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Good evening Father,

After many years of neglecting the practice of prayer, attending Mass, I obviously committed all the capital sins. I rarely went to Mass, mostly for somebody else’s marriages, baptisms, confirmations and first communions etc., and thankfully without taking the host.

Recently I have begun to return to the Church, I went to confession and I started to practice the precepts of a good christian, going to Mass, fasting in the prescribed days, avoiding temptations…

Now speaking about these temptations I have a few doubts.

I am writing to you to resolve one of these doubts: given that I practiced all kinds of sex, from masturbation to intercourse, with married and unmarried women, and that I have never been married, and presently am not even engaged to be married, I would like to understand if without any commitment, I still commit an impure act if I have relations with women.

Of course I avoid going with married women, lest they be damned to hell.

But, what about the …. ehm… you know, those women who freely and legally have chosen that job to make a living? Is that allowed? At a first cursory reading it would seem not…

Now, If I had a fiancée I would have no issue respecting her, her love and her soul, and I would obviously avoid going with somebody else (when I was engaged I never went with anyone else, not even the paid professional ones…).

But if I don’t have one, how should I behave? You know, I can resist everything, except temptation.” (O. Wilde)

Priest’s answer

Dear friend,

1. A woman is not an object created by God to fulfill one’s sexual passions.

She can’t be treated as such, neither outside nor inside of marriage or engagement.

Were one to treat her in this way, in addition to demeaning the woman one would demean oneself as well, because one would end being trapped in a form of selfishness that makes one fail to understand that the way to happiness and fulfillment is to be found in generous gift giving and not in possessing things and people.

2. That is why the Church incessantly reminds everyone, married, engaged and unmarried, that the way to live the logic of self giving is through chastity.

Chastity, in a married couple is practiced by avoiding contraception in the conjugal intimacy. Contraception in its own language speaks of a refusal to give oneself up totally to the other.

In an engaged couple chastity is practiced by keeping sex out of all their manifestations of affection.

Sexuality outside of marriage is falsified in its own essence because it neither expresses total self-giving, nor does it bring about the dispossessing of oneself necessary to be irrevocably of the other.

Besides, the sexual engagement is not oriented towards its ultimate purpose which consists in taking the challenge of bringing forth and educating children.

3. But even who is not married or engaged must live according to the logic of giving, and therefore learn to live in chastity.

Pornography, auto-erotism, prostitution are all profanations of true love. They are expressions of pure selfishness.

4. And since sexuality touches the deepest core of a person, it happens that when one lives one’s sexuality the wrong way, one ends up developing deep inside the wrong inclination to selfishly possess one’s own or somebody else’s body.

But this is not the way to happiness. 

5. About temptation, you give me a quotation from Oscar Wilde: you can resist anything, but temptation.

It’s a good joke, and can be funny to crack now and then.

But I am convinced that even he must have overcome more than one temptation, and subjected himself to hard discipline in order to succeed.

The reason is simple: you can build nothing solid and lasting in your life if you do not resist temptation.

And with God’s help you can resist all kinds of temptations, no matter how violent.Wishing you to overcome all of them as you constantly grow in holiness, I recommend you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo