Q. 1. My sister, in her 20's, who is a practicing Catholic has been dating a non-Catholic for five years. She is now considering marriage. She is the type who would only allow her boyfriend to kiss her on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, her birthday, etc... Because of her concern regarding the potential success of mix-marriages, she went to see a clergy member who counsel couples who are contemplating a mix marriage. The outcome of that meeting was that the clergy member told her to live common-law with her boyfriend for six months and see if it works out. Being a virgin and a faithful believer in the catholic Church teachings, my sister was shocked and in tears.
My question is, has the teachings of the Catholic Church changed? Should my sister have sex before marriage with her boyfriend in order to explore the possibility of her mix-marriage succeeding?
A. 1. First of all, I must apologize for the clergy member who has fallen from the grace of God. My recommendation is that you report this priest to your Bishop as this kind of counsel opposes the first mandate of the Catholic Church, to save souls.
The sin of impurity which includes "sexual experimentation" before marriage, is a violation of nature and a transgression of God's law. The sin of impurity leads more souls to hell than any other sins. For this reason, Jesus said, "Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." [Mt. 26:41]
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Rom 6:23] Regarding unmarried people who have sex, the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church says the following regarding fornicators:
"There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: 'Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.'" (C.C.C. # 1852)
"Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." [Rev. 21:7-8]
"Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man." But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds." (C.C.C. # 1853)
This teaching should be clear to every God fearing Catholic boy and girl. The woman is called to give herself as a virgin to her spouse at the time of marriage and vice versa.