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Question

Dear Father Angelo,

My name is Marco I am 23 years old. For the past three years I have been engaged to a girl I love very much. I have always lived Christianity (or at least tried) in every aspect of everyday life while she, while saying she believed, could not live the Christian experience like me … We have had relationships that I have already admitted the faults of by confessing but I cannot pass on to her the Christian vision of the relationship … she claims to love me and to show it to me also with sexual intercourse (“which is a beautiful act” etc.) but I try to explain to her that this act is not born as a “means of communication” … here my freedom comes to clash with hers: my wanting to keep instincts, passions and hers (however innocent) will ..how can I not impose my idea on my neighbor, respecting her freedom?

We are convinced that we will get married and she often repeats to me that with the sexual act she also wants to promise me this (eternal love) …

However, I am aware of the fact that it is not only her fault, I myself have not resisted temptations.

I hope I have explained myself and I thank you for your time, I also ask you to pray for us (she will soon be leaving for Hong Kong for work and it will be a great test for both of us)

Sincerely yours and best wishes for a holy Christmas (2017),

Marco


Response from the priest

Dear Marco,

1. your girlfriend tells you to promise herself eternally with the sexual act.

It remains to be seen whether the sexual act has this meaning of its own.

In fact, the sexual act is performed by exercising reproductive abilities.

Everything in that act is ordered to arouse life: the very nature of the genital organs and their functioning.

And this is so true and is so present to the awareness of those who perform it that when it is done before marriage, one takes care to avoid that act its natural effect.

But in this way the act is deprived of its natural language and the plan of the Creator is deformed, who has linked the total gift of self to that act, including the gift of one’s own procreative capacity.

2. Now your girlfriend wants that act to be devoid of precisely that element which is the sure and obvious sign of the will to give oneself to the last.

In other words, she wants that act to be a lie, a lie.

3. And here is the short circuit caused by premarital intercourse. Instead of making love purer and stronger, it begins to burn it.

4. Instead, it is in chastity that eternal love is promised because it is shown with facts that we do not surrender ourselves to those who do not yet belong to us.

5. Your girlfriend would be more truthful if she said she wants sexual intercourse for the gratification or pleasure that goes with it.

It wouldn’t hurt if that pleasure were linked to the purpose for which those acts are ordered.

In fact, however, those acts before marriage are deprived of their intrinsic purpose because the partners do not want to give themselves completely.

As you can see, this is a false promise. 

6. And this too is so true that many couples fall apart after those relationships.

7. It is true that many couples fall apart even after marriage.

But the inner feeling is different between those who left their first boyfriend and married another and those who left their husband to take what God had eternally united with another woman.

In the first case there is no disorder, because the two were free.

In the second case, the disorder and injustice (especially for those forced to suffer all this) are obvious.

8. Rather tell your girlfriend that the time of the engagement is the time of preparation for marriage.

And that we do not prepare ourselves without reaching self-control, to be masters of our instincts and passions.

9. Also say that in the premarital relationship, in which it is said to love the other, in reality one loves one’s own lust.

And this, as has been noted, would not be without negative repercussions even for children who would be sought more for personal satisfaction or joy than for themselves.

And unfortunately it is a sign of the insensitivity that some parents show in procuring suffering to their children with such superficiality, forcing them to be with a man who is not their father, with a concubine of the mother, who in some cases is called without any form of modesty, mom’s boyfriend.

10. What I have told you does not yet constitute the Christian or confessional vision of the premarital relationship.

But it is the vision that is present at least as a core in all cultures and that springs from the meaning of the relationship itself.

11. For the Christian vision of sexuality it should be added that one must look at the body of the other as a holy temple, in which the personal presence of God is guarded through grace.

And that mutual acquaintance should enrich God more and more, leading to an ever more holy and fervent life.

The Holy Spirit says it very clearly through the mouth of St. Paul: “Because this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from shamelessness, that each one knows how to maintain his own body with holiness and respect, not as an object of passions and lust, like the pagans who do not know God;

let no one offend or deceive his own brother in this matter, because the Lord is the victor of all these things, as we have already told you and attested to.

God did not call us to impurity, but to sanctification.

Therefore whoever despises these norms does not despise a man, but God Himself, who gives us His Holy Spirit “(1 Thes 4,3-8).

And all this to be able to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God because this is your spiritual worship (cf. Rom 12,2).

12. I therefore urge you to convince your girlfriend to love purity, the secret of so many other goods.

How nice it would be if she saw it bright in you.

If so, she will approach you with respect. She will not dare to profane you.

I assure you of my prayers for you and for her and I bless you both.

Father Angelo