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Jun 16th 2013 new
Speaking as a "convert" away from disagreeing to agreeing with Church teaching about sex before marriage: about 7 or 8 years ago, I was in an unchaste relationship with my first serious girlfriend. People around me voiced some disapproval, but I really didn't see the point in practicing chastity. When the relationship didn't work out, I missed her greatly. It was my first....and _last_...unchaste relationship, ever. My un-chastity "biased" me towards liking her. We were emotionally apart, yet I didn't notice because I was being gratified. In fact, there was this one Christmas where I actually didn't know what kind of gift to get her. She was a stranger to me, and I didn't even have the sensitivity to stop and consider this. Some people claim they are living together to "get to know one another"; that is a hideous sham of an excuse. You don't "get to know someone" by proximity, but rather by undertaking difficult times together. The practice of chastity is a universal difficulty couples must undertake together in order to not grow into strangers to one another.

However, I am personally dissatisfied with the way chastity is encouraged by the Church's people. The unspoken message is "We're suffering through practice of chastity, you should be suffering too!". While chastity is vastly, vastly important, and those people are technically correct, I feel the Church's people should be ready to explain how chastity "helps", and "strengthens" a relationship (which is desirable), not merely denounce people as "Oh, you're just pleasure-oriented, and a hedonist, that's why you're living with your significant other!". We are all grown ups, and a universal trait among grown ups, whether Catholic, non-Catholic, or even non-religious, is to deny oneself, or suffer for something perceived as important. Therefore, if an adult is asked to practice chastity, what they (incorrectly) hear is a call to masochism, rather than a call to strengthening their relationship with their significant other. Denying oneself pleasure for no explicit reason is silly and masochistic, so the people of the Church must be ready to explain and sing the praises of the fruits of chastity.
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Jun 16th 2013 new
(quote) Bradley-266389 said: Speaking as a "convert" away from disagreeing to agreeing with Church teaching about sex before marriage: about 7 or 8 years ago, I was in an unchaste relationship with my first serious girlfriend. People around me voiced some disapproval, but I really didn't see the point in practicing chastity. When the relationship didn't work out, I missed her greatly. It was my first....and _last_...unchaste relationship, ever. My un-chastity "biased" me towards liking her. We were emotionally apart, yet I didn't notice because I was being gratified. In fact, there was this one Christmas where I actually didn't know what kind of gift to get her. She was a stranger to me, and I didn't even have the sensitivity to stop and consider this. Some people claim they are living together to "get to know one another"; that is a hideous sham of an excuse. You don't "get to know someone" by proximity, but rather by undertaking difficult times together. The practice of chastity is a universal difficulty couples must undertake together in order to not grow into strangers to one another.

However, I am personally dissatisfied with the way chastity is encouraged by the Church's people. The unspoken message is "We're suffering through practice of chastity, you should be suffering too!". While chastity is vastly, vastly important, and those people are technically correct, I feel the Church's people should be ready to explain how chastity "helps", and "strengthens" a relationship (which is desirable), not merely denounce people as "Oh, you're just pleasure-oriented, and a hedonist, that's why you're living with your significant other!". We are all grown ups, and a universal trait among grown ups, whether Catholic, non-Catholic, or even non-religious, is to deny oneself, or suffer for something perceived as important. Therefore, if an adult is asked to practice chastity, what they (incorrectly) hear is a call to masochism, rather than a call to strengthening their relationship with their significant other. Denying oneself pleasure for no explicit reason is silly and masochistic, so the people of the Church must be ready to explain and sing the praises of the fruits of chastity.
I like this post a lot. bravo.--
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Jun 16th 2013 new
Not sure if this is quite on topic but here goes. When couples live together or practice premartital sex they sometimes get married just because it's easier thing to do rather than separate even if they know it isn't a good mstch. Emotional bonds develop that keep them together. She feels that sense of securty he's happy because... And togethrr they both have some financial gain- 2 live cheeper than one. They often dont get to fullly know the real person on the other side of the bed. Also red flags sre ignored. Divorce levels for partners that live together is higher than people thst dont. Just my two pennies
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Jun 16th 2013 new
(quote) BethAnne-168224 said: I think a lot of it comes down to catechesis. A lot of people honestly don't know what they are doing is wrong. I know tons of people that never knew that birth control was wrong.

I think the other part is parents and grandparents. I know TONS of people that want their kids to get married in the church and the kids are no longer practicing. Or the parent/grandparent is a high donor of the church and doesn't want to look bad. So the parents pay for it all and the kids sit through the class.

Beth Anne - you are correct! I think a lot of people aren't aware of it due to age, ignorance, lack of really knowing the Church teachings. Even in CM, there are a LOT of people who believe misinformation about annulments so I wouldn't be surprised that they aren't aware (and probably don't want to know) that their actions aren't condoned by the Church.
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Jun 16th 2013 new
(quote) Bradley-266389 said: Speaking as a "convert" away from disagreeing to agreeing with Church teaching about sex before marriage: about 7 or 8 years ago, I was in an unchaste relationship with my first serious girlfriend. People around me voiced some disapproval, but I really didn't see the point in practicing chastity. When the relationship didn't work out, I missed her greatly. It was my first....and _last_...unchaste relationship, ever. My un-chastity "biased" me towards liking her. We were emotionally apart, yet I didn't notice because I was being gratified. In fact, there was this one Christmas where I actually didn't know what kind of gift to get her. She was a stranger to me, and I didn't even have the sensitivity to stop and consider this. Some people claim they are living together to "get to know one another"; that is a hideous sham of an excuse. You don't "get to know someone" by proximity, but rather by undertaking difficult times together. The practice of chastity is a universal difficulty couples must undertake together in order to not grow into strangers to one another.

However, I am personally dissatisfied with the way chastity is encouraged by the Church's people. The unspoken message is "We're suffering through practice of chastity, you should be suffering too!". While chastity is vastly, vastly important, and those people are technically correct, I feel the Church's people should be ready to explain how chastity "helps", and "strengthens" a relationship (which is desirable), not merely denounce people as "Oh, you're just pleasure-oriented, and a hedonist, that's why you're living with your significant other!". We are all grown ups, and a universal trait among grown ups, whether Catholic, non-Catholic, or even non-religious, is to deny oneself, or suffer for something perceived as important. Therefore, if an adult is asked to practice chastity, what they (incorrectly) hear is a call to masochism, rather than a call to strengthening their relationship with their significant other. Denying oneself pleasure for no explicit reason is silly and masochistic, so the people of the Church must be ready to explain and sing the praises of the fruits of chastity.
Another excellent post by a "youngin"!! This is excellent....are you ready to teach pre-cana classes?

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Jun 16th 2013 new
My cousin is getting married in the Catholic Church, for the second time. She had been living with her "fiance" for several years and then married him civilly a couple of years ago. What is a person like this supposed to do? Does she have to live separately from her legal spouse? BTW, she is 50 years old.
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Jun 16th 2013 new
(quote) Joan-529855 said: Dave,
Thank you for the clarification. As a reader of Chesterton myself, I know where you are coming from.
I agree, our country was founded on the ideal of "religious freedom", the freedom to profess any religion or no religion. Like you pointed out we are the first country founded for the purpose of religious freedom (including atheism). If our country had been founded by a religious sect, requiring everyone living within its borders to profess said religion would we be better off? I think not. Look at the numbers of religious wars that have been fought, and/or still fighting. I don't think "wars" are the answer to morality, even fighting for religious morality.
In a lot of ways I agree with you and I wish governing morality could be so simple, but unfortunately it is not. For a secular government to control morality it removes mans "free will", which God gave man when he created him (remember the Garden of Eden). Of course we have secular laws to protect us from harm but I don't think it is the governments place to police us with moral laws. Again, I REALLY wish it could be done as it would remove alot of heart ache and pain from people's lives but I don't believe it is what God intended for His people.
Again, thank you very much for responding to my post with your wonderful insight. I really appreciate it. You really have me thinking now and I hope you have others thinking as well.
Hi Joan,

It is nice to see that you are familiar with Chesterton. He & Belloc helped me see the problems with the "conservative" ideology.

I think that "religious wars" concept is a myth. Unfortunately, we do have the problem of Islam, whose truth & legitimacy has been largely based on its success in battle. With the exception of this one Catholic heresy (I dont believe Islam is a religion), there have been very few truly religious wars, and most of these were not as devastating secular ones.

The Civil War this country fought less than 100 years after its independence is an example of how bad secular wars can be. The dispute was over a philosophical/moral issue regarding the practice/rights of slavery. In a normal state, this issue would have been decided by theologians and philosophers. Unfortunately, in a secular state, with no recourse to a fixed belief system like religion, this issue had to be decided on the battlefield, with horrific consequences for the nation.

The earlier US Mexican War (and to an extent, the war of 1812), both devastating in their nature, were based on an erroneous theological/philosophical heresy of "Manifest Destiny". The secular state, because of its nature, had no way of repudiating this belief, so it needed to be implemented on the battlefield. 100 years later, Hitlers "superiority of the Aryan Race", similar to the American concept of "Manifest Destiny", destroyed all of Europe. In fact, the most devastating wars have arisen only after we have incorporated the secular state.

A religious state, at least from the Catholic and pre-Catholic tradition, does not impose itself on everyone. (This is distinct from post-Catholic states i.e. Islam and protestants.) However, in a religious state there is no disjunction between private and public morality that exists in the secular state.

I think Pope Leos encyclical "Immortale Dei" is one of the many that addresses this issue. www.vatican.va. (If you dont have time, please read only para. 3 & 6, as they are most relevant to this discussion.) Unlike the founders of this country, Pope Leo believed society (and hence the state) is natural to man, and public authority proceeded from God. Hence, the state is bound to offer worship to God i.e. a secular state is a sin. Also, unlike the founding fathers, Pope Leo believed civil society is not only limited to safeguarding the rights & welfare of the community, but also to enable us to pursue higher virtues linking us to God. A pagan like Aristotle also said "political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship" (Politics Book 3, Part IX classics.mit.edu)

Finally, I think behind all the major political questions before this country (healthcare, gun rights, welfare etc.) lie theological differences i.e. the opposing sides differ in their ideas of human existence, and in the nature of God.

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Jun 16th 2013 new
(quote) Joan-529855 said: My cousin is getting married in the Catholic Church, for the second time. She had been living with her "fiance" for several years and then married him civilly a couple of years ago. What is a person like this supposed to do? Does she have to live separately from her legal spouse? BTW, she is 50 years old.
My ex and his adulteress married civilly in December. They finally stopped receiving communion at mass, but still go to mass on a weekly basis. Not sure if they were asked by the clergy to not receive it or not (the affair was not kept hush hush in the church since our families were close friends and all went to church there). They did, however, have the nerve to come to my church (I changed parishes) and receive communion at my son's mass when he received 1st communion. The jaws that dropped there...... Anyway, technically, she can go up for a blessing but should not receive communion until her previous marriages are annulled.
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Jun 17th 2013 new
(quote) Joan-529855 said: A couple of years ago my diocesan Marriage and Family Life minister told me that 85% of couples in Pre-Cana classes are having sex . He said it very matter of factly, like it should be of no surprise. He also said that of the 85%, over half of them were living together. Again, he said it should be of no surprise, since our culture is a culture of "immediate gratification in everything".
I have had a couple of years to come to grips with this information and to do my own "research" and have found that CM is a very good data sampling that supports these statistics, especially from the numbers of members that answer "no" under premarital sex (way more men than women check "no" in this category).
Now, I know where I stand in this category (check my profile if you are interested) and I know where my exhusband stands (he is currently unmarried, living with his "sex slave"), but I am concerned where this leaves my four twenty-something year old children.
What is the Catholic church doing to reduce the percentages? Well, the marriage and family life minister said he is setting up households for the couples to live, seperately, so that they are no longer living together. Not a bad idea, but I think that is just treating the symptoms and not getting to the root of the problem.
I would like to hear suggestions from CM members, whether you checked yes or no for the premarital sex question or not, as to whether or not the Church should "do" anything in regards to the high percentages of members engaging in sex before marriage. AND if the church should "do" something, what should it be? Keep in mind that statistics show couples who cohabitate/engage in premarital sex have a higher divorce rate than couples that don't.
"...of that 85%, over half of them were living together." Before my sister and brother-in-law were married, when it appeared their relationship was serious, they were often asked why they didn't live together. After they became engaged, they were asked that question even more often. I always smile when I remember their comeback: "We just don't love each other enough." That shut down any further queries on the subject. Very clever in my opinion.
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Jun 17th 2013 new
(quote) Ellen-813688 said: "...of that 85%, over half of them were living together." Before my sister and brother-in-law were married, when it appeared their relationship was serious, they were often asked why they didn't live together. After they became engaged, they were asked that question even more often. I always smile when I remember their comeback: "We just don't love each other enough." That shut down any further queries on the subject. Very clever in my opinion.
Nice answer, but I think the better answer would be, "We love each other too much"!!

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