Wonderful books by Father Kinsella:
The Wife Desired
The Man For Her

Some years ago a questionnaire was published in the Religious 
Bulletin of the University of Notre Dame. It listed some fifty 
virtues, qualities of mind and body and accomplishments. The list 
included such virtues as purity, humility, and justice; such 
qualities of the mind as tolerance and humor, of the body as figure 
and beauty: such accomplishments as skill at tennis, swimming 
and music. Five hundred young men were asked to choose one 
virtue or quality or accomplishment which they would have above 
all others in their future wives.

Most of the choices were sensible and mature. However, out of five 
hundred young men we could expect some to be immature if not 
juvenile. I remember that one demanded of his future wife that she 
be an expert swimmer. He would have this above all else in his 
companion for life. He must have been an habitue of the 
swimming pool; perhaps he was on the swimming team. Evidently, 
he could visualize his wife swimming along through life by his 

We should not be surprised that a dozen or two were not too 
serious or intelligent in their selections. You might not agree with 
the remaining choices. Although you might not decide on honesty, 
for example, yet you would probably hesitate in passing up this 

Well over three hundred of these young men picked the virtue of 
purity. Instinctively young men realize that the virtue of purity is 
a prerequisite for marriage. The girl who lacks it is a bad risk for 
marriage, whatever else be her assets. No self-respecting young 
man will seek out for his wife a girl who has been pawed over by 
every Tom, Dick and Harry in the neighborhood.Lavender_Johnson

A girl who develops the reputation for being "fast" with the boys 
will win dates from inconsequential young men. She will have what 
she thinks is a good time for a few years. But she is wasting her 
time as far as finding a good mate for life. The worthwhile young 
man looking for the girl to be his inspiration, his faithful 
companion, and the mother of his children, will pass her up; or, if 
he should unknowingly become acquainted with her, will on 
learning of her real worth, drop her like a hot potato. Allow me to 
say that this is not just theory. Remember the three hundred men 
at Notre Dame who chose purity in their future wives above all 

Lest anyone need more convincing, it should be mentioned that 
authorities on family life are in agreement that violation of purity 
to the extent of sexual experience before marriage is a handicap 
for a future married life. No one says that the handicap cannot be 
overcome. Yet, it remains a handicap, and the girl who is preparing 
herself to be the ideal wife heeds the voice of experience and 
avoids this obstacle to future happiness.

These opinions are held by some with no religious convictions 
about purity. Some of them do not seem overly concerned about 
religion. Their experience in dealing with marriage problems tells 
them that lack of purity often wrecks a marriage. This is their 
observation, and it is honestly stated.

By nature a girl is strongly inclined to modesty. It becomes her and 
enhances her charm. "Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom 
thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord, for the grace of her 
modesty is above gold." Eccu. VII, 21. A good home life, her 
religion, and her school promote this natural instinct and carry it 
along to the full-blown, delicate flower of purity. It is a drastic 
change in the life of a girl for her to abandon, even temporarily, 
the virtue of purity. The cause must be considerable. One great 
cause for loss of purity among girls of high school and college age 
is an inferiority complex.

Take Hattie for example. She was not a ravishing beauty. Yet, she 
was attractive enough; or at least she could have been if she 
worked along the correct lines. Hattie missed a prom or two. She 
was being passed over by the boys. Visions of her old maid aunt 
haunted her. Panic set in and she lost confidence in herself and in 
the future. She began throwing herself at the boys. The word got 
around. And it was not long before she was receiving the attention 
of several of the most odious young reprobates of her 
neighborhood. You may be sure that these characters who 
contributed to the destruction of a girl's virtue would not hesitate 
to ruin her reputation.

Hattie was now getting the attention which she craved. She now 
had dates, but she was a marked young lady. And time was quickly 
running out. Opportunities for a happy married life were growing 
dimmer with each succeeding "fast date." Remember the choice of 
the young men at Notre Dame?4

It is obvious that Hattie's frantic efforts to have dates were her 
undoing. She lacked confidence in herself, the quiet confidence, 
which comes to the girl who is developing her personality. It is not 
necessarily true that the girl who has the most dates during high 
school years will catch the best husband in the shortest time. This 
is especially true if she compromises her purity in order to acquire 
these dates.

The young lady who abandons purity or allows it to become 
tarnished sells herself much too cheaply. She is not preparing 
herself to become the ideal wife. In fact, she is frittering away her 
chances of becoming a wife at all.

How stupid it is to think that purity will scare away young men. If 
a girl is a "wall flower," it is not because of her purity. It is in spite 
of it. Purity of itself attracts. The introvert has the makings of a 
"wall flower." While the introvert sits on the side lines, she has 
plenty of time to reflect. Often her reflections indicate a not overly 
generous soul. If she attributes her own lack of popularity to the 
virtue of purity, to what does she attribute the popularity of many 
of her acquaintances? She refuses or is too dull to see that it is 
their vivacity. They are interesting people and can have a good 
time and can promote fun for others.

"Ah! sweet mystery of life, at last I've found thee. Ah! I know at last 
the secret of it all . . . For 'tis love and love alone the world is 
seeking." No truer words were ever sung than these in the famous 
love song. The only excuse for our existence is the love of God. For 
this He made us, to love and be loved.

The virtue of purity is not an end in itself. It is the guardian of 
love. As we ascend toward God through His creatures, we are 
waylaid by a host of enemies. One of these is lust of the flesh. Its 
most subtle and overpowering assault is to masquerade as love. 
Purity guides us around this booby trap. The path it takes us over 
at times is stony. This is particularly true for young people who 
are seriously courting or are engaged.

To love a person is to wish him well, to hope for and plan for and 
work for his happiness with all your being. A real Christian wishes 
all mankind happiness and thereby fulfills the great precepts of 
Christ to love his neighbor. This love of neighbor, all embracing 
and including the little Pigmy in far off Africa and even our 
enemies, is a spiritual thing. It emanates from the soul, from the 
mind and the will.

We know that the opposite sexes were made by God to attract each 
other. This attraction in itself is not love, unless it includes the 
spiritual side of our nature. Many people physically attract each 
other even to the extent of marriage. Yet, many of them are not 
really in love. They do not seem capable of love. They are too self-
centered. Love is just the opposite. It looks outside for self, forgets 
self. The marriage built on physical attraction alone will last just 
as long as the infatuation lasts, and this generally is not very long.

For a normal, happy marriage there should be both the spiritual 
and physical attraction between husband and wife. Ordinarily, love 
begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted 
with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She 
admires his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward 
life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence. 
Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a 
flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. 
She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will 
vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her 
being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her 
own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is 
her only real concern.

Obviously, this early stage of love, undeveloped and untested by 
actual married life though it be, poses a real problem for engaged 
couples. Their spiritual love for each other readily flows over into 
the physical side of their nature. These emotions quickly enkindle 
the sexual impulses. Here the virtue of purity, the watch-dog of 
love, must come into play to steady the two lovers.

Champions are not made overnight. Long and tedious practice 
must precede real success. The daily exercise of purity over the 
years is required to build up the virtue or facility of purity. It will 
be a safeguard for these engaged couples when they need it most 
in times of emotional stress. Intelligent reflection in moments of 
calm will show them the foolishness of hasty desires and the 
danger to their love and respect for each other in stealing 
privileges from their future married lives. The period of 
engagement is a challenge to the sincerity of their love. It is a test 
of sacrifice and self denial, without which loves flies out the 
window. How often the nascent flower of love has been choked off 
by the rank weeds of impurity.

The sham and insincerity of pretending to be better than one is 
renders the hypocrite obnoxious to all. The failing is more 
common after middle age, when the tendency of hiding sins and 
blemishes of character grows. Young people are more likely to be 
the victims of another hypocrisy, the pretense of being worse than 
they actually are.

I saw so much of this when I was overseas with the Air Forces 
during the war. Many of the young fliers, half-way through their 
allotted missions, seemed to feel it necessary to impress the 
recent arrivals from the States as to how reckless they were with 
the female population of Paris. With divers winks and knowing 
looks these self-styled old reprobates (many were only nineteen or 
twenty) would have the young lambies believe that they had 
plumbed the depths of Pigalle from one end to the other.

I suppose that we should not begrudge the young blades the foible 
of parading as overwhelming lady killers. Yet, half of these fancied 
"wolves" would find themselves hard put later on in married life to 
fill the bill emotionally for all but the most feckless of wives. 
Obviously, only the very young would be taken in by this display 
of masculinity. But that is just the trouble. These hypocrites were 
dealing with the young. The hypocrisy of pretending to be better 
than reality hurts no one. The hypocrisy of pretending to be evil 
has led many a person into serious sin. The power of example is 
prodigious, and what a calamity it is when failures in the virtue of 
purity have followed such a will o' the wisp as the feigned example 
of the hypocrite.