Dear Father Angelo,
I’m writing to you about something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about for a long time. It’s about virginity.
I have already read on the site several articles of yours on the subject that have helped me to understand this topic better.
In fact, I have been wondering for a long time whether, with regard to me, we can still talk about Virginity.
In my past the sins against the sixth commandment had been masturbation and pornography (confessed) as I had already told you, but I have never had any relationship of any kind with a girl, just some outpourings (such as a strong hug) but never any relationship.
Of this I am happy, and I really want to love Jesus with virginal love, I wonder if this is still possible for me… In fact I fall in love with the writings on virgin souls, such as Saint Lucy, Saint John the Apostle, Saint Gemma Galgani, Saint Rosalia.
How I love their choice, it has a unique beauty. I also wonder if that halo of Virginity is still possible for a boy/ girl like me, who unfortunately sinned against the sixth commandment, but never had intercourse, and only wants to love Jesus forever.
I hope I don’t look proud because of what I write, but I ask you why I feel in all this a beauty so great that fascinates me and I want so much.
These are the questions that I carry in my heart, I feel in fact so great a beauty in loving Jesus, having only Him as Bridegroom, that fascinates me so much that just writing I feel the strong, strong desire that beats in my heart, and so much happiness.
To protect my desire to love Jesus alone.
Father Angelo, it seems to me that living in the world I must be careful and protect these desires that I carry in my heart…
In fact, sometimes it seems to me that the world tries to drag me along, as if it were trying to “extinguish” the desires I carry in my heart.
I must try, with the Grace of God, to be always vigilant… May Mary Most Holy protect and keep us always and forever.
Thank you and see you soon, with a warm greeting.
The Priest’s answer
1. I quote to you, translating it from the Latin, what a great Dominican moralist theologian, D. Prümmer, says in his Manuale Theologiae moralis:
“Virginity is understood in three meanings:
As integrity of the flesh, which is lost in men through masturbation (peccaminosam pollutionem) and in women by the breaking of the hymen or by the so-called female pollution.This virginity is not violated with the internal sins of lust and not even with the external sins that have not reached their outcome (have not been not consummated).
This kind of virginity is not something moral or meritorious, but only something physical.
As a state of celibacy. Therefore all those who were never married are in a state of virginity.
If this state is chosen for the love of God or for another supernatural reason, then it is more perfect than the marital state, as defined by the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the marital state must be placed before the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is no better and happier thing (“melius ac beatius”) to remain in the state of virginity or celibacy rather than to contract marriage, let it be anathema” (sess. 24,10, DS 1810).
If instead one chooses the state of celibacy for another purely natural reason, eg. because he does not want to have the burdens of marriage, then it is more imperfect, because marriage is a sacrament to which many graces are connected.
As a moral virtue, which is the firm will to abstain in perpetuity from every venereal delight in a subject who has never been corrupted.
Therefore the virtue of virginity differs in this above all from the virtue of chastity: virginity can only be in a person who has never been corrupted by a voluntary lust; chastity instead can be in any person, even though he was corrupted before.
For virginity considered in this way the integrity of the flesh is a secondary element; therefore the virtue of virginity is not lost because of a violent oppression or because of a surgical operation, with which the integrity of the flesh could fail. This virtue of virginity is irreparably lost with an act of consummated lust, that is, with a gravely sinful pollution.
The reason is that, then, the integrity of the flesh is deliberately and unlawfully damaged” (Manuale Theologiae moralis, 677).
2. D. Prümmer adds: “To the virtue of virginity, because it is a special virtue, the voluntary incorruption of the flesh is not sufficient; otherwise all young people who live chastely but intend to marry at the appropriate time would have a special virtue of virginity distinct from the virtue of chastity; which does not seem to be true. Therefore the theologians teach that, for the virtue of virginity, the firm intent to keep chastity in perpetuity is required, and in addition, out of homage to God; for the virginity of the Vestals and of other women, who for profane reasons keep virginity, is not a special virtue.
Saint Thomas in this regard seems to require further the vow of virginity because he writes: “Virginity as a virtue implies the purpose, confirmed with a vow, of preserving one’s own integrity: in fact, St. Augustine wrote that through virginity “one votes, consecrates and keeps the integrity of the flesh to the Creator of the soul and body. Therefore virginity as a virtue can be lost only with sin” (Summa theologica, II-II, 152, 3, ad 4). (…)
From what has been said about the essence of virginity, as it is a special virtue, two things are required:
first, that the subject has never been corrupted by a voluntary pollution or violation of the hymen;
second, the firm and perpetual purpose (vow), in devotion to God, of never wanting to seek the venereal pleasure.
If one of the two is missing, virginity is not a special virtue, but is reduced to the virtue of chastity” (Ib.).
3. About the halo in paradise Saint Thomas writes:
“Where there is an excellent form of victory, there must be a special crown. Therefore, as with virginity one obtains a singular victory over the flesh, against which one has a continuous war, according to the words of St. Paul: “The spirit has desires in opposition to the flesh…” (Gal 5:17), virginity is due a special crown, called a halo.
And this is common doctrine for all.
But not everyone agrees in saying what kind of virginity it is due.
In fact, some say that it is due to the very fact of being virgins. So that whoever is currently a virgin, will have the halo, if they are numbered among the saved.
But this does not seem reasonable. Because so those who have the purpose of getting married, and die before marriage, would have the halo.
Therefore others say that the halo is due to the state and not to the fact of virginity; so only those virgins who, through a vow, keep themselves in the state of perpetual virginity deserve the halo.
But this also does not persuade, because one can observe virginity with the resolve of those who take a vow for it, without taking a vow for it.
It can therefore be answered differently, namely that merit is due to every act of virtue ruled by charity.
Now, virginity belongs to virtue when the perpetual integrity of mind and heart is the object of a choice, as it is evident from what we have said.
Therefore, the halo is properly due only to those virgins, who have made the resolution of preserving virginity in perpetuity, whether they have or have not confirmed it with a vow.
And this is true inasmuch as the halo itself is considered as a reward granted for a merit, even if this resolve was interrupted for a certain time, but the integrity of the flesh remains intact; provided that it is found at the end of life, since the virginity of the mind is repairable, not so the virginity of the flesh” (Supplement to the Theological Sum, 96,5).
4. In your case, according to Saint Thomas, virginity was not perfect.
But Saint Thomas also added that the halo can be more perfect in one than in another (Ib., 96, 13): “Since merit is somehow the cause of the award, the awards must vary according to the diversity of merits; in fact a thing increases or decreases according to the increase or decrease of one’s own cause. Now, the merit corresponding to the halo can be greater or lesser.
Therefore also the halo can be greater or lesser”.
5. For in Paradise, as I hope, you will be placed at least in the number of those who have chosen the state of virginity and because, after some adolescent corruptions in the flesh, you have amended yourself with great love for the Lord living with virginal soul and admirably overcoming every fight, one has to think that you too are given this splendid halo and you can sing that new song that only the Lamb and virgins can sing to Him (cf. Rev 14:3-4).
As I wish you to continue on the beautiful road you have taken, I assure you I am keeping you in my prayers to the Lord and I bless you.