So I’ve been away (mea culpa), and I’ve done a bit of reading on nudity and Church teaching (not a lot, but a little), and as far as I can tell there’s no official Church teaching on the subject (and by official I mean something that’s come out of a Pope or Church council or is embedded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
I have found that there appears to be an active presence of committed Christians, both Catholic and non, who are also participants in the nude lifestyle, either on a full or part-time basis. On those web sites that were pro-nudity (for want of a better word) I found many references to the sacramentality of the body, the goodness of the body, the original creation of the body in the buff, etc. On sites that were anti-nudity (again, for want of a better word) I found arguments ranging from our fallen nature (as good as nudity is we have a hard time separating nudity from lust) to more practical concerns (where do I keep my keys and wallet?).
I remember reading an article where a reporter did a story on nude resorts. She said that once she got over the shock of having to go semi-nude, it seemed like the most normal thing in the world to see other people walking around naked. She mentioned that everyone seemed well adjusted and at ease with each other, and no one was staring or acting inappropriately. She was especially impressed with teens, who, for lack of designer clothing and other fashion accroutments (is this a word?), did not have the high levels of fashion-consciousness and accompanying social jousting that seems so prevalent in much of society. With everyone wearing basically the same thing (nothing), there was no way to flaunt social or economic status.
(Which, incidentally, is one of the reasons most Catholic schools and many private and public schools mandate school uniforms – it’s a way of leveling the playing field between the economically viable and the economically challenged.) 🙂
In short? I don’t know. The Catholic church teaches that for something to be morally sinful you have to look at the action itself, the intentions behind the action, and the circumstances surrounding the action. Here there is no lewdness or lust, just a desire to live in a natural a state as possible (intent is clear); they are not walking around naked in public places where it is illegal (circumstances are clear); they are living nude as God may have originally intended us to be, which can be problematic for many people as in our culture nudity is usually equated with sexual actions & sexual intercourse (action itself is murky).
So again, I’m not sure where I would put this on a moral continuum . . . . certainly not as a mortal (serious) sin, but maybe not fully clear either.
Any comments or thoughts would be appreciated! 🙂
Blessings & Peace,