It is very true that the church's teachings go contrary to popular thinking. The church's teachings on birth control, masturbation, divorce or homosexuality seems so archaic!! The church needs to catch up with the times, right?? The author Christopher West says that this type of thinking is like driving on flat tires. It is so ingrained into our thought process that we think it is normal. He says that the church's teaching about sex inflates those flat tires and after you understand it you will wonder why you spent all that time driving around on flat tires.
I would like describe it another way. I see each of the teachings like a broken colored piece of glass. The teaching of pre-marital sex may be a green shard in the shape of a triangle. The teaching on birth control may be a red square. The teaching on masturbation is a sharp golden shape with many sides. All of these teachings are different colors and different shapes.
Society has taken these broken pieces of glass and thrown them in an empty lot where they get partially buried. The shards sticking up through the ground. We then walk through this lot and cut our feet and society tells us that it's perfectly normal to cut our feet. So we see the sadness and hurt that comes from a mistaken view on sex as something that comes with the territory.
That isn't the way the Catholic Church sees these shards of glass though. The Catholic Church takes these pieces. She cleans them off and makes them shining and spectacular. She then lays them out and you will see that even though each piece is different they fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. The Church fits all of these pieces together and as you step back instead of a bunch of individual teachings that are difficult to understand separately, you will see a beautiful mosaic. You gasp and think to yourself, "wow!" You wonder why you didn't see it before.
The Church has done a poor job of telling people, "Step back!! Look at the big picture!" It's spent too much time saying, "if you do that you'll go blind!!!" It wasn't until Pope John Paul II started teaching about the Theology of the Body that people have started looking at this beautiful mosaic that the church has put together from a bunch of assumingly separate teachings. It is part of our responsibility to tell our friends and family to step back and look everything!!