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SMC lecture discusses modern views of sex

Bridget Meade | Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saint Mary’s religious studies professor Jessica Wrobleski spoke Wednesday night about the way contemporary views of sex can be understood in the context of Catholic teaching.

The lecture, “The Meaning of Sex,” was one of a series of lectures called “Theology on Fire.” It was the first of several sponsored by Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and the Center for Spirituality.

The ideas for the lectures are developed from controversial issues concerning college students and the Catholic Church, senior Emma Hoffman, who organized the event, said.

“We want to explore topics that come up in our peers’ conversation, or more importantly, what doesn’t,” Hoffman said.

Wrobleski focused on students’ personal understanding of sex and sexuality in modern society. She said personal awareness of sex is necessary in contemporary culture.

“Sex is an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of life. Whether you encounter it in a magazine, a television show or a relationship, it is something as young, single people, we can’t help but think about,” Wrobleski said.

She spoke about the various definitions of sex and how students can discern significance from different settings, such as premarital sex, casual sex and sex between two people of the same gender, while observing Catholic understanding.

“I want students to understand that sexuality is not primarily a list of arbitrary rules, but rather something that allows us to deeply connect with God as humans,” Wrobleski said.

Junior Emily Kieffer said the lecture connected the different ways students view sex.

“It went beyond what the Church tells you or what you read in Cosmo. I thought the lecture really brought sex in to a perspective that is valuable for me as a college student and as a human,” Kieffer said.

Junior Teresa Cristarella agreed.

“It was nice to discuss sexuality and in the Church in a non-condemning way, rather than the consequential way that it is normally viewed,” Cristarella said.

Wrobleski encouraged students who have questions about their sexuality or sex’s role in their life to talk to peers, married couples and religious figures.

“Sex, at its base, is a relationship, and it is best understood by discussing it with others that are in your shoes or have experience with your situation,” Wrobleski said.

Wrobleski will also be offering a Religious Studies course this spring called “Theologies of Love.” The curriculum focuses on relationships and broader questions of love.