More than 200 celibate men listened to a happily married couple talk about the joys of sex on Monday, The Associated Press reports.
"The little things we did for each other, the telephone calls and love notes, the way we planned our day around each other and the things we shared were outward expressions of our longing to be intimate with each other," Ron and Mavis Pirola told Pope Francis and a gathering of cardinals and bishops at the Vatican.
While the subject matter may have been theoretical for the prelates, it was not a surprise; Pope Francis has called the Catholic leaders together for two weeks of meetings about how to make teachings on family issues such as marriage, divorce, and sex more relatable to modern Catholics. Ron and Mavis Pirola were invited to speak before the gathering as an example of a Catholic couple who have built a strong marriage. The Pirolas married 55 years ago, and the parents of four said their decades together have taught them that "the only feature that distinguishes our sacramental relationship from that of any other good Christ-centered relationship is sexual intimacy."
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That's an idea some of the bishops and cardinals may not have considered, as sex is "not what we bishops talk about mostly, quite honestly," British Cardinal Vincent Nichols told reporters after the presentation.
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