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Dear Father Angelo,

I am writing to try to find a solution with my current boyfriend.

We have been together for a few months, 8 to be precise but for 4 he has found Jesus and is finally happy. Beforehand I say that I am agnostic (I believe in God but not in everything related to religion because unfortunately (?) I am a very rational person and if I do not see I do not believe, even if I doubtless believe in miracles or apparitions), so I don’t understand some particular behaviors of his. We haven’t had sex for 4 months, no foreplay, nothing. I struggled (and still struggle) to accept this situation but even if I don’t like it, I continue the relationship because I really love him. Among ups and downs (more downs than ups) we continued our story but, whenever we try to find fairness, new precepts come up: the last one, which came up just today, is that if he gets excited (which obviously he would like to, but he cannot as a Catholic and practitioner) we offend God. If I kiss him with more passion (the so-called “french kisses”), he becomes aroused and therefore we offend Our Lord. Practically he would have me as a friend rather than as his girlfriend because that way I don’t risk to arouse him. Although I belong to a Christian community, despite the fact that I took the sacraments, although I attended the Church for a long time and also a school run by Salesian nuns, I have found my fairness with God; I believe in His existence but I struggle to understand many rules He dictated, such as the error in premarital relationships, cohabitation, abortion, homosexuality. I find that somewhat bigoted in an increasingly modern society where the religion and the Church’s views should be a bit more open.

I think my boyfriend is exaggerating. He is exaggerating because he is literally driving me to exasperation. I accepted all his needs, setting myself on the back stage for his sake, of course. I try to hold back my instincts which would lead me to “sin” (as he would say). But this new request of his about avoiding arousal even for simple kisses sent me into a rage. I love him, but this way he totally castrates me. I am a passionate person, I need physical contact, hugs, kisses (deeper), caresses (not intimate because for his sake I gave up). When I met him and I slowly became attached to him, I had thoughts that I had never had with anyone, thoughts about the future, therefore all that may mean something. But if this relationship starts to turn bad for me, but fresh air for him, I’m also ready to give up for MY sake this time. So, I ask you:

1. Is arousal a sin? In a relationship, can gestures of simple affection lead to sin if both are aware they are not going further?

2. Devoid of affection, is a relationship considered romantic? (I already have my answer and for me it is NO)

I thank you infinitely.


The answer of the priest

Dear friend C.,

regrettably, only today I came to answer the emails of May 13th. I’m sorry and I beg your pardon.

1. I start from the most important point, which is your relationship with God. You tell me that you have finally reached fairness in the sense that you believe in His existence, but you struggle “to understand many rules dictated by him, such as the error in premarital intercourse, cohabitation, abortion, homosexuality”. And you conclude: “I find that somewhat bigoted in an increasingly modern society where religion and the Church should open their views a bit more”.

2. After these statements of yours, God comes out a little … battered.

Yes, He exists, and who can doubt it while everything tells us about Him!

Even a drop of water talks about Him in its own way, as it is united in itself according to wonderful laws that we struggle to know.

Not to mention the human body, the composition of its cells, what they contain in themselves, their formation …

And no mention about the cosmos and the universe which we rightly say about: “his name alone is exalted, majestic above earth and heaven” (Ps 148,13).

The sacred author observes: “How beautiful are all his works! even to the spark and the fleeting vision!” (Sir 42,23).

3. Well, divine wisdom is infinite and is knowable by us only in a tiny part and in moral norms (which are ordered to preserve pure our capacity to love and at the same time to tell us of another love which relates and makes sense to the love between human persons); would divine wisdom find here a brutal and inconceivable setback?

4. You tell me that you are not led to believe because you are rational.

I am rational as well, but I show you how your arguments are not rational.

I begin with what you call a mistake on God’s part: banning abortion.

So, let’s try to be rational: what is to procure abortion? Because we are talking about this kind of abortion, not the natural one.

Abortion is the killing of an innocent and defenseless human being.

Killed because defenseless.

Well, who gives us this perverse and absolute power over others and against others?

If you are rational, you have to answer.

There is no right to kill an innocent and defenseless human being, just as there is no right to have an abortion.

There is no right to do evil.

5. As far as homosexuality is concerned, try to be rational here as well:

What are the genitals made for? Which is the reason why we receive them from mother nature structured in that particular way?

Evidently to join according to a plan written in the true nature of man and woman.

Whatever deed outside of that plan does not follow the nature of those capacities, but it is a deformation and indeed a perversion.

What is ordered to manifest the highest love, the total self-giving that includes the capability to become father and mother, is perverted by seeking unnatural, fictitious, desolating, repulsive and humiliating joining.

Nor homosexual relations can be compared with the intimate and chaste donation of two spouses open to life and looking for a child.

6. About cohabitation: still using reason, is it right and rational to live one’s engagement depriving oneself of the freedom to judge, to go with friends, to let oneself be courted by others, to evaluate other “parties” or solutions by living as if one were married? Is it rational to live married without being married? Isn’t it a fiction, a lie that does good to nobody?

7. Are premarital relations, which are frequently not followed by marriage, a reasonable thing?

Is premarital virginity really unreasonable?

Any girl who has lost her virginity before marriage knows that she lost her integrity, that she is poorer, that she profaned something that instead had to be kept as a sign of the integrity and purity of the gift that was reserved for the one who would be given to her, eternally, with conjugal consent.

There is nothing irrational in purity and premarital virginity.

Instead, there is a lot of passion and little rationality and responsibility in a premarital relationship where one pretends to give oneself completely.

8. As you can see, till now I have not spoken of God, I have not talked about faith.

If we approach the level of faith, which lets us know that “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16) – Who is Christ -, then extraordinary horizons open up, making us to understand how all events in this world – emotional life included – were intended to build something even greater than simply the relationship between a man and a woman.

That went completely unnoticed by you, and therefore you see the law of God in a completely false way, as a coercion and enemy of human love.

9. Those, who have understood this, know from their own personal experience that certain affective manifestations do not lead to God and to the union with Him.

Indeed, they know that those manifestations make one lose His presence and His tenderness in one’s own innermost part, in one’s own heart.

10. In conclusion: the matter is not about incomprehensible little rules to be respected, but about a journey made with God’s heart and in His horizon, where even His norms reveal His extraordinary love for us: because He wants us to keep an enduring and ever-increasing pure power to love.

You haven’t entered the boy’s “heart” yet.

You are not fascinated by what is fascinating to him and that he cannot or is not able to verbally express.

I wish you every good with my prayers and I bless you.

Father Angelo