chapter  Chapter 10
16 Pages

Healthy Restraint

WithMichael M. Winter

Several Churches have overreacted in their espousal of its beneficent potential. The Catholic Church has crusaded against sex in all but its strictly reproductive aspect. It required the arrival of the financial crises of the 1990s to illustrate the positive potential of moral restraint. Wealthy societies must learn restraint in their own consumption and practise generosity in sharing their resources with poorer nations. In spite of Calvin’s insistence on moral restraint, this was the thin end of the wedge. However the religious constraints on greed were powerful and Calvin insisted that interest rates must be reasonable and that loans to the poor must be free of interest. The pessimistic attitude to sex bedevils the policies of the Catholic Church, be it in the realm of clerical celibacy or marriage. The practice of the Church courts has been consistent and it is also in line with the Church’s tradition of never forbidding intercourse during pregnancy and after the menopause.