Vitae, or if you reject it altogether, you’ll agree that Coffin approaches the topic from a wide array of new and persuasive angles. With humor and enthusiasm—and a total absence of moralizing—you'll learn:

• Why Paul VI’s landmark 1968 encyclical was widely rejected a generation ago and why it’s gaining new respectability now
• Where exactly the Bible teaches against birth control
• The differences between contraception and natural family planning (hint: they’re more profound than you think)
• The meaning of the natural law and how it applies to birth control
• How the dogma of the Blessed Trinity implicitly condemns birth control
• That every single Protestant denomination rejected birth control until 1930
• Why the myth of overpopulation is used against the Church, and how to answer it
• How faithful adherence to the teaching of Humanae Vitae is causally related to marital happiness and longevity
• Why it’s not too late to start over, even if you’ve been sterilized
• How to rely on the ever-present grace of God rather than your own strength in faithfully following this challenging, life-giving aspect of Christian discipleship
• Much, much more!

Patrick Coffin is the host of Catholic Answers Live, the number-one rated Catholic radio show in America, heard nationwide Monday to Friday, 3PM-8PM Eastern. He has published dozens of articles, essays, and interviews.

Born in Nova Scotia, he is an alumnus of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, McGill University in Montreal, and Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where he obtained a master's degree in theology. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Mariella, and their two daughters [-- www.emmausroad.org].


  1. Another great book that doesn't get the fact that Paul VI cause people to leave the church.

    At least when humane vitae came out Canadian Cardinals had the guts to defend certain vision that the Catholic Church in Canada had. (Winnipeg Statement anyone ?)

    Most graceful Bishop when will you give us a book on how to re-populate our empty church ?

  2. Thank you very much your Grace, I will look for the book at St. Pat's.

    Anonymous, if you want to be with the big crowds try a Senators game. Being Catholic isn't easy that's why so many give up.

  3. Going to Church every Sunday I can surely say for sure we are doing something wrong since in twenty years from now all the Gray hair attending Church will be dead ... more churches will be sold and our Holy institution will only be a shadow of what it once was.

    I am sorry but I care about how to bring our Church and Christ back on the Agenda. It's not like everyone agrees in the way things are done right now. I could leave true ... Catholicism is hard ... true ... but our Church has moved and changed many times in our history.

    At least I have the guts to say what many moderates like me are afraid of saying.

  4. Just passing through and saw this post.
    My husband and I will have to check out this book.
    Thank you your Grace!
    I heard you speak in TO at the Humanae Vitae conference and it is good to see you promoting a book like this.
    BTW, our family time in Nova Scotia this summer - Halifax and in Cape Breton.
    I was and still am surprised/shocked/disgusted at the speaker the diocese of Antigonish has coming this fall.

    And Anonymous - something went wrong 40 years ago to have you have to say 'that in 20 years all the Gray Hair will be dead'.
    Thankfully, our Churches seem to be putting a focus on the centrality of the Eucharist - something that I never saw happen all through my teens, 20's and even part of my 30's.With a more faith-filled congregation - the Church may have to go smaller - as I recall a wise man said this.

    Keep up the good fight Your Grace!
    Come and visit Orangeville.
    Pax Christi,