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Question

Dear Father Angelo,

I am writing for a second time for an important reason. How do we keep chastity that is asked of us in the context of an engagement? I am a Catholic, I try to commit myself to respect the dictates of Christ but I often fail. When I pray the act of sorrow, 

I always commit myself “to avoid whatever leads me to sin” and I humbly ask for forgiveness. 

I confess, but then … How can I combine and balance my Christian life with a girl who does not follow any principles and who demands the fulfillment of her sexual desires?

How can I do that? Thank you for your availability. I hope you’ll get back to me shortly.

V.


Answer from the priest

Dear V.,

1. Your question is: “How can I combine and balance my Christian life with a girl who does not follow any principles and who demands the fulfillment of her sexual desires? 

How can I do that?”

The answer is simple: you can’t do that.

For this reason Sacred Scripture with regard to marriage says that it must be celebrated “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39), that is, between Christians. Thus, comments the authoritative Jerusalem Bible.

2. After all, what communion can there be between engaged couples or between two spouses when there is no understanding of the most important reality of life, the one that sheds light on everything and guides the common path?

3. How can a journey of sanctification happen for two people when one places the Gospel as the foundation of one’s own life and the other does not believe or even despises what the other spouse is willing to give his life for?

What harmony can you have in the observance of the divine commandments when one sees in them under the divine light that guides the life of man and the other in fact denies them?

4. How to educate children when one would like to be friends of the Lord by placing Jesus Christ at the center of the family by praying together and the other one with her own behavior does not participate in it or, even worse, destroys what the other spouse does?

5. In the past, when marriages in various parts of the world were arranged by parents, it occured to have one of the two spouses who was not a believer.

But it must also be said that the family of the past was supported by a series of values ​​for which it was unimaginable to break the union.

Today these values have disappeared in the general culture and the family itself is not supported even by those institutional realities that are represented by the laws.

Today marriage is almost left to the mercy of a person’s fickleness and even his whims.

This happens to the point that if one decides to break up, it seems that he’s welcome to do it in every way in spite of the other reluctant spouse.

6. In the past a marriage with an unbeliever was sustained by a fairly generalized Christian culture, but today this culture no longer exists.

Engaged couples or two spouses are called to build it for themselves and are sometimes almost in the same condition in which the first Christians often found themselves, when they were the smallest minority among people devoted to idolatry.

For this reason it was easy to understand why Saint Paul, as an authentic interpreter of the Divine Will, said that marriage had to take place “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39).

7. St. Ignatius of Antioch (who was a disciple of St. John apostle and evangelist and who was baptized by him) said that “it is the duty of husbands and wives to enter into their union with the approval of the bishop, so that marriage is according to the Lord and not according to lust “(Letter to Polycarp, 5,2).

8. Therefore, here is the conclusion: if in the engagement you realize that there can be no communion of intentions in the fundamental things of your life and in the basic values ​​that support several decisions, it is prudent to let it go.

Physical attraction, which also has its importance, is not enough for the construction of a building as high as marriage.

What Sacred Scripture says is always true: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build. Unless the LORD guards the city, in vain does the guard keep watch”

(Ps 127: 1-2).

Your marriage needs the Lord as its builder.

It also needs to be continually watched over by the Lord through the assiduous practice of the Sacraments because among their effects there is also that of forcing our invisible enemies to run away.

I wish you a happy new year, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo