Interior Integration for Catholics

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Dr. Peter describes more of what a healthy sexuality is based upon, and five reasons why sexuality becomes distorted and confused.

Show Notes

  1. Intro: Welcome to the podcast Interior Integration for Catholics -- the podcast formerly known as Coronavirus Crisis: Carpe Diem! And for one episode, the last episode we called it "Resilient Catholics" -- but there is a podcast out there already called "The Resilient Catholic" so we don’t want to create confusion and division. 
    1. Interior
    2. Integration
    3. Catholics
    4. Encompasses
      1. Human Formation
      1. Radical Transformation
      1. Shoring up the natural foundation for the spiritual life
      1. Resilience
    9. I’m clinical psychologist Peter Malinoski and I am here with you, to be your host and guide.  
    10. This podcast is part of Souls and Hearts, our online outreach at, which is all about shoring up our natural foundation for the Catholic spiritual life, all about overcoming psychological obstacles to being loved and to loving God and neighbor
    11. This is episode 50, released on January 11, 2021
    12. and it is titled: In Search of a healthy, ordered sexuality.  
    13. This is the second episode in our series on sexuality.  
    14. We are going to spend time on sexuality and in the coming weeks we will address many topics, including masturbation, pornography, adulterous affairs, pre-marital sex, asexuality, homosexuality, artificial contraception and sexual trauma and its effects.  
    15. But to put those issues into context, we need to understand what a health sexuality looks like.  
      1. Vitally important because sexuality is so sensitive to how we live our lives in the natural realm   
      2. Also vitally important because an authentic Catholic view on sexuality is so radically different from what the world offers us. 
      3. Most baptized Catholic reject Catholic teaching on many sexual issues. 
      4. So many Catholics struggle with sexual issues.  Lots of confusion. Lots of distress.  
      5. We need a guiding star, an image of what sexuality should be.  That's what this episode is about.
        1. We will look at the authoritative sources of Catholic teaching
        1. but really flesh them out in a way that appreciates how people are wired physiologically, neurologically and psychologically
        1. So we can have answers to why we so often find ourselves falling and going astray in the sexual realm.  

    16. Parts
    17. Examples
  2. Vitally important to recognize a healthy sexuality because our sexuality is so sensitive to how we live our lives in the natural realm -- are we living in an ordered, virtuous way in harmony with natural and divine realities, or are we basing our actions on our subjective, distorted perceptions of reality.  Sexuality is either the first or one of the first areas in our life to go wrong when we depart from reality.  Sensitive barometer to how things are ordered or not ordered in our lives.  
  3. Most baptized Catholic report that they reject Catholic teaching on many sexual issues. 
    1. Pew 2014 Survey of more than 7200 Catholics, 57% Favor or Strongly Favor Same-sex Marriages 
    2. Pew 2016 survey of 817 Catholics only 8% of Catholics believe using contraception is morally wrong.  41% believe its morally acceptable and 48% believe it's not a moral issue.
    3. Lots more statistics
    4. Social referencing:  evaluating one’s own modes of thinking, expression, or behavior by comparing them with those of other people so as to understand how to react in a particular situation and to adapt one’s actions and reactions in ways that are perceived to be appropriate.  APA dictionary
    5. Lukewarm Catholics look a lot like lukewarm Methodists, look a lot like lukewarm Jews, look a lot like lukewarm Buddhists, look a lot like lukewarm agnostics, look a lot like lukewarm atheists. 
      1. Going with the cultural flow
      2. Relying on own perceptions and insights
      3. Everybody being influenced by the societal trends.  
    6. We don't want to be constrained
      1. Reductionism.  Universal, Eternal Moral Laws --> Confining, chafing Rules -->  outdated decrees from decades or centuries ago, promulgated by old white men in black cassocks who aren't supposed to be having sex anyway -- what do they know?  How are these teaching possibly relevant to my life in the 2020s.  Thou shalt not, thou shalt not, creating an impression that sex is bad, almost any sexual activity is bad, I'm tired of being told how bad I am . 

      1. License vs. freedom 
        1. Freedom is the capacity to choose the good for me and for others
          1. Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude (#1731).
        3. License is the capacity to choose what I want -- to take what I want
          1.  root of licentiousness -- lacking legal or moral restraints and especially disregarding sexual restraints

      1. Me as the measure
        1. Enlightenment -- man as the measure of all things instead of God.
        1. Ordered sexuality is what I think it is for me.  
          1. Assumption that I know what is best for me, by my own lights
            1. No need for divine revelation
            1. No acceptance of an external authority
            1. Chesterton “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.” The Catholic Church and Conversion
          5. Assumption that I can determine what is best for me.  

  1. So many Catholics struggle with sexual issues.  Lots of confusion. Lots of distress.  
    1. Catholic teaching on sexuality is very misunderstood, often watered down, often misrepresented.
    2. Intensity of bodily experience -- affects us.  
    3. Market for it.  We have itching ears 
      1. 2 Timothy 4: 2-4  Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.  3 For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: 4 And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.
        1. St. Hilary of Poitiers:  mid-fourth century AD:  …they will gather teachers together for these things which they desire. They will compile a doctrine that fits in with their desires, since they are no longer eager to be taught. They want to bring together teachers for that which they already desire in order that this large number of teachers whom they have sought and assembled may satisfy the doctrines of their own passionate desires. ON THE TRINITY 10.2.69
        1. GK Chesterton:  The Catholic Church and Conversion 1926 : We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong. In these current fashions it is not really a question of the religion allowing us liberty; but (at the best) of the liberty allowing us a religion. These people merely take the modern mood, with much in it that is amiable and much that is anarchical and much that is merely dull and obvious, and then require any creed to be cut down to fit that mood. But the mood would exist even without the creed. They say they want a religion to be social, when they would be social without any religion. They say they want a religion to be practical, when they would be practical without any religion. They say they want a religion acceptable to science, when they would accept the science even if they did not accept the religion. They say they want a religion like this because they are like this already. They say they want it, when they mean that they could do without it. It is a very different matter when a religion, in the real sense of a binding thing, binds men to their morality when it is not identical with their mood. It is very different when some of the saints preached social reconciliation to fierce and raging factions who could hardly bear the sight of each others’ faces. It was a very different thing when charity was preached to pagans who really did not believe in it; just as it is a very different thing now, when chastity is preached to new pagans who do not believe in it. It is in those cases that we get the real grapple of religion; and it is in those cases that we get the peculiar and solitary triumph of the Catholic faith. It is not in merely being right when we are right, as in being cheerful or hopeful or humane. It is in having been right when we were wrong, and in the fact coming back upon us afterwards like a boomerang. One word that tells us what we do not know outweighs a thousand words that tell us what we do know. And the thing is all the more striking if we not only did not know it but could not believe it. It may seem a paradox to say that the truth teaches us more by the words we reject than by the words we receive.
      4. Subjectivity
        1. Physical Laws
          1. Gravity -- Peter Pan issue
            1. Fairy Dust was added later for health and safety reasons. Originally Peter and the Lost Boys could fly unaided, but after several reports of children injuring themselves attempting to fly from their beds, JM Barrie added Fairy Dust as a necessary factor for flying.

      5. Seeking license at the expense of freedom
  2. We need a guiding star, an image of what sexuality should be
    1. Bear with me here -- we will review what the Catholic church teaches about sexuality, but this is not primarily an apologetics show or a catechetical podcast.   

    1. Chastity  CCC 2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.  The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.
      1. Unpack this
      1. Sexuality is embodied
      1. Sexuality is relational.
      1. Complete and lifelong gift
        1. Integrity of the person
        1. Integrality of the gift -- the state of being total and complete
        1. Mt 5:27-28 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

      1. Laws are like signposts around a pasture.  

  3. Five Main reasons why our sexuality becomes distorted and dysfunctional for most people
    1. Not understanding who God is -- God images  -- Not orienting ourselves toward God
    1. Not understanding who we are -- self images
      1. Episodes 23-29 God images and Self images

    1. Not understanding the entirety of the gift in relationship
    1. Not understanding the importance of the sacramental bond in marriage -- graces that are so helpful.  

    1. It's too hard.  -- And it is too hard if we are closed to the graces.  All things are possible with God. 

    1. Other possible causes
      1. Genetic problems, especially with the sex chromosomes
      1. Congenital bodily defects
      1. Endocrine problems with sex hormones -- woman with high levels of testosterone

    1. If we really knew who God was and if we held on to that consistently -- if we really knew who we were and held on to that knowledge consistently -- we would follow Him and his laws for us.  The laws are made for our good.  

    1. Taking the problem back the to the root causes.  

    1. Taking the sexual act out of context.  

    1. Love -- Charity -- Caritas
  7. Culture as the measure
    1. Social referencing:  evaluating one’s own modes of thinking, expression, or behavior by comparing them with those of other people so as to understand how to react in a particular situation and to adapt one’s actions and reactions in ways that are perceived to be appropriate.  APA dictionary
  9. Why are we confused and why do we engage in sexual vice?
    1. Traditional explanation
      1. Pride.  
        1. Reaching for omniscience
        2. reaching for omnipotence
        3. Making myself God.  

      1. Lust
      1. And those things are there.

    1. Alternative explanation
      1. Seeking some good in a misguided way -- seeking something we need
      1. Safety and Security
      1. Love
      1. Connection, relationships

    1. What does ordered sexuality look like
      1. Sexual acts in the context of marriage
      1. Grounded in and informed by charity, expressed through chastity
        1. Gift of self  

        1. CCC 2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.
        1. God is love -- is God involved.  
        2. Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church

      1. Prayer before sexual act -- Book of Tobit, Chapter 8 -- Tobias and Sarah
      1. How far is too far -- 

    1. Sin lead to a lack of integration in us -- internal disconnects among our parts.  

    1. Parts -- reviewed this in the last episode, #49
      1. The separate mental subsystems within us, each with own idiosyncratic range of emotion, style of expression, abilities, desires, views of the world. 
        1. Modes of operating
        2. Subpersonalities
        3. Orchestra model
        4. Focus is on integration.  

      1. Each part had good intentions for us, is trying to pursue a good.  

      1. Each part has a different understanding of sexuality, a different perspective on sexuality, based on its experiences and how it made sense of those experiences

    1. Examples of parts
      1. Affair
        1. Linda 43 years old, returning to work as an ad executive in an agency after 15 years out of field, when she was a stay-at home mom
          1. Likes the work, likes the income, the sense of being valued, the professional wardrobe

        1. Husband is distant from her, preoccupied with work, deeply involved with sports both on TV and with their sons
          1. Not attuned to her sexually, emotionally, relationally
          1. Sex is ungratifying to her, she feels used, she doesn't know how to approach him about it, fears his anger
          1. Sex is about biweekly, little romance, little foreplay, over quickly as he orgasms and then falls asleep
          1. Resigned to the idea that this is just how it's going to be with him.

        1. Body issues going back to teenage years, a little overweight, not the most stylish clothes, teased, called names.  Not one of the in crowd -- issues of self-worth
        1. Going well at the agency, resuming career trajectory
        1. New hire -- Tom, a high school classmate of hers -- popular, soccer player, one of the in-crowd, homecoming court.
        1. He remembers her, is friendly, cordial
        1. She helps him get oriented to the job, even though he is senior to her.  

        1. Remembering old time
        1. Lingering over conversations
        1. He's divorced, 2 kids, he shares a little of his story with her, not a lot.  

        1. Tom seeks to get her assigned to his division. 

        1. Notices her new outfit (Her husband never does), but not a direct complement, nothing overt, nothing that you could really pin down.  

        1. Linda is drawn to him.  

      1. Linda's parts
        1. Intimacy-seeking part He is so warm and kind, so affirming --  I need affirmation.  Powerful longings stirring in a part that had been exiled, suppressed.  Starving for gentleness, kindness, attention.  Disconnected from God -- God is distant, cold.  Life and death survival.  I need this, I deserve this.  Statue God image from Episode 25
        1. Moral part Warning bells starting to sound -- I'm being attracted, this is not right -- moral part of her.  Conscience.  Fears of acting out, fears of being shamed, fears of sinning and God's anger -- God is near, but really demanding.  Drill sergeant God image, like from Episode 25.  

        1. Minimizing part.  Nothing's going to happen.  I'm too old, I'm not attractive, I would never cross boundaries with him anyway, it's unthinkable.   

      1. Not to say that lust and pride are not operative.  Seeking evil.  

  1. Shine the light
    1. Pray about sexuality
    1. Ask, enter into relationship with God.  
      1. Listen

    1. Is how I am acting sexually a gift to God, to the person I'm with -- spouse, fiancé, boyfriend or girlfriend, others close to me, parents
      1. Harmony of Goods.  

    1. Talk with your spouse, fiancée, boyfriend or girlfriend.  

  1. Wrap up
    1. Next week continuing with Sexuality, several more episodes.  

    1. We have the resilient Catholic community.  That community is about transformation, about preparing the way for love in our souls. It's about being together as Catholics on a journey, on a mission to really enter into an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ our brother, the Holy Spirit who is Love Himself and with our spiritual parents, God the Father and Mary our Mother.  It's about sharing our experiences in that journey on that mission.
    1. Will do a bonus podcast -- community members -- a shining the light exercise in prayer  -- Those bonus podcasts come out on Tuesday, one day later, so this one will release on January 12.  

    1. Catholic therapists who are in my consultation groups -- special bonus podcast for you as well on addressing your own parts' experience of sexuality.   

    1. Second Wednesday Zoom meeting for community members on January 13 from 7:30 PM to 8:45 PM Eastern time-- discussing shame and sexuality and also healthy sexuality in different states of life.  I will have some more things to share with you and then questions and discussion.  

    1. Get on the waiting list so you will get information before the general public does.  Those on the waiting list -- thank you for your patience, hoping to reopen the community in March, possibly April.  

    1. Can start by sharing these podcast -- spotify, apple podcasts, google play, amazon.  Share it on social media -- buttons are on our website at  -- get your word out there, with your personal recommendation -- how these episodes have helped you.  Share them, let others know 

    1. You can reach out to me at 317.567.9594 or at 

    1.  Patronness and Patron.

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Resilient Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation. We look for God's providence in all that happens to us, in accord with Romans 8:28, grounded in an authentic Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also join our online community around this podcast at