The Pope to young couples: "No sex before marriage"

The Vatican launches a challenge to young engaged believers. And it does so through a document that traces the new lines for marriage preparation. The Church is urged to have the courage “to propose the precious virtue of chastity, even though this is now in direct contrast with the common mentality”. Premarital chastity must be presented as an authentic “ally of love”, not as its negation.

A document that reaffirms principles consolidated in the church for years – chastity before marriage – but often little applied. The last to reiterate this was Pope John Paul II in 2003. But to re-propose and remember that principle, today in 2022, in the light of the changing times and the meaning attributed to sex by the world of adolescence, it has a new flavor. It does not want to be retrograde, but on the contrary an invitation to re-appropriate important values. The challenge was conceived in these terms, which includes several points made explicit step by step in the written document distributed to young couples about to get married.

The conjugal vision of love

“The paths of education to affectivity and sexuality – specifies the document” Catechumenal itineraries for married life “proposed by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life – in the context of a positive and prudent sexual education that are proposed to boys as their age grows should not limit themselves to just the horizon of love tout court, since this, in the dominant cultural interpretation, is mainly understood as romantic love, but they will be included in a clear conjugal vision of love, understood as mutual self-giving of the spouses, as knowing how to love and knowing how to let oneself be loved, as a mutual exchange of affection and unconditional acceptance, as knowing how to rejoice and knowing how to suffer for the other “.

Sexual and affect education is fundamental

It is particularly “urgent to create or strengthen pastoral programs aimed above all at young people in the age of puberty and adolescence. Given today’s challenges, in fact, the family cannot and cannot be the only place for education in affectivity. Therefore he needs the help of the Church “. Precisely for this reason, the document continues, “it will be important to provide for an adequate training of formators who accompany the very young in the education of sexuality and affectivity, involving experts and creating synergy, for example, with Christian-inspired counseling centers or pastoral projects. of affection education approved and known by the diocese / eparchy or by the episcopal conference “.

Young spouses don’t have to think about procreation right away

It still reads in the document. “It is worthwhile to help young spouses to know how to find the time to deepen their friendship and to welcome the grace of God. Certainly premarital chastity favors this path, because it gives the new spouses time to be together, to get to know each other better, without immediately think about the procreation and growth of children “.

Chastity, respect for others and non-submission

“As a couple, in fact, the importance of those values ​​and attentions that the virtue of chastity emerges in an even more evident way – finally explains the Holy See in the new guidelines for preparing for marriage with reference to chastity – teaches: respect for the other, the concern to never submit him to one’s wishes, patience and gentleness with his spouse in times of difficulty, physical and spiritual, the strength and self-control necessary in times of absence or illness of one of the spouses, etc. Also in this context, the experience of Christian spouses will be important in explaining the importance of this virtue within marriage and the family “.

Morally necessary separation for couples in crisis

“Despite all the support the Church can offer to couples in crisis, there are, however, situations in which separation is inevitable. Sometimes it can even become morally necessary.” These situations, the document notes, “precisely when it comes to rescuing the weakest spouse, or young children, from the most serious wounds caused by bullying and violence, degradation and exploitation, strangeness and indifference”. In any case, “separation must be considered as a last resort, after all other reasonable attempts have proved in vain”.

Writing the “wedding diary”

The spouses are then suggested to keep a ‘diary of marriage’, “for a sort of periodic verification of conjugal communion, in which to note joys and sufferings and everything that constitutes the concrete experience of the life of the spouses”. A couples therapy tip to keep track of inevitable ups and downs in a relationship journey that can help you get through the toughest moments.

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