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Question

Dear Father Angelo,

I’m a 2X year-old girl who’s always kept close to the Church and Her precepts.

I’ve been in a relationship for almost … years and I’m not married yet because my boyfriend works in a different city and I’m about to graduate from university.

I’ll get to my point: my boyfriend and I have sexual relations using protection; initially, my intention was to remain a virgin until our wedding, but then I let go (however, I feel guilty every time, but he’s non-practicing and this causes in me an internal conflict). I always brought these sins to the confessional, but I never confessed the use of a contrceptive because I didn’t think it important.

I ask you to kindly clarify how I should make my confession because this situation makes me feel bad, I wouldn’t want to have taken Communion sacrilegiously by not confessing this sin.

Easter is approaching and I want to receive Jesus in the most righteous way possible. I’ll be anxiously waiting for your answer and I wish you a happy Easter.

Priest’s answer

Dearest,

 Unfortunately I couldn’t get to your question sooner.

There are e-mails which have been waiting for an answer for a long time, but I’ll make an exception and answer yours almost immediately. 

  1. I’ll start with your boyfriend, who is non-practicing.
    In other words, he does not rely on God, which puts him at risk of creating a moral law of his own, deciding subjectively what is good and what is evil.
    To a person who calls himself “non-practicing”, God stops being the starting and ending point of his life, including his sexuality and his love life.
    I’m not surprised by the fact that he made up his own morality.
  2. Engagement is a time for laying the foundation of marriage, a time to learn how to truly love.
    Your boyfriend believes himself to be truly loving, he doesn’t think he needs to learn how to love. But it isn’t so. 
  3. Sex before marriage is not true love for two reasons:
    The first: because one gives himself to somebody who doesn’t ultimately belong to him.
    Somebody who belongs to him in his desire, but not in reality.
    The body of the other person doesn’t belong to him yet.
    Both partners know this is the case, because they know they are free, they feel it internally. They know the other is free to leave as he pleases.
  4. The second reason: it is not true love because one does not give himself in totality.
    Precisely for this reason, in order not to give ourselves totally, we use contraception.
    What is contraception if not the refusal to give ourselves completely, the refusal to give the other our capacity to become fathers or mothers?
    It is a refusal, by the way, that we make while actualizing our procreative capabilities.
    Somebody rightly pointed out that “lust is a skin-deep lie, possession disguised as gift”.
  5. I’ll come now to your question.
    You say that you have always confessed having had sexual intercourse, but without detailing the means of contraception.
    Well, the confessor knows that sexual relations before marriage usually involve contraception.
    This does not change the order of the sin confessed, because it is implicit.
    Your confessions are therefore valid and you should not trouble yourself over this. 
  6. However, one needs to confess the method of contraception if it’s also an abortifacient, i.e. Plan B, IUD.
    In addition to going against the Sixth Commandment, which prohibits impure acts, that would put one at risk of going against the Fifth Commandment as well: do not kill. Using abortifacient methods means to clearly expose oneself to the possibility of eliminating a human being at the beginning of his existence. This is always a particularly grave evil.
    Pope John XXII said that “Human life is sacred […] From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God.” (Mater et Magistra 194) and the Second Vatican Council: “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (GS 51). 
  7. It is superfluous for me to exhort you to live your love life in purity.
    You have everything to gain and will help your boyfriend make big gains in every way as well. 

I wish you the best for your future.

I recommend you to the Lord and bless you.

Father Angelo