Pope Francis to young couples: “Chastity before marriage to rediscover the times and ways of true love”

“It pays to help young newlyweds to know how to find the time to deepen their friendship and to welcome God’s grace premarital chastity favors this path because it gives the new spouses time to be together, to get to know each other better, without immediately thinking about procreation and to raising children“. This is what is stated in a document of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life entitled Catechumenal itineraries for married life. A text that has the preface of Pope francesco and which is published on the eve of X World meeting of families which will be held in Rome from 22 to 26 June 2022. “Young people always arouse great interest – the Vatican document reads – the direct listening of spouses who tell their story as a couple giving reasons for their ‘yes’, or the testimony of engaged couples, even those who have not yet decided to marry, who seek to live the engagement as an important Christian time of discernment and verificationincluding those who have made the choice of chastity before marriage, and who tell the very young about the reasons for their choice and the spiritual fruits that derive from it “.

There Holy See reiterates that “the Church must never lack the courage to propose the precious virtue of chastity, even though this is now in direct contrast to the common mentality. Chastity must be presented as authentic ‘ally of love’, not as a negation of it. Indeed, it is the privileged way to learn to respect the individuality and dignity of the other, without subordinating him to one’s own desires. Chastity teaches married couples the times and ways of true, delicate and generous love, and prepares for the authentic gift of self to be lived then for the whole life in marriage. It is therefore important to show that the virtue of chastity does not only have a negative dimension that asks everyone, according to their state of life, to refrain from a disordered use of sexualitybut it also has a very important positive dimension of freedom from possession of the other, from a physical, moral and spiritual point of view, which, in the case of the call to marriage, is of fundamental importance for orienting and nourishing conjugal love, preserving it from any manipulation. In the final analysis, chastity teaches, in every state of life, to be faithful to the truth of one’s love. This will mean, for engaged couples, living chastity in continence and, once married, living conjugal intimacy with moral rectitude “.

The document also reads that “chastity lived in continence allows the relationship to gradually ripen and in depth. When, in fact, as often happens, the sexual-genital dimension becomes the main, if not the only, element that holds a couple together, all the other aspects inevitably fade into the background or are obscured and the relationship does not progress. . Chastity lived in continence, on the other hand, facilitates mutual knowledge between engaged couples, because by preventing the relationship from being fixed on the physical exploitation of the other, it allows for a more in-depth dialogue, a freer manifestation of the heart and the emergence of all aspects of one’s personality, human and spiritual, intellectual and emotional, in order to allow true growth in the relationship, in personal communion, in the discovery of the wealth and limits of the other: and this is the true purpose of the time of engagement ” .

For the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life “even in the event that we find ourselves talking to cohabiting couples, it is never useless to speak of the virtue of chastity. This virtue teaches every baptized person, in every condition of life, the right use of their sexuality, and for this reason, even in married life, it is extremely useful. In fact, as spouses, the importance of those values ​​and attentions that the virtue of chastity teaches emerges even more clearly: respect for the other, the concern to never submit to one’s wishes, patience and gentleness with the spouse in moments of difficulty, physical and spiritual, the strength and self-domination 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 to explain the importance of this virtue within marriage and the family ”.

The Vatican also points out that “i education courses affectivity and sexuality, in the context of a positive and prudent sexual education, which are offered to children as their age grows should not be limited only to 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, like knowing how to love and knowing how to let oneself be loved, like a mutual exchange of affection and unconditional acceptance, like knowing how to rejoice and knowing how to suffer for the other “. And again: “Despite all the support the Church can offer to couples in crisisThere are, however, situations where separation is inevitable. At times it can even become morally necessary, precisely when it comes to removing the weakest spouse, or young children, from the most serious wounds caused by bullying and violence, degradation and exploitation, strangeness and indifference. However, it must be considered as a last resort, after any other reasonable attempt has proved in vain ”.

In his preface to the document, Bergoglio explains the reasons that led to the drafting of this itinerary: “Here emerged in no uncertain terms the serious concern for the fact that, with too superficial preparation, couples face the real risk of celebrating a null marriage or with bases so weak that they ‘fall apart’ in a short time and do not know how to resist even the first inevitable crises. These failures bring with them great suffering and leave deep wounds in people. They remain disillusioned, embittered and, in the most painful cases, they even end up no longer believing in the vocation to love, inscribed by God himself in the heart of the human being. There is therefore first of all a duty to accompany with a sense of responsibility those who manifest their intention to unite in marriage, so that they are preserved from the traumas of separations and never lose trust in love “.

“But – adds the Pope – there is also a feeling of justice that should animate us. The Church is a mother, and a mother does not make preferences among her children. She doesn’t treat them unequally, she dedicates the same care, the same attention, the same time to everyone. Taking time is a sign of love: if we do not dedicate time to a person it is a sign that we do not love them. This comes to mind many times when I think that the Church spends a lot of time, some years, preparing candidates for the priesthood or religious life, but it spends little time, just a few weeks, on those preparing for marriage. Like priests and consecrated persons, spouses are also children of the mother Church, and such a great difference in treatment is not right. Married couples make up the great majority of the faithful, and are often pillars in parishes, voluntary groups, associations and movements. They are real guardians of life, not only because they generate children, educate them and accompany them in their growth, but also because they take care of the elderly in the family, they dedicate themselves to the service of people with disabilities and often to many situations of poverty with they come into contact with “. “Therefore, – concludes Francis – to give substance to this urgent need, I recommended implementing a true catechumenate for future spouses, which includes all the stages of the sacramental journey: the time of preparation for marriage, its celebration and the years immediately following “.

Twitter: @FrancescoGrana

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