From the little book Clean Love in Courtship by Father Lawrence Lovasik

Improper Liberties

There is no love between persons of the opposite sex which does not aim at nature’s design implanted by God, namely, the bringing of children into the world.

Since parenthood is unlawful outside of marriage, indulgence in free love for its own sake outside marriage and apart from all intention of marriage, is unlawful and mortally sinful. The only love-making which is morally justified is that of lawful courtship, with possible marriage in view and with all the restraints of respect and modesty proper courtship and marriage imply.

Worldlings try to prove to you that sinful ways are natural and that there is no wrong in obeying certain natural impulses when they call you to indulge in thoughts, desires or acts which are against the sixth and ninth commandments.

Do not deceive yourself nor permit yourself to be deceived!

Impurity is not sweet, though temptation and the tempter would urge that such sin is desirable. Lust lures, but in the lure lies death.

If you think of man as a high-grade animal or a cultured brute, you are not going to be very backward about taking and permitting liberties on dates and in courtship.

But if you regard your friend and yourself as Temples of the Holy Ghost — which you are—then you will be very careful not to desecrate those temples, though the tendencies of the lower man forever urge you to do so.

If you defile His temples, God gave you His word that He will destroy you, for St. Paul says: “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which you are.” (1 Cor. 3, 17.)

That destruction need not be death: most often, following sinful dating and courtship, punishment takes the shape of destruction of peace and joy in marriage. The best way to forestall so horrid a disaster is to steer clear of every carelessness in the observance of Christian modesty in company-keeping.

Nature has endowed woman with a stronger instinct for modesty than man. That is the saddest moment in a girl’s life when for the first time she kneels before the crucifix or image of Our Lady and feels ashamed to look into the eyes of Jesus and Mary.

The stain of a sin of impurity wiped out by one fatal sweep all the previous beauty and charm of her virtue. She has not the heart to meet her mother’s loving glance by looking her fondly in the eye, but casts her eyes down self-accusingly.

Woman’s welfare is more directly bound up with the preservation of chastity than that of man. It ought to be her special concern to safeguard this beautiful virtue. She can exert a special power over man in this regard, and it is her sacred duty to use this power.

She can sharpen man’s conscience in these matters and inspire him with a sense of reverence with respect to everything that pertains to sex.

It depends largely on her whether the sex relation will be ennobled or degraded. Man is inclined to look up to her as an ideal; it is her fault if she steps down from the pedestal and cheapens herself.

The fact is that woman suffers more severely from laxity in sex matters than man and that, consequently, in self-defense she must demand an absolute respect for the virtue of chastity and allow no compromise.

A young woman who prevails on her fiancé to approach the sacraments with her at regular intervals builds up a strong bulwark against improper advances and obtains the best guarantee for a happy future.

Nature also gave man the instinct for the maintenance of manly honor and chivalry, which prompts him to earn the respect, attachment, and love of a pure woman. Nature inclines him to be a chivalrous protector of her virtue and honor, making him willing to suffer any hardship in order to keep her innocence from every harm, as he would in the case of his own sister.

When, instead of protecting a woman’s virtue against others, man himself turns traitor and, to satisfy his low carnal desires, does what he can to wreck it, he disgraces his manhood, plays false to his title of Christian, and renders himself an object of scorn and disgust to the woman he seduces.

A man who takes undue personal liberties with a girl is her deadliest enemy—a robber who has deprived her, not of all her money and jewels, but of her greatest possession, her spotless innocence.

The meanest criminal, even if he murdered her in cold blood, would not be able to harm her as she has been harmed by her so-called” friend.” A girl’s worst enemy is this sort of “friend,” who, demon like, desecrated and devastated the beautiful temple of her soul. The preservation of chastity depends on the presence of honest and genuine love. He who sincerely loves will keep the proper distance and will not allow the bloom to be worn off the flower of love by cheapening, immoral intimacies?

True love gives strength of character and assists in the acquisition of self-control. It never takes advantage of another for the sake of personal gratification. To preserve bodily integrity before marriage, a young man must also possess some knowledge of women. Good and pure-minded women inspire respect and make the task of a young man easy, for he will have no difficulty in keeping the right distance.

A self-respecting young man will have nothing to do with girls of loose morals who hold themselves cheap and sell their favors like wares. But it is the height of chivalry to deal with an intermediary group: thoughtless, superficial girls, who play with fire.

They test to the utmost the character of a good young man. He must protect these silly creatures against their folly and against his own passions which they foolishly arouse.

In order that a young man may keep the virtue of chastity intact in himself and in his prospective life mate, he must firmly believe in the possibility of a chaste life before marriage and be convinced that God demands sexual abstinence outside the married state. God imposes no duty that is beyond our power, and He knows well what man can accomplish aided by His grace.

This realization will influence the young man’s attitude towards his fiancée and make him feel ashamed of any improper intimacies. Very wisely a decent girl will conclude that if her lover insists on indulging in mutual indecent liberties in courtship, and if he cannot master himself in the period immediately preparatory to marriage, when this mastery is comparatively easy, she cannot expect him to control himself after marriage, when control is likely to be more difficult.

What chance would she have for salvation and happiness in a marriage in which her partner would be a constant occasion of sin to her? The loss of chastity will be a terrible memory in afterlife and a source of painful reproach.

Chastity untarnished will be a source of moral strength and the best guarantee of fidelity in the marital union.

A frequent reason for cursed marriages is the folly of couples who under the screen of courtship usurp the privileges of married life without assuming the burdens of it. Had they abstained from illicit love making in their courtship, God would have blessed them with the sacred and lasting love the Sacrament of Matrimony and its subsequent blessings bestow.

Since they loved in an unholy way before they married, God consigns them to a loveless life after their marriage. Not infrequently they must bemoan in vain their punishment or trial of not having children.

Nature has its fixed purposes and limits. Once these are willfully perverted, ignored or ruthlessly exhausted by immoral practices, no regret or promise of betterment will ever restore nature’s forces to their productive power.

Against such sins St. Paul warns, “Be hot deceived: God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that sows in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that sows in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.’? (Gal. vi. 7, 8.)

When you prepare for a date, you may make yourself as attractive as possible; that is the sensible thing to do if you do it with a good intention, that is, to show that you respect both your escort and yourself by making yourself as innocently inviting as you can, but by all means be reserved and hold your treasures from rough hands and evil desires. Rather die than permit yourself to be embraced and kissed by the men who seek your company and extend their social courtesies only to demand that you pay by surrender to their desires.

The man takes you to the movie, to dinner, to a dance, to a party, or for an automobile drive, but you owe him no liberties for this. If you are an earnest Catholic girl, you will retain the grace of God and your self-respect, while enjoying the esteem of all good men. You will even make evil minds pause, dazzled by the purity in your eyes, the modesty of your actions, and the reserve in your words.

Are there any against whom I feel tempted to bear a grudge? Any of whose misfortunes I feel a little pleasure in hearing? Why am I willing to listen to conversation disparaging to someone else? Can I cleanse my soul of touchiness and jealousy? How can I become more and more unselfish, and efface myself? Let me put aside considerations of my own satisfaction. . . . Ask Our Lord in Holy Communion to free you from touchiness and jealousy. -Fr. Daniel Considine, 1950

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