Sexual Wisdom 4 Catholics Rev.15

October 1, 2017 | Author: vixtr | Category: Sexual Intercourse, Vagina, Sex Education, Fertilisation, Orgasm
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this book was written for older teenagers. Ideally, we recommend that parents read it along with the student, however it...


Richard Wetzel, MD Based on Dr. Wetzel’s book:


Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc. Huntington Beach · California · USA

Publisher’s Note: As explained in the Introduction to Parents, this book was written for older teenagers. Ideally, we recommend that parents read it along with the student, however it may simply be given to the student to read. This book should not be used in a classroom or group setting. It should not be read by younger teenagers unless directed by the student’s parents or primary caregiver.

©2009 Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Incorporated All rights reserved. Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc, P0 Box 5574, Huntington Beach, California 92615 Printed in the United States of America Wetzel, Richard, M.D. Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents/ Richard Wetzel. -- 1st ed. ISBN: 978-0-9795402-1-9

Cover design by Emilio Rangel, based on Rachel McClain’s cover design of the book Sexual Wisdom A Guide for Parents, Young Adults, Educators and Physicians by the same author. Reproductive system figures by Scott Solberg

Table of Contents

Publisher’s Pledge


Introduction for Parents ................................................................... xv

Course for Adolescents: Lesson 1

The Biology of Human Sexuality .......................... 1 Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality ................ 6

Lesson 2

Sex without Love ................................................. 16 Premarital Sex...................................................... 20

Lesson 3

Premarital Sex (Continued).................................. 27

Lesson 4

Premarital Sex (Continued).................................. 35

Lesson 5

The Variety of Sexual Behavior........................... 43 Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)................ 47

Lesson 6

HIV/AIDS ............................................................ 53 Pornography......................................................... 58

Lesson 7

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization ............ 67

Lesson 8

Natural Family Planning ...................................... 80

Lesson 9

Natural Family Planning (continued) ................... 93 The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome................................. 94

Lesson 10

Abortion ............................................................... 99 Approaches to Infertility .................................... 106

Lesson 11

The Greatest Falsehood about Sexuality............ 110 Sexual Addiction and Sexual Abuse.................. 116

Lesson 12

Homosexuality and Other Sexual Deviations .... 121

Lesson 13

Sexual Codependency ........................................ 134 Victims of the Sexual Revolution ...................... 137

Lesson 14

Good Sex............................................................ 140

Lesson 15

Sexual Morality.................................................. 146

Lesson 16

Sexual Morality (continued) .............................. 154 The Four Levels of Happiness ........................... 160

Lesson 17

More Issues for Teens ........................................ 165 Entertainment Guidelines................................... 165 Dating Guidelines .............................................. 167 Media Censorship .............................................. 168

Lesson 18

The Good Dog and The Bad Dog ...................... 171 Dr. Wetzel’s Top 10........................................... 183

Adolescent Course Examination...................................................... 185 Certification

................................................................. 191

Appendix A:

A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 10-11 Year-Old Boys................. 195

Appendix B:

A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 12-13 Year-Old Boys................. 197

Appendix C:

A Brief Guide for What Mothers Should Discuss with Teenage Girls Before the First Menstrual Period (usually 12-13 years old). ........................................................ 201

Appendix D:

A Very Brief Note about Discussing Homosexuality with 14-Year-Olds.................. 203

Adolescent Course Examination Answers....................................... 205 Glossary

................................................................. 207


................................................................. 215

In loving memory of my mother, Mrs. Sheila Rose Wetzel. May she rest in peace under the mantel of Our Lady of Guadalupe and next to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. An essay by one of Sheila Wetzel’s grandchildren: My earliest recollections of Grandmother Wetzel are of her sitting tranquilly in her chair in the dining room of my grandparents’ house conversing with my mom and dad and aunts and uncles. Meanwhile, my brothers, sisters, cousins, and I ran throughout the house, joyfully playing and chattering. As the years passed and I settled down enough to notice, this serene lady taught me several lessons about how to live life from the example she set. In particular, Grandma’s life was marked by graciousness, an appreciation for education, and patience, qualities which I would like to emulate.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents Doubtless, the initial characteristic that struck a person when he first met my grandma was her graciousness. Grandma graced her family and friends by making them feel special. She never failed to greet one and all with her kind smile and a warm hug. Always the model of politeness, she made sure to include all who were present in the conversation at hand and eased newcomers into the discussion by filling them in on the current topic. When talking about people who were not present, Grandma restricted her remarks to those of a congenial nature. To those outside her social sphere, she demonstrated a respect for each person’s dignity. Even as she and my grandpa visited incarcerated youths for prison ministry, she saw past their rough exteriors and recognized the intrinsic value of each young man with whom they conversed. I wish to copy Grandma’s graciousness so that, like her, I can maintain a spirit of generosity and bring joy to others. In addition to her gentility, Grandma possessed a great appreciation for education. She held memories of St. Mary’s Academy, her alma mater in Winnipeg, especially dear. She often recalled how she valued the opportunity to attend school there following her earlier education in a small rural community. In regard to her children’s education, my grandmother was an involved parent who was a regular at back-to-school nights and parent-teacher conferences. Moreover, she diversified her children’s educational experiences by taking them to enrichment classes at museums and local colleges. But, most importantly, she recognized her children’s various abilities and encouraged their academic goals accordingly. My dad, a physician, remembers that Grandma encouraged him to study medicine from the time he was a boy. In addition to her own children’s education, Grandma was also very interested in that of her grandchildren. She often asked questions about our progress in school and smiled proudly at the mention of any achievements. I



desire to emulate my grandma’s esteem for education so that I too can realize the worth of God’s gift of knowledge. Although my grandmother had many commendable traits, I most admire her for her patience. During the last ten years of her life, Grandma was beset with numerous illnesses of various natures. Yet through all her suffering, she rarely complained. She invariably displayed patience with her infirmities during extended family vacations when the younger contingent opted to climb rocks at Yosemite Falls or to go jet skiing, strenuous activities of which she was incapable. Grandma never displayed any bitterness over missing the fun, but totally enjoyed when her exuberant grandchildren later delivered detailed (and sometimes embellished) accounts of their escapades. Grandma’s constant patience was, to me, her most admirable attribute and the one I most desire to reflect because it will help me to bear life’s hardships cheerfully. My grandmother’s graciousness, appreciation for education, and patience are qualities I wish to emulate in my own life. By imitating Grandma’s thoughtful treatment of people I aspire to see the face of Christ in others. Grandma’s high regard for education inspires me to appreciate it as a means for improving myself and the world around me. Lastly, I desire to mirror Grandma’s abundant patience as I endeavor to grow in virtue. By imitating these admirable qualities, I hope to lead a life of holiness in order to become the saint that God has called me to be.


With special thanks to my father, Chester Wetzel, Fr. Philip Smith, O. Praem, and Nancy C. Anderson for their extensive editorial assistance, and to Therese Naaden, for her contributions and insights. I also am most grateful for the timely, consistent technical expertise of Glenn Wetzel and David Lovat, and for the expert indexing skills of Janina Kwilos. My greatest thanks goes, of course, to the most beautiful woman in the world, my wife Dominique, whose love and support makes all things that happen in our home possible.

All proceeds from this book, which would normally benefit the author, are directed to a nonprofit, educational corporation, Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc. (SEFAB) in Huntington Beach, California. The sole purpose of this organization is to promote Sexual Wisdom, Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents and other educational activities of the author.

Publisher’s Pledge

We publish Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents to address a catastrophic crisis in Catholic sexuality education. We are determined to confront the widespread ignorance of the unsurpassable teaching of the Church among our youth in a realistic and effective manner. The world needed a sexual revolution, but got the wrong one. We needed the one based on truth and love, the one Pope John Paul II presented in the Theology of the Body. Instead we got one based on lies, pleasure and freedom, which has turned into a hideous monster of a revolution marred by rampant diseases, death, divorce, abortions, sexual enslavement, etc., and which is sweeping away hopelessly ignorant young people in droves and robbing them of the awesome potential of an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. In this spirit, the non-profit corporation Sex Education for Advanced Beginners Inc., the publishers of this book, will provide as many boxes of books needed, at $2 per book, which is essentially our cost (retail price $12.95), to anyone, including any high school, diocese, parish or other organization that will give the books to 11th grade (16-17 years old) students to take home and discuss with their parents. We recommend that the books be sent home with a letter that explains to parents the options of going through the course with the student or just having the student read it on his or her own. The boxes and shipping charges must be paid for up front. Details are on our web site at www.sexual This offer is also extended to Catholic dioceses outside the United States that agree to distribute the books to the parents of 16-17 year olds and adults 18 years and older. For these dioceses, we will email the computer files and permissions at no charge, so that the books may be printed locally. All financial arrangements related to the printing of the books are between the diocese and the local printer or

xiv publisher. The international program must be overseen by the local diocese and is currently closed to other organizations. Again, details are on our web site. This curriculum is a radical departure from chastity, or “family life,” courses and presentations that have been available for decades. Those programs include younger (13-14 year old) students or group settings and so are necessarily restricted in their scope. They are like taking students to the movies and then making them leave after the previews. Much of the information that would benefit students is inappropriate for younger teenagers and group settings, and so students do not get to see the main feature. While some of these programs offer a valuable introduction to the subject of sexual purity to younger adolescents, this approach generally has been a tragic failure. We are not opposed to chastity programs or books for younger teenagers as long as they consistently address the sensitivities of the less worldly students and more cautious parents. Some students are inspired by these programs. They can admirably prime students for the feature presentation, but cannot deliver it. Sending home this book to parents for them to evaluate with their student is like sending home a copy of the feature film so that the parents can watch it with the student, the student can read it alone, or anyone can refer back to it at any time. Showing the feature film to students effectively equips them to face the immense and incessant challenges to their purity in the contemporary, “hook up” culture. This book gives young people, most of who are earnestly seeking answers, the whole story about human sexuality and can be truly transforming. The fact that so many youths are not receiving clear instruction in theology, philosophy and sexual ethics is a grave injustice. For the latest information about this exciting, evolving program please visit our web site at Blessed Contardo Ferrini, pray for us!


Introduction to Parents

Catholicism has been in a crisis of sexuality education for decades. Because most Catholic young people do not know the Church’s unsurpassable teaching on sexuality, they do not accept it, let alone rejoice in it. Even in homes where Catholic values are strongly emphasized, the children often fall into serious sexual sin as adolescents and young adults. According to a 2008 study by the Cardinal Newman Society, 60% of U.S. Catholic college students believe that abortion should be legal and that premarital sex is not a sin. Our Catholic young adults and teenagers are clearly in free fall, with little appreciation for the merciless and vulgar nature of the sexual revolution they are engulfed in. The Holy Roman Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary sexuality educators of their children† but, despite the obvious need, there are relatively few available aids to help parents meet this challenging obligation. Most Catholic resources on sexuality education are either geared toward a classroom or group presentation or to an age group too young for a full exploration of the issues. Other resources include short books which are heavily weighted toward a *

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam or “To the Greater Glory of God.” The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family (1995) by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family. Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1632, 2221, 2223. Familiaris Consortio: 36, 37. †


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

more general education on the faith but which offer little education in Catholic sexuality, are not faithful to the magisterial teachings of Mother Church, or are too dated to address some of the current issues young Catholics face. As a Catholic chastity educator for the last 20 years, I felt that none of the available materials were the best possible option for my own children; so I wrote this course for them. I am now presenting this course to the public, for what benefit it may be to others. It is a true gift to me each time I teach it to one of my children. This is a Catholic course but it does not offer nor does it in any way replace sound, comprehensive Catholic catechesis. With this book, parents can provide a comprehensive, intimate, one-on-one program to their own children. In so doing, a parent can enrich this material by giving a personalized explanation of each lesson as he or she reads it with the student alongside. Each student must be considered individually and each parent will have his or her own tales, experiences, struggles, and knowledge to share with the child. While that is the optimal scheme for the use of this material it is, admittedly, a great undertaking. Therefore, for a variety of reasons, many households will not manage it. In cases in which parents are unable to go through the course with the teenager, the material is written so that a student may go through it by himself. If this approach is used, parents should ensure that the student is aware of the glossary at the end of the course for an explanation of terms with which the student may be unfamiliar. Also, such students should be encouraged to address questions about the course to their parents or a wise and holy priest. The “Adolescent Course Examination” may be used to document that the student read and comprehended the material. The appendices for younger children, found at the end of the course, should not be self-taught. Also, this course should never be used in a classroom or group setting unless the group is adults-only. Also, it should never be taught to two siblings at once, but rather to one child at a time. Because we live in a sexually challenged culture, which has led to a crisis among our Catholic youth, every Catholic teenager should take this course or its equivalent. While we do not wish to feed into the unhealthy obsession that our society has with sexuality, issues related to it are truly important, and the widespread inept, unthinking,

Introduction to Parents


and often barbaric “modern” ideas about sexuality cry out for a counterpoint. Children should be taught from an early age that there are some issues which are adult in nature—issues that they will not understand until they reach a certain level of maturity—and that a premature discussion of them can be harmful. Parents who have laid this foundation can refer back to it throughout the child’s early years and remind the child that he or she is not ready for certain subjects. By the same token, parents must make it clear to their children that they will address adult topics and answer all of their questions when the time is right; and they must also make it clear that they look forward to that day (although perhaps with some natural trepidation). This arrangement makes sense to children, gives them confidence in their parents, and helps to allay their natural anxieties about not knowing enough about adult issues when they really do need to know about them. Parents may reasonably wonder what sex education is. What is it that our Church expects of us as primary sex educators of our children? It consists of many aspects, one of the most important being the parents’ example. When Mom dresses modestly and when Dad responds to a vulgar commercial by changing the TV channel they send critical messages to children. Sex education also means developing open lines of communication with children—developing strong bonds with them so that they are confident in our willingness to address challenges with them, including those in the realm of sexuality. Simply teaching children the faith is sex education. Many aspects of the faith touch directly or indirectly on sexuality. For example, the idea that each person must be treated with the dignity due a child of God certainly implies that one should not engage in sexual acts that are against that dignity. Religiosity within families has been shown repeatedly to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. It is also part of home-based sex education to bring up subjects related to sexuality during the teachable moment, for example, when an issue comes up during family movie night or in a book one of the children is reading for school. This, too, is invaluable sex education. But sex education goes beyond these aspects in two ways. Sexuality is a broad subject and it is unlikely that parents will bring up the many important subjects related to it on a “catch as catch can”


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

basis. Some structure is warranted to ensure that parents have, in fact, covered what needs to be covered by the time the child is grown. Most parents readily agree on the above aspects of sex education, but a final aspect is the subject of debate. There are many topics related to sexuality that are sensitive or uncomfortable to discuss. They are embarrassing or otherwise unpleasant. Despite this, it is vital for students to have some grasp of many of these topics: sexual intercourse, masturbation, pornography, rape, sexual perversions, to name a few. Our children deserve better than to be educated “on the street” or by the Internet, or by “friends.” Some argue that parents should simply focus on developing strong relationships with their children and then wait for children to bring up sensitive topics on an as needed basis. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way, and for many that day somehow never comes. Due to a natural modesty, children are just as shy as parents about bringing up these topics. Also, they may not raise sensitive issues with parents for fear of the parent’s disappointment with them. The worst part is that students may be least likely to come to parents about more serious problems, because they may involve the more embarrassing topics or may raise the greatest worries about causing disappointment. Therefore, the only realistic option is for parents to raise these sensitive issues directly with their children. We should not put the burden on children. When the Church asks us to be primary sex educators of our children it is asking more from us than that. As a sex educator and physician, I have personally witnessed the results when parents leave it to the children to approach them with sensitive issues. Not only do many students fall into serious sin, but there is often great resentment of the parents for not having taught the student what the student clearly should know. We are the adults, and the burden should be on us to make the first move in difficult terrain. That is part of what this course is about: helping parents reach out to their children about subjects that are clearly part of sex education, but which are difficult to talk about. It is unreasonable to expect children who are exposed to so many negative influences in our culture to develop chaste attitudes without specific direction from those who have the authority to give it. Much of what children learn today from “the street” is what might be called “sex trivia” and has nothing to do with the heart and soul of the issue.

Introduction to Parents


The average teenager today knows far more about sex trivia and far less about what sexuality is really about than any prior generation. Parents should have every confidence that they can offer their children a much better understanding of sexuality than what children can learn on their own. Providing children with a full presentation of Catholic sexuality by the time they “leave the nest” as young adults has many benefits: it ensures that children are adequately prepared for the contemporary world, such as it is; it gives children confidence in their parents’ love and concern for them; it lays the foundation for a lifetime of discussions about intimate or deeply personal issues; and, by giving younger children confidence that, at some point, they will be offered a comprehensive course on sexuality, it will reduce the possibility that children will prematurely search for answers from unreliable sources. Further, parents cannot rely on schools, not even Catholic schools, to educate their children properly on sexuality. The vast majority of what publicly educated children receive in this country on sexuality is grossly inappropriate and misleading. In many cases it is abusive and blatantly sinful. Similarly, many Catholic schools fail to offer students a faithful and proper introduction to the subject. Given what children are up against in this culture, one could argue that today’s parents are negligent if they do not assure adequate Catholic sexuality education for their children through late adolescence. Again, I suggest that every Catholic teenager should take this course or its equivalent, even if the student has had some sort of sexuality education in school. Some will argue that the material presented here should be discussed at younger ages than we propose. It is true that there are some children who are exposed to adult issues so prematurely that delaying discussion until the student is 16 or 17 is impractical and awkward. Parents must use their best judgment. Although some may feel that the age of 16 is too young for some students, waiting until a student is 18 may give the student the idea that his or her parents lack confidence in the student’s development. In general, male students should be taught earlier than females and homeschoolers should be taught later than those in traditional school settings. We consider 1617 years of age to be the best time to teach the course to a female, homeschooled student.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

This course offers complete coverage of a wide range of subjects. The topic of sexuality is important enough to devote a good deal of energy and time toward teaching. Because of the importance of sexuality, Pope John Paul II made the subject a central theme of his pontificate. His numerous contributions on sexuality include books (The Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility), encyclicals (The Gospel of Life [Evangelium Vitae]), apostolic exhortations (Familiaris Consortio), apostolic letters (Letter to the Family), etc. The first part of Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, God is Love, also picks up on the theme. I highly recommend that parents read these wonderful resources and discuss them or make them available to their children. Another reason for completeness is that I wrote this course to mold my children into Catholic activists—soldiers for Christ. Activists must be armed with information, so I included more material than I might have with a more "essentials-only” approach in mind. From discussions with experienced parents it is evident that there are different ways to use the adolescent course based on parenting style and preferences. Parents who read through this course along with their children may wish to edit sections of it that they feel their children already understand, to reduce the course length, or to exclude topics that they feel are unnecessary. The course should be considered a template, parts of which can be expanded upon or eliminated. Parents who prefer a more informal approach may want to simply use the course as a general outline of the subjects, or as a way of checking to see what subjects they have left uncovered. Or, as mentioned before, parents may simply opt to have the student read the course on his or her own. Some will argue that the material in this course is too explicit. While we have tried to limit discussion about the dark side of sexuality, the truth is that there is an overwhelming amount of it in the modern world and those entering adulthood should have familiarity with many of its aspects. Adolescents will do better if they have been informed about the issues at least once by a trusted adult. We believe that even children with a potential religious vocation should have this information presented to them in a clear manner at least once, and our experience bears this out.

Introduction to Parents


For example, consider a possible missed opportunity involving the appalling modern sex slave industry, not mentioned in this book, in which thousands of girls and women are sold into the most degrading circumstances, especially in Asia and Africa. While some Catholics are addressing this tragedy we are unaware of cloistered nuns who have been directed to pray specifically for those involved. What if teenagers were to read about the situation in this course and were transformed through Christ and, with the approval of their superiors, dedicated their lives to praying for the victims and perpetrators of this dreadful business? By raising such issues, students gain insight into the terrible consequences of sexual impurity and the possible ways of countering it, and tap into their potential for greatness. By failing to explicitly mention such issues in this book, the author consciously allows for missed opportunities. The nagging question remains: Where should the cutoff lie? One may argue that this course covers too much, but such examples justify the idea that it may not cover enough. Another example of what is not in this book, but perhaps should be, is the “black genocide” that has been occurring in the United States for decades. Blacks make up 13% of the population of the United States and yet over 38% of abortions are done on black women. This is three times the expected rate. Hundreds of thousands of black children are being murdered by Planned Parenthood and other abortionists every year, all without comment from black political leaders. Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of dollars of United States federal money every year to do this and is strongly supported by our black president. What a tragic, horrid irony. Again, this issue is not discussed in this book but perhaps it should be. Each lesson in the course should take from 45 to 90 minutes, or longer depending on how much the parent expands on the material. We suggest reading one lesson every week or two during the school year (perhaps on weekends) or two lessons per week as a summer project. There is no homework. There are no ancillary materials needed for this course, although, the book A Child Is Born is an excellent reference for Lesson 1. There is no particular time period over which the course should be taught. We have included a test at the


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

end of the course (with a cut out answer sheet) in case parents wish to use this course for home schooling credit or to monitor that their student has read all the material. My book, Sexual Wisdom: A Guide for Parents, Young Adults, Educators and Physicians, was written to help adults (regardless of their faith) clarify their ideas about sexuality and offers general guidelines about how to educate one’s children. It uses a nontheological, natural law approach. To compliment this book we recommend to Catholic adults Christopher West’s book, Good News About Sex and Marriage, which covers much the same ground as Sexual Wisdom but from the standpoint of Catholic theology. While it is impossible (and not really desirable) to shelter children entirely from adult issues in our oversexed culture, it is possible (and desirable) to shelter them to a great degree. Children have a developmental need to have a childhood, an age of innocence, but this is often compromised in our contemporary world. Home-based sexuality education begins in early childhood by the manner in which parents present a respectful approach to intimacy. Modesty, in particular, is an important concept that young children readily grasp. The following suggestions are meant to help parents shelter their children from unnecessary, potentially harmful exposure to sexuallyoriented materials until they are ready. • Daily newspapers tend to have little regard for the sensitivities of children. We recommend not receiving a local, daily newspaper in your home. The Wall Street Journal is a superb alternative. It carries a great deal of business news that neither we nor our children care about, but it also offers concise news summaries and intelligent editorials, book reviews and stories, and does not carry offensive, blaring headlines or front-page articles about the latest vulgarity. And, because it has very few pictures, children who are too young to read a newspaper ignore it. Those who are old enough appreciate it. • As an alternative to a local newspaper, parents may wish to use Internet news sites for articles to keep children up-to-date with major events in a more filtered manner. We leave printouts from these on the breakfast table for our children.

Introduction to Parents


• Connect only one computer in the house to the Internet and be sure that it has reliable parental blocking and is located in a central, “public” area of the home. Blocking is best done through an ISP as opposed to using a software program. Even with blocking, children should not generally be allowed to cruise the Internet unsupervised. • Sign up for a TV provider that has parental blocking capability and that offers good family shows and movies (especially the older ones) and that carry Mother Angelica’s Global Catholic Network, EWTN. Try to rely more on prerecorded programs than live shows. When live programming is on, either a parent or trusted older child should keep the remote control handy and change stations for offensive commercials and hit “mute” for less offensive ones. • Do not have fashion magazines or sports magazines with a swimsuit mentality in your house. Instead read Consumer Reports, Reader’s Digest, or craft and woodworking magazines. What if, despite the parent’s best efforts, a child sees Internet pornography? Some of the dilemmas parents face related to their children’s sexuality are covered in my book, Sexual Wisdom. This one is not, and it is a common and distressing one. Therefore, I make some recommendations here. I would let the child know that we live in a world filled with beauty and wonder, but also with its share of ugliness. Many people live sad, confused lives, and do not have inherent self-respect as children of God. It is common for people who are struggling inside to become involved in activities which are vulgar and demeaning. Unhappy people engage in very upsetting activities at times. It is a sign of how sad they are. Children do better when they avoid such ugliness but sometimes they are mistakenly exposed to it. In general, it is best to approach this situation by saying the least amount about what the child saw. The child should be told that he is too young to understand fully what happened, but that you will discuss more with him about it when he is an appropriate age. The child should be encouraged to ask questions at the time of the incident, with your assurance that you will answer them as best you


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

can. The dialogue that follows such an incident may not end with one conversation. It should be made clear that either the parent or child should feel free to raise the issue again to re-discuss the incident, or related subjects. You want to make sure that the child knows that you are always there for him, even to discuss uncomfortable questions. It is important to reiterate these points until you are sure the child is clear on them. If there is a sense that the child sinned during the incident, the child should go to Confession. But caution is appropriate here because there may be no sin involved and some children are overly hard on themselves after such an incident. The people in the pornography sinned, but usually not the child. If such an incident occurs, parents may also want to peruse the pornography section of this curriculum for ideas to discuss with the child as the parents feel appropriate. In addition to the comprehensive course for late adolescents (1617 year-olds) the curriculum also contains four elements for children 10-14 years of age, as follows: ¾ A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 10-11 Year-Old Boys. ¾ A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 12-13 Year-Old Boys. ¾ A Brief Guide for What Mothers Should Discuss with Girls Before the First Menstrual Period. ¾ A Very Brief Note about Discussing Homosexuality with 14Year-Olds. The last of these elements and the full course for late adolescence may be taught by a parent or primary caregiver of either gender. There are legitimate reasons for preferring that this subject matter be taught by someone of the same gender as the student. However, I favor the father teaching the adolescent course, regardless of the gender of the child who is being taught. Fathers are generally more suited to ensuring that their children don’t fall prey to the harsh blows life can deal; fathers seem more suited to teach children how to manage in a “bad” neighborhood,

Introduction to Parents


how to avoid getting taken by swindlers, how to avoid ever paying credit card interest, and how to keep daughters from getting sweet-talked into the sack. So, in that sense, fathers are a “best fit” for the adolescent part of the curriculum. Of course, each family must make their own best choice as to the most appropriate instructor for this important and sensitive subject matter. This course is based on two decades of experience teaching chastity. In putting this material together I was again reminded of, and somewhat overwhelmed by, the state of sexuality in our country today. The difference between holy, healthy sexuality and the widely accepted immorality of the 21st century is appalling. Thankfully, there are always those willing to challenge the status quo and themselves and to seek the higher levels of human experience. We pray that this course will bear great fruit in that direction. The late Alan Guttmacher, past president of Planned Parenthood, promised in 1979 that, “the only avenue in which Planned Parenthood has to win the battle is sex education.” Over the last 30 years, through school sex education courses full of distortions and contradictions and supporting the most sordid approach to sexuality, Mr. Guttmacher’s side has trounced all opposition. Hopefully, through this curriculum and through the efforts of other chastity educators we can create a dramatic, effective and sustained counterattack in this battle for the hearts, minds and souls of children. By request, we have produced Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents in book form, but it will remain a freed download from our web site. For those who wish to buy this book in bulk, at cost, to distribute to older teenagers please see our Publisher’s Pledge in the front of the book. Non-Catholics are most welcome to take advantage of any of our programs. Please monitor for more information. Donations to our nonprofit corporation SEFAB (which stands for Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc.) are always gratefully accepted. Checks should be payable to SEFAB and sent to the address below. Also, feedback/criticism of any type is always most welcome.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

SEFAB, Inc. P0 Box 5574 Huntington Beach, California 92615 USA The book, Sexual Wisdom: A Guide for Parents, Young Adults, Educators and Physicians, may be ordered through your local bookstore or online. For bulk orders please visit our website: Saint Francis of Assisi’s Prayer before the Crucifix Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command. Amen.

Lesson 1 The Biology of Human Sexuality


Say a prayer before the lesson.

Conversations about sexuality between parents and their children are a natural part of family life beginning when children are very young. Due to the nature of the subject, discussions before the teenage years are limited. But by the time the late teenage years are reached the talks should take a more open, adult turn. This course is meant to help make the transition to these more adult discussions between parent and teenager, and will hopefully set the stage for future conversations that will last your whole lives together. In some ways, sexuality is an extremely simple subject; in other ways it is one of the strangest, most complex and confusing aspects of life. For example, consider the 18th century Shakers of New England. On the basis of their religious beliefs, this group prohibited sex even between spouses, thus making it impossible for married couples to have children. The only way the group could get new members was through conversions and so, of course, the religion inevitably died out. Human sexuality is shrouded in mystery. It is a gift from God that brings new life. It is associated with tremendous pleasure. This pleasure can be very good news, but can also be very bad news,


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

because the desire for such pleasure often becomes an occasion for sin and abuse. In general, the modern age has a horribly perverted approach to sexuality, although every generation has had some share of botching up the issue. One concern for parents is how much to discuss with their children, especially about the abnormal behaviors and attitudes. Since it is important to know about sexuality, this course will tell you a great deal. The subject matter for this lesson is normal sexuality. Much of the rest of the course will deal with abnormal sexuality. We will first discuss the biology of sex so that we all know what we are talking about, and then we will turn to the Church’s teaching about what it all means. The discussion of healthy, normal sexuality is relatively brief because there is not much to tell of how sexuality ought to be. The basic idea is not at all complicated from the biological standpoint. Most of the specifics about normal sexual behavior is learned by the married couple in their personal relations with each other. The couple’s particular preferences determine what patterns of behavior are present in their relationship, and cannot be taught in a course. The Marital Embrace: “The Birds and the Bees” A friend noted that when his dad told him about “the birds and the bees” the whole thing made him feel sick to his stomach. It may initially strike you that way because the biological realities about sexuality may not be the way you imagined them. But bear in mind that it is all God’s plan and because of this there is profound goodness and beauty in it. Your appreciation of this will increase with time. Married couples express their affection for each other in many ways: hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc. But the most intimate and important way they express physical intimacy is through sexual intercourse. •

“Foreplay”: Before married couples engage in sexual intercourse, they must first become sexually aroused. o Male Arousal: When the husband becomes aroused his penis develops an erection. The penis becomes much firmer, longer and wider.

The Biology of Human Sexuality


o Female Arousal: When the wife becomes aroused she experiences vaginal lubrication (mucus is secreted from glands inside her) and other internal changes to the vagina. Women are typically slower to arouse than men. Sexual Intercourse: also known as “the marital embrace,” “the marital act,” “sex,” “intercourse,” “making love,” “coitus,” “consummating a marriage,” “doing it,” “copulation,” “going to bed,” and a long list of vulgar terms. The act itself is based on the simple peg-in-hole concept. The erect penis is placed into the lubricated vagina. Lubrication is necessary and is naturally provided by the glands inside the vagina of the aroused woman.

Physical pleasure increases with the movement of the genitals (the penis and vagina) against each other. •

Orgasm or Climax: an intensely pleasurable, unique sensation that seems to affect the whole body and lasts for many seconds. During orgasm the man ejaculates (or squirts) semen, which is made up of millions of very small sperm cells from the testes (also known as testicles) and secretions from the prostate and seminal vesicles, from his penis into the vagina. Both men and women can achieve orgasm in any one sexual episode, or either or both may not. Men tend to be more goal-oriented than women, in the sense that men typically have a stronger desire to achieve orgasm with every intense sexual encounter. A general goal should be for both spouses to achieve orgasm together with regularity throughout marriage. Orgasm is immediately followed by a period of a markedly tranquil mood and physical inertness or calm which lasts for many minutes. Also, after orgasm the man loses his erection and the woman stops secreting lubricating mucus. Hymen: a ring of threadlike tissue that encircles the woman’s vagina, which tears upon first intercourse if still intact. The tearing may cause slight pain or bleeding.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Early Human Development and Birth • Ovulation: An egg, or ovum, is released from one of the two ovaries about two weeks after the woman’s last period. • Fertilization: After its release from the ovary, the egg cell, full of nutrients, travels down the fallopian tube. If the timing of sexual intercourse is right, the sperm from the man meet with the egg in the fallopian tube and one sperm cell breaks through the outer coating of the egg cell. The 23 chromosomes (genetic material) from the nucleus of the sperm mix with the 23 chromosomes of the egg to make a zygote with 46 chromosomes. (With rare, specific exceptions, every cell in the human body, except for sperm and eggs, has 46 chromosomes.) The zygote is a unique combination of the sperm and the egg. It is one cell but has all of the genetic components of a human. From this point until the end of adolescence, the developing human simply multiplies its cells to form more cells and become larger and more developed. A newborn’s body is made up of millions of cells. Each cell in your body contains an exact copy of the 46 chromosomes found in the zygote. This genetic material is unique to you. No one in history has ever had your exact chromosomes, starting from the moment in which the sperm and egg cells that made you united. This moment is called fertilization or conception. It is at this stage that human life begins. • Implantation: From the time when the initial cell of the zygote divides into more and more cells until the second month of life the developing baby is called an “embryo” (after the second month it is called a “fetus”). Once the embryo has traveled the length of the fallopian tube, it enters the uterus and implants (attaches) into the side of the uterus. This is called implantation. From here the baby continues to grow and develop until it is ready for birth. In the weeks following implantation the placenta develops and there is a gradual transition from the baby receiving its nourishment from the remnants of the big egg cell to the placenta. The placenta becomes the source of nutrients and oxygen to the baby from the

Female Anatomy (Frontal View) The egg is released from an ovary into the open end of the fallopian tube (depicted with a frayed appearance) and travels through the length of it to the uterus.

Female Anatomy (Side View)

Male Anatomy (Side View) Urine flows down the ureters from the kidneys to the urinary bladder and then passes from the bladder through the urethra to exit the body. During orgasm, the sperm travel up the vas deferens and join with secretions from the seminal vesicles and prostate before exiting the body through the urethra in the form of semen.

Fertilization A sperm cell starts to penetrate the outer layer of the egg cell. The moment of conception or fertilization, when life begins, is about to happen. Image copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc. (

The Biology of Human Sexuality


mother. The reason that an egg cell is hundreds of times larger than a sperm cell is because the embryo must live off the nutrients that make up most of the egg cell until the placenta is formed. The uterus or womb is where the baby develops; it is a pearshaped organ that sits with the narrow end of the pear facing down. The narrowe r end is called the cervix and it has a hole at the end (where the stem of the pear would be). This is where the sperm enter. Throughout pregnancy the uterus must stretch a great deal to accommodate the growing baby. Birth o Labor: the hours before birth when the uterus, which is really a large muscle, contracts every few minutes, gradually pushing the baby down toward the cervix. The contractions are called “labor pains,” and by pushing the baby against the cervix the hole in it gradually expands (opens) from less than ½ inch to about 4 inches (the width of the baby’s head), finally allowing the baby to pass through it. o Once the cervical hole is wide enough for the baby to pass through the actual birth happens within a number of seconds. The baby quickly passes from inside the uterus, past the cervix and vagina and outside the mother’s body. In other words, the baby travels down the path the sperm came up.

Other Health Issues • A PAP smear is a test for cancer of the cervix. The cervix is swabbed with a brush, Q-tip, or small stick that often looks much like a Popsicle stick. The sample contains cells which are sent to the lab for evaluation. • Male Circumcision: This is a minor surgical procedure in which an extra flap of skin that covers the tip of the penis is cut off. There is controversy as to whether this is a good idea. The history and origin of circumcision are unclear but the procedure is a common part of many ancient religions and cultures. One argument in favor of it is that since most men are circumcised, boys who aren’t may feel that they are abnormal, because they look different. Also, circumcised men have less risk of infections of the penis and possibly less risk of penile cancer. Some believe


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents that circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the penis and that this helps men to control their sexual urges. However, many people consider circumcision an unnecessary surgery. Both sides have valid arguments.

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality So What Does All This Mean? Now that we are all on the same page regarding the scientific aspects of sexuality we need to consider what it all means. Despite rumors to the contrary, sexuality is not an issue the Church wishes to hide in a closet or is uneasy with. Rather it is an issue the Church has explored in a most open and exhaustive manner. In fact, the Holy Roman Catholic Church is the world leader in the discussion of sexuality. No other religion or organization speaks out so often with such clarity and obvious authority on the subject than our Church. The Catholic Church, however, does not promote itself well. Because of this, many people who do not know anything about Catholicism (including a surprising percentage of Catholics) think that the Church’s views on sexuality are outdated and harsh, which is exactly the opposite of the truth. The truth is that the Church’s views are far ahead of “progressive” thought in the modern world and vastly more refined. George Weigel, one of our country’s most prominent Catholic theologians writes: At the beginning of the pontificate (of Pope John Paul II in 1978), the world—and a lot of Catholics—thought the Church had nothing of interest to say about human sexuality. The Pope's teaching that sexual love within the bond of faithful and fruitful (having many children) marriage is an icon of the interior life of God reversed the polarities. Now, the Catholic Church could say to the promoters of the sexual revolution, “You think of sex as another contact sport. We think of sex as a revelation of the deepest truths about the human and the divine. Who takes sex more seriously?”

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality


Let us quote a few documents of our glorious Mother Church. Notice that two of the lessons in this course include a number of extended quotes from our Church. This is one of them, which makes for a long (but I trust most interesting) lesson. First, consider a few selected quotes from the Bible: Genesis 1:25-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” Genesis 2:15-25 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” . . . The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.


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Matthew 22:35-40 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” Ephesians 5:21-31 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 1 Cor. 6:15-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality


How Does the Church Interpret Biblical Teachings About Sexuality? Since the Bible, like any other book, is interpreted differently by different readers we turn to the Catholic Church for the authentic interpretation of what the Bible (Sacred Scripture) and Sacred Tradition teach us about sexuality. The following quotations are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993). The numbers refer to the paragraph numbers in the Catechism. 2392. Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. 1604. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. 1652. By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring (children) and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory. Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. . . . Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day. (from the document of Vatican II, Gaudium et spes) 2207. The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

1618. Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes (into the priesthood or religious life), to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming. Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model. 1619. Virginity (not having sex before marriage) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away. And Now a Word from Our Recent Popes (with some parenthetical clarifications): Pope John Paul II (who was pope before Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (in Latin, Familiaris Consortio -1981): 11. Consequently, sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death. Later he writes: 11. The only “place” in which this self-giving in its whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal (marital) love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God Himself which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality


requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator. And further on (quoting himself at one point): 13. By virtue of the sacramentality of their marriage, spouses are bound to one another in the most profoundly indissoluble manner. Their belonging to each other is the real representation, by means of the sacramental sign, of the very relationship of Christ with the Church. . . . The content of participation in Christ's life is also specific: conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter—appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, the unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values.” The last sentence of this passage reminds me of an important truth that can help in all areas of life, including sexuality. The truth is that the following four words ultimately mean the same thing: normal, natural, healthy and holy (two “N”s and two “H”s). The more normal I am in the way I live my life, the more natural I am. The more natural I am, the healthier I am; and the healthier I am, the holier I am. All four words relate to each other. You will see this truth illustrated again and again throughout this course. Encyclicals are one of the most authoritative forms of writing of the popes. They are letters of varying lengths that address a specific topic and are meant for wide circulation. All of the popes in the last 100 years have written important encyclicals. Pope Benedict XVI, in his first encyclical God is Love (Deus Caritas Est - 2005), discusses two types of love described by the ancient Greeks. “Eros” is the type of love related to a couples’ erotic (sexual) desire for each other and “agape” refers to the type of love we usually attribute to God—pure,


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

selfless love. He makes the extraordinary point that, although eros has been criticized throughout history, Christianity teaches that in its proper place it is mutually complementary to agape and that indeed agape is less complete without the genuine expression of eros. He writes: 5. . . . the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodiliness. Christian faith, on the other hand, has always considered man a unity in duality, a reality in which spirit and matter (or body) compenetrate (permeate each other), and in which each is brought to a new nobility. True eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing. Our Holy Father continues to write about how often it has been the case that cultures have mistakenly separated these two kinds of love, even to the point of positioning them in conflict with each other. 7. Yet eros and agape . . . can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized. Even if eros is at first mainly covetous and ascending, a fascination for the great promise of happiness, in drawing near to the other, it is less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to “be there for” the other.

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality


The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature. Later in the document he writes: 11. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfill its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love. This close connection between eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature. This lesson will never end if I keep quoting wonderful passages from the Bible and the Church, but no Catholic course on sexuality would be complete without mention of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. (“Theology” is the study of God and religion.) From 1979 to 1984 the Holy Father gave 129 short talks on human sexuality for his Wednesday papal audiences. This group of talks is collectively known as the Theology of the Body and has been published in book form, the text of which runs over 400 pages. Theologian George Weigel has called it “a theological time-bomb set to go off with dramatic consequences . . . perhaps in the 21st century.” The Theology of the Body is education on the graduate university level. It is not an easy read. While I generally strongly encourage all students and parents to read original Church documents in their entirety whenever possible, this is one of the rare cases when, for most people, it is more practical to study one small section of the document at a time, to study it with a group (study groups for the Theology of the Body are forming in many parishes) or to read explanations of the document as a whole. For the sake of brevity I will not include quotes from this tremendous document here but will just include some of main points from this teaching in the summary below. Selected Summary of Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality: • Man and woman were created for each other. They are a wonderful, natural complement to each other on a physical,


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

• • • • • •

• •


emotional and spiritual level. So perfect is the match that married couples should be considered “one flesh.” Through sexual relations, a married couple cooperates in the love of God the Creator and freely offers a gift of love to each other. Each sexual act between spouses renews the marriage covenant. Through each act a married couple symbolically says “I do” to God and to each other with their bodies.* The love of the married couple for each other, as expressed in sexual intercourse, is a reflection of the love of Jesus Christ for his Church. Sexual (erotic) love in its pure form, as meant by our Creator, permeates and even elevates pure agape love. Because matrimony (the joining of a man and woman through marriage) is a sacrament, through marriage spouses and their children receive sacramental graces. Marriage is the normal calling of this life. Celibacy (committing to never having sex) for the sake of the kingdom of God is an “exceptional” or special calling, which only relatively few receive (as priests and religious). “Children are the supreme gift of marriage,” “its crowning glory.” Large families are “a sign of God’s blessings and the parents’ generosity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1652, 2373) Whether married or not, by living sexually pure lives we give a gift of love to God and to others, and in so doing we receive a thousandfold. Lust is disordered sexual desire. It can be managed through the practice of virtue, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and by sitting at the foot of the Cross of Redemption—by accepting, really accepting, Jesus Christ as the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. All of us sin. No one is perfectly sexually pure. Understanding the difference between lust and love and how to

See Catholic theologian John Kippley’s superb book, Sex and the Marriage Covenant (Ignatius Press, 2006)

Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality


order our sexual drive can be a lifelong challenge, especially during early adolescence when we first start to grapple with the question: “Do I love him (or her) or am I just physically attracted to him (or her)?” Due to original sin, the way we view the opposite sex can easily be distorted and perverted. Gaining insight and achieving success in this process requires determination and patience. However, the redemptive power of the cross is limitless. Through Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation), God’s mercy extends to anyone who sincerely seeks sexual purity. Chastity refers to the most satisfactory, most admirable, sexual state. Chaste people, whether married or not, are those who successfully balance their sexual nature with the other aspects of their person. The struggle to be chaste, or sexually pure, always involves an element of suffering, just as does the struggle to be pure in any other part of our lives. However, to fail to live by God’s plan, to fail to live as we are meant to live, always, ultimately, involves suffering on a higher level. There is no easy route in life for anyone, but as Christians devoted to following the will of God we know that we have God Himself on our side, along with the Virgin Mary and the other saints. They are always present for us—inviting each of us to achieve, with their help, moment to moment, the deepest sense of happiness, peace and meaning.

The Lord's Prayer Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Lesson 2 Sex without Love


Say a prayer before the lesson.

Note: The book Sexual Wisdom: A Guide for Parents, Young Adults, Educators and Physicians, upon which this course is based, includes 17 misconceptions, referred to here as “falsehoods.” To simplify, this course lists only 12 of the 17 falsehoods, but the other five are referred to within the course content.

Now that we have seen the Catholic view of sexuality let’s look at the extreme opposite view which, sadly, has a large following in today’s world. Falsehood: Sex without love is healthy, normal or natural. Healthy sex emphasizes true love over all other priorities. Because priorities often conflict they must be ordered. One must be valued over another. When priorities, such as freedom or pleasure, are

Sex without Love


valued more highly than kindness or consideration, someone pays the price. No priority should ever be more highly valued than love. Though difficult to define, love is a familiar and obvious concept even to small children. What is love? St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD) gives us the most enduring definition. He taught that love is “willing the good of another” or wanting the best for someone else. We will focus on five aspects of love related to sexuality. Truly loving sex is: 1. Respectful 2. Responsible 3. Disciplined (temperate, restrained) 4. Committed 5. Based on mutual trust. All people are free to love each other in the most genuine sense of the term; they can be free from unhealthy attitudes about sex. What is weird is that many people today, including many college professors and others who teach about sexuality, say that sex without love is an acceptable, healthy alternative! I am not kidding. Many people really say this. One of the reasons that they are so wrong is that sex focused on pleasing oneself, without serious concern for others, is the extreme example of disregarding the obvious importance of love. It is a excuse to justify contrived (or false) needs (a concept I will discuss in lesson 11). The idea of sex without love defies the natural, holistic* foundation of sexuality and contradicts the obvious fact that sexual behaviors, whether a kiss or sexual intercourse, are meant to express affection and caring for someone very special. One can only wonder why anyone would want to remove love from any part of his life let alone the part meant to express love! Consider what Pope John Paul II wrote in Redemptor hominis (The Redeemer of Man - 1979): Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not *

looking at a person as a whole: body, mind and soul


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

Some people actually believe that sex with a stranger can somehow compare with the multi-dimensional experience of sex with one’s spouse and lifelong love. The truth is that most people who accept this simply have not experienced the extraordinary depth of the sexual experience of a married couple. They don’t know what they are talking about. To consider sex without love to be a realistic option one has to be living life on a very low level and have very little hope for one’s future. At my college graduation, my chemistry professor told me that I should go to Alaska and have sex with a bunch of different women. This, apparently, was his idea of what a college graduate should do for an intense experience. Situations of Sex without Love: Prostitution: the crime of engaging in sexual acts for money. Prostitutes are almost always women. Prostitution is very commonly associated with poverty, drug use, other criminal activity, diseases, mental illness (such as depression and anxiety problems), violence, abortion and suicide. • It is called the “oldest profession.” • Other names for a prostitute are whore, harlot, streetwalker, slut, call girl, hooker, concubine, “ho” • Pimp/madam: Man/woman who acts as the boss of a group of prostitutes at one time. Pimps or madams supposedly protect prostitutes from the dangerous circumstances within which they work. But pimps, especially, are known for the terrible, abusive treatment of prostitutes working for them. • House of prostitution (brothel, whorehouse, flophouse, house of ill repute, bordello): A building which houses prostitutes. It is a place often associated with street drugs, violence and crime.

Sex without Love


“One night stand” or “hooking up”: engaging in sexual acts on a first and only “date” • What if a fellow spends a lot of money on his date hoping for sexual intercourse in return? Is that prostitution? • What if a woman has sex with a man just so she can have a “boyfriend,” even though she doesn’t really like him? Is that prostitution? Mistress: typically, a younger woman who is a regular companion and sexual partner for a married man. Orgy: a group of people engaging in sexual acts with each other. This is relatively rare since most people have at least some clue that such activities are a gross distortion of the meaning of sex. In Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the “Language of the Body” he pointed out the truly healthy way to view sexuality. The Language of the Body: • Holding hands means something: “I like you!” • More intimate contact means: “I like you more.” • More intimate contact yet means: “I like you way more!!” • The “marital act,” the most intimate sexual act, means: “I like you so much I am willing to welcome children into our relationship and publicly profess a commitment to you ‘until death do us part.’” The natural outcome of sexual intercourse is to produce children. This is why it is widely referred to as the “marital act.” Someone has to die to separate what is joined through sexual intercourse: the man, the woman or the baby (as happens in an abortion). Consider all the other meanings of sexual intercourse from the first lesson. These are what spouses “say” to one another when they have sex. Sex without love, then, is hypocritical*. One says “I do,” in so many ways with one’s body, while meaning “I don’t” in just as many ways with the heart and mind. Obviously, you should not deceive others with your body. *

Rev. Philip Smith, O.Praem


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Premarital Sex Pope John Paul II: “The great drama of any life is the struggle to surrender the person I am to the person I ought to be.” Having healthy, good attitudes about sexuality throughout the process of courtship and marriage is a great challenge. Everyone makes mistakes. There is plenty of confusion about the relationship between sexuality and romance among adults let alone teenagers. One irony you may notice is that young people with the most experience often have the worst attitudes. It took me a long time to realize that the students in my high school who dated the most and had the most sexual experience knew less about the real meaning of sex than the students with less sexual experience, who had more adult, mature, realistic attitudes. Premarital sex (referred to as “fornication” in the Bible) Premarital sex means that a couple has sex before marriage, that is, two unmarried people have intimate sexual experiences with each other. This is, by far, the #1 reason people seek help from a physician with problems related to sexuality. It is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their lives. An incredible number of people fail to see the many types of consequences and the seriousness of the consequences of having sex before marriage. Premarital sex is always a serious compromise on love and so is always a serious sin. We can understand this better if we consider some of the potential outcomes of premarital sex, which can be classified as spiritual, physical, psychological (or mental), and social. A sensible person does not put someone he or she loves at risk for serious, unnecessary consequences. (Notice that the following lists are not meant to be complete. The student may wish to add other risks.)

Premarital Sex


Some of the Risks Associated with Premarital Sex: Spiritual Risks: • Because premarital sex is a serious sin, it seriously damages one’s relationship with God. • By giving in to one’s desires once for the sake of pleasure, one sets oneself up for repeated sexual sin in the future. • Until we go to Confession, our spiritual loss may affect our spiritual relationship with others. • Because premarital sex is a serious sin, until we go to the Confession we cannot receive the graces of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). • Because premarital sex is a sin that is done with someone else, it is a case of cooperating with someone else’s sin. • Premarital sex is associated with other sins, such as lying and deception, because the couple doesn’t want others to know. • Children and others who become aware that a couple is involved in premarital sex may be influenced to believe that it is a less serious sin than it is, and thus may be more likely to get involved in sexual sin themselves. • It may sound like an overstatement but, despite the fact that many people have premarital sex, it is such a serious violation of the laws of God that until one makes a sincere Confession and repents of this sin one risks suffering in Hell for eternity. o Consider a country that is ravaged by guerrilla warfare or terrorism for many decades. The people in the country become used to hearing gunshots and some may think little of it. In contrast, in a country like ours, which is not ravaged by guerrilla warfare, when people hear gunshots they usually become very alarmed. The same is true for premarital sex. Because it has become common in modern America many people don’t give it the concern it deserves and historically received. Physical Risks: • Sexually transmitted (venereal) diseases and their many consequences (covered in a later lesson).


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents • • •

“Unwanted” pregnancies, or more appropriately, pregnancies in unwanted circumstances, (without fully committed emotional, social, and financial support from both parents). Side effects of contraceptives. Complications following an abortion.

Psychological Risks: • Loss of self-esteem or self-respect: Questioning if one is using sex in desperation to keep up a fragile relationship; wondering if one is allowing oneself to be used because of fear of unpopularity or other insecurities. • Resentment over being used, over an “unwanted” pregnancy, or over acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (STD). • Fear of the physical risks listed above and the social risks listed below, or of being caught. As a college student wrote to a newspaper: “My boyfriend and I are both very careful about birth control, but I’m well aware that no method is infallible. The possibility that I might get pregnant haunts me.” • Guilt: Wondering if one is exploiting a partner or putting a partner at risk for selfish reasons; wondering how, if an “unwanted” pregnancy results, one will explain everything years later when the child begins to ask questions, or how one would feel after an abortion. • Loss of intimacy: use of sex to avoid rather than to express intimacy (especially in relationships already weakened by poor communication); substitution of activities based on external appearances for those which would create emotional intimacy. • Embarrassment: worry over disapproval of one’s parents or one’s own children or friends should they find out; embarrassment over the possibility of others learning that one is pregnant or is being treated for an STD. • Distrust: Questioning why a partner is willing to put one at risk for the problems associated with premarital sex; doubting that one is loved when there is no clear commitment, or that the partner will continue to be supportive in case of an

Premarital Sex


“unwanted” pregnancy; speculating on whether a partner would reveal that he or she had an STD, or would be faithful after marriage, or is “doing it” with, or thinking about someone else. • Stunted growth in personal identity and social skills: Premarital sex leads to an excessive emphasis on the physical aspect of relationships and resulting loss of opportunities for challenging and improving oneself academically, athletically, artistically, socially, and spiritually. Social Risks (those affecting others besides the two in mutual consent): • Societal upheaval: Some argue that the greatest crisis facing modem civilization is the abandonment of children, especially by fathers, through premarital sex, divorce and drug, alcohol, gambling and other addictions. This abandonment of children is regarded as a main cause of adolescent and adult crime, depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, further illegitimacy, gang violence, academic and employment failure, etc. • Economic burdens on society: for social welfare programs to care for illegitimate children; for treatment of abused children; for treatment of STDs such as AIDS. • Distrust within the family: because people are “sneaking around” or are afraid of sharing their honest feelings. • Dysfunctional (unhealthy or impaired) marriages: (a common result of rushing into marriage because of a surprise pregnancy) with their effects on children, on relatives, and on friends. • Diseases: passed on to future children, partners or spouses, diseases spread to the general population (for example, hepatitis and HIV contracted through the blood supply). • Imposition on relatives: for example, grandparents who are forced to raise a second generation. • Tension: among those involved in arranging for and carrying out an abortion, or among friends of the same sex because of jealousy or suspicion about who is having sex with whose


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents sometime partner, etc.

So many and so serious are these risks that one teenager broke down in tears just reading through this list. She had already had sex and could relate in a very personal way to many of the risks on the list. Consider the above list in light of the many TV shows, movies and songs that glamorize premarital sex and trivialize the problems associated with it. No one ever gets a disease or gets pregnant from casual sex according to these “bright lights” in our culture. They often make diseases and “unwanted” pregnancies out to be jokes and ignore the dark side of premarital sex—influencing unknowing young people. Consider the statistical facts: There are over 800,000 abortions performed in the U.S. each year. Eighty percent of these abortions are done on single women. Then Imagine: If just half of the people involved in premarital sex said that they valued each other too much, esteemed each other too much, loved each other too much to continue to put each other at risk for the problems involved with premarital sex: – There would be over 300,000 fewer abortions in the U.S. each year. – Because poverty is directly related to illegitimacy, government expenditures for welfare, food stamps and similar programs would drop dramatically. – Because many prisoners were illegitimate children they have poor relationships with their fathers. If they had been born into stable families their chance of having gotten involved in crime would be much less. If half of those criminals had parents who had loved more and not had sex before marriage, crime rates would drop and prisons would close.

Premarital Sex

Can sexual sin be forgiven? Fortunately, God forgives “not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22). He is always ready to forgive. A woman in my office who had had an abortion couldn’t believe that God could forgive her. The same God who parted the Red Sea couldn’t forgive her sin? Remember: God’s mercy could fill all the oceans. It is boundless. All we need to do is go to Confession and sincerely ask for His forgiveness. Jesus died for every single sin any one of us commits. John 8:3-11 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."



Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226 AD) Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Lesson 3 Premarital Sex (Continued)

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Why Do Teens Have Premarital Sex? • Loneliness; looking for love, attention, warmth, affection • To be popular, to prove their self worth; to prove that they “are somebody” or that they are attractive • So that a partner will “love” them more • Peer pressure; “everybody's doing it”; believing there is something wrong with them if they don't • Infatuation, a “crush” or sexual tension, mistaken for love • To prove their “love” • Curiosity • It feels good. • To avoid hurting a partner's feelings when the partner wants to have sex and he or she doesn't • Wanting to be more of a man or woman or to feel grown up • To establish their sexual identity; to prove they're not homosexual • To get back at their parents or to make someone jealous • Didn't plan on going “all the way” − often associated with drugs or alcohol


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents •


How many of the above motives are selfish in nature and not loving at all? How Teens Can Say "No" To Premarital Sex • The direct approach: “Push off!” • The less direct approach: “I can’t. It would be a sin.” • Be polite yet assertive. • Use the “Sandwich” technique: say "No" in between positive statements such as “I really like you” and “I hope we can get together again soon.” • Use the “Broken record” technique: Keep saying “No”. • Change the subject. Make a joke; laugh off the proposition. Suggest another activity that both of you would enjoy. Go out in public—quickly, before you start down the wrong path. • Don't start to say “Yes,” and then try to say “No.” Keep your “outerwear” on so no one gets the idea to take your underwear off.* • Say “Ask my parents, and if it’s OK with them then it’s OK with me.” How to Say "No" Before the Subject Comes Up • Wear a reminder of your faith in a visible location, such as a crucifix on a necklace. • Dress modestly without drawing undue attention to your physical attributes. We express ourselves by the way we dress. For women who can’t decide if an outfit is modest or not, Catholic chastity teacher Mary Beth Bonnaci has some good advice: ask someone with whom you are not romanticcally involved and who understands sexual purity and lives chastely (such as brother) if the outfit is modest or not, and decide whether to wear it based on his judgment. • Agree to go to family oriented entertainment but not to “PG13 or R-rated type” of entertainment, because it usually *

Chastity educator Colleen Kelly Mast

Premarital Sex (Continued)

• • • •


contains sexually explicit acts or innuendo, or disregards the sacredness of sex. Go to walk-in theaters instead of drive-in theaters. Date in public areas, not in out-of-the-way places or in your home alone. Plan group dates. Avoid drugs and drinking. Plan “activity” dates instead of “hanging out” dates.

Falsehoods Used to Defend Premarital Sex: There are many obvious falsehoods about premarital sex, such as, you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex or during a woman’s period (menstruation). These are both wrong. If you hear something that goes against common sense, or about which you are uncertain, ask your parents, or a wise and holy priest. Let us review some of the most common, important falsehoods about premarital sex. Falsehood: Premarital sex is acceptable if the couple loves each other. Premarital sex is usually not as much of a compromise on love as sex without love—it is a step closer to normal than sex with no love at all—but because it is so accepted it causes far greater damage. Because of the risks associated with premarital sex (spiritual, psychological, physical and social) to engage in it is inherently unloving. It should come as no surprise to find that Jesus repeatedly condemned fornication (premarital sex) throughout the Gospels and that Mother Church continues to do so. To say that a couple engages in it to express their love is nonsense because true love calls for protecting—fully protecting, if possible—those for whom we care. Some people say that premarital sex is okay as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. But how could it not? Any time we stop considering what love has to do with it someone is bound to get hurt. Apply the Golden Rule: Treat each date with the thought that this person may marry someone else; ask yourself how his or her future spouse should want you to treat him or her today. Apply what I call the “Silver Rule”: Behave as you would want


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

others to behave. Consider how you would want someone you respect to act under the same circumstances. If you are at a party where a vulgar movie is being shown, consider how your parents, other respected family members, or a saint you have read about would act and follow that example. Abstinence teachers use a simple demonstration to open discussions of sex with adolescents. A boy volunteer is chosen and a strip of duct tape is applied firmly to his forearm. The tape is said to symbolize the bond between himself and a girl who gives up her virginity to him (that is, she has sex for the first time). The instructor emphasizes the tightness of the bond, how with a first boyfriend the inexperienced girl is capable of giving herself entirely. When the relationship breaks up, the tape is torn off the boy's forearm, representing the pain that the two experience from dissolution of the bond. The tape is then transferred to successive boy volunteers, each representing a different sexual partner for the girl. With each transfer it loses some of its ability to stick to the boy. This loss of stickiness represents the weakening ability of the girl to bond and form intimate relationships with her sexual partners as she has more of them. Finally the tape has no stickiness at all, and so its removal from a boy's forearm takes no effort and causes no pain. The now disheartened and cynical girl is numb in her relationships with males. She is incapable of giving herself to them, incapable of fully trusting them, and incapable of becoming deeply intimate with them. The same can be said for a boy who has had a number of girl partners. Falsehood: Premarital sex is the private decision of the two people involved. Intimate sexual behaviors do not occur within a vacuum, but within surroundings made up of many relationships and situations. What goes on inside the bedroom can deeply affect the couple and others outside the bedroom. Consider the “social risks” listed previously. Or consider the 15-year-old pregnant girl, whose baby I delivered, who tried to commit suicide when she learned she was pregnant. How would her suicide have affected her family?

Premarital Sex (Continued)


Falsehood: Premarital sex is acceptable for consenting adults. This assertion leaves out the word “informed.” Fewer people would be involved in premarital sex if they were truly informed about the risks they are taking. For example, a woman patient in my practice was surprised to have contracted Hepatitis B from her sexual partner. She was less surprised when she questioned him and found that he had been involved in homosexual activity in the past. Homosexual activity is strongly linked with Hepatitis B. She was consenting, but ill informed about the risks she was taking. Many people are amazingly ill informed about the potential dangers of what they are consenting to. Falsehood: Premarital sex helps to establish a good sexual relationship in marriage. Falsehood: Premarital sex helps a couple to evaluate how well they get along before they commit to marriage. Numerous studies have clearly proven just the opposite of these assertions. People who live together before getting married have a much higher risk of getting divorced, and since people who live together are sexually involved, premarital sex itself is a risk factor for future divorce. While sex within marriage can be just as unhealthy as premarital sex, sex between a married couple can be truly healthy whereas sex among the unmarried cannot. Advantages of Waiting Until Marriage to Have Sex: • Waiting means obedience to God’s will. • Waiting means obedience to one’s conscience. • Waiting makes it easier for spouses to be faithful. It trains them to have a controlled, disciplined approach toward sex. It is empowering. • Waiting reinforces responsible attitudes toward sex. • Waiting means that if a couple gets pregnant later on in their marriage, they will have a more committed and therefore a more stable partnership within which to raise children. • Waiting motivates a couple to develop their relationship in other areas.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents • • • • • •

Waiting means that sex does not play an overrated role in relationships with the opposite sex and, in particular, in deciding whom to marry. Waiting means that sex is less likely to be associated with guilt, resentment, fear, or worry; therefore, sex can be more enjoyable. Waiting strengthens the bond between a married couple, since sexual intercourse becomes something the spouses have shared only with each other. Waiting means no comparisons with previous sexual partners. Waiting means no risk, or a reduced risk (you may still be at risk if your partner has had sex with someone else), of STDs. Waiting means that you do not scandalize others, especially those younger than you, who look to you as a role model and so may follow your lead into sexual sin.

Many people say that saving yourself for marriage is an outdated idea, but purity before marriage is too beautiful to ever be outdated.

Theology of the Body Moment – Pope John Paul II In this way, continence (celibacy) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (as with priests and religious), the choice of virginity or celibacy for one's whole life, has become in the experience of Christ's disciples and followers the act of a particular response of love for the divine Spouse. Therefore, it has acquired the significance of an act of nuptial (married) love, that is, a nuptial giving of oneself for the purpose of reciprocating (freely giving and taking) in a particular way the nuptial love of the Redeemer. It is a giving of oneself understood as renunciation, but made above all out of love. [Papal audience on April 28, 1982]

Premarital Sex (Continued)


If one feels called to a religious vocation, premarital sex creates an immediate and seriously sinful wedge between oneself and God. It sets the stage for future failure should one desire to commit to a life of chastity and to take Jesus as one’s spouse or Mother Church as one’s bride. If a Catholic feels called to marry, as opposed to being called to religious life, then the most important decision he makes in his life is whom to marry. When a couple abstains from intimate sexual activity they are able to evaluate how well they are suited to each other without emotionally charged, intense, unnatural sexual experiences confusing the issue. Thus, by practicing abstinence, the couple give themselves the best shot at making the right choice in this most important decision. What if my partner and I have already had sex? The simple answer is to stop. Now. Practically speaking that can be very hard to do. Sometimes love is hard. Doing the right thing can be very hard. Worse yet, doing the right thing can seem illogical. How do you explain to your partner that you’ve decided not to have sex anymore? I tell patients to simply tell it like it is: tell your partner that you have made a step up in maturity and understanding and you now more clearly realize what love is, and that it isn’t premarital sex. Tell the person that you want the best for him or her and for the two of you, and that means no more physical intimacy until marriage. If your partner is a good match, he or she will understand and will probably be relieved to stop having sex. If your partner isn’t such a good match, he or she may get angry, argue or even quit the relationship. In either case, you will learn a lot about your partner, about yourself and about the relationship. You will learn whether he or she was with you for the sex or because you two really had a good thing. In any case, make sure you go to Confession to receive forgiveness for your sexual sins. This is a case of the right answer not necessarily being the most obvious. You stop having sex with someone you love? In college, I noticed a similar sort of situation, where the truth was the opposite of what seemed obvious. I drove an old Rambler in those days and I noticed that there was some blessing to having such a crummy car.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

There was never any doubt that the women I dated were not going out with me for my car. Any lady willing to get into that thing must have genuinely liked me. A crummy car was a blessing. Funny. The same holds true for premarital sex. If a couple abstains from intimate sexual activity before marriage, they can be that much more confident that each person really does love the other and that they will be that much more likely to succeed in building a future together. The Anima Christi (The Soul of Christ) Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within Thy wounds, hide me. Separated from Thee let me never be. From the malignant enemy, defend me. At the hour of death, call me. To come to Thee, bid me, That I may praise Thee in the company Of Thy Saints, for all eternity. Amen.

Lesson 4 Premarital Sex (Continued)


Say a prayer before the lesson.

What is the most important thing in life according to the Catholic Church? Answer: Happiness!! (Or some might say “Pleasure” or “Joy.”) But there is a bit of a catch. The catch is that there are different types of happiness or pleasure. We will consider two here briefly. Later we will expand on the idea. Two Types of Happiness or Pleasure: 1) The Superficial Good or Feeling Good: Eating M&Ms, drinking lemonade, or watching an entertaining movie 2) The Essential Good or Being Good: Opening a door for a little old lady. This is also known as “Knowing, Loving, and Serving God.” The problem is that the first kind of pleasure can make you sick or have other bad effects. Too much candy or too fast a ride at the amusement park can make you feel badly. A man who kisses a pretty woman whom he doesn’t really like or care about experiences some of the first kind of pleasure, but knows he has set himself against the second, more profound kind of pleasure. The same is true for those


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

who take pleasure in looking at members of the opposite sex who are immodestly dressed.

Theology of the Body Moment – John Paul II Happiness is being rooted in love. [Papal audience on January 30, 1980]

The Superficial Good vs. the Essential Good To achieve the more essential good, the more intense pleasure, we must submit to God: putting ourselves in His hands, doing what we ought to do. I tell students: By sitting quietly and listening attentively to my lecture you are doing what you ought to do. Even if you aren’t that interested in what I am saying at this moment, you sit quietly because you know someone else might be interested. Perhaps someone in the room is being touched in the most profound way, having a life-changing experience this very night (!!!) so you sit quietly and allow others to hear the message. The good news is that sometimes we can have both kinds of pleasure! The door we open for a little old lady may be light enough so that we can hold it open with one hand while we eat candy with other hand! In other words, in some instances we can feel good while doing the right thing. For example, married couples can enjoy intimate sexual pleasure without sinning. The peace of Christ is the greatest source of joy or pleasure. The Bible calls this peace “Beatitude” or “blessedness.” Unfortunately, when people feel badly about themselves or about life, they often seek deliverance through superficial sources of happiness such as alcohol, drugs, overeating, other addictions, or sometimes through relationships with the opposite sex whether through dating, sex, or marriage.

Premarital Sex (Continued)


“If I can just date him . . .” “If I can just become sexually intimate with her . . .” “If I can just marry him . . .” “If . . . then all will be well and I will feel great happiness and pleasure.” The fact is that all of these situations can satisfy or at least hide life’s difficulties for a time, but only God can deliver the deeper fulfillment. And we can sustain it only by coming back to Him over and over again. There is no other way. Drugs, alcohol, popularity or trying to be cool, money, fame, and sexual encounters are common ways to seek fulfillment. Literally millions of people have failed—have sinned—by looking for pleasure in these ways and will attest to this fact. None of these can offer the most profound or “ultimate” pleasure, that is available to each of us at every moment through the peace of Christ. To join with Christ, to be one with God, we need to keep a hand on the door at all times so we are ready to open it whenever a little old lady approaches. This is not an easy road. God does not provide an easy road. We cannot expect a reprieve. But because it is His road, because it is the road of the One who created the world, it is the best by far. To strive to attain and maintain the deepest sense of peace and joy is a struggle for all of us—a struggle against original sin, the basic burden that each of us carries. Difficulties With Trying to Focus on God, the Greatest Source of Pleasure: What are the steps toward sin? Many people have tried to figure out the process that leads a person to sin. Here is one that includes four steps adapted from the book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Pastor Rick Warren. 1. We are tempted by a desire. For example, we get tired of holding open the door for the little old lady, and feel we are owed a break. This is especially true when we have been good for what seems to be a burdensome length of time. 2. We doubt or disbelieve. We doubt that true happiness is found by doing the right thing, by doing things God’s way, by being


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents true to your human nature—a nature that calls you from the deepest recesses of the heart to “Do good and avoid evil.” Sometimes we lose faith that holiness is the best that life has to offer. Since God isn’t enough, we turn to false gods: sex, alcohol, food, money, gambling, work, power. John 6:66-68 After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life?” To whom shall we go? Well, many of us go to sex, alcohol, food, money, toys (as in surfboards, motorcycles, cars, stereo systems), shopping, gambling. 3. Deception. We accept false ideas. (Satan is the “Father of all lies.”) We deceive ourselves into thinking that maybe the little old ladies don’t really need us to open the door for them. Maybe the next little old lady to come through the door won’t be so frail and will be strong enough to open it without our help. 4. Disobedience. We act on our disbelief.

The truth is that living a Christ-centered life is as good as it gets and that we are never owed a break and we must always be ready to open doors for little old ladies. During times of stress (boredom, loneliness, fatigue), or in the case of an unforeseen near occasion of sin (a situation that tempts us), we may be too late in opening the door if we do not remain ever vigilant. In his book Jesus of Nazareth (2007) Pope Benedict XVI brought up another aspect of sin. The Holy Father wrote about the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). We all know about the younger son who did not want true freedom, the freedom to do good, the freedom to follow God’s will. He wanted the false freedom of license. He wanted to do whatever he desired. He left his home, squandered

Premarital Sex (Continued)


his inheritance, and ended up yearning to eat the food given to the pigs. He sinned miserably. Pope Benedict’s focus, however, is not on this son, but on the older son. For when the younger one finally returns home and his father gives a banquet and kills the fatted calf, his older brother is bitter. “Why?” Pope Benedict XVI asks. The answer the pope gives is that just like the younger brother, this son had never really embraced the true freedom and happiness that he had. He did not go so far as to leave home, but his bitterness revealed that for him, too, the great privilege of living in a home in which “Everything I have is yours” was not enough. How often we fail, like the older son, to appreciate the gift of living in tune with Our Father’s will—in tune with our human nature. How often we too live, at least in part, with the false notion that there is something that will satisfy us even beyond having everything that Jesus offers. How often do we let a bitterness lead us to temptation? The great Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote the famous line: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Once we understand that only God can fulfill us, we understand that the most important challenge of life is always to try our best to follow God’s plan for us, and always to hold open the door for little old ladies. We will understand, then, that no dating or sexual relationship, or even marriage, can fully deliver or fulfill a person. Yet our culture constantly bombards us with these mistaken messages. They are expressed in most types of popular music, in movies, on TV and radio, and in many other ways in our culture. You will hear these silly messages in a million different ways in your lifetime and will do well to consciously reject them. To hold off from having sex before marriage may someday prove to be a great challenge to you. You may find yourself very tempted. Many do. Can you love yourself, your partner and God enough to do the right thing? Can you hold Christ that close? All of us fail in some ways in our lives. In high school I worked very hard to break 9:30 in the 2-mile race, but I physically couldn’t do it. However, there is no such barrier with love. No one has to fail seriously in virtue, love or morality. With God’s help, you can love others (future boyfriends or girlfriends) enough to avoid serious sexual sin.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Theology of the Body Moment – Pope John Paul II The heart has become a battlefield between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less the heart experiences the nuptial (marital) meaning of the body. It becomes less sensitive to the gift of the person, which expresses that meaning in the mutual relations of man and woman. Certainly, that lust which Christ speaks of in Matthew 5:27-28 appears in many forms in the human heart. It is not always plain and obvious. Sometimes it is concealed, so that it passes itself off as love . . . Does this mean that it is our duty to distrust the human heart? No! It only means that we must keep it under control. [Papal audience on July 23, 1980]

Rules to Follow: The following simple, traditional rules help tremendously in avoiding many of the troubles associated with sexuality. 1) Don’t become physically intimate with anyone until you get married. – Limit yourself to holding hands, hugging, and kissing (not prolonged or to the point of arousal). – Keep clothing on. – No touching in private areas. 2) Bear in mind that no person can deliver you from inner unrest, only God can. 3) Women naturally recognize the relationship between love and sexuality better than men. As we will discuss, women have to deal more with the results of unhealthy attitudes about sex. Women suffer more from babies born out of wedlock, STDs, contraceptive side effects, and emotional problems. Smart ladies don’t depend on men to guide them in decisions about

Premarital Sex (Continued)


how far to go with intimacy. Smart ladies don’t depend on men to guide them in how intimate a conversation should go. A 25-year-old patient told me that he understood what I said about premarital sex but that he and his girlfriend were SO in love with each other (“a very intense relationship”) that they will continue to have sex. No, they were not in love with each other. They were in love with their fantasies, with themselves, and with the superficial kind of pleasure. Fr. Sy Nguyen wrote the following account in the church bulletin of St. Mary’s by the Sea Catholic Church, Huntington Beach, California: I have known a girl since she was seven years old. Her dedicated mother home-schooled her as her patient father tirelessly provided for the family. When she was 13 she got to travel with me to World Youth Day in Paris. Though being among the younger kids on that pilgrimage, she showed a great deal of self-discipline, and was able to appreciate the spiritual blessings of the whole event. After completing high school, she entered a traditional Catholic college and excelled in her studies. As part of her college experience, she even spent a month in India serving the poor. She has grown up to be beautiful, smart, and well-grounded in her Catholic Faith. Needless to say, she is the apple in her parents’ eyes and it has been a joy for me to watch her grow up. A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from her devastated parents who informed me that she has become pregnant by a man she just met during the summer vacation. I could not stop their sobbing and I did not want to because I felt like doing the same. It is in a time like this that one can experience in a profound way the brokenness of humanity, the sinfulness of man, the corruption of the flesh, not out there in the world, but in his own self. And by the grace of God, it can lead one to feel from the depth of his heart that he needs God to save him from himself. As for the girl, she is dying inside as she prepares to bring a life into the world. As for me, I appreciate more than ever the Good News that Christ has come not for


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents the healthy but for the sick.

We are all sinners. We are all spiritually “sick” and in need of God’s forgiveness and saving power. Any one of us, no matter what our preparation, can fall into serious sin. It is very important that students know that they can always come to their loving parents if they make a serious mistake regarding sexuality. No parent will be happy to hear the news (any more than they are happy about their own sins) but all parents will be grateful that their student had enough confidence in them to bring a serious problem to their attention so they could work through it together. Today there are probably more challenges to chastity than ever before. Can an unmarried young adult or teenager love himself or herself enough to remain fully committed to the goal of a truly healthy and holy mind with regard to sexuality? Can these individuals love others enough to go without premarital sex? The answer is “yes,” but for most it will require a full commitment to seeking happiness in the fullest and truest sense of the word: at the foot of the cross. Prayer from the Angelus Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Lesson 5 The Variety of Sexual Behavior


Say a prayer before the lesson.

The Sexual Revolution began in earnest in the 1960s and has been associated with an extreme increase in sexual promiscuity. (A promiscuous person is one who engages in sexual intercourse or other intimate sexual acts with many people.) Research clearly shows that premarital sex and extramarital sex (sex between two people at least one of whom is married to someone else) are far more common today than before the “revolution.” Many other forms of sexual behavior have also become much more common during this period. Alternative Sexual Behaviors: When a husband and wife express their love sexually, they may participate in any behavior that expresses affection and love as long as they do not separate the procreative (making babies) and pleasurable aspects of sexuality. This means that orgasm, or climax, must be achieved through genital/genital contact. As we will discuss later, seeking climax in ways which separate the procreative and pleasurable aspects of sexuality opens the door for less respectful, loving attitudes. An example of this is oral sex, which we will explain shortly, in which the act can bring a person the pleasure of climax but


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

cannot make one pregnant. For this reason, among others, oral sex to climax is immoral and sinful. Each spouse should approach their sexual relationship open to the desires of the partner. While no should one should engage in sexual acts that are degrading or that make either spouse uncomfortable, there should be a basic willingness to experiment and be creative with each other. Selected quotes from John Paul II’s book Love and Responsibility (1960): Page 271. It is the very nature of the act that the man plays the active role and takes the initiative, while the woman is a comparatively passive partner, whose function it is to accept and to experience. Page 272. The man must take this difference between male and female reactions into account, not for hedonistic (to please oneself), but for altruistic (to please the other) reasons. There exists a rhythm dictated by nature itself which both spouses must discover so that climax may be reached both by the man and by the woman, and as far as possible occur in both simultaneously. Page 273. It must be taken into account that it is naturally difficult for the woman to adapt herself to the man in the sexual relationship, that there is a natural unevenness of physical and psychological rhythms, so that there is a need for harmonization, which is impossible without good will, especially on the part of the man, who must carefully observe the reactions of the woman. Page 275. Precisely because a slower and more gradual rise in the curve of sexual arousal is characteristic of the female orgasm the need for tenderness during physical intercourse, and also before it begins and after its conclusion, is explicable in purely biological terms. If we take into account the shorter and more violent curve of arousal in the man, an act of tenderness on his part in the context of marital intercourse acquires the significance of an act of virtue . . .

The Variety of Sexual Behavior


The most common sexual behaviors besides genital/genital contact are: •

“Petting” or intimate caressing This is sexual touching that occurs before the couple’s genitals touch. Married couples may, in privacy, touch each other in any way that they both agree to. Intimate touching before marriage, however, is not only against God’s law, but against common sense. Chastity teacher Molly Kelly says this is like getting into a car and revving the engine for a short time and then getting out of the car without going anywhere. Such touching is an obvious lead up to sexual intercourse and has no place among those not situated to express with their bodies “until death do us part.” Self-stimulation/masturbation: rubbing one’s own genitals with one’s hand When this is done to the point of orgasm, or climax, it may be a mortal sin. Mental problems, like anxiety or being compulsive, may reduce the person’s responsibility (reduce the free consent of the person’s will) and thus make it a less serious sin. Any intentional rubbing of your own genitals with the intention of sexual arousal is a sin, even if not to climax, whether you are married or not. It always draws one away from Christ. Manual manipulation: rubbing another’s genitals with one’s hands This is sinful if it is done with anyone but one’s spouse. It is sinful if done with one’s spouse if it is done to orgasm. Oral sex: touching one’s mouth to another’s genitals This is a serious sin for the unmarried. The act seems to be much more common now than in the past, especially among the unmarried. Even among married couples this act is a sin if it causes climax. Even though oral sex may not lead directly to climax, there are other reasons to consider any involvement in it sinful. Oral sex may conflict with the marital vow to “love and honor.” Many people consider the positions involved with the act


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

degrading and dishonorable. Also, oral sex makes sexual climax particularly easy and because of this encourages an unhealthy, detached view of sex with an excessive focus on the genitals. Oral-genital relations are more in tune with the male sexual fantasy to “come on already and get it over with,” or “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am,” and in that sense conflict with the typical female desire for a more prolonged intimate activity that is not so exclusively focused on the genitals. Engaging in oral sex may, therefore, create an unhealthy imbalance in a married couple’s sexual relationship. Anal sex: a man inserting his penis into another person’s anus Although this is commonly referred to as the “homosexual act,” it is also engaged in by some heterosexuals. Most people find anal sex repulsive and against the dignity of the human person. We will discuss more about this later.

How often do married people have sex? Typical married couples have sex every week or two, but there is wide range: some much more, others much less. If a younger, healthy couple decides to not have sex this usually indicates a serious problem in the relationship and the need for counseling or spiritual direction. Some elderly couples are not sexually active due to lack of interest or physical limitations, but many have regular sexual relations. Sad Truths: In some marriages the wife never climaxes, despite her desire to do so, because the husband focuses solely on getting himself to climax. Also, some married women feel used by their husbands because their husbands only interact with them physically when the husband is interested in sexual intimacy to climax. In other words, the husbands don’t hug or kiss their wives unless the husband is planning on “going all the way.” Married men tend to be more focused on genital sexual stimulation and married women tend to be more focused on non-genital sexual interactions, such as holding hands or being caressed. It is important for both to consider the attitudes each may bring into the relationship. As Pope John Paul pointed out above,

The Variety of Sexual Behavior


each should ensure that the other is a willing participant in any sexual contact and that the sexual desires of both are addressed. Nocturnal Emissions or “wet dreams”: This is climaxing while asleep during a dream. It is a natural, normal event often associated with sexually stressful dreams or other stressful dreams. It is not associated with any diseases, nor is it sinful.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Sexually transmitted diseases, also known as venereal diseases or “VD,” can be thought of as like having a “cold” in the genitals. Just as a person who sneezes may pass an infection to another, so also a person with an infection in the genitals can spread it to another through genital sexual contact. If a married couple has only had sexual intercourse with each other and neither one has ever used intravenous drugs, the chance of either of them developing a sexually transmitted disease is essentially zero. During the period of the Sexual Revolution we have seen a staggering increase in the types of STDs and in the number of people affected in our county and in the world. • • • •

There are now 50 types of STDs and 12 million new cases each year in the U.S. It is estimated that one in five Americans is now infected with an incurable STD. It is estimated that over 30% of sexually active teenagers have venereal warts (warts on the genitals). From 1970 to 1990 the estimated number of tubal pregnancies increased fivefold. Tubal pregnancies are a life-threatening emergency and the increase in them is a direct result of the increase in STDs of the fallopian tubes. Bacteria from the male pass though the vagina and uterus and infect the fallopian tubes. The infection causes scarring that can block an embryo trying to


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents travel down the fallopian tube. The growing embryo causes the tube to rupture and may cause the woman to bleed to death.

The statistics go on and on and are staggering. The explosion of STDs over the last few decades offers dramatic evidence of the increase in sexual promiscuity that has occurred during this period. Falsehood: STDs are not a serious problem because they are easy to prevent, screen for, diagnose, treat, and cure. For example, in a popular book for teenagers, The What’s Happening to My Body Book for Girls, the question “What should you do if you think you might have an STD?” is answered with “Most STDs can be treated quite easily—usually with antibiotics—provided they are treated right away.” The fact is that there are tremendous limits to what we can do to prevent, screen for, diagnose, treat, and cure many of these diseases. •

• • • •

It is very common to have an infection yet not have any symptoms and pass on an STD to others. One can have any STD and have no symptoms and pass it on to someone else without knowing. Many STDs are incurable. Different STDs are often found together. If someone is found to be infected with one STD, that person may have become infected with other STDs at same time. Those who use drugs, or drink too much alcohol, are more likely to get STDs, presumably because they are more likely to have poor judgment and be more promiscuous. Many STDs can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her newborn child.

The table on the next two pages is a brief summary of the most notable STDs. The symptoms and accuracy of screening tests are listed on the first page and the available treatments and complications are on the second page. (The statistics are referenced in my book, Sexual Wisdom.)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases




Accuracy of Screening Tests


Discharge (pus) from the genitals, painful urination or pain in the abdomen or testicles

Fairly good: 70-90%


Discharge (pus) from the genitals, painful urination or pain in the abdomen or testicles

Fairly good: 70-90% for males, 80-90 % for females.


First stage: Painless ulcer/chancre on penis, vagina or anus. Second stage: Rash. Third stage: headaches, vomiting, weakness, and other symptoms.

Good to excellent: generally well above 80%.


Recurrent painful ulcers on the genitals, swollen glands in the groin.

Fair: Culture test 77%. Antibody (blood) tests are of limited value in making an early diagnosis.

Hepatitis B&C

Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin) vomiting, dark urine, fatigue, abdominal pain.

Excellent, but test is often overlooked in screening.

Venereal Warts

Warts on the genitals.

Poor: 30-80%.

HIV Disease and AIDS

Chronic cough, diarrhea, rash, fevers, swollen glands, weight loss.

Blood test usually positive within three to six months of acquiring infection. Cont. on next page


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents





Antibiotics. Possible hospitalization or surgery for females with severe cases. Permanent effects may persist despite appropriate therapy.

Women: infertility, tubal pregnancy, pelvic abscesses, chronic lower abdominal pain. Men: infertility and arthritis (both unusual).


Antibiotics. Possible hospitalization or surgery for females with severe cases. Permanent effects may persist despite appropriate therapy.

Women: infertility, tubal pregnancy, abscesses, chronic lower abdominal pain, arthritis. Men: infertility and arthritis.


Antibiotics are very effective. Hospitalization for one week may be required if not diagnosed within the first few years.

If untreated, leads to dementia and death. In newborns: congenital defects, anemia, brain damage, death.


Antibiotic pill or cream reduces symptoms and contagiousness. There is no cure.

Puts one at risk for HIV infection. May cause deadly infection in newborn.

Hepatitis B&C

No cure. Immunization available for Hepatitis B to prevent infection of sexual partners or exposed newborns from known carriers.

Development of chronic carrier state (no symptoms but contagious to sexual partner or fetus), liver failure, death.

Venereal Warts

Various methods used include freezing, burning, surgery, and laser. 20-100% success rates. May not be possible to cure but growth and spread can be controlled

Causes cervical cancer (women should have regular PAP smears). Newborns may develop warts on the voice box.

HIV Disease and AIDS

There is no cure. Potent medications delay onset of AIDS after infection and slow the progression of the disease. Many people die within a few years, even with medication.

Many unusual infections and cancers, dementia, death. Many serious side effects from medication. Infection can be passed from mother to newborn.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases


I saw a delightful newlywed couple in the office because she was complaining of discomfort while urinating, abdominal pain, and sores on her vagina. This was just two weeks after their wedding day. She was a virgin before the wedding but he was not. He had STD screening before wedding to make sure he was “safe.” Even with that precaution she was now suffering from a severe case of genital herpes. It is important for young people to understand that in the modern world one may one day fall in love with and wish to marry someone who has had sex with someone else. While this is not the best situation it is the situation that many individuals face, even though they themselves have not fallen into serious sexual sin. Whatever incurable STDs one’s partner has on his or her wedding day the spouse is likely to acquire at some point during the marriage. As a precaution, couples who face this dilemma may wish to have the sexually experienced partner take antibiotics to treat susceptible STDs he or she may harbor without knowing it. Also, the sexually experienced partner should be tested thoroughly for other STDs, even though, as in the case above, this does not offer anything like certain assurance. Rather than confronting the causes of the STD epidemic, our society minimizes the problem. We are told in so many ways that STDs are not a serious concern: that they are easy to prevent, screen for, diagnose, treat, and cure. What we are told is wrong on all counts. The foolish thinking on the issue was demonstrated at a medical conference put on by Harvard and UCLA medical schools. At one of the lectures, held in an enormous ballroom with an audience of hundreds of physicians, the speaker made the point that condoms should be recommended to all sexually active single people to prevent the spread of herpes infection. (Condoms are a latex, balloon-type covering that the man wears over the penis to prevent skin-to-skin contact with his sexual partner. Historically they have been used to prevent pregnancy, but more recently they have been promoted to prevent the spread of STDs) However, a few moments before, the same speaker had shown a slide of a woman with typical herpes ulcers on the area next to the vagina called the vulva. A condom


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

offers absolutely no protection from such an infection to that area. The professor failed to notice the obvious inconsistency of her recommendation with respect to the slide she had just shown, and no one during the question and answer period brought it up. This demonstrates that physicians are people too. They can be like sheep who blindly follow the leader without asking obvious questions. Prayer O Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in thee.

Lesson 6 HIV/AIDS


Say a prayer before the lesson.

The way in which our society minimizes the seriousness of STDs is most evident with regard to infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the most serious STD. The Basics About HIV and AIDS: • For HIV to be transmitted there must be contact between the infected person’s body fluids (blood, semen or saliva) and the other person’s blood. In the vast majority of cases, HIV is spread through sex or by sharing needles used by intravenous drug abusers. The riskiest sexual behavior is anal intercourse, presumably because this unnatural act traumatizes the anus enough to cause some bleeding and this allows viruses in the semen to enter the person’s bloodstream. Anal intercourse is often referred to as the “homosexual act” because it is uncommon among heterosexuals. In the 1980s, at the beginning of the HIV epidemic, about 80% of those who were infected with it were male homosexuals. Now homosexuals account for about 45% of new cases. Heterosexuals now account for 34% of new cases (black women are at especially


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

• • • •

high risk) and about 17% get infected from using intravenous (IV) drugs (especially black men). Because HIV can travel through the placenta, it can infect the babies HIV-infected women are carrying during pregnancy. With current medical care this is now rare. Couples who only have regular genital-genital intercourse can transmit the virus from one to the other, but this is much less likely than with anal intercourse. There is some risk to doctors and nurses from getting poked by a needle that has been used on a patient with HIV. After being exposed to HIV, whether through sex or through IV drug abuse, it usually takes 3-6 months before the blood test for HIV turns positive. HIV can cause flu-like symptoms in the first three months of the infection. The virus gradually multiplies in the person’s system over years and causes the person’s immune system to fail. Then he or she develops “opportunistic” infections (those that only occur in people who have a faulty immune systems) and unusual tumors. Once these develop, the person has the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the last stage of HIV infection. It often takes about 10 years after infection with HIV to develop AIDS. AIDS is almost uniformly deadly without strong medications. With the discovery of new medications the death rate from HIV has dropped from 80% to 25%. Medical science is gradually developing more medications to treat HIV and AIDS.

The History of HIV and AIDS: • The initial 31 cases of AIDS were identified in 1981. • Since then 22 million persons have died from AIDS, including 500,000 in the U.S. • Forty million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV including over one million in the U.S., about a quarter of whom do not know they are infected. • There are 40,000-60,000 new cases of HIV infection in the U.S. every year.



Africa is the hardest hit continent in the world with 2.2 million Africans dying every year from AIDS and 12 million African children orphaned by it each year. San Francisco has the greatest percentage of homosexuals in the United States. It is estimated that 50% of the San Francisco homosexual population is infected with HIV.

A 27-year-old male requested HIV testing in my office. He had a history of IV drug use which he knew was a risk factor for HIV. Worried that he may have given the disease through sex to one of his girlfriends he said he would kill himself if he tested positive for HIV. He said he could never face them and tell them that he was positive. HIV carries a tremendous psychological burden. Fortunately for him and his girlfriends, he tested negative. Sadly, the response of nearly everyone except conservative religious groups to this awful HIV crisis has been the lowly condom. The initial response from the government to HIV was to promote “Safe Sex,” which mainly called for use of condoms and “limiting” the number of one’s sexual partners, whatever that meant. But this approach was so clearly unsafe that public outrage quickly forced officials to change the name of their program to “Safer Sex,” or what Catholic chastity teacher Barbara McGuigan refers to as “Safer Sin.” Our public health and school officials refuse to support abstinence because they feel that to do so is too “judgmental” against those who are already having sex. We will address the confusion around the idea of being judgmental in Lesson 16. Not surprisingly, repeated evaluations of the “Safer Sex”/condom message have found that such programs do not lead to changes in behaviors or infection rates— among heterosexuals or homosexuals. Despite intense, costly, widespread education efforts, homosexuals are still engaging in the highest risk sexual behaviors and young homosexual males continue to be infected by HIV at epidemic rates. The only realistic approach to the horrible scourge of HIV is to promote abstinence from the behaviors that spread it but this is the one message that government, school officials, homosexual activists and many others refuse to accept.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Due to political pressure from homosexuals (who worry about the potential for discrimination against them if HIV infection is reported to the government), physicians in most states were barred from reporting the most deadly STD to public health authorities (as they were required to do for other STDs) for the first two decades of this disease. The concern of the homosexual activists is real, but so is the fact that many, many deaths occur every year because of the failure of our public health system. After two decades, HIV is finally being treated as the public health issue it is and most states are requiring that physicians report cases to authorities. Because society has been unable to grapple realistically with this killer, and has in many ways downplayed the threat of it, the epidemic of HIV rages essentially unchecked. From the beginning of this epidemic our politicians and public health leaders should have promoted abstinence as the best and only sure way to control the epidemic. Uganda is the only African nation to have embraced sexual abstinence as the best way to confront the HIV epidemic. Not surprisingly Uganda has, by far, the most effective HIV prevention program in Africa. The following quote is from a 2004 Internet article, which discusses this remarkable success story: Some experts say the dramatic drop in HIV/AIDS infections in Uganda is proof that abstinence from sex is the best way to combat the deadly disease, especially in the world's hardest hit area, sub-Saharan Africa. Infections in the East African country, which once had the highest rate in the world, have dropped from 30 percent of the population in the early 1990s to around 10 percent today. Although promotion of condom use has been a part of Uganda's HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, the concept of “True Love Waits”—an abstinence-until-marriage program launched in 1994 and supported by schools and religious organizations—is credited with bringing down the infection rate. “Abstinence remains the best strategy, especially for the risk group aged 15-25 years," said Dorothy Kwenze, an HIV/AIDS activist in neighboring Kenya. "The concept has worked well for Uganda and can equally work for other African countries.”



According to a study by development expert Rand Stoneburner, Uganda's prevention model, used elsewhere, has the potential to reduce the AIDS rate in Africa's worst-stricken countries by 80 percent. Stoneburner, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist, says that is the same level of efficacy one might expect from an HIV vaccine. Uganda boasts the most successful HIV/AIDS prevention case in Africa to date, as it is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where the incidence of HIV/AIDS has decreased substantially. Four Critical Realities About HIV and AIDS: • Those who do not use intravenous (IV) street drugs and do not engage in genital sexual activity have essentially no risk of being infected with the HIV virus. • No matter how well informed people are about risky behaviors many will continue to be involved in such behaviors. • Ten to thirty percent of people who rely on condoms to protect themselves from sexual partners who are infected with the HIV virus will also become infected. • If a person is having sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected partner and the condom slips, leaks, or breaks, that person may die. Although extensive discussion of measures for controlling the HIV epidemic is beyond the scope of this course, for those who are interested, the issue is discussed in my book Sexual Wisdom. The book also thoroughly reviews the many studies which document the failure of the “Safer Sex” message.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Pornography Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Webster’s Dictionary defines pornography as “writings, pictures, etc., intended to arouse sexual desires.” “Dirty pictures” is a more succinct definition. “Dirty” because pornography takes something beautiful and throws it in the gutter. Pornography includes photographs, movies or stories about people, mostly women, who are in various states of undress or who are engaged in sexual activities. Pornography is hard to define because it is sometimes difficult to draw the line between modesty and immodesty. One photograph of a naked woman may not be pornographic, yet another of a woman partially clothed may be pornographic. A U.S Supreme Court justice addressed this confusion when he wrote of pornography: “Can’t define it but know it when I see it.” “Porno” is Greek for “prostitute.” Most pornography is directed toward men, since men are far more visually oriented when it comes to sexuality. The first major pornographic publications appeared in the 1950s. Some pornographers try to make pornography more acceptable by including girl-next-door kind of pictures and interesting articles. “Softcore” or milder forms of pornography might seem less harmful than “hardcore” forms (which are the worst). But because softcore pornography is much more common, its overall effect on men’s attitudes is probably at least as great as that of hardcore porn. Also, use of softcore porn usually leads to viewing of hardcore porn.



Theology of the Body Moment – Pope John Paul II I would say that lust is a deception of the human heart in the perennial call of man and woman—a call revealed in the mystery of creation—to communion by means of mutual giving. . . . . . lust is a real part of the human heart. (But) It is one thing to be conscious that the value of sex is a part of all the rich storehouse of values with which the female appears to the man. It is another to "reduce" all the personal riches of femininity to that single value, that is, of sex, as a suitable object for the gratification of sexuality itself. . . . for the man who looks in that way (lustfully), the woman ceases to exist as an object of eternal attraction. [Papal audience on September 17, 1980]

Pornography is Big Business The U.S. spends over $12 billion on pornography each year. Internet: This is now the greatest source of pornography in the world. It is estimated that over 8% of Internet users are addicted to Internet pornography. (We will discuss sexual addiction in a later lesson.) Magazines: “Girlie” magazines have combined sales of more than 35 million copies each month. Movies/Videos Strip clubs: places where pitiable women dance while disrobing and otherwise disgracing themselves in front of men. Bachelor and Bachelorette parties: parties given before a wedding which are meant to be a joyful get together for the brides’ or grooms friends but which are often ruined by pornographic entertainment.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Pornography is Against God’s Law Galatians 6:7-9. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Pornography sows one to the flesh. Pornography is the Opposite of Virtue Virtues are those character traits that we admire most. They are the good habits that make us Christ-like. Modesty has been considered a virtue by the great thinkers of all major cultures (from both the East and the West) throughout history. Modesty means dressing or acting in such a way that we do not call extra attention to our sexual natures. Pornography is the opposite of modesty, and thus of virtue. It draws one inward, focusing on one’s desires and so draws one directly away from God. Pornography is Unrealistic and Promotes Warped Attitudes Pornography is damaging, in part, because it often looks realistic. It is fake, but it doesn’t look fake, and so it promotes harmful fantasies and a warped view of life. For example, oral sex is a mainstay of hardcore pornography, yet it is hard to imagine in a relationship in which both partners truly value the dignity of the other. Throughout pornography sexual acts are distorted, unnatural versions of the real thing. Watching pornography is the worst way to learn about normal sex. Writer Malcolm Muggeridge, who converted to Catholicism at the end of a long life said: “How do I know pornography depraves and corrupts people? [Because] it depraves and corrupts me.” A stripper justifies what she does for a living by saying that she isn't doing anything wrong; it's just entertainment. The problem, she says, is that men have dirty minds.



Let us be clear. The job of a stripper or porn star is to put sinful, adulterous thoughts in the minds of men. The better the woman is at putting lustful thoughts in men's heads the more she is paid. The more these women arouse men and make them want to masturbate, the more money the women make. That is a far cry from ballet or other legitimate entertainment. These women make money not because they entertain but because they stimulate, and create sexual tension. Pornography Depersonalizes and Degrades Women With pornography, women are seen as creatures or sex objects. How women look is emphasized to the neglect of everything else. Pornography depersonalizes and devalues women. It is no coincidence that pornographers use terms that liken women to animals: “bunnies,” “pets,” and “sex kittens.” The more a man looks at porn, the more warped his attitudes toward women become (overemphasizing appearances), and the deeper the hole he digs for himself. The more such attitudes become entrenched, the harder for the man to be healed of them; the deeper the hole, the harder it is to climb out. Our popes have tirelessly defended the dignity of each person. We should always consider the whole person—never just a person’s body, as if he or she is merely a thing or animal. Pornography Makes Light of the Risks of Having Many Sex Partners As with falsehoods associated with STDs, pornography downplays the risks associated with sex. In the fantasy world of pornography no one gets hurt; no one gets pregnant; no one becomes infected with a disease; no one feels shame, guilt, fear, remorse, embarrassment, or distrust. No one suffers from the obvious consequences of having many sex partners. All of this is part of the phoniness of pornography. Pornography Promotes Other Serious Falsehoods • That women enjoy being sexually exploited or used • That the best sex is that which is most sexually stimulating • That the primary goal of sex is to have the best orgasm • That the more sexual partners one has, the better “lover” one is


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Pornography is Meant for Psychologically Immature Males Pornography is billed as “Adult Entertainment,” or “Entertainment for Men,” but it is actually entertainment for those with “juvenile,” or immature, attitudes toward sexuality. Teenagers view more Internet pornography than adults. No true man looks at pornography. The more a person looks at pornography, the more his attitudes will remain “juvenile” and distorted. Pornography Abuses Women Pornographers are ready and willing to pressure women who aren’t very smart and who don’t respect themselves (often due to bad childhood experiences) into pornography. It is no coincidence that these women are often involved with drugs, alcohol, abortions, STDs, suicide, and eating disorders (such as anorexia or bulimia). This is what happens to people who don’t respect themselves. Women in pornography have often been involved in situations with sexual abuse and violence. Sometimes violent abuse occurs to women while making pornography. People who are hurting and who then become involved in sinful circumstances only hurt more. Catholics need to do more to minister to the women and men involved in pornography, who are truly “broken vessels.” (Psalm 31:13) Pornography Helps No One Some claim that pornography helps men to release sexual tension. The argument is that men with pent up sexual tension can masturbate while viewing pornography, thereby relieving themselves and avoiding hurting women. But when men regress into adolescent fantasies, when they pursue distorted ideas, when they slouch into darkness, there will be a serious ultimate cost. It may be that the most common response to pornography is masturbation, but there are other possibilities, and these become more likely since one use of pornography so often leads to another. It is no surprise that rapists and child abusers often use pornography. The claim that pornography releases sexual tension is the opposite of the reality. Pornography increases sexual tension. It is true that men feel temporary relief for a few minutes after masturbating. But in doing this the man has allowed himself to sin, and once a person fails in the natural call to do good, he is more likely to fail again. Any man



who, due to depression, loneliness or anxiety, fails himself and resorts to pornography knows that he has failed and feels even lower. In desperation, he is likely to resort to the same sin or to other sexual sin and then sexual sin becomes habitual. Also, with each new viewing of pornography more images become imprinted in his brain forever. There is no evidence that the use of pornography is associated in any way with emotional health. Temptations to Pornography Call One to Virtue It is an age-old teaching that to be virtuous requires practice and persistence. If one struggles with a particular vice, such as viewing pornography, the best way to overcome it is to turn yourself over to Christ and to practice the virtue that is opposed to it (in this case, chastity) over and over again, opening oneself up to grace. That is why virtues are called “good habits.” The more you practice a virtue the more habitual it becomes. The more one turns away from pornography, the easier it becomes. The same is true for vices. The more one falls into vice the more likely one is to get mired in vice (otherwise known as sin or, when it has legal implications, crime). The more one sins by looking at or masturbating while viewing pornography the more likely one is to do it again. “Custody of the Eyes” or “Modesty of the Eyes” This means keeping your eyes from looking at that which you are not meant to see. Some people call it “bouncing” the eyes, meaning that when you see a woman immodestly dressed, or a picture or video with sexual impurity, you make your eyes bounce away from the image. This is an important way for men, especially, to practice the virtue of chastity. Modern Challenges Young men should be especially aware that we live in an unusual time. Photography is a relatively new invention. One hundred years ago there were few pictures of beautiful women to gawk at. Now we have immodesty displayed on magazine covers in every market in the country. There are provocative advertisements in most newspapers and magazines, and on many Internet sites and TV shows. It is very easy for men to become entranced by so many images in so many


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

settings in our culture. No other generation of men in history has had such a challenge. After seeing indecency in PG or PG-13 movies, it is very easy to start going to R-rated movies to see more. After seeing indecency in popular magazines, it is very easy to seek “men’s” magazines that offer worse. Once one begins to travel down this path it can be like an addiction; the man seeks more and the line between what he has seen and the step into further vulgarity becomes obscure. Young men are wise to listen to those who have fallen before them. Do not go to movies or look at pictures that display immoral sexuality. Once one has entered the teenage years it is possible to develop severely distorted views of sexuality. Experts tell us that with the Internet it can happen in a few months. A man may think that if he can just get enough pornography he will be satisfied. This is one of the devil’s great lies. It is wholly false. Remember, with every fall from the straight and narrow path, one digs an ever-greater hole out from which one must eventually dig oneself. Three Rules for Young Men: These may help men understand where to draw the line on what they look at. 1. Don’t look (gawk, or stare) at a woman, who is looking at you, for so long a period that it makes her feel uncomfortable. 2. Don’t look at a woman, who is not looking at you, for so long a period that it would make her feel uncomfortable if she were looking at you. 3. Don’t look at a picture or video of a woman for so long a period that it would make her feel uncomfortable if she was really present and was looking at you. (This assumes that she has healthy attitude and isn’t in the picture or video for the purpose of having strangers stare at her.) Similar to these is the “Three Second Rule” which says that men should not look at an immodestly dressed woman, or a picture or video of one, for more than three seconds. Any time beyond this is likely to be harmful.



Many men, unable to control their eyes, develop an inordinate interest in the physical appearance of women. Sadly, some men, and even some women, not only date but even marry people to whom they are physically attracted but with whom they are otherwise poorly matched. Child Pornography: pornographic material involving children This is a dreadful sin and crime, which victimizes innocent children in the most degrading, abhorrent manner. The Most Beautiful Woman on Earth Years ago I heard a man, who was in his 60s, claim that his wife was the most beautiful woman on earth. Later, when I met her I was a little surprised to find that she was an average-looking 60 year-old with no particular claim to beauty, and no apparent craving for it. In other words, she looked more like the “Before” picture in makeover advertisements than the “After” picture. However, she was clean and neat, and very pleasant and likable. Clearly, too, she was an excellent life partner for her husband. What he meant in saying that his wife was the most beautiful woman in the world was that, after a few decades of marriage, she had become a treasure for him, and that when it came to women he only had eyes for her. It took me a few years before I really began to understand what this man was saying, but recently I find that I am experiencing the same thought. Though my wife and I are well past our physical prime she is to me the most beautiful woman on earth, and it is wonderful. It is an experience that may be rare today given the number of failed marriages and the popularity of shallow attitudes, such as the idea that beauty is to be found in hair treatments and plastic surgery. It is hard to imagine such attitudes among those mired in pornography and involved in the endless search for the perfect looking body. The sad part is that the more a man sifts through pornography the less likely he is to find the most beautiful woman in the world living under his own roof.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

The Memorare Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored they help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Lesson 7 Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


Say a prayer before the lesson.

If sexually active married couples do nothing to prevent pregnancy, about 85% will become pregnant each year. Because couples may have serious reasons to avoid pregnancy right after the wedding, or every year thereafter, and because many unmarried couples want to have sex without getting pregnant, “birth control” or “family planning” methods have been developed. There are natural ways to limit family size which are in concert with God’s will and Church teaching, and there are artificial ways which are immoral and against Church teaching. We will first discuss the artificial ways, but before we do that we need to divulge an important secret. Our Little Secret The vast majority of people have no appreciation for what I am about to tell you. In fact, most adult Catholics do not understand the meaning of what I am about to tell you. The secret is this: the Holy Roman Catholic Church, above all else, is a church with a healthy obsession with Jesus Christ. For example, Pope John Paul II began the first of his fourteen encyclicals with the words: “The Redeemer of Man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of history.” (The Redeemer of Man, 1979) Everything that the Church does or teaches


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

is based on this one mission: drawing people closer to Jesus. Given the many aspects of the Church and the many ways in which the Church touches our lives this most basic fact is easily lost in the shuffle. One of the reasons that even many Catholics are unclear on this is that most Catholics have not read Church teachings. To understand what the Catholic Church is really about you must read what the Church teaches—not from a book about Catholicism nor from someone telling you about Catholicism (especially in this day when even some priests and nuns are unreliable sources of information)— but from the original Church documents themselves. These are now readily available on many websites, but the best site, of course, is the Vatican’s own site at Here, from the home page under “Resource Library” you will find the Bible, the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law. If, from the home page, you click on “The Papal Archive” you will find every major document written by every pope going back for over a century. There you can read exactly what the Holy Fathers wrote on a great many subjects. Now I certainly don’t expect you to read all these documents, but you could pick out some to read or at least to read enough to get the essence of them, and you certainly should use them as resources. At the end of this course, we list some of the magnificent documents the Church has recently produced which relate to sexuality. If you’re old enough to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn you’re old enough to explore these documents and, if you do, our little “secret” will become very obvious. Sadly, most Catholic adults have never read any of these documents. Worse yet, many people in leadership roles in our church have never read any of them. If you read even a few of them you will find how true this is: our Church has a healthy obsession with Jesus Christ. Its whole focus is to worship and follow Him. So why bring this up now? Because the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception, which baffles many people, will now make perfect sense to you. If the only thing the Church cares about is bringing people closer to Christ, and if contraceptives did not affect this relationship and did not cause people to love each other less, then

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


the Church wouldn’t care a stitch about whether couples used contraceptives or not. Unfortunately, these methods do directly support harmful, unholy attitudes, and that is why the Church has always considered their use immoral. Contraceptives are artificial methods used to prevent conception that include potent hormones or devices or both. They were illegal until the 1930s and until that time all Christian religions considered their use immoral or wrong. Women who used contraceptives were considered tramps. However, in today’s world, contraceptive use is generally accepted with no particular shame attached to it. More women use them than do not. Clearly, all women who use contraceptives are not tramps, but due to propaganda by the media and politically powerful organizations like Planned Parenthood (the largest provider of abortions in the country), public discussion about Church teaching and the moral implications of contraceptive use has been effectively stifled for decades. Before 1930, churches and the general public understood that efforts to avoid pregnancy can have an effect on one’s attitudes about sexuality, including one’s openness to God’s will. Yet, today, there is essentially no discussion or mention of this anywhere. Are We More Sophisticated than the “Good Old Days”? Now, one could argue that the reason modern culture has generally accepted contraceptives despite the previous rejection is that we are more intelligent or sophisticated than prior generations. However, that is a rather difficult position to defend. For example, considering just the area of entertainment see how sophisticated we really are nowadays: •

We are the culture that idolizes singers, movie stars and other entertaining but otherwise unimpressive persons who are often in and out of drug treatment centers, in and out of court over child custody, domestic violence, or divorce proceedings, blah, blah, blah. Most adults culture can’t name such basics as: o The Seven Deadly Sins (which are, for the record, pride, greed, envy, anger, laziness, lust and gluttony.)


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents o The 4 cardinal virtues (for the same record book, they are prudence, justice temperance and fortitude) But those same adults could easily name: o The star of the latest trendy movie. o Their favorite episode of the latest tasteless reality show

All across our country, movie theaters are installing voicemail announcements which tell adults not to bring children under 3 into PG-13 or R-rated movies. It is amazing that anyone would bring small children into these movies (some would say this is an act of child abuse) and yet so many people do it that theaters feel obliged to discourage them with announcements.

We have highway signs announcing the latest “ultimate” fight in which two pathetic chaps are literally put in a cage, like animals, and people pay to watch them try to kick each other in the head.

We could give many examples in other aspects of modern life, but the point is that we should not consider the present generation to be particularly sophisticated. In fact, maybe we have something to learn from prior generations. Main Types of Artificial Contraceptives: • Condom: a “barrier” method (prevents the egg and sperm from joining). A latex “balloon” that is slipped over the penis. This method is not very effective in preventing pregnancy but is the only method that helps prevent STDs. • Hormones: This includes “The Pill” (given by mouth), injections, and implanted cylinders that are surgically inserted under the skin of the arm. All are potent steroid hormones and so have multiple potential side effects such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and blood clots. Some types cause acne although some newer types are used to treat acne. • Intrauterine Device (IUD): This is a device that is inserted into the uterus and remains there for years. It is the most

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


effective method aside from sterilization. It is not used in younger women due to the higher risk of STDs. The main mechanism of action of IUDs is to cause an abortion. The IUD prevents the developing baby from attaching to the inner lining of the uterus, thereby killing it. A few decades ago, in a most peculiar effort to conceal that this is the main way in which the IUD works (and a lesser way for hormones like “The Pill”), pro-abortion political leaders in the medical profession forced a change in the dictionary definition of pregnancy! For political reasons only, the major dictionary magically changed from saying that pregnancy began at conception to saying that it began with the attachment of the baby onto the uterine wall a week or so later, called “implantation.” By this false definition a woman is not pregnant even though conception has taken place—even though the egg has been fertilized by the sperm and the act that joins the chromosomes of the mother and father has been completed. Science has known for over a century that conception is the act in which each of us began our existence, yet the political leaders of the medical profession and dictionary companies agreed to spread the lie that the mother isn’t pregnant at conception but only at implantation. Scientists continue to regard every other species as pregnant at conception because there is no political agenda behind the question of when a guppy becomes pregnant. By changing the definition of pregnancy for humans only, politically motivated physicians use a standard propaganda technique. This is just what Hitler, Stalin, and Chairman Mao of communist China did. But even if you call a four-toed hedgehog a three-toed woodpecker it doesn’t change what it is. It still has four toes and it still can’t fly. To justify the use of birth control methods that can cause abortions physicians and dictionary editors decided that a relatively minor event determines pregnancy: the attachment of the embryo to the side of the uterus after bumping into it. The argument for the importance of this event is that it allows the transfer of nourishment for the baby from the egg to the


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

mother. However, the transfer of nourishment only begins to occur after the placenta develops, which occurs gradually over the weeks following the day the embryo attaches. On the day the woman becomes “pregnant” per the revised definition, there is no transfer of nourishment. All that happens on that day is that the embryo sticks onto the side of the uterus. It is hardly an event to compare to the astounding changes which occur on the day of conception. Fortunately this lie has proved to be too big and so the dictionary companies reversed themselves over the last few years and have gone back to the old definition: they have removed the references to implantation that they added to the definition a few decades ago. In Sexual Wisdom we quote a leading, liberal physician spokesperson saying that “According to the medical definition, conception occurs not at fertilization but at implantation.” At the time (1990) she was right but now, with the definition changed back to the original, she is very wrong. How embarrassing for her and so many other pro-choice physicians! It shows how one can get richly deserved mud in the face if one gets too enthusiastic about a propaganda campaign based on lies. Diaphragm: This is a device placed inside the woman that acts as a “barrier” method (prevents the egg and sperm from joining) much like the condom. It is not very effective or popular. It is safe, although can lead to urinary tract infections (“bladder” and kidney infections). Withdrawal: With this method, the man removes himself from the woman prior to ejaculation. It is safe, unnatural, ineffective, and unpopular.

Failure rates: The typical failure rate for contraceptives is from 3-10%. For example, The Pill has an 11% failure rate for females under 19 years of age and 4-5% for those over 19. Notice that these are failure rates per year. Therefore, the likelihood of pregnancy increases with each year used.

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


Surgical Sterilization: This is called a “vasectomy” for men. The vas deferens are surgically tied off and cut. For women the sterilization procedure is called a “tubal ligation” or “getting ones tubes tied.” The fallopian tubes are surgically tied off and cut. The failure rate of either of these procedures is 3-5 per 1,000 patients per year, which is to say that they do occasionally fail to sterilize the person. But What About Love? The main problems with artificial methods of contraception are clear when we consider the effect of contraceptives and sterilization on our five aspects of love: Respect: Contraception focuses sexual activity on achieving pleasure as opposed to nurturing a relationship. A boyfriend demands that a woman has sex with him to “prove” her love. He may not be so ready to abuse her if she was not on The Pill. Or, a boyfriend says to his girlfriend: “I know you’re afraid of getting pregnant or getting a disease but don’t worry, I’ll use a condom.” By promising to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy and STDs, the risks associated with sex are played down and sexual risk-taking is encouraged. Contracepting couples are more likely to ignore the “risk” of pregnancy that sexual intercourse entails. It is disrespectful to ignore the risks you create for others and so contraceptives encourage disrespect, especially for women. Consider the following conversation with a patient: Me: Is there any possibility that you are pregnant? Twenty-something patient: No Me: No possibility whatsoever? Patient: No, I’m on The Pill. Me: The Pill has a failure rate. Patient: Don’t say that.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents Responsibility: Contraceptives put the responsibility for preventing pregnancy on science, not on the couple. If the couple gets pregnant, it’s The Pill’s fault. Contraceptives were supposed to free us from the risks of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, yet during the period of explosive increase in their use there was a dramatic increase in the number of “unwanted pregnancies” and abortions. This is why people talk about the “contraception-abortion mentality.” People who use contraceptives are often overconfident that they will not get pregnant, and when they do they are more likely to feel that they are victims of faulty science, and therefore justify having an abortion. Often the man, the woman, or both blame the woman for a contraceptive “failure,” so he may push her to have an abortion or she may feel she owes it to him. Pregnancies are more of a “surprise” when the couple has been using contraceptives, so they are generally less ready and willing to cope with the responsibility of a baby. Contraceptives discourage couples from taking full responsibility for their actions. People have unrealistic confidence in contraceptives, and so take unreasonable risks. While I was explaining the failure rate of contraceptives to a sexually active teenager she blurted out, “But something has to work!” To truly impact the number of unwanted pregnancies we must address the underlying problem: sexual risktaking and the rejection of true love. True love means being fully responsible. With contraceptives, couples often feel that the method bears some responsibility; they are only “sort of” responsible if they get pregnant. Speaking to a young lady on The Pill: Me: What if your pregnancy test is positive? Patient: Oh, there is no way I can have a baby right now! (She was overjoyed that her pregnancy test was negative.) A patient of mine noticed some unusual bleeding from her vaginal area. It turned out to be the first sign that she was pregnant. She was pregnant despite having been sterilized years

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


earlier. When she called her husband, his response brought her to tears so she handed the phone to me. I was amazed to find that he was more concerned with suing the physician who performed her sterilization procedure than with the safety of his wife and child! Contraceptives and sterilization encourage people to accept only limited responsibility. But limiting our responsibility means limiting our love. People who use artificial contraceptives are being only “sort of” responsible—like the driver who asks the passengers to buckle up their seat belts but then drives recklessly. Commitment: With contraceptives people are “freed” to have sex with less commitment or with no commitment at all (a one-night-stand, “hooking up” or prostitution). For example, a friend was dating a “wonderful” man whom she envisioned to be her future husband. Her contraceptive failed and she became pregnant. His response was to write her a check to pay for an abortion and he then disappeared from her life. He was relying on the contraceptive to give him the pleasure that he wanted. Only after the contraceptive failed did she understand that he was not committed to the relationship. Self-discipline: Contraceptives promote the false belief that people cannot control themselves. Uncontrollable urges become needs that can only be met through the use of contraceptives. (More on this in Lesson 11.) Contraceptives and sterilization require essentially no sexual restraint. With them, one need not practice the virtue of temperance or self-control, the cardinal virtue associated with chastity. Trust: Because of the many problems just discussed, the use of contraceptives often creates distrust in relationships. For example, “I don’t love him but we can ‘make love’ anyway because I’m on The Pill.” Or, “She’s willing to have sex, but how committed is she to this relationship?”


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Theology of the Body Moment – Pope John Paul II It can be said that in the case of an artificial separation of these two aspects (of sexual union, the loving and life-giving aspects), a real bodily union is carried out in the conjugal act (sexual intercourse), but it does not correspond to the interior truth and to the dignity of personal communion: communion of persons. This communion demands that the language of the body be expressed reciprocally in the integral truth of its meaning. If this truth be lacking, one cannot speak either of the truth of self-mastery, or of the truth of the reciprocal gift and of the reciprocal acceptance of self on the part of the person. Such a violation of the interior order of conjugal union, which is rooted in the very order of the person, constitutes the essential evil of the contraceptive act. [Papal audience on August 22, 1984]

Due to the obvious, serious effects of artificial contraceptives on attitudes, I stopped prescribing them in 1989. I was trained in the manner of all physicians in this country and had bought into the many lies about contraceptives. I did not second-guess the system until I was out of training and really started to listen to patients in my private practice. There I found the complaints, mostly from women, about the horrible abuses of sexuality, and could not help but see the obvious link to contraceptives. Most physicians prescribe contraceptives without considering their effects on patients’ attitudes. They buy into the lies about contraceptives. In fact, the multimillion-dollar contraceptive industry is enthusiastically supported by the medical profession. There is little critical thinking or open-mindedness among physicians on this subject.

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


One of the worst abuses of contraceptives is the promotion of them to teenagers in a foolish effort to reduce the teen pregnancy rate. Studies have repeatedly shown that encouraging teenagers to use contraceptives does not reduce the teen pregnancy rate. Not only that, but doing so leads to more promiscuity, abortions, diseases and other problems. I fully discuss these studies and the reasons why all of this was predictable in my book, Sexual Wisdom, but that is beyond the scope of this course. The evidence, however, is undeniable. The idea of promoting contraceptives to teens is based on the assumption that teenagers are too immature and self-centered to understand that abstinence before marriage is the best choice, that teens “are going to do it anyway,” and so should be encouraged to use contraceptives. Common sense and science prove how wrong this idea is. Falsehood:Contraceptives always work and are, therefore, sufficient for “responsible sex.” People ask contraceptives to bear partial responsibility for their actions even though each method of contraception has a well-known, significant failure rate. Falsehood: Contraceptives all work by preventing conception. Contraceptives most often work by preventing conception, but, as we mentioned before, the IUD works mostly as an abortifacient. Likewise, one of the ways in which contraceptive hormones, such as “The Pill,” work is to prevent implantation, and so they too occasionally cause abortions. This can be verified by reading the package insert. Legitimate Uses of Contraceptives There are a number of possible valid uses for hormonal contraceptives. The potions are not evil in themselves, only in how they are used. Though unusual, there are situations in which it proper to use them, for example, for the treatment of irregular periods. When an unmarried woman is entirely committed to sexual abstinence, the use of artificial contraceptives may be advisable. There are also situations in which married couples may use artificial methods for medical reasons so long as the couple mimics the use of natural methods by abstaining from sexual activities during fertile times to


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

help to allay the unhealthy effects on their attitudes. This should first be discussed with the couple’s spiritual advisor. The key point in all of this is that artificial contraceptives have an inherent tendency to obstruct a couple’s efforts to achieve holiness, and this truth must be honestly addressed by every married couple. Contraceptives and World Overpopulation It is said that we need contraceptives or the world will become overpopulated. Unfortunately, many issues like this become clouded with bias because so many people base their positions on political agendas instead of on facts. The student should be aware of some of the poorly appreciated realities about this. People throughout history, even well before Christ, have worried about the world’s ability to support its human population. This is presumably because the world does seem to be a crowded place to anyone in the middle of a large city. However, those who have flown in an airplane can assure you that this impression is not true. There is an enormous amount of open land still available in this world. Here’s an interesting question to ask of others: how many square feet of elbow room would each person would have if all the people in the world (estimated to be 6 billion) were put inside the state of Texas (267,277 square miles)? Most people will answer that each person would have one or two square feet. (Try this on your friends!) The actual number calculates to 1,200 square feet per person—the size of a small house. While there have been innumerable dire warnings about world overpopulation in the past few decades, the most respectable sources now say that the world population will likely peak at about eight to ten billion in the next few decades—a number the earth seems quite capable of sustaining far into the future. In contrast to these dire warnings about overpopulation, we now read from the most respected authorities about a “birth dearth” (too few children) in many countries, especially in Europe. This is the result of decades of artificial birth control, which has dropped the birth rates so low (well under the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple) that the native populations of these countries are essentially dying off. Therefore, a number of countries, such as Germany and Singapore, are now paying couples to have more children.

Artificial Contraception and Sterilization


Given these facts, the idea that artificial contraceptives are needed to solve an overpopulation problem seems misguided and simplistic. The War Against Population (Ignatius Press, 1999), by Dr. Jacqueline Kasum, is a valuable resource for those interested in more information on this subject. The Jesus Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Lesson 8 Natural Family Planning (also known as Fertility Awareness)

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Among Catholics, Muslims, and some Evangelical Christian groups Natural Family Planning methods (NFP) remain the only morally acceptable methods for reducing the likelihood of pregnancy for married couples. NFP is considered moral because here natural methods excel in supporting relationships in the same critical ways that artificial methods fail. NFP methods are in harmony with a positive, nurturing, holistic* approach to sexuality. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, foster tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural


looking at a person as a whole: body, mind and soul

Natural Family Planning


consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil: Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal selfgiving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality . . . the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. (paragraph 2370) Modern natural methods are as effective at preventing pregnancy as standard artificial methods of contraception. By far, the main factor that affects how well methods of NFP work is motivation. Among those who use it, couples who are motivated are far less likely to get pregnant then couples who are not motivated. NFP gives a couple a greater awareness of the woman’s natural, bodily rhythms and allows the couple to use this knowledge to become pregnant or to avoid pregnancy. These methods can be used to identify the period of time each month when the woman is fertile (able to get pregnant) and when she is infertile (when she can’t get pregnant—usually about two and a half weeks per month). If a couple wishes to avoid pregnancy, they should have sex only during infertile periods. Three Types of NFP: 1) Rhythm method: This is the original method of natural birth control, developed in the 1930s. It is based on calculating the day the woman is most fertile. The couple then avoids intercourse during the week that spans that day. It is no longer taught because it depended on a woman’s period being regular, which is not always the case. For some reason, people who ridicule NFP almost always refer to the Rhythm method. They are apparently unaware of the modern methods.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents 2) Ovulation, Billings, or Cervical Mucus Method: In this method, developed in the 1960s, the woman watches for certain signs that tell her she is ovulating or fertile. The main sign is the type of cervical mucus she has. This mucus has different qualities at different times of the month. Each time a woman uses the restroom, she collects a sample of mucus on a piece of tissue and looks for certain qualities. With training, she can distinguish between fertile and infertile periods. 3) Symptothermal Method: This method is similar to the Ovulation Method except that additional signs are used to help figure out the period of fertility. The main extra sign is the woman’s body temperature, which is taken and recorded daily the first thing in the morning. Usually, a woman’s temperature will rise about a half a degree around the day she ovulates.

The last two of these methods have been successfully used for decades in a variety of cultures, including the uneducated poor in developing countries. Then Along Came On Human Life (Humanae Vitae) On Human Life (Humanae Vitae) was a prophetic encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968. It reinforced the Church’s age-old stance against the use of artificial contraceptives at a time when many thought the Church would change its position. It has become the most controversial Catholic Church document of modern times. The following are some rather long but beautiful quotes from this marvelous work. Some students may find them difficult to understand. If you do, just try to get the general message: it’s worth the effort. The numbers refer to the part of the encyclical quoted. 10. With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

Natural Family Planning


11. The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, “noble and worthy.” It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life. 14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. As well to be condemned, as the Magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse, which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsiccally wrong. 16. Now as we noted earlier, some people today raise the objection against this particular doctrine of the Church concerning the moral laws governing marriage, that human intelligence has both the right and responsibility to control those forces of irrational nature which come within its ambit and to direct them toward ends beneficial to man. Others ask on the same point whether it is not reasonable in so many cases to use artificial birth control if by so doing the harmony and peace of a family are better served and more suitable conditions are provided for the education of children already born. To this question we must give a clear reply. The Church is the first to praise and commend the application of human intelligence to an activity in which a rational creature such as man is so closely associated with his Creator. But she affirms that this must be done within the limits of the order of reality established by God. If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which we have just explained. Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious. In reality, these two cases are completely different. In the former the married couple rightly use a faculty provided them by nature. In the latter they obstruct the natural development of the

Natural Family Planning


generative process. It cannot be denied that in each case the married couple, for acceptable reasons, are both perfectly clear in their intention to avoid children and wish to make sure that none will result. But it is equally true that it is exclusively in the former case that husband and wife are ready to abstain from intercourse during the fertile period as often as for reasonable motives the birth of another child is not desirable. And when the infertile period recurs, they use their married intimacy to express their mutual love and safeguard their fidelity toward one another. In doing this they certainly give proof of a true and authentic love. 17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. 21. The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions. For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this selfdiscipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop to their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsebilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers.

As should be obvious from these quotes, the main reason that this short encyclical is so controversial is that most of the people who reject its teaching have never read it. World Opinion Prior to 1930, the world was in general agreement about the use of contraceptives. • •

1931 Washington Post editorial: “The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous.” Mahatma Gandhi (a world famous religious and political leader of India): “I urge the advocates of artificial methods of birth control to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond.” Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis): “the separation of procreation and sexual activity (as occurs with contraceptives) is the most basic of perversions and the foundation of all others.”

Unfortunately, today many more people use contraceptives than

Natural Family Planning


NFP. Most have not given much thought as to why. Most make this choice based on what others do, or what a physician recommends rather than on thoughtful consideration. But What About Love? People who give the issue thoughtful consideration are likely to strike upon some obvious conclusions. NFP helps couples to have a balanced approach to sexuality without overemphasizing it. NFP reliably emphasizes the priority of love, including the five aspects we have previously discussed: Respect: With NFP a spouse is not considered a sex object to fulfill a need. A couple may feel needful but, when they learn that they are fertile on a particular night, they caress but stop short of genital intercourse. In such circumstances, NFP teaches couples that every sexual encounter is meant primarily to bring them closer together, not to fulfill a sexual need. By teaching sexual restraint the couple is more able to respect each other’s desires and wellbeing. Responsibility: NFP leaves little doubt for where the responsibility lies for the consequences of sexual activity. With NFP there is no pill or gadget to blame should a “blessed event” (pregnancy) occur. With contraception one may hear: “It’s The Pill’s fault. I took it every day.” With NFP the responsibility for pregnancy lies clearly with the couple. One doesn’t perform an act with the hope of no ill effects. Rather, the act is replaced by other kinds of behavior, in order to eliminate the possibility of such consequences. Discipline: NFP teaches self-discipline, and is therefore liberating. With it, people learn to control their sexual desires, instead of being controlled by them.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents Commitment: NFP couples are more aware of the possibility of pregnancy, and therefore of the kind of commitment required to engage in sex. Such methods are clearly not appropriate for unmarried couples, but only for those willing to truly stand by their behavior—willing to welcome a child into this life, to educate that child and to be emotionally available to that child every day of their lives. That’s commitment! Trust: As a result of all of the above, NFP engenders trust between spouses.

Can people love each other if they use contraceptives or are sterilized? This is where things get a bit complicated. Many married couples who use contraceptives love each other very much. Such couples may love each other more than some couples who do not use artificial methods. In other words, a couple using NFP may begin their relationship far from the heart of Christ and, though NFP helps, it may not bring them as close to Christ as a couple who started off very close to Christ and were drawn away from Him by the use of contraceptives. There are any number of scenarios possible when one starts comparing couples, but that is not the issue. The issue is what the expected effect of each method is on the attitudes of individual couples who use them. Those who use artificial contraceptives must strive against the harmful effect of the method on their attitudes. The question is: How much better could their relationship be, and how much closer to Christ could they be, if not for this damaging influence? Each one of us is on a path toward bettering ourselves, a path of personal growth and maturity, with regard to our sexuality as well as to all important aspects of our lives. One can always have better, holier attitudes than one currently has. The point is that there is a difference between artificial and natural methods of family planning with respect to how each method is likely to affect attitudes. This is much like the fact that the kinds of friends one chooses or the kinds of entertainment one watches can affect one’s attitudes. Artificial

Natural Family Planning


methods, by their nature, tend to affect couples for the negative and natural methods, by their nature, tend to affect couples for the positive. Falsehoods about NFP Many people have never heard of NFP, and when these methods are mentioned the methods are often criticized by ignorant people who state falsehoods about them. Some of these falsehoods are that NFP can only be used by people in certain religions and that NFP causes sexual problems and birth defects. Let us briefly comment on these falsehoods. – – –

The use of NFP is not restricted to certain religions. Any married couple who wishes to have a healthy, loving, Godcentered relationship can use it. There is no evidence that NFP causes any sexual problems. In fact, abstaining from sex as required by NFP is used to treat some types of sexual problems. There is no evidence that NFP causes birth defects. This is pure conjecture on the part of those with an agenda against NFP.

What about using artificial contraceptives in abusive relationships? Some argue that while natural methods may be ideal in healthy relationships, artificial methods are better suited for relationships suffering from poor communication, distrust or abuse. It is true that natural methods may not be capable of healing seriously troubled relationships. In such cases, the positive influences of NFP may not become manifest. Contraceptives appear to be a desperate but perhaps necessary alternative, particularly when women can see no other escape. The problem with this idea is that artificial methods enable couples to avoid addressing the fundamental problems in their relationships, and so those problems persist or worsen. For example, if a man is raping his wife, the use of contraceptives actually makes possible continued rape by reducing the fear of having to raise a child as a result of rape. Because of their harmful influence, artificial


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

methods have little capacity, in and of themselves, to reduce tensions that can lead to abuse and still more tension. For example, in a letter to pop psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers, a woman expressed her fear of contracting AIDS since her husband was seeing prostitutes. The husband refused to talk to her about the situation or to use a condom. Dr. Brothers answered that “Any partner who respects and loves his spouse should be willing to take precautions.” She discussed condoms (which is what she meant by “precautions”) briefly and then concluded with an admonition to the wife “to be more assertive with your husband and demand that he change.” The obvious inference is that he use a condom. To recommend condoms to this innocent woman is outrageous and requires not only that one ignore the failure rate of condoms but that one ignore the underlying problems threatening this couple's relationship. This woman should not risk her health or life for her husband's pleasure. Dr. Brothers should have told her to protect herself fully by refusing to have sex with him until truly safe sex was reasonably assured. As in this example, the use of contraceptives, whether to avoid pregnancy or disease, allows underlying abuse to continue. Contraceptives are an easy but ill-considered way out of difficult circumstances. Natural methods are not a cure-all for serious sexual problems among married couples. But while artificial methods may allow a couple to act as if nothing is wrong, they are likely to make a troubled relationship worse. Instead of offering contraception to desperate women, society should help them evaluate whether or not to remain in their current troubled relationships and should work to develop resources and realistic options for these women. We fail women who are faced with such dilemmas by suggesting that contraceptives are the most realistic option. Everybody’s a critic. NFP also has critics on the extreme religious right. NFP is criticized not only by liberals, or “progressives,” but also from the other end of the sociopolitical spectrum: by Catholics with fanatical religious views, who seem to think that they are holier than the Pope. Despite the clear acceptance of NFP by Rome, these people say that the use of either contraceptives or NFP is immoral. They

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assume that making no effort to regulate one’s fertility demonstrates the greatest obedience to God. While it is noble and good to attempt complete submission to God, this thought is misguided. It erroneously implies that NFP is less than fully obedient. Our Church expects fertile couples to have children, but it does not say how many. While it encourages large families, the Church wisely leaves the question of the use of NFP (for “serious reasons” such as the spacing of children) to each couple. Those couples who use NFP have a natural tendency to be open to having more children in the same way that it promotes other loving, family-oriented attitudes. Therefore, couples who use it are naturally drawn to Christ. Some will quote Bible verses such as “Be fruitful and multiply” to argue that NFP is against God’s laws. They fail to understand the secret: that Catholics are to have a healthy obsession with Jesus Christ. We do not worship a book, nor traditions, but a living God. Any Bible quote can be taken out of context (and most of them have been at one time or another). We are of the faith that never just quotes the Bible. The goal of our Church is to do all it can to help us follow Christ. The bride of Christ is His Church on earth and we are to obey it. After full consideration of the issue, our Church has repeatedly, consistently (since 1853) spoken in favor of the regulation of fertility by natural methods for those couples who want to do so. Couples who use NFP must do so with reflection, prayer and, perhaps, spiritual counsel. NFP can be abused. Couples can use it for selfish reasons. But there is nothing inherently disobedient or unchristian about using it. NFP is the best-kept secret of the Catholic Church. It should be no surprise that those who use NFP have a divorce rate that is far less than the general population. Any method that promotes love should be expected to lower the divorce rate. It is estimated that the divorce rate among couples who use NFP is about 3%, as opposed to the national average of about 50%. One might also expect, with only a quarter of the population now living in homes with an intact family, that anything associated with a 3% divorce rate would be wildly popular. But the sad truth is just the opposite. NFP is mostly ignored and often ridiculed and yet contraceptives, which led to a sexual revolution noted for dramatically


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

increased divorce, sexual promiscuity, epidemic STDs, illegitimacy, sexually depraved attitudes, sexual deviations, and sexual related violence, have gone from “forbidden” to nearly “sacred cow” status in a few decades. Let’s explore the reasons for this in the next lesson. The Sign of the Cross In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lesson 9 Natural Family Planning (continued)

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. With all the advantages of NFP and so few disadvantages why is NFP not more generally accepted? Some reasons are obvious: 1) Although they are more expensive, artificial methods are easier to use. It is easier to take a pill every day than to follow fertility patterns and communicate with your spouse on an ongoing basis. Artificial methods are more in keeping with the modern world’s heavy emphasis on convenience. 2) Modern, Western medicine uses a “disease model” of health care and artificial methods fit this: every circumstance must be given a disease label. Fertility (the ability to get pregnant), then, is seen as a disease that must be treated with medications and surgery, rather than as a state of health. 3) Artificial contraceptives bring hundreds of millions of dollars every year to the drug companies. Our government spends about $200 million each year in support of artificial methods of birth control. In contrast, NFP is promoted by a few essentially unknown nonprofit organizations and in various degrees, by a few Catholic dioceses. There is no money made promoting NFP.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

These are all good reasons for the limited popularity of NFP. But there is a larger issue. There is another reason. It has to do with a deadly epidemic, one that you have never heard of. Let me offer an example to explain. A man was planning to have pornographic movies at his bachelor party. When asked about this and asked what his fiancé thought about it, he said that he was “fine” with it, and he added that she also was “fine” with it. He was okay with it and she was okay with it. My proposal is that these two people are threatened by a deadly illness: The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome, which in the modern world is epidemic and it is deadly.

The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome To understand this syndrome I must first relate some history. In the attempt to stay informed in the field of sexuality for the past twenty years, I have read a great deal of liberally slanted material about sexuality written by sex instructors, sexologists (people who study sex), and sex therapists (people who treat others for sex related problems). To read this sort of material for twenty years is a very odd thing to do and I don’t recommend it, but the amazing thing is that during all that time, throughout all that reading, I never encountered the words “integrity,” “virtue,” “honor,” or “purity.” The interesting thing is that when one reads serious literature about sexuality from other cultures and from other times one does find these words throughout the writings. These concepts are found in the serious writings about sexuality in other cultures but not in the articles and books on the subject in our own culture. We are the first culture in history to have discarded these words. The reason that these words are not found associated with sex in this culture is because this culture has lost the ideas behind these words. Ours is the first culture to change the most basic goals of life, which have always been to improve and excel where possible and to strive for greatness. We are called to be the best basketball player, dancer, student, or writer that we can be. As Catholics, it is most

Natural Family Planning (continued)


important that we strive for greatness in how we love God, neighbor, and self—to be holy. You are meant to be the best that you can be, to climb every mountain. It is the most basic of all human drives, even (as the martyrs have taught us) more basic than the drive to survive. Unfortunately, this is not the way “modern” people think. For the first time in history a culture has changed the goal. The great personal challenge of the modern era is not to strive for excellence but simply to strive to be okay. In 1967 a new book on psychology called I’m OK, You’re OK became a bestseller and it continues to sell well almost 40 years later. Well, what exactly is it to be okay? That depends on each person’s opinion. But no matter what it is, it has nothing to do with excellence. We might, therefore, call the state of the modern mindset the I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome. What if we try and put “OK” with the words related to greatness: “OK integrity,” “OK virtue,” “OK honor.” It doesn’t fit, and it doesn’t even begin to touch the idea of reaching for the stars or striving for excellence. “Safer Sex” is the program we have adopted to battle the HIV epidemic. Its main component is the lowly condom. We could say that “Safer Sex” is “OK.” No one claims that it has anything to do with greatness or virtue, or that it is particularly safe or fulfilling. But it is “OK.” How safe is “Safer Sex?” Well, it’s as safe as each individual feels it should be. For one person it is “safer” to have sex with only two new partners a month instead of four. For another person, it is “Safer Sex” to have sex with only one new partner every three years as opposed to every two. To another it is “safer” to use a condom half the time instead of only a quarter of the time. In its public literature, Planned Parenthood boldly states that “Safer Sex” means to know the phone number of one’s sexual partner. Most would probably agree that that hardly qualifies. The term “Safer Sex” is so very “OK” and random that it is essentially meaningless. During an office discussion with a young lady, I offered a brief but brilliant(!!) discussion on why she should stop having sex with her boyfriend. She stopped me in my tracks by insisting that she is “all right” with what they are doing, and he is “all right” with what they are doing. They are both “all right” with it. They’re all right. They’re fine. They’re OK. End of discussion. The I’m OK, You’re


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

OK, We’re All OK Syndrome ends all discussion about being all that you can be. Married men go to professional basketball games and fantasize about the cheerleaders. What happened to faithfulness? What happened to: “I will love you and honor you all the days of my life”? What about: “I will always be true to you”? What about: “I only have eyes for you”? It appears that a lot of married men are “OK” with dismissing all of that. Virtue, honor and other superlatives simply do not come to mind when thinking about “Safer Sex,” premarital sex and married men ogling cheerleaders. Now, many will say, “Hey! Lighten up, Dr. Wetzel! It’s OK.” But does that sound like our Lord Jesus Christ? Is that in the Bible? Does the Bible say, “Above all else, lighten up”? No, of course not. What the Bible and our Church teach, and what has been taught about sexuality from trustworthy sources throughout history, are calls to strive for purity, virtue and chastity. Being “OK” has never been good enough in any prior civilization and it is certainly not good enough now. Our thinking has become infected on the most basic level. The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome is a plague that is increasingly infecting our marriages, our children and our young adults. It is seeping into every aspect of our culture through our entertainment, educational systems, government, and, sadly, even our churches. Pope John Paul II proclaimed that ours is a “Culture of Death” because of its acceptance of abortion, euthanasia and other issues. One might add to this: people who accept a standard of OK and who have stopped striving for excellence are in some sense dead. They have given up that basic element of human nature, the element that makes us most alive: striving to improve. As St. Augustine put it: “Did you say ‘enough’? You have perished.” The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome is a deadly illness. It is a fatal epidemic that has taken over the thinking of most of modern society. It has always been with mankind (the saints call it “lukewarmness”) but only in the modern age do people have the boldness or stupidity to call second or third rate the goal. What is most fundamental to the human condition is the struggle to improve oneself, and especially in the things that matter most: love, virtue,

Natural Family Planning (continued)


character, integrity, and holiness. People who stop struggling for excellence and who accept a standard of OK are the farthest thing from being fully human, fully alive. Consider the I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome with respect to marriage. In a discussion with a fifty year-old man about his marriage, he told me that his relationship with his wife was best described as a “cease fire,” like “most people” their age. They have what you could call an “OK” marriage. Or, perhaps more aptly named: a “dead” marriage, afflicted by a deadly illness. It was no surprise to learn that his marriage had eventually ended in divorce. We live in a Culture of Death not only because many people are OK with abortion and euthanasia, but also because they have lost the most essential orientation of humanity. They have rejected what truly alive people strive for, and have instead embraced “OKedness.” Contraceptives fit neatly into such a setting. Contraceptives are clearly “OK,” and many people are “fine” with using them. NFP loses out amidst lukewarmness. • “Why bother with NFP even if there is a gain. Our marriage will probably be OK even if we use contraception.” • “We couldn’t possibly raise one more child.” • “It takes too much effort to communicate with my spouse and to develop self-restraint.” • “I’m too lazy to think, or study, or pray about what the Church teaches. The Church is too rigid anyway. It never allows us to relax and just hurt others or ourselves a little bit, or to take small steps with the devil.” • “It takes too much courage to go against the popularity of the “sacred cow” of contraception.” Yes, the Church rejects the I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome, just as it rejects contraception. It rejects them now and it always will. Those who question the Church on this fail to grasp the obvious: contraceptives by their nature discourage love of God and spouse. Therefore, the Church will always be opposed to their use. Those who are interested in more information about NFP should contact their local diocese, the Couple to Couple League


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

( in Cincinnati, the Pope Paul VI Center ( in Omaha or the Billings Ovulation Method Association of the U.S. at Prayer We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless thee; because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Lesson 10 Abortion

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Pope Benedict XVII at World Youth Day 2008: How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space— the womb—has become a place of unutterable violence? Abortion is the deliberate killing of a developing child in its mother’s womb. Any abortion is a serious sin for all involved, even in cases of rape and incest (where a child is conceived by two close relatives, such as a father and his daughter). Those who are not sure if the babies who are aborted are human should do an Internet image search for “abortion” to see pictures of aborted babies or watch the video “Harder Truth” which is on our website at under “Abortion Video.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” One could add: It is a poverty for a man to decide for a woman that their child must die so that he may live as he wishes. It is a poverty for a parents to decide for their daughter that their grandchild must die so that they may live as they wish.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Before 1973, when abortion became legal, there were about 200,000 abortions performed every year in the United States. After it became legal, this number leaped to 1.5 million abortions every year in U.S. (over 4,000 per day). A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (9 months). About 40% of abortions are performed after 8 weeks of pregnancy, with about 390 late abortions (after 20 weeks) done every day in U.S. Abortion techniques: Note: aside from saline abortions, all instruments used in abortions are introduced into the uterus via the vagina. • Suction aspiration: this is the most common technique. A suction tube is introduced into the uterus and the embryo is torn to pieces as it is sucked out of the womb. • D&C (dilatation and curettage): A metal tool is used to scrape out the embryo from inside the uterus. • Saline abortion: used between 3-6 months of pregnancy. A physician injects an extremely salty solution into the uterus which causes the uterus to go into labor and the baby is born soon after. The salt solution can dramatically scar the baby’s skin. These marks are often referred to as “burns” and those babies who survive (“abortion survivors”) may be seriously disfigured. (However, few of those babies who are born alive are allowed to live.) • Partial birth abortion: usually used in the third trimester. The legs of the fetus are located using an ultrasound machine and one is grabbed with a metal instrument and pulled out of the uterus. Then the other leg and the rest of the body are pulled out except the head, which is too large at this age to pass by the cervix. A metal instrument is then used to pierce the skull and a suction apparatus is used to suck out the baby’s brain. The skull is then crushed and removed from the uterus in pieces. • RU486 (abortion pill): only used in early pregnancy. It takes days to work and there are many possible side effects. No one knows what effect it has on the babies that survive. Also, it is unclear what problems may arise when RU486 is taken later in pregnancy than recommended, which happens.

Abortion •


“Morning after pill”: used within days of sexual activity to abort a possible pregnancy. It prevents the baby from attaching to the uterine wall (implant) and so the baby dies.

Abortion is legal in all 50 states. To reduce the number of abortions, pro-life activists have worked to pass laws aimed at helping women make better, more informed choices. Not surprisingly, women and girls who take time to make a decision and who are more informed are less likely to go through with an abortion. Ironically, “feminists” and other pro-choice activists always oppose these measures, despite the obvious benefits to women, because they see any law that reduces the number of abortions as a political threat to its legal status. The proposed laws, some of which have been passed in some states, include: • Requiring an ultrasound test prior to an abortion. The ultrasound shows pictures of the baby in the womb, allowing a woman to see what she is about to abort. She can then better decide whether it is a human being or just “tissue.” This dose of reality is often enough for a woman to change her mind about aborting her child. • Requiring a waiting period of 1 or 2 days after the woman applies for an abortion before doing the procedure. Many women, because of the terrible emotional state they are in after learning that they are pregnant when they don’t want to be, rush into the decision to have an abortion. As with any serious decision, women can only gain by pausing a few days to reflect on it. Given some time to let their emotions calm down and to think the situation through more carefully, many women realize that the better choice is to not to have an abortion. There are no medical reasons for a woman to rush into an abortion. It is perfectly safe for her to delay a few days to consider her decision. • Requiring that the woman read a pamphlet which shows what the so-called “tissue” looks like at various stages of growth, again, simply to inform the woman.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents •

Requiring parental permission for minors to have an abortion, with the reservation that the teenager may apply to a judge for a waiver when she might suffer abuse at the hands of her parents if they were informed. This is a particularly sound idea because it not only promotes the involvement of healthy families, but in the case of abusive families the girl is connected with appropriate legal and social service resources.

Abortion is such an awful reality that pro-choice activists do not use the word. Instead, they use the word “choice” as the propaganda code word for “abortion.” In their efforts to hide the truth, they discuss only one aspect of “choice”: legal abortion gives a woman the lawful option of aborting her child. In reality, the situation is more complicated and legal abortion affects at least three choices: 1) The choice of whether to have premarital or risky sex. Like contraceptives, legal abortion leads men and women to risk pregnancy by having sex before marriage. It gives them a way out, should they get pregnant. This is why people speak of the “contraceptive-abortion mentality.” Contraceptives encourage risk-taking which leads to a greater need for abortion. This is exactly what happened. During the period of increasing acceptance of contraceptives, abortions became much more common. 2) The choice of whether or not to abort. Women often choose to have an abortion by themselves, but often that choice is made for her by the father of the child or by her parents. With legal abortion, others can more freely pressure a woman who doesn’t want to abort her child to do so. One would expect irresponsible men to be pro-choice since legal abortion gives them a way out from the responsibilities of fatherhood. 3) The choice to have a safe abortion. The figure on the next page, which is more fully discussed in Sexual Wisdom, shows a dramatic drop in the number of deaths from abortion well before it was legalized, mostly because of the discovery of antibiotics and other medical advances and mostly unrelated to its becoming legal.



This subject is complicated but since abortion became legal there has been some drop in the number of deaths from it, some increase in number of medical complications from it, and a great increase in emotional problems related to (due to the dramatically increased rate of abortions). Making abortion legal was supposed to make the procedure safe; however, given the increase in the number of medical and psychological complications that is not the case. Many people predicted that making abortion legal would lead to irresponsible attitudes and more sexual risk-taking (promiscuity). They argued that this promiscuity would lead to more “unwanted” pregnancies and more abortions. They were right. After abortion became legal, the number of abortions more than doubled. By offering an escape from “unwanted” pregnancies, legal abortion seems to lessen the risks of promiscuity and so encourages it.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Freer access to abortion is at least as much a threat to some women as it is a hope for others. As author David Reardon notes: the promise of legal abortion to free women by giving them “choice” is, in great part, an illusion, as too often abortion is used as a tool to exploit, manipulate, and abandon them.* It should come as no surprise that most women are prolife and young men are among the most enthusiastic supporters of legal abortion. While efforts to restrict abortion through the courts are most praiseworthy, the real answer to the abortion crisis is to change people’s hearts and minds about sexuality. If a couple is having sex before marriage, and are thus not being fully responsible, then love has been surrendered to another priority. For the abortion rate to drop, people need to love each other enough to be unwilling to risk an “unwanted” pregnancy. The Grieving Process after Miscarriage & Abortion: A miscarriage occurs when a baby dies inside the mother’s womb from natural causes. Miscarriages are common, usually occurring early in pregnancy, and are often due to a serious defect of the developing baby. Everyone agrees that it is normal for couples to be emotional after a miscarriage. In the case of late miscarriages, some couples name the baby and even celebrate his or her birthday. After a miscarriage, physicians recommend that couples ask to see the remains of their baby. This helps the parents go through a normal grieving process. What is extraordinary is that because of a political agenda, there is a double standard for women who grieve following an abortion. When women choose to kill the (usually healthy) baby developing inside of them, they are often told that there is no reason for them to have the natural feelings of guilt, regret, anger and despair that often follow an abortion. They are never shown the dead baby. The medical profession, liberal feminists, the main stream media, and other allies of pro-choice groups have successfully promoted the idea that women who have abortions do just fine. We make it much harder for women and men who have lived through an abortion because no one *

D. C. Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987).



acknowledges that such feelings are normal, and so they suffer alone and in silence. Post Abortion Syndrome: (“Post” means “after.” So this syndrome is one that only affects people after an abortion.) Following an abortion, many women suffer from depression, nightmares, flashbacks, guilt, “anniversary reactions” (having particularly strong symptoms on the anniversary of the abortion or on the date that would have been the baby’s birthday) and other mental disturbances. These symptoms usually begin to occur months to years after an abortion. It is common for women to start to have symptoms 5-10 years after the procedure. Women, by their nature, bond emotionally to the baby they carry from early pregnancy, and usually make every effort to protect it. For example, many women from the beginning of pregnancy refuse to take any medication, even Tylenol, to protect their baby. Women who abort their child act directly against this mother’s instinct and so are often deeply wounded. This wound is Post Abortion Syndrome. Healing comes when they accept that they are wounded and go through the process of getting spiritual and psychological help for their wound. Popular culture and medical spokespeople, with unusual certainty, deny that PAS exists. They worry that by acknowledging the misery that people go through from an abortion they might threaten the legal right to have one, and there is no greater sin to a liberal than to threaten the right to have an abortion. Despite this denial, we know from the testimony of thousands of women and men (whose babies were aborted) that Post Abortion Syndrome most certainly does exist. Over decades, numerous ministries have been created specifically to help those with this condition. Those who claim that Post Abortion Syndrome doesn’t exist refer to inept research which only evaluated women within the first few months after having their abortion. This is usually too early to make the diagnosis and so, of course, these studies are meaningless. Women and men suffering from Post Abortion Syndrome should seek counseling, such as through Project Rachel, which is available in many dioceses. The website is


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Approaches to Infertility “Fertile” means being able to get pregnant. “Infertile” means that a couple cannot get pregnant despite their efforts to do so. Infertility affects about 10% of married couples and can be caused by medical problems of either the wife or the husband, usually the wife. Couples should generally not go through involved, expensive infertility testing until they have tried to become pregnant with NFP for at least one year. To do this, the couple times their sexual activity to correspond with when the woman ovulates (releases a fresh egg). The treatment for infertility depends on the cause. Some treatments, such as natural family planning, are very simple. Others involve complicated, expensive medical procedures. For example, some types of surgery can cure certain problems of the uterus. Other methods manipulate eggs, sperm or developing embryos. The egg and sperm may be taken from the parents who are going to raise the child or the egg or sperm may be taken from friends or strangers. Sometimes a human embryo is placed inside the womb of the woman who will be raising the child, or it can be placed inside the womb of another woman, “a surrogate mother,” who gives birth to the couple’s child. Sometimes processes are used which can lead to the formation of more than the desired number of embryos. In these cases “extra” embryos may be frozen and stored for later use or killed. You can see from these many situations why some people consider some of the treatments of infertility “disturbing” and “gruesome.” Most infertility treatments are expensive and most are not paid for by insurance. Moral Dilemmas Infertility is too big of an issue for us to discuss in detail, but the student should be aware that some infertility treatments are seriously immoral and are, therefore, against Church teaching. Procedures that assist nature and allow the parents bodies to work normally are generally acceptable, whereas those which conflict with nature are not. Procedures which require complex medical procedures are particularly worrisome as a group, but some are fine. New methods are being developed all the time. Most of the methods rejected by the Church put a child at risk, often with little risk to the parents. Of course, the opposite should be true. The adults, who make the

Approaches to Infertility


decisions, should take the risks, not babies. That is why adoption is such a marvelous option for infertile couples. The following are some of the moral issues associated with infertility treatments and the Catholic position on them. •

• • •

Many methods require either the husband or a “sperm donor” to provide sperm by masturbation. Sometimes the physician’s office even supplies pornography for this. Masturbation is always immoral. However, it is moral to collect sperm after sexual intercourse between a married couple. Some methods may cause damage to the baby. Should the baby then be killed? How much damage or potential damage should be allowed? The Catholic view, of course, is that the baby should never be killed. Some methods use eggs or sperm from people other than the parents, so that the child is not related by blood to one or both parents. These are always immoral. Some methods require storing frozen embryos or killing extra embryos produced by the procedure. These are always immoral. One method, called “Selective reduction of multi-fetal pregnancy,” is a delicate-sounding procedure that is used to kill extra babies in the womb when infertility treatments lead to more embryos than the couple desires (which usually means more than one or two). It is common knowledge that when there are more than two (twin) embryos in the womb there is a greater risk of medical complications. For this reason, infertility doctors who create such dilemmas are usually quick to recommend that all but one or two embryos be killed. To do this the physician inserts a needle into the womb. Using ultrasound guidance, he then pokes the needle into the heart of a randomly chosen “extra” baby and squirts potassium chloride into his or her heart, killing the child. The Church, obviously, condemns this horrific procedure. Some infertile couples develop an emotional problem in which they become obsessed with a desire for blood-related offspring. Unfortunately, the ready availability of infertility


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

treatments (which are a profitable business) promotes such thinking. Many couples become so obsessed that they will stop at nothing to have “their own” child, all the while failing to explore the adoption option. This is not to say that the large number of infertility clinics is regrettable, but only to point out one down-side of the business. A great moral concern is the unknown mental effects that some of these procedures may have on the children thus created. Each child is unique. There are probably some children who might not be deeply affected by the thought that they had a surrogate mother or a “sperm donor” for a parent. But there are those who would be. The problem is that no one can know beforehand the effects on each child and, again, this places all the risk on the child. When parents are homosexuals the psychological risk is worse. Not only must the child deal with the questions about how he or she came to be, but he or she must also cope with the odd nature of homosexuality. Both surrogate parenting and homosexual adoption are morally illicit.

Adoption: This is a marvelous alternative to abortion and to immoral treatments of infertility. Adoption solves an existing problem without creating a new one. With adoption, the wonderful difference is that the parents take the risks, not the child. The child goes from an orphanage or foster home into a more stable and natural family environment. The parents deal with whatever spiritual, emotional, or physical problems the orphan has gotten from his or her rocky start in life. On the issue of adoption, I might add that it is not just infertile couples who can help orphans. Christ said: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me." Orphans certainly qualify as “the least of our brethren.” Notice that Christ did not say: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren . . . only if you are infertile." Therefore, Catholic families should seriously consider adopting at least one orphan. Are there Catholic families who could not take in one more child? It is sad to consider that there are children left for homosexual couples to adopt. If each Catholic family could just take in one orphan . . . what a different world this would be.

Approaches to Infertility


People often assume that families with more than two or three children are Catholic. What if people assumed that a family was Catholic because the parents had adopted one or more children . . . what a different world this would be. A Prayer of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997 AD) People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God: It was never between you and them anyway.

Lesson 11 The Greatest Falsehood about Sexuality

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Falsehood: People, especially men, have specific, genital, sexual needs. This falsehood is the primary subject of my book, Sexual Wisdom. I shall refer to it here as there as the “Needs Misconception.” I believe this is the most important faleshood about sexuality today and the most common attitude behind most types of sexual abuse. We will greatly limit our discussion of it in this course but teens should be familiar with the general idea. The Needs Misconception asserts that men need to climax, need to fulfill fantasies, or need to have sex frequently, or in certain positions. It is the lie that is most often used to justify sexual misbehavior. For example, a patient complains that her boyfriend demands that they have sex every day. She doesn’t want to, but he says that he “needs” to. She agrees to sex every day because of his “needs,” but she feels used for doing so: those who accept this falsehood justify premarital and extramarital sex because one has “needs.” They even justify sex with a prostitute if it is to fulfill a “need.” To understand this falsehood better, let us point out the difference between a need and a desire. For example, we need food and sleep. If

The Greatest Misconception


we do not get enough of either of them, something bad happens: we get sick and die. Also, there are certain things that chil-dren need for them to develop normally. If a child is not nurtured and given loving attention something bad happens: he develops emotional problems. Children need loving attention. The difference between a need and a desire is that if one is deprived of a need something bad happens. But if one is deprived of a desire one may be unhappy or frustrated but not hurt. For example, if a woman strongly desires chocolate covered raisins and cannot have them, she may be frustrated, but she will get over it. Nothing truly bad happens. The fact is that there are no specific sexual needs. There are no health or emotional problems from not having sex. In fact, sexual abstinence (not having sex) is used to treat some sexual problems. Not having sex helps some people overcome sexual problems. The worst effects of not having sex are frustration and “wet dreams” (a natural event). Wet dreams usually don’t happen to men who have sex regularly, but they are not associated with any physical, mental or spiritual problem. Many celibates (priests, monks, nuns, widows, and widowers) are very holy, loving, “together,” people. Clearly, many people who are not sexually active are not lacking anything fundamental to their being. Nothing bad happens to them from being abstinent. We all have sexual desires that can be particularly strong when we are bored, lonely, depressed or otherwise off our game, but there is no such thing as a specific genital sexual need. It is important to clarify that people do have general sexual needs. An example of this is what is referred to as the “marital debt.” Spouses do owe each other sexual intercourse at regular intervals. They also have an obligation to kiss, hug, caress and hold hands regularly both inside and outside the bedroom. Part of the marriage vow means that each will ensure that the other is not sexual starved and that they will meet the general sexual needs of the other. The Needs Misconception, based on the idea that people have specific sexual needs, causes serious trouble in three ways: 1) The idea that people need sex introduces inequality and an imbalance into relationships and is the most common cause of


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents the abuse of sex in society today. It gives men unwarranted power and control over women, as in our earlier example of the girlfriend who had sex with her boyfriend because he thought needed to. Or consider a man who feels that he “needs” sex in a particular position. His wife doesn’t “want” to, but his is a “need” and hers is only a “want.” How can a woman deny her spouse something that he needs? Imagine two people at a table on which sits a deliciouslooking chocolate-fudge brownie. Now imagine the same situation, except that the brownie has been replaced by a stalk of broccoli. Since the first case involves an intense pleasure, it is likely to lead to one person taking advantage of the other. How desirable and convenient it would be if one person can convince the other that he or she has a need for that brownie, so as to get more than one's fair share. It would be even better to convince oneself of this need, in order to avoid feeling guilty for being selfish about the brownie. This is what happens with sex. When one person is convinced that he has a need the other person gets taken advantage of. A good Christian man told me that he can not go longer than one month without having sex with his wife. But what if his wife wishes to go a bit longer than a month without sex? What if she wants to wait one more week (due to illness, fatigue, or other unusual circumstances)? Is it rape if he demands sex with her? He said that it can’t be rape if it’s his own wife!! He is wrong! 2) The Needs Misconception misdirects people from the most basic goal of sex. The goal of sex should be to bring spouses closer together—to enrich or enhance a relationship—whether through holding hands, having intercourse or showing affecttion in other ways. But when one person is perceived as having a need, the goal becomes fulfilling that need. If fulfilling the need conflicts with the spouse’s wishes the result is abuse, most commonly of the woman. There are five main reasons people have sex. 1. To unite the couple in love: to bring the couple together

The Greatest Misconception

2. 3. 4. 5.


spiritually, emotionally and physically. To bind the couple to each other and to God. To procreate (to make babies), if it is in God’s plan. To feel good: to enjoy physical pleasure and to bring physical pleasure to one’s spouse. To reduce stress (climaxing does temporarily reduce stress). To satisfy sexual desire: to keep one’s spouse from thinking about having sex with others. Each spouse should learn how often the other spouse wants to have sex and how often is good for both of them. That is part of what the “I do” of the wedding vow means.

The most important of these reasons is to join together in love, to enrich, to validate a relationship*. Love, and thereby *

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993): (Numbers refer to paragraph numbers.) 1643. “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter— appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values” 2332. Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others. 2360. Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament. From the Pontifical Council for the Family’s The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family (1995): 11. Human sexuality is thus a good, part of that created gift which God saw as being “very good,” when he created the human person in his image and likeness, and “male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Insofar as it is a way of relating and being open


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents holiness, is the most important aspect of any part of our lives, including sexuality. All sex must be within a moral, loving context. By maintaining love as the most important priority of our sex lives we unite ourselves to God’s will and we abandon ourselves to Him. The primary goal of each sexual interaction is to express love, not to fulfill a need. When sex is focused on fulfilling a need, it steers the relationship in an unholy, unhealthy direction. 3) The Needs Misconception is the reason why many people, especially men, have addictive attitudes about sex. The “need” for sex is like the alcoholic’s “need” for a drink. Male sexual addiction has always existed, but it is now far more accepted than ever. People now tend to accept that “Boys will be boys,” that “Men cannot control themselves,” or that “Men are animals.” As with other addictions, the idea that one “needs” sex is enslaving. It enslaves us to our passions. With it, true sexual freedom is impossible. As with other addictions, many men feel trapped by their desires, in this case for lust. A popular radio talk show host told his listeners one day that he has two heads, one above his waist and one below it. He said that the one above his waist can’t control the one below. What a sad statement for this confused and unhappy man to make in front of his many listeners: announcing to the world that he is a slave to lust. Unfortunately, this idea is now very common. The Needs Misconception makes sex a god to which one goes to fulfill one’s most basic needs. With it, sex, not God, takes center stage in one’s life. That is why so many men, in particular, are lost in sexual darkness. They are trying to meet what they wrongly think is a basic need. Since the “need” must be met, all else becomes secondary. They are overcome with the thought of fulfilling their “need,” whether through pornography, sex with a prostitute or a stranger, risking STDs

to others, sexuality has love as its intrinsic end, more precisely, love as donation and acceptance, love as giving and receiving.

The Greatest Misconception


or “unwanted” pregnancies, otherwise abusing or neglecting a loved one, or even through rape. Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Needs Misconception during World Youth Day 2008. Referring to the “other god” of possessive love he said: Authentic love is obviously something good. Without it, life would hardly be worth living. It fulfills our deepest need, and when we love, we become most fully ourselves, most fully human. But how easily it can be made into a false god! People often think they are being loving when actually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs rather than as persons to be loved and cherished. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships! This is worship of a false god. Instead of bringing life, it brings death. Some say that all sin is based on lies. This Needs Misconception is the lie that leads to much sexual sin. It is no coincidence that the Needs Misconception directly conflicts with Christian mentality, which is to try to meet the genuine needs of others, not one’s own false needs. The Needs Misconception is an old idea (which can be found in writings that are over 1000 years old) but it has been given a great boost in the last few decades. During this time the Sexual Revolution has supported contraceptives, pornography, masturbation, promiscuity, prostitution, and homosexuality. Each of these in its own way supports the idea that men have specific sexual needs that must be met, and are geared toward the fulfillment of these contrived needs. Hence the Needs Misconception is expressed more boldly, frequently and passionately the further we get into this revolution. The great irony is that the Sexual Revolution gave us just the opposite of what it promised. It promised sexual freedom, but delivered sexual enslavement to so-called “needs.”


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Sexual Addiction and Sexual Abuse A person can be addicted to just about anything: sex, alcohol, drugs, food, cigarettes, gambling, shopping, TV, work, exercise, etc. Addictions are unhealthy, behavior patterns that a person uses to cope with stress even though the behavior is likely to cause harm to the addict or others. Addicts find false comfort in their addiction. Instead of offering the addict the peace he is looking for—the peace that only God can give—the addiction creates trouble in the addict’s life and in the lives of those around him. We have already discussed many forms of sexual abuse that relate to the Needs Misconception, including premarital sex, sexual abuse within marriage, pornography, prostitution, and sex without love. We will now discuss other sexual problems that relate directly or indirectly to the Needs Misconception. Sexual Addiction: Any person can act “as an addict” at times without being one. Many people get drunk on an irregular basis but are not alcoholics. People can have the sexually addictive attitudes to some degree—they can accept the Needs Misconception to some degree—without being considered a sexual addict. But sexual addiction does exist. Some people are unable to control their sexual urges to such a degree that sex creates continual trouble in their lives. Such behaviors can include having sex with many partners, including sex with strangers, paying for prostitutes or phone sex compulsively, constantly seeking pornography via the Internet, magazines or movies, or compulsive masturbation. It is beyond the scope of this course to address fully what you should do if you are developing a tendency in any of these areas. The following suggestions will help put a person on the right path. •

Be sure to confess every occurrence of sexual sin when you go to Confession. If the behavior continues, find a priest who can act as a spiritual advisor and see him each week for faceto-face Confession. Increase your prayer life and attend Mass more frequently.

Sexual Addiction and Sexual Abuse • •


Discuss your problem with your parents so that they can help you with it. Either you or your parents may wish read Sexual Wisdom, which covers the issue more fully.

Sexual Harassment: When a person makes sexual advances (physical, written or verbal) to or requests sexual favors from someone who does not want to receive such attention. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a crime. It is behavior that affects an individual's ability to do his or her job or creates a work environment that is unpleasant or upsetting. The victim does not have to be the person who is the main focus of the offensive behavior. Anyone affected by it can be considered a victim. Common examples are: inappropriate touching, telling off-color jokes, or sending vulgar pictures via email. Sexual Abuse or Molestation: This is a level beyond harassment, when one person touches another sexually in a manner that is inappropriate or unwanted. This is sometimes associated with intimidation or threats, and is especially serious when an adult touches a child in inappropriate ways. In that case it is called “child molestation,” a most serious form of child abuse and a terrible crime. It may cause serious injury or emotional trauma to children, and may lead to lifelong problems. Victims of child molestation should seek professional help. Child molesters are often addicted to pornography. Domestic Violence: Physical violence between a dating or married couple. It is important to know that once a woman is beaten by a husband or boyfriend she is at risk for being beaten again, or killed, by the same man or a future boyfriend or husband. Despite what might seem to be obvious warning signs, many women do not foresee the problem. Often such women have suffered some kind of abuse as a child. The warning signs, as you would expect, are similar to those for date rape (discussed later in this lesson).


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents Common Features of Men Involved in Domestic Violence: Consistently disrespectful of the woman, family members or others Easily angered Not religious Use alcohol or drugs Have demanding, rude or impulsive nature Look at pornography Pressure their girlfriend(s) to have sex before marriage Use vulgar language

Rape: A man forcing a woman to have sex with him against her will. • Rape may occur under many circumstances. In cases where a woman is completely dominated by the man, rape is a horrific crime, and one in which the woman may rightly fear for her life. A most serious kind of rape is when a stranger forces himself on a woman in an isolated place. It is a situation over which the woman usually has no control. Women who are raped in this way may be murdered afterward and, if not, may suffer lifelong emotional problems. Rape often seriously damages the woman’s ability to relate to men. • Prostitutes are at particular risk for being violently raped, or raped and then murdered. • Most rapes occur by a man the woman knows. Women at highest risk for rape are those under 20, those who drink too much, and those who have had sex with boyfriends from a young age. A woman is far more likely to get raped if she herself is drunk. • Rapists vary greatly in their attributes. Some come from troubled childhoods, some are obviously nasty, belligerent fellows, some are athletic and charming; and others are nonathletic, quiet and shy. Many have been unable to develop normal relationships with women. Many have alcohol or drug problems, are criminals and are addicted to pornography. Some rapists cruise singles bars. Most rapes are done by men under 25 years of age who grew up in poor neighborhoods. • Feminists have developed a saying that rape is about power and control and not about sex. This is wrong. Feminism is

Sexual Addiction and Sexual Abuse


about power and control. Rape is about sex and violence, and can also be about power, control, stress, depression, anger, chemical dependency, insecurity, narcissism, childhood trauma or neglect, etc. “Date rape” is used to denote when a woman is raped by her date. The common profile of a date rapist is a verbally abusive, angry, controlling, jealous man who is prone to violence and who drinks too much or uses drugs. There are a number of “date rape drugs” that a man may put in a woman’s drink to intoxicate her, then rape her while she is passed out. At social gatherings, women should never leave a drink unattended. “Consensual sex”: This means that two people have agreed to have sex with each other, as opposed to rape, in which one does not agree.

Because of the great increase in sexual promiscuity during the Sexual Revolution, there is now much confusion as to what rape means. Sometimes it is unclear how much of a crime, if any, has been committed. Does a woman have to agree to every stage of undress and to every sexual act? For married couples, the wedding vows mark the time when men and women give consent for intimate sexual acts. By saying a public “I do” the couple clearly agrees to undressing together and to engage in intimate sexual acts. With premarital sex, it can be much less obvious when each person agrees to what. In the more common, less serious case of rape the woman has some control over what happens and, in fact, may be partly to blame. Women often make choices that seriously increase their chances of getting raped. While this is an unpopular idea among feminists, it is the reality. For example, there was a muchpublicized case of a hotel receptionist accusing a famous professional athlete of rape. She flirted with the athlete, a married man, when she met him at the check-in counter of a hotel, and then accepted his invitation to meet at his room late that night. Alone, and at the set time, she knocked on his door. She knew that by doing this she sent the message that she was willing to have sex with him. They had sex and she later called it “rape.” He says


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents it was consensual. This is clearly very different from the most serious rape scenario and, while justice may demand that he repay a debt to society, she clearly is partly to blame for whatever happened that night. Are women who dress provocatively partly to blame when they are raped? Again, in some cases, the answer has to be at least a conditional “yes.” There are consequences to actions. How one dresses sends messages to others. A woman who dresses seductively is sending a seductive message. She wants to arouse and attract men, even though she is more likely to attract the “wrong kind of man.” The reality is that some men, in part as a response to a woman’s clothing (or lack of clothing), will get ideas that involve sexual abuse of the woman he is staring at. By seeing a woman who is seductively dressed, a man is more likely to develop such ideas and to act on them, the extreme of which is rape.

Incest: sex within a family. Usually, this occurs when a father forces himself sexually on his daughter or an uncle forces himself on a niece. It is an unconscionable sin and a crime. Polygamy: The practice in which a man marries more than one woman. This is against Catholic teaching and against the law. The Hail Mary Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Lesson 12 Homosexuality and Other Sexual Deviations

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Normal Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual: a person who is mostly attracted to those of the opposite sex. Abnormal Sexual Orientations: Bisexual: a person who has no strong preference for either sex. Homosexual: a person who is mostly attracted to those of the same sex. (Note: About 1-3% of people are considered homosexual and there are far fewer bisexuals than homosexuals.) Sexual deviancy has become a very controversial issue in the past few decades. In some ways the truth about sexual deviancy is “as obvious as the nose on one’s face.” As the quotes from Genesis in our first lesson point out, men and women naturally complement one another. From the sexual standpoint, the male and female sexual organs fit each other like a hand in a glove. Consider the ever popular Lego toys. The top and bottom of each Lego piece complement each other perfectly. Homosexuality is like trying to turn a Lego piece upside down and attach it to another. It doesn’t work.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

In other ways, however, the issue of sexual deviancy is more complex. One of the most complicated aspects is the question of what sexually arouses someone, or to put it another way: what is a sexual orientation? There are many examples of how people confuse men with women. Female impersonators can be most convincing. Or, as another example, when I taught chastity to adolescents I showed them a particular photograph (frontal view) of a person in unisex clothes. To their frustration, they were unable to identify the person's gender. They did acknowledge, however, that if the person was of the opposite sex, then he or she was reasonably attractive. It is unclear what potential each of us has for becoming sexually aroused by persons of the same sex. People may even be aroused by objects that are not usually thought of as sexual. For example, there is a video that lasts about two minutes and shows nothing more than two hands peeling an orange, and yet it is an unmistakably sensuous movie. One counselor told me that this film brought back such vivid memories of her own childhood sexual abuse that she had to leave the room before the video ended. She could not sit through a movie of two hands peeling an orange due to the memories it brought up! Clearly, humans can be sexually aroused by a wide variety of stimuli. This issue is complex and remains, at the end of the day, a great mystery. Let us leave it with the point that any normal person may have occasional unusual thoughts or dreams. They may even have sexual thoughts about people of the same sex, or about objects (oranges or other odd things). Unfortunately, our society has missed the boat on the issue of sexual deviations in a most dramatic and tragic way. Many people have become too focused on experimenting with what arouses them and trying to “feel comfortable” with whatever sexually stimulates them, whether deviant or normal. In responding to sexual stimuli we should be far more focused on making choices true to our nature which maintain our dignity and follow God’s will than trying to fit a label, such as homosexual or exhibitionist. We all need to learn how to restrain ourselves sexually throughout our lives. For example, any time we are attracted to a person, we have to restrain ourselves to some degree. We cannot kiss or touch anyone we want to. While we may develop sexual “feelings” from certain



experiences, including some that may be quite strange, giving in to most of them would lead to very undesirable outcomes and is sinful. Most people have imaginative thoughts, fantasies and dreams about sex (heterosexual or otherwise) and, while these are natural, they are not worth focusing on. For example, if a man becomes sexually aroused while playing with a child, he has several options. The normal response is to accept that he has become aroused yet carry on with the child, allowing the state of arousal to pass, without dwelling on it and without it becoming an issue. This is the healthy option. Alternatively, he can react with abhorrence and guilt and may, from that point on, avoid associating with children for fear of another episode—an unnecessary overreaction. Another unhealthy response would be for him to consider this arousal a sign that he has an “orientation” toward children, and that he has a "need" which can only be satisfied by them. This attitude allows for the possibility of having sexual experiences with this child, or others, to “explore” his sexuality and learn to “feel more comfortable with who he really is.” Obviously, this is a terrible idea and a horrible sin. Homosexuality Lesbianism or female homosexuality is much less common and less studied than male homosexuality. For the sake of simplicity, then, I will restrict my comments to male homosexuality. Until the 1970s, male homosexuality was considered a sexual deviation or perversion. Then, homosexuality became reclassified from deviant to normal by political activists in the medical field. This decision was not based on new scientific knowledge but simply on politics. Homosexuality is “objectively disordered” which means that it is abnormal. As with any other abnormality it is not a sin to have the condition, but it is always a sin to engage in homosexual acts. Homosexuals have sought to distance themselves from their deviancy by creating the term “gay.” This term is meaningless. The excuse for introducing it was that homosexuality supposedly denoted more than an orientation and had cultural, social and lifestyle implications; and the term “gay” was meant to reflect this broad view of homosexuality. Thirty years later homosexuals continue to argue with each other about what those implications are, without a clear


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

answer. The only thing “gay” clearly means is that the person is homosexual. This is much like the case of redefining pregnancy, or replacing the word “abortion” with the awkward and misleading term “termination of pregnancy.” These are all cases of political activists successfully manipulating popular opinion. Redefining words and creating unnecessary new words or phrases are standard propaganda techniques. After 20 years of studying the issue, the only reason I can find that people use the term “gay” is to avoid the term “homosexual.” Homosexual leaders argue endlessly among themselves about whether their lifestyle is inherently promiscuous, is inherently associated with anonymous sexual encounters (having sex with a complete stranger), is only for young men, or is particularly associated with an emphasis on physical appearances, the arts or, more generally, the sensual aspects of life. Because it has no clear definition and because there is no advantage to using it, we will not use the term “gay” and simply stick with the term “homosexual.” From this discussion it follows that there is no one type of homosexual. There is as much variety among homosexuals as among heterosexuals. However, due to the nature of homosexuality there are certain traits common among those involved in it. The student should be aware, however, that these traits may not apply to any one homosexual or homosexual couple. •

Homosexuals typically participate in sexual acts which most people find disgusting. For example, anal intercourse, or what some call the “homosexual act,” is unhealthy, unnatural, and, extremely unappealing to most people. o Anal sex is medically unhealthy: Anal sex is associated with a long list of health problems including anal fissures (cracks in the skin that often bleed), incontinence (leakage of stool due to a loss of tone in the muscles which surround the anus), anal cancer and a number of serious infections. This is true even among homosexual couples who have never had sex with anyone else. In contrast, regular sex between spouses has no unhealthy consequences.



o Anal sex is biologically unnatural: Anal sex is on the level of drinking through one's nose. Given adequate preparation it can be done, but it is hardly nature's way. For example, there is no natural lubrication with anal sex and so artificial lubricants must be used. Also, the penis is too large to put into the anus without an unusual amount of preparation. While rare, sporadic examples of homosexual behaviors occur, homosexuality (a persistent orientation that is solely toward the same sex) has not been observed among animals in nature. o According to information provided by homosexuals themselves, many perform acts that are even more offensive than anal intercourse. We will not discuss these but any act that is against the dignity of the human person is immoral and sinful. Many homosexuals are highly promiscuous. Sexual Wisdom reviews the overwhelming evidence for this. One study, for example, showed that 28% of homosexuals have had sex with over a thousand partners. Such promiscuity is rare among heterosexuals. Homosexual acts, like contraceptives, break the connection between intimate sexual acts and the risk of getting pregnant. This “frees” people to fulfill their “needs” promiscuously, and so it is no surprise to find that most homosexuals have sex with far more people than most heterosexuals. The homosexual community and most homosexual individuals are unable to accept abstinence as the obvious response to the HIV epidemic. Their outright rejection of sexual abstinence has led to the unnecessary deaths of many, many thousands of homosexuals. Even homosexual leaders acknowledge that they could have stopped the HIV epidemic through abstinence, but opted not to. o Anyone willing to entrust his or her life to a balloon (condom) has a serious mental problem. This is what most homosexual political leaders continue to advise and what most homosexuals continue to do.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

These attributes support to the idea that sexually addictive attitudes are widespread among homosexuals. Anal Sex Anal sex is difficult to talk about because it is so offensive. But because it is so common among homosexuals and so harmful we must discuss it. It is a subject that needs to come out of the closet. One reason that this discussion is important is because if any one sexual act is abnormal by definition then key falsehoods of the Sexual Revolution are called into question (such as, that no one should care about what people do in the privacy of their own homes, that any sexual act is okay as long as it involves two consenting adults, and that no one has the right to tell another what they can and cannot do). Because anal sex is unhealthy, unnatural, against the dignity of the human person, against human nature, lowers a person’s self-respect, is highly offensive, and immoral, it is rightly considered abnormal and all of the basic assumptions of the Sexual Revolution are therefore mistaken. We will discuss more about this in the next lesson. The great irony is that while anal sex is a crucial issue to bring out of the closet, neither side will discuss it. Conservatives won't discuss it because it is so distasteful. Liberals won’t discuss it because they want to avoid associating this repulsive act with homosexuality. Do sexual deviations such as homosexuality have a genetic cause? Many people have been deceived into thinking that homosexuals are born that way, and therefore should be considered normal. This is totally against our scientific knowledge. The truth is that we are formed by nature (our genes or chromosomes, our heredity) and nurture (the environment in which we grew up). Everything about us has some component of each. While science has yet to show a genetic basis, it is assumed by experts on both sides of the aisle that there may be some genetic element in some cases. The same, of course, may be true for depression, alcoholism or other sexual deviations but that doesn’t make these normal or healthy either. Experts on both sides of the argument now agree that homosexuality is caused by some combination of genetic, social, psychological, cultural and physiological factors. Scientists have tried for decades to find a



homosexual gene and have failed. It does not exist. Homosexual political leaders have conducted a propaganda campaign to convince gullible people that homosexuality is normal. This campaign has been successfully conducted over decades through the media, various government institutions, the medical profession and teachers. The idea that homosexuality is normal is now widely accepted by those who have either not kept up with scientific knowledge or choose to ignore what science tells us. Homosexual political leaders refuse to acknowledge the success of thousands of people who, through ex-homosexual ministries and counseling, have changed from homosexuality to heterosexuality, even when these people show up in large numbers to protest scientific meetings. The chromosomes in these people did not change, but their sexual interests and behaviors did. Homosexuality in Other Cultures Homosexual political leaders also try to justify homosexuality as normal by noting that it is found in many cultures. This is true. However, most cultures also have prostitution, depression, alcoholism, pyromania and all sorts of other mental problems. It is foolish to suggest that just because a condition is found in various cultures it is normal. Homosexuality is an abnormality, not a sin. After twenty years of searching, I have not found one argument, based on reason, that would lead a rational person to believe that homosexual behavior is normal, healthy, natural, or holy. There is not one argument from medicine, biology, sociology, anthropology or any other area that would lead one to consider it much different from the other sexual perversions. If you consider the arguments used to defend homosexuality and apply them to the other sexual deviations you will find out how true this is. I had a typical exchange along this line with the lead editor of a national science magazine who published an article supporting the idea that homosexuality is normal. I wrote him to show the error of each of the four assertions he used to defend his point. In response to my usual calm, charming email(!!), he wrote me a short, angry note that did not respond to any of my points and simply labeled me a


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

bigot for ignoring the “overwhelming evidence” that supported his position. Then he directed me with the strongest emotion never to write him again. His response included no information about the “overwhelming evidence,” which, of course, does not exist. There is widespread intolerance today of those who think that homosexuality is abnormal, despite the fact that it is an entirely justifiable, valid opinion based on reason and facts. The response of liberals to this invariably relies on emotion. Often, they even go so far as to say that to think homosexuality is abnormal means that you hate them—hate being the absolute worst emotion. They change the whole discussion from one of thought to one of emotion. And why would anyone hate a homosexual anyway? People don’t hate those with other sexual problems. Over two decades I have yet to find anyone able to defend homosexual acts or homosexual promiscuity with an intelligent defense. The only liberals who I have spoken to about this who have kept control over their emotions have agreed that anal intercourse is unhealthy and offensive. Pope John Paul II began his much loved encyclical Faith and Reason (1998) with the words: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth . . .” Without the strong wing of reason the human spirit could not rise, but rather would be left flopping around on the ground flapping one wing. The Catholic Church’s teachings on morality is based on faith and reason. Moral teachings of the Church must reflect sound logic, scientific fact, common sense, statistical knowledge, and an understanding of the human mind and world history. Anyone familiar with Church teachings or Church history knows how steadfastly the Church has promoted academic study in all areas. It has provided consistent leadership in the development of universities throughout the world from their start. The issue of homosexuality is a remarkable demonstration of how the Church grasps complex issues. Sad to say, it is also a good example of how often people criticize Church teachings without bothering to find out the reasons behind them. Our Church clearly teaches that to be homosexual is not a sin, any more than being depressed or being obsessive compulsive is. But those with a predominantly homosexual gender orientation, as with the rest of us, must strive for sexual purity; and all homosexual acts are sinful.



Students who are interested in the issue of homosexuality should read the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1986). The Church also has an extraordinary ministry for homosexuals called Courage ( Catholics struggling with this issue should contact Courage and should read the excellent books written by its founder, Fr. John Harvey. Homophobia Until quite recently, the most people agreed that homosexuality is abnormal. Nowadays, if you hold to this view you may be called a “homophobe” by those who think homosexuality is normal. This is inappropriate name-calling, but homophobia does exist. A homophobe is one who is fearful of homosexuals. Homophobes worry that they may not be normal because they have had homosexual thoughts. When homophobes see homosexuals it reminds them of the homosexual thoughts they have had and of their worries about being homosexual. Because of this, some homophobes become angry around homosexuals and may attack them or say mean things to them. Homophobes have gone so far as to murder homosexuals. Homosexual leaders often call anyone who thinks that homosexuality is abnormal a homophobe. This is nonsense, but there is no excuse for prejudice against homosexuals. Prejudice is an irrational stereotype and is never acceptable. Prejudice is a leading cause of disrespect, contempt and terrible inhumanity throughout history, whether due to a person’s race, language, ethnicity, skin color, religion, place of residence or something else. Prejudice is wrong in any form, including prejudice against homosexuals. Homosexuals have a problem, but they are in no way lesser persons than those without the problem—no more than an exhibitionist, a pyromaniac or an alcoholic. Homosexuals and other sexual deviants must always be treated with the respect and dignity accorded to all persons. Prejudice in any form is based on ignorance and irrationality. However, it is not prejudice to hold to the truth about homosexuality: that it is abnormal, that people should never engage in homosexual acts, that homosexuals should not marry each other, that homosexual couples should not adopt children, etc. By respecting the truth one respects the person.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Other Sexual Deviations: As with homosexuality, all of these are far more common in men, as one would expect given that the Needs Misconception generally applies to men. As with homosexuals, other sexual deviants are not sinners for having the problem. It is not a sin to be tempted. It is a sin to give in to disordered desires and, especially, to act on them. •

• • • • • •

Voyeur: sexual abnormality in which one has a habit of seeking sexual arousal from looking at sordid pictures, videos, or movies or looking at live people in states of undress or who are having sex Exhibitionist: sexual abnormality in which one has a habit of seeking sexual arousal from displaying one’s own private body parts to strangers Fetish: sexual abnormality in which one has a habit of seeking sexual arousal from the use of objects Transvestite: sexual abnormality in which a man has a habit of dressing in women’s clothing for sexual arousal Sexual Masochist: sexual abnormality in which one performs sexual activities which are meant to cause physical pain to oneself Sexual Sadist: sexual abnormality in which one performs sexual activities which are meant to cause physical pain to others Transsexual: sexual abnormality in which persons are genetically one gender, but feel that they are mentally the other gender: a woman’s mind trapped in a man’s body or the other way around. Transsexuals sometimes take sex hormones or have surgery to make themselves look more like the opposite sex. Some people defend these treatments because some transsexuals seem to be happier afterward. But what if a man gets the idea that his left hand is the source of all the evil in his life? He demands that a surgeon cuts off his left hand and he seems to be happier after the surgery. Does the fact that he appears happier make his original disturbed thought normal? No, of course not. Is it likely that he really is happier and that


• •


cutting off his hand really did solve his problems? No, not likely at all. Most transsexuals are severely disturbed people. Bestiality: sexual abnormality in which one has sex with animals Pedophilia/Child Sexual Abuse: sexual abnormality in which an adult performs sexual acts with children. This is an abhorrence and a serious crime which often causes severe mental problems for the child. o Child Abuse Registries: a system to allow the government to track sex offenders (child abusers and rapists) o “Megan’s Law”: a series of laws in various states which require that authorities publically list information about sex offenders on web sites. The information reveals where sex offenders live, what sex crimes they have committed and other information.

The “Priest Scandal” or Sexual Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church In the past few years many cases of sexual scandal that involved Catholic priests came to light. The cases uncovered were from as far back in time as the 1970s. Over 90 percent of the cases involved adolescent males or adult males, so it was primarily a scandal of homosexuality. There were also some children involved. The headlines declared that it was an epidemic of pedophilia (the abuse of children) whereas the articles under those headlines showed that it was actually a scandal of homosexuality (though, as one might have predicted because of their bias, the newspapers and TV newscasters never used the term “homosexual.”) This homosexuality scandal was a natural and predictable result of widespread dissent against church teaching (including denial of the perverse nature of homosexuality) and a failure over the past decades to follow traditional priestly practices. Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, dissent by Catholics from Church teaching greatly increased, including the acceptance of homosexual behavior for everyone including priests and religious. The dissenters made many blunders but prominent among them was their failure to take into account that sexually addictive attitudes are rampant among homosexuals. Bad theology, bad philosophy, and bad psychology combined to create terrible events.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

While the anti-Catholic media had a field day in manipulating and distorting the facts about the scandal, one must readily concede that without the media’s involvement much about the scandal would not have been brought to light. The “scandal” was really five scandals: 1. The sexual abuse of teenaged males, adult males and children by priests, with the great majority being done by homosexual priests. 2. The gross negligence among some Catholic bishops and others responsible for managing those priests, once their sins were known. Many of the priests involved in these horrible acts were allowed to continue to do them, even after they had been discovered, because their superior mishandled the situation. 3. Scandalously biased anti-Catholic press coverage of events by the media. 4. The barrage of thoughtless discussion about the scandal by priests from the pulpit without consideration for the children sitting in the pews. It is a terrible scandal to discuss such a dreadful situation openly with children present. 5. The refusal of some Catholic press and many Church leaders to discuss the fact that the scandal was one of homosexuality, not pedophilia. Although it is harder to get excited about a scandal involving events from as far back as three decades, the fact is that scandalous cases of sexual abuse did occur over those decades by many Catholic priests. In his response to the scandal, Pope John Paul II used the harshest sort of language. He said: “There is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young.” And, “The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God.” Pope Benedict’s assessment was equally frank: “How much filth there is in the Church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him (Jesus).” In defense of our priests, remember that the reported events in this scandal occurred over decades. While priest should be held to a



higher standard, considering the relatively few cases that occurred in any one year, priests are no more likely than others to be involved in the homosexual abuse of teens. Therefore, the widespread call from the media to end priestly celibacy as a response to the scandal makes no sense, and simply demonstrates the anti-Catholic media’s agenda. Instead, the response should be to use greater caution in admitting those with homosexual tendencies into the priesthood and for seminaries to return to traditional Church teachings and practices. Treatment of Homosexuals and Other Sexual Deviants Therapy for homosexuality, pedophilia and other deviations often works and is the same as for other sexual problems such as heterosexual promiscuity. It mainly relies on individual counseling directed at emotional and spiritual problems. Interestingly, the focus of successful therapy is not on the deviant thoughts or behaviors, but on resolving underlying factors such as poor family relationships, how to better get along with others and depression. Even without discussing sexual issues, homosexuals often respond to counseling with fewer deviant thoughts and a greater ability to control their behavior. As with other mental illnesses, therapy is not always successful and often involves a long and difficult struggle. Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander through the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Lesson 13 Sexual Codependency

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Codependency is an unhealthy response to addiction (or “dependency”). An example of alcoholic codependent behavior is when someone who knows a person is an alcoholic, but urges the person to drink anyway, or helps the alcoholic hide the alcoholism from his or her physician. Sexual codependence can occur on two levels. First, women can be thought of as codependents when they tolerate male sexual addiction. As with other addictions, this is often to avoid “rocking the boat,” to remain in the addict’s good graces, or to cover up the addiction for some other gain. Codependents can’t respond normally to an addict because they lack maturity, insight, intelligence, selfconfidence, or emotional stability. Women codependents feel, as the song says, that “Without him I can’t go on.” They will do whatever they must to keep their men “happy” and interested in them, even if it means getting involved in some very strange circumstances. As with other types of addictions, sexual codependents may be thought of as being addicted to the addict. In this case, the “drug of choice” is a person. They feel that they “need” a man like an alcoholic “needs” a drink, and so will do whatever is necessary to have one.

Sexual Codependency


One woman told me that it is “unnatural” for women to abstain from sexual intercourse with their boyfriends. Such an attitude, no doubt, is music to the ears of irresponsible boyfriends. Crazy, codependent attitudes such as this are possible only in a world of easily available contraception and abortion. Without contraception, a woman who had sex with each boyfriend would end up with the confusing situation of having many children from different fathers. The foolish idea that premarital sex is natural leads one to the absurd position that artificial contraception allows sex to be more natural— that artificial contraception has finally delivered mankind from thousands of years of “unnaturalism.” Codependent women try to overlook the risks they take when they have premarital sex. They make extreme efforts to look good for men. Many women, including those who pose for pornography, have a pathetic obsession with their looks to the neglect of their minds and souls. For example, some women have so many surgeries performed, such as breast augmentation, that it is hard to recognize them from what they used to look like. In contrast, normal women place the emphasis on virtue and bringing inner joy to others. As we read in the Bible: Sirach 26:1-4, 13-18 Happy the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; a worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the Lord; be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face. . . . A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones; a gift from the Lord is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth. Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person. Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home. Like the light which shines above the holy lamp stand, are her beauty of face and graceful figure. Golden columns on silver bases are her shapely limbs and steady feet. A second way of considering sexual codependency is that our society as a whole may be codependent when we call abnormal sex


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

normal, such as in the case of sexual deviants. The first response of a society to help those who suffer from sexual addictions, including homosexuality and other sexual deviations, should be to verify that they are abnormal and need help. As with alcoholism and other addictions, a person who doesn’t realize that he has a problem is two steps away from solving it. The first step in helping such people is to help them to realize that they need help. The next step is giving them the help they know they need. Tolerance is the politically correct stance in a society that considers freedom its highest priority. However, tolerance of perverted behavior is a sin because it ignores the Truth of which our Lord is the author. A compassionate person does not deny or ignore another person's problem. A compassionate society should not deny that heterosexual addiction, homosexuality and other sexual deviations are problems. One misguided defense for tolerance of sexual deviations is that “people should be able to do what they want in their own homes.” This is another example of our culture’s obsession with sex: the special rules we apply only to sexual matters. If a neighbor is beating his wife or child, we do not shrug our shoulders and say that it's none of our affair because it's happening inside their home. Such a position would demand either apathy (“I don't care what my neighbor does in his own home” which may really mean “I don't care about my neighbor”) or a double standard (“Homosexual behavior is not acceptable for my children, but is acceptable for my neighbor's children or for my neighbor”). As Catholics (or any people of goodwill), we must do what we can to help homosexuals or others with sexual problems, however, we should never put them down or ridicule them. Further, in Christian charity, we should make every effort not to provoke them to anger. Because the issue is so emotional for so many people, this can be a very difficult line to walk. However, the fear of provoking anger should not inhibit us when there is a reasonable chance that our efforts to help someone recognize a problem or deal with it will succeed.

Victims of the Sexual Revolution


Victims of the Sexual Revolution Falsehood: By making premarital sex more acceptable, the Sexual Revolution has liberated women. Feminism: Feminism began a hundred years ago with the goal of acquiring equal rights, especially equal voting rights, for women. This goal has been largely met, leaving the principals of the movement looking for other ways to exercise their power. To their shame, feminists have become so focused on power that they have lost sight of what is truly good for women. So now more women are against them than with them. Motherhood doesn’t offer the kind of power feminists seek. They find the role of motherhood too restrictive. To liberate women from the natural role of motherhood, feminists try to destroy the traditional family structure. They do this by promoting sexual promiscuity, abortion, contraceptives and homosexuality. These attitudes have put feminists at the head of the Sexual Revolution. Yet, the sad truth is that the Sexual Revolution has been a male-oriented revolution directed at fulfilling male sexual “needs.” It is a revolution brought on most obviously by the acceptance of contraceptives, which have pressured women to take risks to please men. It has brought great suffering by causing record levels of STDs, by legitimizing and spreading dehumanizing pornography, by increasing the hostility between the sexes, and by causing critically high divorce and illegitimacy rates. Those who have suffered the most from the new promiscuity include children, grandparents, homosexuals (because of HIV disease) and, most especially, women. It is ironic that, because of their desire for power, feminists have eagerly supported a revolution which has had particularly widespread, brutal consequences for women. Effects of the Sexual Revolution on Women: The increasing promiscuity and other abuses of sex during the Sexual Revolution has led to ever-greater suffering for women. 1. Women suffer more than others from STDs.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents •

The medical consequences of STDs are typically more far-reaching and serious for women. • Women are usually the main caretakers for children with STDs. 2. Women suffer more than others from illegitimacy. Their options are: • Accept being a single parent, which often means that they will struggle financially. Single mothers and their children are the largest portion of those who live in poverty. • Ask parents or other family members to raise the child. • Seek an abortion. • Seek an adoption. • Marry out of fear of having to raise the child alone. 3. Women suffer more than others from the side effects of contraceptives. All contraceptives except condoms are what you could call “male friendly” since they only cause side effects for women. 4. Women suffer more than men from emotional stresses such as guilt, fear, distrust, anger, etc., related to premarital sex. Effects of the Sexual Revolution on Children: • Born with diseases (STDs) • Raised in broken homes • Suffer child abuse, related to being from an “unwanted” pregnancy. This is often when a child is beaten by a boyfriend of a single mother. • Suffer death (the ultimate child abuse) through abortion Effects of the Sexual Revolution on Grandparents: Due to the Sexual Revolution, many elderly people have to make many sacrifices. The contraceptive/abortion mentality often results in many of our elderly suffering the disappointment of not having grandchildren. Those who are blessed with grandchildren frequently are the envy of those who have none. Also, due to sexual promiscuity, many grandparents end up raising their grandchildren. Sexual promiscuity often leads to conditions that are too chaotic for the parents to raise their own children. Raising their grandchildren is a

Victims of the Sexual Revolution


hardship for many of our elderly, especially for those in poor health or who have financial problems. Effects of the Sexual Revolution on Homosexuals: Due to HIV alone, homosexuals have paid a fearsome price for their promiscuity. However, the terrible spiritual and emotional darkness surrounding homosexual sin must be an even greater cost. Prayer Mother most pure, pray for us!

Lesson 14 Good Sex

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. How do we ensure that sex becomes something great—a part of the celebration of life? Sexual experiences that are based on true love, and within God’s plan, enrich and strengthen relationships. They are free from emotional uproar, free from fear or “unwanted” pregnancies and diseases, free from enslaving, addictive attitudes and the mindless pursuit of self-gratification. They are, for the most part, one positive experience after another. Such sexual experiences are, as Catholic theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote, “something great, deep, and mysterious.” While breathtaking pleasures are common to good sex, they are not the main goal. Aspects such as pleasure, procreation, and fun are entirely valid, but with good sex, the main focus is on bringing the couple closer to God and to each other: sex within the context of the peace of Christ. With good sex, both partners try to make the experience as pleasurable for their partner as possible: not only in terms of physical pleasure, but “blessedness” as well.

Good Sex

Theology of the Body Moment - Pope John Paul II We resume our analysis of the Song of Songs (of Solomon) with the purpose of understanding in a more adequate and exhaustive way the sacramental sign of marriage. This is manifested by the language of the body, a singular language of love originating in the heart. At a certain point, expressing a particular experience of values that shines upon everything that relates to the person he loves, the groom says "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one bead of your necklace How sweet are your caresses, my sister, my bride..." (Sg 4:9-10) . . . Through the name "sister," the groom's words tend to reproduce, I would say, the history of the femininity of the person loved. They see her still in the time of girlhood and they embrace her entire "I," soul and body, with a disinterested tenderness. Hence there arises that peace which the bride speaks of. This is the peace of the body, which in appearance resembles sleep ("Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its own time"). This is above all the peace of the encounter in mankind as the image of God— and the encounter by means of a reciprocal and disinterested gift. "So am I in your eyes, like one who has found peace," (Sg 8:10.) [Papal audience on May 30, 1984]



Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

When we talk about “good sex,” we distinguish it rather carefully from “ideal” or “perfect” sex. Due to original sin, none of us can be perfectly holy. In the same way, good sex is not the highest but the higher level, the level most of us can more or less realistically achieve. Perhaps it is easier to understand this higher level of sexuality by creating a list of characteristics relating one level to another as in the classic Catholic book The Soul of the Apostolate. In the book, the author listed the features of nine levels of spirituality. These levels gives one an idea how one rates in comparison to the spiritual masters. Let’s consider a similar system related to sexuality. Optimally, there should be three levels: perfect sex, healthy sex, and unhealthy sex. Unfortunately, due to the number and seriousness of sexual problems in today’s world, we need to further divide unhealthy sex into five separate levels. Consider, then, the following seven levels. Level 1 – Perfect Sex: God’s ideal toward which we strive but can never achieve. – Attitudes: always perfect. Always open to new life (a baby) with every act of sexual intercourse. – Sexual activity within marriage is all perfectly in balance with, and supportive of, the relationship; all sexual activity before marriage stops short of arousal. – No frustrations associated with sex. Level 2 – The Higher Level: Healthy, functional, basic, normal sex. – Attitudes: occasional or minor mistakes, with a consistent desire to improve one’s attitudes. Open to new life (a baby) with every act of sexual intercourse. – Minimal sexual fantasizing. – Sexual activity within marriage is usually supportive of the relationship. Sex is routinely enjoyable and reaffirming, and sometimes extraordinarily so. Sexual intercourse takes place only with one’s spouse. Sexual activity before marriage leading to arousal is rare and avoided.

Good Sex – –


Frustrations associated with sex are relatively uncommon, and usually transient and mild. Dress: always modest.

Level 3 – Some sexual problems. – Attitudes: acceptance of some unhealthy attitudes and falsehoods. – Not always open to new life (a baby) with every act of sexual intercourse. – Sexual activity within marriage is sometimes an barrier to intimacy or leads to serious conflict; sexual activity before marriage which leads to arousal (perhaps including some undressing or heavy petting) is common but without intercourse; infrequent self-stimulation. – Frustrations associated with sex are occasionally serious and difficult to control. – Dress: at times dress in tight-fitting clothes or clothes meant to accentuate one's figure or physique. Level 4 – Serious sexual problems – Attitudes: more serious submission to “needs” and other falsehoods. Frequent or prolonged sexual fantasizing. – Having sexual intercourse despite often being closed to new life (having a baby). – Sexual Interactions: some insistence on sex in a position or with a frequency that one's spouse disapproves of; sexual intercourse before marriage with one or a few sexual partners; general openness to pornography and self-stimulation, oral sex to climax. – Frustrations associated with sex are frequent and often uncontrolled. – Dress: frequent immodest attire. Level 5 – Very serious sexual problems – Attitudes: markedly unhealthy, with full commitment to the Needs Misconception and other falsehoods. – Sexual interactions: sexual intercourse before marriage with many partners; extramarital sex; compulsive self-stimulation;


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

– –

habitual exposure to pornography or erotic entertainment; infrequent payment for sex (including money spent on a date in expectation of sexual favors); men openly reject their responsibility for an unintended pregnancy; occasional use of force for sex in a position or with a frequency one's partner clearly disapproves of; anal sex, whether engaged in by heterosexuals or homosexuals; active involvement in sexually deviant behavior including homosexuality, transvestitism, voyeurism, and any of the others except transsexuality. Frustrations associated with sex are very frequent and poorly controlled. Dress: typical attire is clearly aimed at being sexually provocative.

Level 6 – Severe sexual problems: “Sexual addicts” as defined by society. – Attitudes: essential disregard for those who satisfy the person's sexual desires. – Sexual interactions: frequent sexual intercourse whether married or not with whomever is available; pay for sex regularly; frequent use of force for sex in a position or with a frequency one's partner clearly disapproves of; date rape; transsexuality. Level 7 – Most severe sexual problems: the most extreme, degrading, violent or life-threatening sexual practices. – Attitudes: most unhealthy – Sexual interactions: prostitution; rape; genital sexual activity with a known HIV-positive person (with or without a condom); sadomasochism; child molestation; incest. These seven levels may seem arbitrary and rigid, but they illustrate some important principles. Both individuals and couples, whether married or unmarried, can identify their current—but by no means permanent—state with respect to these seven levels. The idea then is to move toward Level 2 and remain there, always seeking ways to move closer to Level 1.

Good Sex


Forming good attitudes about sex is an ongoing process. The goal is to make steady, overall progress up the scale. Depending on the individual or couple, Level 2 may take years, decades or a lifetime to achieve. Setbacks will occur and each person or couple will face unique difficulties. More important than achieving Level 2 is the depth of the commitment made toward getting there, which reflects the depth of commitment to giving your heart to Jesus. Catholic theologian Christopher West offers an important perspective in his book, The Good News about Sex and Marriage: It’s a mistake to think marriage somehow provides a “legitimate” outlet for our disordered sexual desires. In a clarion call for husbands to uphold the dignity of their wives, John Paul II stated that a man can commit adultery “in his heart” even with his own wife if he treats her only as an object to satisfy concupiscence (cf. General Audience 10/8/80). Despite what the secular media had to say, the Pope was in no way suggesting that the marital relationship is itself adulterous. In a world that pushes sex merely to gratify disordered instinct, John Paul was calling spouses back to God’s original intention of self-donation as the norm for sexual relations. This is a difficult calling. Even the most devoted of spouses must face the reality of mixed motives and imperfect desires. But Christ has definitively revealed, fulfilled, and restored the nuptial meaning of the body by making a “sincere gift” of his own body to his Bride on the cross. This means loving as Christ loves is truly possible through the power of the Holy Spirit who has been poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5). The Glory Be Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Lesson 15 Sexual Morality

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Sexual morality is one of those subjects that most people neither study nor think about. Therefore, most people lack an understanding of even the most basic concepts. This situation could be considered quite hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that this confusion leads to tremendous sadness and suffering. Most of what one reads about sexual morality in books, newspapers and magazines, or hears on radio, TV or in conversations is just plain wrong. Therefore, we will spend a bit of time on the subject. Students who understand this lesson will have an important edge over others. They will be far more capable of handling the predicaments they face in their own lives and of helping guide others who are confused about these issues. It is true that the philosophical and theological issues that underlie this discussion can be overwhelming. However, it is also true that most students can follow the basic ideas and will find them very helpful. Morality refers to the rightness or wrongness of actions or behaviors. We act morally when we act in a good, loving and holy manner. Immoral behavior is wrong, sinful, or evil. Notice that moral behavior is not based on being nice. There is an important difference between being nice and being good. A man may be nice to a woman

Sexual Morality


so that she will have sex with him. Being nice is not a reliable guide for morality. Being good is. Because God commands us first to love, love is the main standard by which we judge whether behavior is right or wrong, moral or immoral. The Sexual Revolution failed in that it called on people to abandon love for the sake of pleasure or mistaken notions of freedom. When we abandon love, we directly reject God’s call. As St. Paul tells us, “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Falsehood: Morality is based on each person’s opinion, so it means something different to each person. This falsehood is at the heart of moral relativism, an idea which has become very popular over the past few hundred years. Moral relativism rejects the idea that love should be the main basis for our behaviors. To the moral relativist, morality is whatever an individual thinks it is based on whatever standards he or she wishes to follow. But if morality is whatever a person thinks it is then there can be no agreement about what is moral, only individual opinions. As a result, we hear the absurd statement that “Your morality is yours and my morality is mine.” No, prostitution is wrong, no matter what the circumstances. It is true that there are times in which people disagree about what is moral and what is not. There are situations in which it may be hard to know what the moral path is. For example, “Was it right for me to tell my parents about something my sister did even when I promised her I wouldn’t tell them?” In this case, if what your sister did was serious it was probably best that you told your parents. If what she did wasn’t serious at all then it would likely be wrong to go against your word. It can be difficult to know which course of action is the most loving to your sister and parents. But, based on this type of situation, moral relativists mistakenly think that no one can ever be sure about anything related to morality. Moral standards are based on universal, or objective, truths The terribly mistaken idea that there is no universal, or common, morality is based on a more basic mistaken idea that there is no universal truth. (This is the one part of the discussion that gets a little


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

abstract, but stay with me.) Universal truth, also called “objective truth,” is the truth regardless of what any one person thinks. It is the truth that exists outside, or separate from, anyone’s experience. If a tree falls over in the woods and no one sees it fall, did it really fall? Yes, of course it did, even though no one witnessed it. The truth of the matter is that the tree fell, no matter whether anyone saw it or not. Those who deny the existence of universal truth believe, for example, that one cannot know that a human hand has five fingers on it. They believe that they can only think a hand has five fingers. In fact, everyone may think a hand has five fingers on it, but still no one can be absolutely sure that human hand has five fingers. They believe that a bulldog is not a rose, but at the same time it is a rose. I realize that this sounds crazy, but this is the fallout of moral relativism, and it is the basis for many of today’s most popular religions, including New Age and Taoism—religions which seem to be especially popular among movie stars. Now you may be starting to understand where some of the really weird ideas in this world come from. Many students will find it interesting to learn that this argument about the existence of a universal truth goes back to ancient times. It is one of the most basic questions in life: can you know something for sure or do you just think that you know it? As you might guess, throughout history most people have agreed that there are truths about life that are true no matter what any person thinks otherwise. Dogs bark, whether you think they tweet or not. A spoon is not a banana whether one thinks it is or not. Moral relativism, based on the denial of universal truth, forbids any obvious claims about morality and yet, unfortunately, it has become the predominant philosophy over the past few hundred years; or at least it has become the philosophy that people who don’t know much think they believe. Alan Bloom begins his best-selling book, The Closing of the American Mind with the following comment about today’s college students: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” (You may want to ask college students this question yourself, if you know any.) Most people who believe that there is no certain, universal truth have not thought this through. If all truth is relative, or based on whatever you think, then you cannot know anything for sure. You cannot know if one’s hand has

Sexual Morality


five fingers. You cannot know if a duck quacks. This idea presupposes that you can only truly know one thing: that you don’t know anything. But how can you know that if you don’t know anything? The idea is inconsistent with itself. It is very strange to consider why anyone (let alone the majority of educated young people in this world) is willing to base all else that he or she believes on such a truly odd idea that nothing can be known for certain. Catholicism has always opposed moral relativism, but instead upholds the belief in universal truth. Catholics believe that God exists whether or not someone thinks He doesn’t or even if a lot of people think He doesn’t. His existence doesn’t depend on us. Remember the exchange between Christ and Pilot? John 18:37-38 At this Pilate said to him, “so, then you are a king?” Jesus replied: “It is you who say I am a king. The reason I was born, the reason why I came into the world is to testify to the truth. Anyone committed to the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him: “What is truth?” Notice that Pilate mocks our Lord with the moral relativists’ answer. I once thought that the goal of Catholicism was to teach about love. This is too narrow of a view. The Church’s goal is to teach about the truth, the definite, universal truth, about God, about man, about man’s relationship to God, and about love. The fundamental task of each person is to seek the truth, which begins and ends in the person of Jesus Christ. Catholics not only believe that God exists but also that our greatest task in life is to submit to His authority. The denial of a universal truth is not only the underlying philosophical belief of moral relativism, but also of liberalism. The core belief of a liberal is that there is no truth outside of himself. A liberal, therefore, views the world not from the standpoint of reason, but of feelings or emotions. Reason and logic are needed for exploring truth and there is no point to exploring truth if there is no truth. People with a liberal or “progressive” view are far less likely to believe in God, an authority who exists outside of them because they only believe in their own perspective. They are also far less likely to


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

carry out a reasoned, calm debate about sexual morality, because to them a debate is not about understanding the truth, but about promoting a particular agenda or viewpoint that they feel comfortable with. Back to Morality If one cannot be sure about any truth in life then one certainly cannot be sure about the morality (rightness or wrongness) of any act. But once one realizes that there a truth that is independent of one’s point of view, then it makes sense that there can be a universal morality—a morality that is independent of the viewpoint of the individual. When a bank robber kills an innocent bank teller there should be no debate about the immorality of the act. No reasonable person would say “Murder for money seems immoral to me, but I don’t want to impose my judgment on others.” Moral relativists believe that one can never call any act immoral, evil or sinful because whatever is immoral for one person may not be immoral in the eyes of another. They cannot say for sure that robbery, murder or rape are wrong. They can only say that these acts seem wrong to them. So let’s now take the grand leap and assume that, in fact, a bird cage is not a computer and blue is not the same as red. Let’s agree that there are things that can be known, including the morality of an act. If that is true, then we are free to state with confidence that robbing a bank and rape are wrong. But how is it that we come to that conclusion? How is it that we know right from wrong? Consider, as the great Protestant theologian C.S. Lewis did, what happens when a fellow cuts in front of a line of people going into a theater. The white, Catholic man from Ohio judges that the man has done an immoral act. The Chinese, Buddhist woman behind him also judges the act to be wrong. A black man from Africa saw the act and he too judges it to be wrong. Each of these persons from different continents and cultures, and with different religions, agrees that taking cuts in line is wrong. They all judge it to be immoral. And, of course, the same is true for the vast majority of immoral acts: lying, cheating, stealing, etc. How do each of these people come to the same conclusion? What authority tells them this? How do they all know that it is wrong to take cuts in line? What is amazing is that most people can’t answer these questions. They can’t tell why obviously immoral acts are wrong. (If you have as much fun as I do picking on

Sexual Morality


college students you may want to ask some of them why taking cuts is wrong. So far, I have yet to find one who knew the answer.) How do we know that bank robbery, rape and taking cuts in line are wrong? The answer is that there is a natural moral law written on every human heart. They are laws that are given to us from God. It is not only one’s culture that teaches right behavior, but something found within each one of us. Each person has an inborn sense of what it means to love and what distinguishes right from wrong and good from evil, and each of us is called to follow this sense. This is part of our God given human nature. To put things in perspective, let’s discuss some more about natural law in the context of three kinds of law. The three types of law which tell us what is right and what is wrong are divine law, natural law and human law. 1) Divine law: the law directly given to men by God, such as the Ten Commandments. God tells man what actions are moral and immoral. God tells man how to behave and man is to obey. God tells man how to love. 2) Natural law: the law which men can know if they are smart enough and in-tune enough with their own nature. The idea of natural law goes back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. As one would expect, the laws of nature are the same as the laws of God (who created nature). Divine law and natural law always give the same answer as to what is right or wrong. In other words, if man is smart enough he will come to understand moral law as God himself understands it. The first rule of the natural law is: “Do good and avoid evil.” Natural law is the law written on the human heart (Rom 2:15). According to St. Thomas Aquinas the “Angelic Doctor” of the Catholic Church, natural law “is nothing other than the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided.” It is the law that tells a person to open the door for a little old lady and to clean up one’s own mess. It is the law that tells us not to rob banks. It is a law that that includes absolutes. For example, it is always wrong to torture a baby. “Natural law,” as Pope Pius XII wrote, “is the foundation upon which the


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents social doctrine of the Church rests.” Moral relativists don’t believe in natural law and tell us that morality is based not on a person’s nature but on each person’s own set of circumstances and, in particular, on one’s culture. For a better idea we turn to Pope John Paul II, who wrote: It must certainly be admitted that man always exists in a particular culture, but it must also be admitted that man is not exhaustively defined by that same culture. Moreover, the very progress of cultures demonstrates that there is something in man which transcends those cultures. This “something” is precisely human nature: this nature is itself the measure of culture and the condition ensuring that man does not become the prisoner of any of his cultures, but asserts his personal dignity by living in accordance with the profound truth of his being. (The Splendor of the Truth [Veritatis Splendor], No. 53). Natural law is the moral law based on love. It is simply the behavioral extension of love. For example, dumping nuclear waste next to where people live is immoral. Reckless driving and premarital sex are immoral. All are immoral because they violate the common good and therefore are unloving. They are immoral in any culture. 3) Human law or civil law: The system of man-made laws that are enforced by the courts. Legal systems try to reflect the natural law as closely as possible by making immoral actions illegal—by punishing wrong behavior. As Martin Luther King wrote: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” While God’s law and natural law give the same answers, there are practical limits on legal systems, which cannot fully reflect the natural law. For example, according to natural and

Sexual Morality


divine law it is wrong for a child to lie to his parents, but it is not against the law of the land. Bank robbery and cheating on income taxes are easier cases. They go against all three types of law. Because man-made law attempts to impose the natural moral law on people, it makes sense that it is based on justice, one of the four primary moral virtues. As with all virtues, justice guides us to the greatest virtue, which is love. Moral relativists say “Don't impose your morality on others,” yet this is exactly what takes place through social pressures and laws. The moral relativists have it entirely wrong. Society has a duty to ensure that, through social pressure and laws, immoral behaviors are justly punished. For example, a teenager stepped out of a hotel room and exclaimed a vulgar word to her friend while I was walking past. I turned to her and put my forefinger to my lips to let her know I did not approve. She quickly apologized and I went on my way. I had judged her act to be immoral or wrong, and her “punishment” was my disapproval. We all judge in this way at times and we are all obligated to do so. Human laws are necessary to impose stiffer penalties for more serious violations of morality. The laws of a country reflect the moral views of its citizens. Laws are needed to “impose” morality on us because without them it would be chaos. Further, citizens have a duty to work to change laws to reflect their beliefs about seriously immoral behaviors. For example, if it were legal to murder newborns, as at least one Nobel Prize winner has proposed, people would have a duty to work to change the law to make it illegal. Prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Lesson 16 Sexual Morality (Continued)

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. Let’s conclude our discussion about morality by clarifying three final points. 1) Judging a person as opposed to judging a person's attitudes or behaviors This is a subject about which you are bound to hear a lot of confusing statements. Let us set the record straight. One can never judge another person, but behaviors, ideas and attitudes with moral implications must be, and are, judged routinely. This distinction is critical. To judge a person as a bad person is to suggest that that person is inferior to those who are not “bad.” This attitude is at the heart of untold cruelty throughout history. A physician who performs an abortion has done a very evil act, but we can never say that he is evil. None of us should want the responsibility of having to judge another. Leave that to God. Even our human judges, whose job involves judging whether an act is illegal and pronouncing just sentences, cannot condemn a person as evil. One cannot know whether one would be a better person than someone else, should one have been placed in the other person’s circumstances (natural traits and life experiences). We cannot know if another

Sexual Morality (Continued)


person is doing better than he ought to be doing given his circumstances. Only God can judge that and we should be glad to leave the job to Him. On the other hand, it is essential that we judge others’ behaviors and attitudes, and we do so every day in many ways. The mother corrects the child when he sticks his tongue out at a friend. We say it is wrong when a man hits his wife, or when a drunk driver runs from the scene of an accident. “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is the simple, time-honored statement that we must live by. Fr. Philip Smith, our local priest, makes an interesting point about this. He says that sometimes conservatives are so hateful of sin that they forget about loving (and not judging) the sinner. On the other hand, sometimes liberals try so hard to love the sinner (and not be judgmental) that they forget about hating or judging the sin. To say that one cannot judge the morality of another's sexual activity is to say that sexual acts do not have moral value. On the contrary, sexual behaviors may be freely judged because they do have great moral value. Sexual morality does exist. It is not whatever one thinks it is, rather, it is behavior based on the loving commands of God and reflected in the natural law. We should point this out to those who engage in homosexual behavior, or those who view pornography, but do not recognize the immorality of their behavior. As we discourage lying and acts of bigotry, we should also discourage immoral, unloving sexual behavior. One really odd result of moral relativism is that if one follows the idea that one cannot judge the evil that people do, then one must also refuse to judge the good that people do. Unless we are willing to judge the negative we cannot judge the positive. If you can’t say that the suicide attacks against the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 were evil, then you can’t say that the firemen who rushed up the stairs of the burning buildings, while everyone else was running down the stairs, were heroes. You can’t be unwilling to judge evil behavior but willing to judge heroism. One can either judge other’s behavior or not. The answer is that you can. I asked a moral relativist to describe what he would say to a mother if he witnessed her son break up a fight on the playground. He realized that his argument was headed for trouble and so he took a long moment to think through his answer. In the end he still misspoke


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

by saying that he would praise her son’s action. To be consistent, what he should have said was that he would praise her for what he thinks her son’s actions were because, if he understood the situation clearly, it appeared to him that her son probably acted nobly. Of course, no one talks this way. The point is that it is impossible to live a life that is based on the idea that there is no standard outside one’s own perspective, and so one can never judge another’s actions or ideas. Unfortunately, Alan Bloom was right: the ill-considered ideas of moral relativism are rampant in our culture even among the socalled intelligent and learned. 2) Distinguishing between morality and religion Another distinction we should make is between morality and religion, two terms that are often carelessly exchanged, as if they mean the same thing. Since moral behavior is that which is the most loving, it does not have to be considered only in a religious context. Religion adds a supernatural dimension. But while some might reject the religious element of morality, they can fully appreciate the appeal to reason. Nonreligious people may be just as moral as religious people, and, in fact, frequently are. While a Catholic perspective is not required to discuss morality, it brings an infinitely rich and powerful component to the table. Addictions offer an example of how religion enhances discussion of morality. Addictions are immoral behaviors, because they make a god out of whatever the person is addicted to (and so violate the first commandment). Addicts don’t use drugs to be more loving to others. In fact, addicts are famous for the disastrous troubles they create in others lives. There are many so-called “Twelve-Step” programs for treating addictions. The original and most well-known is Alcoholics Anonymous, which was created in the 1930s to help alcoholics stay sober. The following are the “Twelve Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous, the foundation of the program: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Sexual Morality (Continued)


3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Notice that six of the twelve steps refer to a “higher power,” defined as one's concept of God or an equivalent. The religious component of these programs clearly has contributed to their remarkable success. As an aside, we Catholics might also particularly consider steps 4–7 and 10. I showed these steps to one of my young children and asked her what they reminded her of. “That’s just the sacrament of Confession, Dad,” she said. Check. Five of the twelve steps are essentially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which indicates how much Catholics should treasure that sacrament. In fact, if you read the twelve steps carefully you will find that they are really just a bare bones religion most akin to Catholicism, complete with a regular trip to see the “sponsor” or confessor. You may already be aware that many people in our country are hostile to religion, Catholicism in particular, so it is interesting to see the widespread popularity within our culture of programs which are a rudimentary form of our faith without some “objectionable” parts that are “too religious” for the


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

modern taste. Twelve-step programs are, if you will, an acceptable form of religion for our society. In any event, this “religion-lite” approach demonstrates the power of religion in helping people turn away from false gods and immorality. There are many other “Twelve-Step” programs for other addictions, including Sex Addicts Anonymous, Homosexuals Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and many others. These programs all use essentially identical twelve steps as in the original Alcoholics Anonymous group, though modified to the specific addiction. Because these programs are anonymous, their success rate is unknown, but they have clearly helped millions of people throughout the world. 3) Imposing Morality on Others Finally, there is the question of whether one should attempt to influence or impose one's ideas on another. While our laws impose moral standards on behavior, most people take the reasonable stance that it is wrong to impose religious beliefs on others. However, it is one of the ironies of our modern culture that many people, including many educated people, argue that we should not impose morality on others through our laws (“You can’t legislate morality”) when that is indeed a primary focus of any legal system. As we said, justice is one of the four moral, or cardinal, virtues. The word “Cardinal” comes from the Latin word for hinge, which is to say that the four cardinal virtues are the ones upon which all other moral virtues are based. As David Reardon writes in Aborted Women: Silent No More: Politicians who support pro-abortion laws saying, 'Personally I don't believe abortion is right, but I refuse to impose my moral views on others,' are at best cowards who are unwilling to stand by their own moral convictions, or at worst, nothing more than hypocrites. When these same politicians vote to build defense systems, they are imposing their values on pacifists. When they vote to tax the rich for the sake of the poor, they are imposing their morality on those wealthy persons who don't care about the poor. Writing moral choices into the law is what their jobs are all about.

Sexual Morality (Continued)


Although we are obligated to encourage others to be more moral, no one has the right to impose his or her religious beliefs on others. Our United States Constitution specifically protects religious freedom. One may attempt to influence others to accept a belief, but may not force them to do so. Religious enthusiasts have every right to knock on one's door, but one is under no obligation to open it. The confusion about this relates to the principle of separation of church and state. This doctrine originally meant to declare that no particular religion would be forced upon people; but somehow in modern times, due to misunderstanding of the law, it has come to mean that one's religion should not affect how government functions. The fact is that politicians should certainly apply the moral teachings of their faith to their office. Morality and religion are not one and the same. But the confusion about them often prohibits efforts to help people to be moral, and do the right thing, for fear of “imposing religion” on them. A man wrote with bitterness to a newspaper: “That's what religion is all about folks—forcing others to live life your way.” Such comments reflect a fear of religion which is common in the United States today, and which is one of the greatest barriers to healthy discussion about sexual morality. We have spent extra time on the subject of sexual morality for a couple of reasons. If the student understands the basic issues of this section, he will be way ahead of the pack when it comes to discussing important, common issues about right and wrong. As we have noted, some of the most illogical comments one will ever hear or read relate to this subject. Second, if the student submits to the moral relativist’s viewpoint that there is no certain truth and that nothing can be known for sure, then it robs the student of one of the greatest joys in life: to explore the truth about the world God has given us. Many people are robbed of this joy (as I was for many years). They are left frustrated in the middle of any investigation because of their belief that there is no answer to be found, and that the final outcome will simply be the extremely unsatisfying “Your truth is your truth and my truth is mine.”


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

The Four Levels of Happiness We have learned that moral behavior is that which follows God’s law and natural law. It is good behavior. It is also behavior which generally makes us happy, because we are generally happy when we do what we know to be the right thing. Opening the door for the little old lady makes us feel good. However, one could argue that to have premarital sex with a very attractive person also achieves happiness. What is it, then, that really makes us happy? The Four Levels of Happiness: We mentioned two types of pleasure, or happiness, earlier and will now expand on that topic. Fr. Robert Spitzer, the president of Gonzaga University, has written a book called Healing the Culture which reconsiders the ancient notion that there are really four levels of happiness. I recommend that you study these more on your own (see, but we will present the levels briefly. As discussed earlier, the Roman Catholic Church desires as much as anything else for you to be happy. The catch, as we said, is that there are different levels of happiness and the Church wants you to attain, and maintain as much as possible, the highest level of happiness. Let’s clarify this by investigating the four levels of happiness. It is important to note that all four levels are valid. Each offers true happiness, but each level offers a form of happiness superior to those below it. Level 1: Feeling good This is the lowest level of happiness. It is the happiness that comes from eating candy, buying a new movie, or hearing the latest hit song. There is nothing wrong with this kind of happiness as long as it doesn’t conflict with the higher levels. For example, kissing an attractive stranger might feel good but it conflicts with the higher levels of happiness. Level 2: Feeling good about yourself This is the happiness that comes from achieving. One feels good through achieving success one has worked for, whether in

The Four Levels of Happiness


sports, art, studies, employment, or other activities. This is also the happiness that one experiences when one has power over others or when one proves to be superior to others, such as winning a hot dog eating contest. This kind of happiness is also called self-esteem. We often hear sports commentators say such things as “It doesn’t get any better than this” when an athlete or team wins. These commentators are apparently unaware of the four levels or they would know that, in fact, there are two levels of happiness higher than winning a game. Level 3: Being good, kind and loving This is the happiness you feel when you open the door for the little old lady. Doing the right thing, following the call of your heart, can bring a person extraordinary pleasure—beyond that of eating a candy bar or winning an arm wrestling contest. Notice that you can eat a candy bar while opening the door, so it is possible to reach more than one level of happiness at one time. But it is also important to realize that the third level of happiness is not as high as you can get. There are times when we are loving and we still become frustrated or angry. For example, we may be entirely loving to someone and yet he may become ill or die, or he may dislike us despite our efforts. Christ himself loved perfectly, yet He was scourged and crucified. We too must suffer no matter how good we are. Level 3 does not offer the highest level of happiness. Even being married to the most wonderful spouse cannot bring one to the highest level. Before we discuss Level 4 consider something most interesting about it. Level 4 isn’t just another level. It is the level. In the innermost sanctuary of each man’s heart is the desire for the ultimate. All people aspire to the Ultimate, whether it is Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Happiness, or Ultimate Love. Human nature is geared toward the ultimate. None of us can escape this fact. We all want the best, but we can’t achieve it unless we know it exists and reach for it. Level 4 is the ultimate. It truly doesn’t get any better than Level 4.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Level 4: Surrendering ourselves to God This is the ultimate happiness. When we spoke of opening doors for little old ladies in Lesson 4 we were really combining Levels 3 and 4. It does feel good to open the door, but it feels even better—it takes us to a higher level yet—when we do it for the right reason. We can only achieve Level 4 when the reason we act in a loving manner is as an act of submission or obedience to God. As our local priest puts it: humans can only be happy when they have meaning in their lives, and the most profound sense of meaning comes from a desire to please God in all of our thoughts, words and actions. One catch that you have probably figured out by now is that the transcendent happiness we are talking about in Level 4 doesn’t always go with physical pleasure. In fact, often it does not. Levels 2, 3, and 4 may all require suffering, especially Level 4 (although by striving for it you will, ultimately, feel happy for eternity). Sometimes opening the door for the little old lady causes physical pain, requires patience or may mean overcoming fears. Sometimes you may feel pretty frumpy waiting for a slow-walking little old lady to get through the door you have opened. Doing the right thing, following the will of God, may require many kinds of suffering, even the extreme case of martyrdom. Everyone knows that it can be hard to live morally. This has always been the case. The struggle to do so, however, takes us toward the fourth level. The more obedient we are to God, enduring trials and doing good, the more He purifies us and brings us closer to Him. The longer one lives, the more one experiences life’s ups and downs, the more obvious it is that Level 4 happiness, no matter what it costs, is worth it. Level 4 Requires Submission to God and So a Belief in Objective Truth Obviously, we cannot reach Level 4 unless we are willing to submit to something outside ourselves. But the popular flawed philosophy is that there is nothing outside ourselves to believe in or submit to. In the last lesson we discussed that many people accept the idea that they don’t even know for certain that there are five fingers on a hand. If they cannot know that, then they certainly cannot have

The Four Levels of Happiness


confidence that God exists. One cannot know God if one believes that everything is based on one’s own perspective. All people yearn for the ultimate happiness. Yet to attain this happiness we must accept that there is an ultimate truth. If we do not believe in a truth that is outside of our own perspective, then we cannot believe in God. If we don’t believe in God, we cannot submit to Him. If we cannot submit to Him, then we cannot attain Level 4, the ultimate happiness, no matter how much our hearts yearn for it. Such people cannot shake off a deep-seated misery. They are in conflict with their own nature. Those who refuse to submit to God’s will know deep in their hearts that they can never achieve the ultimate level of happiness. With this loss, and being so out of tune with the natural call of their heart, these people are more likely to live in misery, and in their misery they are likely to lash out and hurt others and themselves. Often they will resort to escapes through sex, alcohol, drugs or other avenues. Often they will suffer unnecessary spiritual, psychological and even physical disease, which is rooted in their acceptance of the strange idea that they can’t know anything. This strange belief in moral relativism, is also at the heart of the deadly I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome. If you cannot know anything, then you cannot possibly know what is exceptional or first rate or whether anything is worth striving for. The best you can say is that you and most other people seem to be “OK,” whatever that means. The better way is to live as you were meant to live. Accept that there is a universal truth and submit your will to God’s. Pledge every day to “just say no” to hurting yourself and others through premarital sex, masturbation, dressing immodestly, looking at pornography and other forms of sexual misbehavior and to remain in tune with your human nature and with God’s plan for you. Each day lived this way is a day with Level 4 happiness within your reach.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582 AD) Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.

Lesson 17 More Issues for Teens

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson.

Entertainment Guidelines Luke 14:25-32: Now great multitudes accompanied him (Jesus); and he turned and said to them, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.”


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Jesus is telling us that we must be spiritually prepared if we are to follow him and live with him in eternity. Consider the materials you are using to build your tower. Take stock of what kind of an army you gather for your daily encounters with temptations. How do your entertainment choices strengthen or weaken your resolve to follow Christ? What goes into your conscious and subconscious mind, if you come across degrading forms of entertainment: music, movies, TV, video games, or magazines? You may say: “Dr. Wetzel, it doesn’t affect me when the lyrics to a song are vulgar or when the TV show is permeated with objectionable jokes, or when the magazine has pornography, because I am so clever that I can ignore that. I can put it out of my head.” There is an adage: “Dripping water wears the rock.” Try to listen to the dripping water when you hear songs with degrading lyrics, or songs with a man or woman moaning about how he or she needs a “lover,” or when you see vulgarity in movies or immodest dancing. At first it may be hard to hear, but keep trying and you will. My wife and I had a rather amazing experience related to entertainment when we decided to hold our own Jane Austin film festival. Over a couple of weeks we watched four Jane Austin films: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion. Each of these films is about wealthy people in 19th century England and in each the actors are particularly refined and gracious, with impeccable manners. After watching these movies, I realized my own lack of manners during my daily routine. It struck me that the reason I was suddenly so sensitive was because I had just watched four movies back-to-back about particularly well-mannered people. The movies made me aware of my own shortcomings. We should wonder how the dripping water affects the person who watches four movies in a row that include vulgar language, physical intimacy between unmarried adults or teenagers, or disrespectful attitudes of men and women toward each other. If some movies make one more sensitive to basic courtesies, surely the opposite kind of movies can make one less sensitive. So what should you do if you mistakenly go to a movie or watch a TV show that is offensive? Leave, or at least cover your eyes or ears. If you are with friends, encourage them to go to better movies, find

More Issues for Teens


better shows to watch, seek other means of entertainment, or find better friends.

Dating guidelines It is best for teenagers to go out only on group dates. The goal of this kind of dating is to have fun, gain experience about life, learn about new interests, develop as a person, and to learn about the opposite sex so as to be able make a good decision later on about whom to marry. If a teenager does go out on a one-on-one date there should be no expectation of romance. When teens get romantically involved (kissing, prolonged hugging, holding hands) at this early stage it often leads to unnecessary confusion and emotional turmoil and puts them at risk for getting involved in premarital sex. My mother told me never to date women I wouldn’t marry. I initially thought that this was the worst advice Mom ever gave me because I didn’t understand her meaning. Eventually I realized that she was right. What she meant was: Don’t get romantically involved with anyone until you are ready for marriage and don’t act romantic with anyone you wouldn’t marry. This type of more serious dating, which used to be called courting, is for finding a suitable marriage partner, and so is unsuitable for teenagers. Why are so many people nervous about dating? (For example, you will likely hear stories from your friends about nervous blunders that occur when couples say goodnight at the girl’s front door.) Part of the nervousness is due to an expectation of romance when it should not be part of the program. We are naturally nervous when we act in a manner that is wrong for the circumstance. Romance is for those who are dating to marry. Another reason for nervousness is that people often force themselves to kiss someone when they think it is expected but it doesn’t feel natural. They go against their better judgment to try to meet an expectation (“Should I kiss on the first date?”). Only kiss someone if it feels very comfortable for you and you believe it will be very comfortable for the other person. If you’re not sure, wait. When you are older and the time is right you will know it, because there will be no nervousness to diminish the moment.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Media Censorship Over the past few decades tremendous media bias against traditional ideas has developed. University studies, and the media itself, have documented this on numerous occasions. Studies show that almost all adults are aware of this bias. Many high school students are assigned to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Those who have done so may consider the following in light if the world Bradbury predicted. Liberals are making ever-greater use of propaganda techniques to promote their agendas and to restrict what conservatives can say or think. Consider the most fundamental aspect of the three most controversial subjects in sexuality—abortion, contraception, and homosexuality—and how the media censors the traditional viewpoint on each in the most extreme way. 1) Abortion: We have already discussed how our society disregards the misery couples go through when they are trying to decide if the woman should have an abortion. With a million and a half abortions done every year you would think that somewhere there would be public acknowledgement of this misery, but in fact there is none. All of the grief and despair and frustration and heartache that people go through related to abortion is hidden. The blackout on abortion reaches into every avenue of art. One might wonder why mainstream artists who are so intent on plumbing the depths of the human heart never create songs, movies, TV shows, or other works that address the anguish millions of women and men have over whether or not to abort their baby. Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, it is evident that the millions of people who have gone through the abortion experience are in distress. Why don’t any mainstream artists sing about it? Why are none of these so-called “freethinkers,” those who are supposedly willing to challenge established ideas, so utterly unable to sing about this, write about it, or produce shows about it? It is amazing to consider the grip that liberals have over so many aspects of our culture’s information outlets and artists.

More Issues for Teens


Beyond this, the most fundamental aspect of this procedure, the killing a developing human, is also totally concealed. Despite the 40,000 abortions done every day in this country one never sees a picture of an aborted human embryo in any newspaper, magazine, TV show, or movie produced by the major media. The public is shown every other kind of violence and vulgarity. Every other kind of surgery can be found at all hours on TV. They offer a steady stream of anything and everything related to death, violence and medical science on the daily evening news. Yet they refuse to show an aborted human embryo, the result of one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Even more interesting is the standard claim that the baby is “just tissue.” If that were true, then why not end the controversy about abortion by simply ending the cover up? Why not just show the public the aborted “tissue” and then everyone could see how unreasonable pro-lifers are? The reason the liberal media doesn’t do this is because it isn’t just tissue. It is human life. The media do everything possible to conceal this truth from the public. 2) Contraception: As we have discussed, contraceptives, by their nature, foster unhealthy, unholy attitudes. They encourage promiscuity and compromises on respect, responsibility, commitment, selfrestraint—in short, on love—and so they are against God’s will. To everyone with whom I speak, liberal or conservative, these facts are self-evident. When patients ask me why I stopped prescribing contraceptives and I start to explain, they frequently cut me off, not to disagree, but to agree. It is not a difficult concept. One need not be a rocket theologian. Yet I have reviewed hundreds of medical journal articles and newspaper and magazine articles on contraceptives and have never seen these simple truths mentioned in any of them. Complete censorship. Complete blackout. 3) Homosexuality The homosexual act is, by every argument, biologically unnatural, medically unhealthy, and reasonably considered against the dignity of the human person. It is, therefore, logical to


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents consider it a sexual deviation or perversion. But again, this primary aspect is totally censored by the media. An examination of the Los Angeles Times online archives over ten years (19902000) disclosed about 1000 articles on the subject of homosexuality. Not one addressed the most fundamental concern: anal sex. The closest the Times came in a decade of articles was to mention the obvious connection between the homosexual “lifestyle” with HIV disease. Again, complete censorship of the most obvious truth about homosexuality: that the “homosexual act” is disordered.

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them that fear Him. He hath shewed might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, Abraham and His seed forever.

Lesson 18 The Good Dog and The Bad Dog

¾ Say a prayer before the lesson. At a large gathering of Confirmation students, the speaker told the story of an old Indian man who was very much at peace. He was widely admired and his opinion was widely sought after. When asked about the secret of life and how he had achieved such inner peace he thought for a long moment. Finally he said that what he had found over the years was that he had two dogs inside of him—one good and one bad—and that these two dogs are always fighting each other. The questioner asked: “With such a constant internal conflict, how are you able to be at peace?” The wise old man said that the secret to life, the secret to maintaining inner peace, was to learn how to feed the good dog and starve the bad dog. In Catholic terms this is the battle each of us has with original sin. Our challenge is to feed our souls with as many graces as possible, and starve our soul of evil influences. How do you feed the good dog? How do you feed your soul? The speaker recommended a two part strategy: 1) Pray at least five minutes each day 2) Go to Mass every Sunday. Now, I submit that this may be an adequate answer for small children but it is radically inadequate for teenagers. This is the kind of


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

deficient message I heard when I was a teenager. This is what it takes to be an OK Catholic—to reach a level of “OKedness.” If you follow these two simple steps, you will become a very solid lukewarm Catholic (and thereby risk spending eternity in the fires of Hell). This is the kind of teaching that led me and most of my friends to lose our faith when we were young. I don’t want to be accused of overwhelming you with my answer as to how to feed your good dog and starve your bad dog. But realize that if this is all you are willing to put into your faith it may die, like mine once did. One is reminded of the analogy that likens the Catholic Church to a banquet. The Church is a spiritual banquet to which each Catholic is invited. It is a feast that includes the most delectable appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, fruits, drinks, and desserts imaginable: the Bible, the sacraments, the saints, the Catechism, classic Catholic books, the Catholic calendar (holy days), prayers and devotions, etc. And there is this speaker, with this grand feast in front of hundreds of students, and he offers to serve them nothing more than bread and water. That is as sad as can be. Rather than letting the spiritual feast that the Church has to offer pass you by, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!” (Psalm 34:8) The following are suggestions of how to take advantage of Christ’s banquet and reach Level 4 happiness. Your spiritual life should be constant evolve. Take an interest in exploring new methods of prayer, spiritual exercises, and spiritual habits. Start by trying one or two of the recommendations and gradually broaden and revise your practice of the faith. If you do, you will find yourself on a lifelong journey that will draw you ever closer to Christ. How to Feed your Good Dog (if you want to live your life in the manner of a spiritual banquet): Consider the teaching that one’s spiritual life may be compared to the wheels of a car. The two front wheels are prayer and study. The rear wheels are fellowship and works. If one loses one of the back wheels the car drags its hindquarters, but if it loses one of the front wheels it goes right off the road. Prayer and study are the front wheels of our spiritual life. Catholics are frequently told to pray more, but we are rarely told to study more, and we need to do both. Too many

The Good Dog and the Bad Dog


Catholics reach adulthood without having studied their faith beyond a 3rd grade understanding, and they end up in ditches. We will discuss each of the four wheels in turn, beginning with the most important, prayer. Prayer: Your life should be a constant search for better ways to pray. • Establish regular times during the day when you talk to God. Common times are first thing in the morning, before each meal and at bedtime, when one traditionally performs an examination of conscience. • Start each day with at least one prayer. The Morning Offering can set the tone for the day. • Learn the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Apostles’ Creed and say them regularly. • Throughout the day when you need a little spiritual boost simply make the sign of the cross or say the short Jesus Prayer or another short prayer. The Jesus Prayer is at least 1000 years old and goes as follows: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The first part is derived from the response of St. Peter to the Lord’s question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:16) and the second part is from the words of the tax collector in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:13). Some monks over the centuries have said it hundreds or thousands of times each day as part of their daily routine. • Go to Mass every Sunday. Mass is the greatest prayer. • Go to Mass on at least some weekdays. • What about the other Sacrament that Mother Church offers us to gain precious graces on a regular basis? Go to Confession on a regular basis—at least once a month. Go once a week if you need to work on a predominant fault. Before going, review the seven deadly sins. Focus on pride since it is the greatest sin and underlies all the rest. Or you can review the Ten Commandments or another reliable list that will help prod your memory (there are many Confession guides available). When considering the Ten Commandments think about the many ways in which one can break the first commandment.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

• •

Consider the many false gods we have and how they relate to pride. The wise Catholic theologian Msgr. William Smith notes that the older he gets, the more he realizes the biggest problem we all face is the first commandment. As children we think more along the lines of Thou shalt not kill, steal or lie. As we get older we come to appreciate the difficult task of avoiding false gods: sex, food, alcohol, drugs, money, power, sports, games, entertainment, etc. Pray to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. As with Jesus, she is always there for you and she is a sure channel to her Son. Bear in mind the great love and obedience Jesus himself showed to Mary at the wedding in Cana. Jesus indicated that perhaps his time had not yet come and yet she said to the others: “Do whatever He tells you,” and He performed his first miracle. The relationship between Jesus and His Blessed Mother is a profound mystery, but because of the special place He has in his Sacred Heart for her we, too, should hold her dear. Pray the Memorare, the Magnificat, a rosary, a decade of the rosary, or some other devotional prayer to Mary on a regular basis. Read religious/sacred material regularly, especially the Bible or Bible meditations. Investigate novenas and litanies. These are powerful prayers that are a true treasure—another great part of the banquet that is the Church. There are too many to describe here but you can find out all about them on the Internet or in books about them. Practice mortification (self-denial) on a regular daily basis, at least in small ways. Mortification is the creation of small or large sufferings that you bring upon yourself to detach yourself from this world, thereby making it easier to draw closer to the Lord when he asks you to do something difficult. It helps us in “letting go of the unnecessary so as to concentrate on the necessary.” Mortification along with prayer and almsgiving (charitable donation of money, time, or gifts to those in need) are the three traditional disciplines which allow us to re-center ourselves. Sadly, most people have never

The Good Dog and the Bad Dog


even heard the word mortification in our “progressive” society, which disregards anything not geared toward comfort, convenience and instant gratification. Mortification can come in many forms. For example, one can deny oneself a physical pleasure (restrict oneself from food, drink, a TV program, or from buying something) or make some task less comfortable or less convenient. Mortification is part of the earliest Christian tradition and you should plan on performing at least one act of mortification every day. It can be eating a food you know is good for you but that you don’t like, drinking water when you would rather drink something else, wearing something that is uncomfortable, getting out of bed earlier than you are used to or choosing not to use the alarm’s “snooze” button. It can be doing a chore you have been putting off. Every act of mortification must be tied to prayer for us to gain graces from it. Beware that mortification for its own sake can lead to problems such as false pride. Display sacramentals (the crucifix, statues, religious art, etc.) that remind you to pray.

Study: • Read, study and refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. • Read Catholic Church documents such as apostolic constitutions, encyclicals and apostolic exhortations. They are a “gold mine” of information about the Church. All high school graduates should have a familiarity with at least three of these Church documents. The following are a few recent Church documents that may help to get you started: The Splendor of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor), The Redeemer of Man (Redemptor Hominis), Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio), Of Human Life ( Humanae Vitae), Chastity in Marriage (Casti Connubii ), The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (Familiaris Consortio), On the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Life of the Pilgrim Church (Redemptoris Mater), Some False


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

• •

• • • • •

Opinions which Threaten to Undermine Catholic Doctrine (Humani Generis), The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (from the Pontifical Council for the Family), NonDiscrimination Against Homosexual Persons (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). These are all available online at the Vatican website ( or through the Daughters of St. Paul/Pauline Press. Study devotions to Mary. Learn about Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, the various scapulars, etc. Read about the saints. These people made it! They learned how to feed the right dog. Find out how they did it. Be warned, however, that there are many “candy coated” versions of the saints’ lives which are not too helpful. These versions suggest that the saints were born saints and led perfectly holy lives. The truth is that every saint was born with original sin, like everyone else. Each saint sinned and struggled to remain pure. Information about them that reveals their inner struggle is the most useful. Catholics celebrate a different saint’s feast each day of the year. Learn to keep track of, pray to, and study the saint of the day. Read about and study the 33 Doctors of the Church . . . the greatest minds that the Church has produced! Read good Catholic literature, for example: St. Frances De Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life Jean-Baptiste Chautard’s The Soul of the Apostolate Study the virtues, the traits we admire most. Familiarize yourself with the four cardinal virtues and study how they relate to the other virtues.

The Good Dog and the Bad Dog • • •

• •


Watch Catholic TV programs (especially EWTN) if you have them available. Use a good Catholic encyclopedia (New Advent is a good online Catholic encyclopedia) to answer questions and to research topics. Keep connected with Catholic organizations online or otherwise, to keep you informed about good Catholic resources. The best resources can usually be identified by their attitude toward the pope. The more they radiate joyful submission to him the more likely that they are reliable. Go to talks about your faith given by trustworthy sources. Read Catholic news and literature (books, magazines, newspapers) that are faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Works or Almsgiving: Along with daily prayer and daily mortifications you should plan on doing some planned or unplanned good deed every day. Almsgiving means not only giving until it hurts but also taking responsibility for others’ welfare. The works of mercy are as follows. Consider how you can apply each of them in your daily life. Corporal (related to the body) works of mercy: 1) Feeding the hungry 2) Giving drink to the thirsty 3) Clothing the naked 4) Sheltering the homeless 5) Visiting the sick and imprisoned 6) Ransoming the captive 7) Burying the dead Spiritual works of mercy: 1) Instructing the ignorant 2) Correcting sinners 3) Advising the doubtful 4) Bearing wrongs patiently 5) Showing patience to sinners and those in error


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents 6) Forgiving others 7) Comforting the afflicted and praying for the living and dead

Even smiling, or just being polite or pleasant when you don’t feel like it are important works of charity. Fellowship: Connect with fellow Catholics and people who are good influences on you help you achieve Level 4 happiness. This can be through parish-based groups, pro-life or other activist groups, social justice groups, religious education groups, evangelization ministries, online groups, etc. Remember, this is an incomplete list of how Catholics can feed their good dog. There are many more ways. That is why the Church is a “banquet.” During the last 2000 years the Church has found innumerable ways to bring grace into our lives. We should be most thankful for our wonderful Mother Church! How to Starve your Bad Dog: Because of original sin, the human condition is one in which we are all frequently invited to feed our bad dog. Fortunately, during the majority of our waking hours (when we are busy with work or study or with the everyday chores of life) we have little inclination or temptation to sin. But there are moments of each day when we are vulnerable to temptation. It is at those times when we are confronted with deciding whether we will live as we should. At these times we can consciously focus our minds on goodness, cleaving to Christ, or we can feed our bad dog. These moments of temptation happen every day of our lives, sometimes in familiar circumstances and sometimes as new challenges. They determine whether we are a true soldier of Christ and want to experience the best that life has to offer, or whether we will reject Him. These moments can happen any time, but most commonly occur during times of stress (when we are bored, lonely, tired, irritable, or anxious). We must be ever vigilant to temptation. There is no rest from this vigilance until we breathe our last breath.

The Good Dog and the Bad Dog


When these moments of challenge occur, we are often tempted to yield in the manner of our predominant fault. Some common predominant faults are: • • • • •

Thinking lustful thoughts Eating when one isn’t hungry Buying things one doesn’t need, just because one is bored, sad or angry. Excessive gambling or other similar unproductive activities on the Internet or elsewhere Drinking too much alcohol

Here are some suggestions on how to keep from feeding the bad dog with sexual impurity. • Don’t break the Ten Commandments. Consider how each one uniquely challenges you. For example, “Thou shalt not kill” includes thou shalt not drive wildly, and thou shalt not have an abortion or in any way encourage another to have one. • Avoid people who lead you toward darkness, including potential dates with whom you may be drawn to sin. Keep in mind the expression: “If you lay down with dogs, you may get up with fleas.” As some of our favorite nuns used to say, choose friends who are better than yourself. • Avoid spiritually unhealthy entertainment. Avoid movies that present deceitful messages about sexuality, including those that imply that premarital sex expresses love, or that diminish the notion of the nuclear family (the heart of every culture). As John Paul II wrote: “Since the Creator of all things has established the marriage partnership as the beginning and basis of human society,” the family is “the first and vital cell of society.” The great Chinese philosopher, Confucius (5th Century BC) had the same idea. He wrote: “When the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated; when the personal life is cultivated, then the family life is regulated; when the family life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; and when the national life is orderly, then there is peace in this world. From


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

• • • •

the emperor down to the common man, all must regard the cultivation of the personal life as the root or foundation.” Most modern movies portray individual freedom as a higher priority than family life. Liberal film producers promote an unrestrained lifestyle and make movies that attempt to popularize anything that reduces personal constraints or family obligations. Divorce, people living together in all various arrangements no matter how strange, premarital sex, and immodesty, are generally treated as normal parts of life. Don’t read magazines that emphasize immodest fashions, have lowbrow humor, or discuss immoral activities uncritically. Don’t watch television shows, listen to radio shows, read books, or go to websites that glamorize vulgarity or violence or have degrading material. Log off the Internet and walk away from the computer if you are tempted to look at material that you know is evil, disrespectful or degrading. Avoid music that is ill-mannered, demeaning, or disheartening.

In this, always let St. Paul’s words from Philippians (4:8) be your guide: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. These many suggestions as to how to feed your good dog and starve your bad dog may seem overwhelming. The Catholic Church, the banquet, is often seen as too demanding, too overbearing, too rigid, too overwhelming. Please bear in mind that the bottom line on any list comes down to only one directive. Of everything the Catholic Church might represent to you it should all come down to this: the Church wants each and every person to strive to improve himself or herself every day. The Church wants us to make an effort, each day to

The Good Dog and the Bad Dog


live better—to be more kind, more caring, more loving—to follow our prior suggestion: to be more normal, natural, healthy and holy. The Church is well aware that none of us will ever be able to perfectly love God or our neighbor. What it asks is that we never stop trying to reach that pinnacle—that we never stop trying to be closer to Christ, to develop a healthy obsession with Him. If you just want to be OK, if you are willing to succumb to the I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome, if you are willing only to live a half-hearted life, and to enjoy only a small portion of what life has to offer, then only feed your good dog a little bit and he will keep getting beaten up by the bad dog. Limit yourself to Sunday Mass and five minutes of prayer each day and do what you can to stay out of ditches. But if you want to accept the human condition, which is to strive to be great as only humans can—if you believe that you can always improve, especially in matters of holiness, love, virtue and character (the areas that matter most) then strive always to refine the methods you use to feed your good dog and starve your bad dog. Remember that the reason we want to be more than OK, the reason we want to have our good dog really take it to our bad dog, is because we want to experience in our lives as much as possible the most sublime kind of pleasure, the pleasure that comes from fulfilling our most basic call to be children of God. Following this call is often difficult. This is why the Roman Catholic Church is widely ridiculed. Many people do not want to follow the challenging path that God has created for us in this life. Many people are caught up in the fantasies that heaven can happen on earth and that life should be easy. If you follow the call the Church lays out for you, you will find that others “revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil falsely against you” for the Bible has told us this will be true (Matthew 5:11). But always be proud (in the good sense of the word) of your faith. The Catholic Church is the foremost institution in the world throughout history that has reached out to the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the uneducated, the imprisoned, the dying, the sorrowful. More than any other institution by far our Church has followed the challenge of our Lord that “whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me” (Matthew 25:34-40). There have been thousands of Catholic ministries, from schools to hospitals, from


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

homes for the elderly and the mentally disabled to hospices, from orphanages to leper colonies, from disaster relief to social services and shelters for widows, battered women, pregnant teenagers and on and on, in every part of the world for nearly two thousand years. This is a church to be proud of. No other institution of any kind has anything close to our Catholic heritage. A last thought for young Catholics to keep in mind with pride as they follow this call: throughout history there have been hundreds or thousands of people at any one time who have been willing to be imprisoned or die for their faith. We hear most about this today regarding priests and bishops in China but it is a story that never ends. Again, no other institution in history can say this. Remember always to pray for these holy people, and to the martyrs throughout history, and reflect with pride and wonderment about what a blessing it is to be part of the same Church that produces in every generation, among the young and the old, so many amazing soldiers for Jesus Christ.


Dr. Wetzel’s Top 10 Ideas for a Chaste Family Life For Wives and Husbands: 9 Consciously strive for holiness and chastity in your own lives. 9 Demonstrate to your children a passion for a healthy, holy marriage. Grow ever more intimate: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Do not accept having an OK marriage. Strive always for a great marriage. 9 If you desire to achieve or avoid pregnancy, use only natural methods of family planning. For Husbands: 9 Get all forms of pornography out of your home and life. 9 Train yourself not to gawk at other women. (But it is okay, in private, to stare at the wife.) 9 Never climax unless it is in a genital-genital marital embrace. For Wives: 9 Dress modestly. 9 Do not overdress or go to extremes to look good. Do what you can within reason with what God has given you. 9 Do not perform sexual acts that are demeaning or that make you feel uncomfortable. For Everyone: 9 Pray regularly and study the faith. Prayer Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come!

End of Course

Test Questions for

Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents True or False Questions: 1. The “Language of the Body” refers to tattoos written on various body parts. 2. Couples who have sex before marriage are more likely to get divorced. 3. The Roman Catholic Church wants each person to have a healthy obsession with Jesus Christ. All of its teachings about sexuality come back to this basic aim. 4. A person may have many sexually transmitted diseases, and be able to infect others, without knowing it. 5.

If you marry Mr. or Mrs. Right you will always be happy.

6. Men really do need sex and so girlfriends should have sex with their boyfriends as early in the relationship as possible. 7. Pornography is based on lies and distortions and so creates a warped view of the gift of sexuality. 8. Catholic Church teaching is not so much a list of “thou shalt nots” as it is an invitation to experience the best that life has to offer, walking in the path laid down by our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

9. Uganda is the only African country to actively promote abstinence before marriage as a response to the HIV epidemic, and it is the only African country to have greatly reduced the spread of the HIV virus in its population. 10. Contraceptives relationships.






11. Married couples who use natural family planning are far less likely to get divorced than those who use contraceptives. 12. The Theology of the Body is a teaching which opposes Catholic morality. 13. When it comes to sexual morality the most important point is that your morality is yours and mine is mine. 14. Pro-choice political views that push women to rush into an abortion without delay and that discourage giving women basic information about abortions or showing the woman what she is aborting are excellent ideas based on sound psychology. 15. You should kiss your date even when you feel nervous and tense, if you think it is the right thing to do. 16. In some circumstances, condoms offer no protection from STDs. 17. Because most teenagers are so clever they can watch vulgar or degrading entertainment without it having any harmful effect on them. 18. Homosexuality is primarily a genetic illness. It is caused by a defect in the chromosomes. 19. It is okay to judge a person but we should never judge a person’s behavior. 20. According to this course, the I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome is deadly to your spiritual life.

Test Questions


21. Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, the sexual abuse scandal among Catholic priests was mostly one of homosexuality, not pedophilia. 22. The idea that men need sex is at the heart of addictive attitudes about it. 23. There are no negative medical, psychological or spiritual consequences to virginity (not having sexual before marriage). 24. Natural family planning is a morally acceptable way for a couple, for serious reasons, to limit the size of their family, but NFP can be misused. 25. The treatment of infertility usually involves serious risks and uncertainties. One way for prospective parents to decide which treatments to use is to consider who takes the greatest risks with each type of treatment, and making sure that it is the parents, not the baby(ies). 26. Natural Law teaches that if you study plant life very carefully you will come to a deep understanding of morality. 27. The Twelve Steps of the many Twelve-Step programs, such as Alcoholic Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Homosexuals Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous, are based primarily on the Catholic sacrament of Confession. 28. The seven levels of sexual functioning described in this course are derived from ancient writings from the Orient. 29. The term “gay” when referring to homosexuals has many deep, mysterious implications and should always be used in place of the term “homosexual.” 30. The average homosexual is much more promiscuous than the average heterosexual. 31. Liberal media bias is clearly evident in the manner in which newspapers and TV news shows treat homosexuality, abortion and contraception.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

32. The third Level of Happiness is to feel good, for example, eating a candy bar. 33. Contraceptives and sterilization procedures never fail. 34. Alcohol is rarely associated with rape. 35. Implantation is when an unfertilized egg cell implants into the uterine wall. 36. Legalizing abortion led to a dramatic decline in the number of deaths of women from abortion. 37. Husbands who have developed healthy attitudes about sexuality get to share a home with the most beautiful woman on earth. 38. Premarital sex (having sex before marriage) is hypocritical because the two people don’t really mean what they say to each other through their bodies. 39. Through a Catholic marriage, parents and children receive sacramental graces. 40. There is a limit to God’s mercy. Even if you are truly repentant there are only so many times He will forgive you. 41. News media reports that declare Post Abortion Syndrome to be rare are examples of accurate, fair and unbiased reporting. 42. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that love is “willing the good of another” or wanting the best for someone else. 43. When women wear immodest outfits it has no effect on men’s attitudes toward them. 44. Where there is true love there is never a possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. 45. When unmarried teenagers have sex it can be a sign of intelligence, wisdom and holiness. 46. Premarital sex is acceptable if the couple really loves each other.

Test Questions


47. Premarital sex helps a couple to evaluate their compatibility before they commit to marriage. 48. HIV disease is a horrible, often deadly infection, but political pressure by activists has prevented our government from effectively containing the HIV epidemic. Thousands have died as a result. 49. Sex, alcohol, food, money, gambling, work, and power are examples of false gods. 50. Before 1930, people were too stupid to understand the tremendous benefits of contraception. 51. Teenagers cannot love each other and themselves enough to save sex until marriage. 52. Females intuitively have a better understanding of the risks of premarital sex because they are the ones who have to bear the greater burden of suffering when those risks become manifest. 53. The Sexual Revolution began in the 1840s. 54. Catholic families should not adopt orphans unless they are wealthy, infertile live in areas with outstanding school systems. 55. STDs are usually easy to diagnose and treat.


The Sexual Revolution promised to give people greater freedom and joy in their sex lives but has unleashed a monster of disease, death, mental disorders, illegitimacy, degradation through pornographic entertainment, social anarchy, hostility between the sexes, escalating divorce rates, spiritual darkness, etc. Most people are rightly ambivalent about the transformation our nation has just experienced. We needed a Sexual Revolution but got the wrong one. We got the one based on lies, freedom and pleasure, but needed the one based on truth, purity and love. The misguided approaches of the past have been, in large measure, replaced with worse ones. If this course has impressed you with anything, it should be that we live in a culture with remarkably mistaken attitudes about the tremendous gift of human sexuality. All people can choose to have a sex life that is one positive, holy and healthy experience after another, though achieving that is often a long and difficult road. Please see the following certificate.

Certificate of Completion This is to certify that ___________________ has successfully completed Sexual Wisdom for Catholic

Adolescents, a comprehensive Human Sexuality course on the _____ day of ___________ in the year ________. With satisfactory completion of this course this person is now duly certified as a member of the special ranks of the Church militant, who is enlisted to fight for sexual morality on all fronts. It is a battle that may be the most pressing of our age and which is always fought first on the battleground of our own hearts. St. Philomena, pray for us!

Appendix A A Brief Guide for What Fathers (if possible) Should Discuss with 10-11 Year-Old Boys

Erection - A normal event - May occur at odd times. - We should not touch ourselves unnecessarily in private areas. Nocturnal emissions: a natural, normal event Don’t make jokes or use words that make fun of women or people’s private parts. If others do so, change the subject or walk away. Do not discuss private things with groups of boys. Most boys do not know how to speak appropriately about things that God deems holy and private. Three Rules for Young Men to Help Train Them to Have Custody or Modesty of the Eyes: 1. Don’t look at a woman who is looking at you so long that it makes her feel uncomfortable. 2. Don’t look at a woman who is not looking at you so long that it would make her feel uncomfortable if she were looking at you. In other words, don’t stare at a woman even if she is not aware that you are staring at her. 3. Don’t look at a picture or video of woman so long that it would make her feel uncomfortable if she were really present and were looking back at you. In other words, don’t stare at women in pictures or videos beyond a few seconds.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Pope John Paul II always emphasized the dignity of each person. Boys and men must train themselves to look at the whole person. Our skewed culture encourages men to look at women as mere objects or creatures, and to emphasize a woman’s appearance over all else. The more a man does this the more he tends to think disrespectfully and unnaturally and the deeper the hole he digs for himself. • •

Pray for help in these areas from Jesus and your spiritual mother, Mary. Remember that others may tease you or be angry with you when you try to be good. Our Lord has said that this will be so. When we suffer in His name, when we suffer for the sake of goodness, we gain grace.

Appendix B A Brief Guide for What Fathers (if possible) Should Discuss with 12-13 Year-Old Boys

Puberty: a time of tremendous hormone changes. It affects the whole body. • Hair everywhere: armpits, private area, beard. • Body odor • Acne • Dandruff • Voice change • Eat and sleep more during growth spurts. • Moody/irritable/just don’t feel happy/may be more difficult to focus on studies: especially when 13-14 years old. Modest Dress: I include this here to balance the comments on modesty for girls. Parents should use their judgment as to whether and when this is worth discussing. There are no universally accepted standards for modesty. We list some here for consideration. • No underwear showing • No sleeveless shirts • No displaying the bare chest • Shorts should be long enough to reach at least the middle of the thigh


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Review the Ten Commandments: 1. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before Me. 2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. 4. Honor your father and your mother. 5. You shall not kill. 6. You shall not commit adultery 7. You shall not steal. 8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. 10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods. Notice that the first three tell us specifically how to honor God and the fourth tells us to honor our parents. Three of the commandments cover the basics: don’t lie, steal or kill. Of the remaining, two deal with the sexual appetite. In other words, sexual purity has been a very big issue with God from the beginning. In the modern era males have some unique challenges toward this end. First, beauty products along with cosmetic surgery have made it possible for women to look more beautiful than ever before. On the other hand, with all the extra choices women have today regarding their appearance, those with poor taste are often far less attractive than they would be otherwise. Second, women wear more provocative clothes than ever before. Third, photography has put gawking into a whole different light: only since the advent of photography have men been able to stare at women without immediate social reproach. (A photograph does not care how long a person looks at it.) Also, since photographs can now be easily transmitted through print and Internet capabilities, images of beautiful women are far more widespread. Therefore, to be sexually pure in the modern environment is a greater challenge than ever so we must be ever vigilant, while not being overly critical of our mistakes.

Appendix B


The struggle for purity has been called “Everyman’s Battle.” It is very common for men, especially, to struggle with it. No one is perfect and for many men sexual sin becomes a predominant fault. In this we might well remember the word of St. Padre Pio: “Learn to hate your faults, but hate them calmly.” When it comes to sexual temptation, a person has three options. The first two are the options the world offers. The third is the right choice. 1. Give in to sexual temptation. This is hedonism. 2. Reject all sensual pleasures. This is prudery. 3. See all sensual pleasures as from the eyes of God. Realize that all sensual pleasures must submit to a higher order—to the natural order wherein Christ’s will, love, and morality come first. There are rules to follow about sexual feelings or desires that you experience. The idea of rules relating to sexuality reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity: Morality raises in a good many people’s minds: something that interferes, something that stops you having a good time. In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of that machine. That is why theses rules are first seen to be constantly interfering with our natural inclinations. When you are being taught how to use any machine, the instructor keeps on saying, “No, don't do it like that,” because, of course, there are all sorts of things that look all right and seem to you the natural way of treating the machine, but do not really work. •

Review the three rules regarding the custody of the eyes from the 10-year-old talk.

Every young man must be aware that sometime during his teen years he is going to see a woman whose beauty is beyond what he


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

thought possible. This is the way men are built. All men eventually develop strong sexual urges from which they must restrain themselves. This can be hard, very hard. Fortunately, when we suffer to avoid sin, that very sense of suffering tells us that we are doing the will of God—we are walking in the steps that He laid down for us— and so in a sense we can rejoice in that suffering. It is the person who gives in to temptations, who does not suffer for God, who ultimately will experience the profound unhappiness and inner discord that accompanies sin. •

Boys at this age are at risk for forming sinful attitudes about immodest women. Prior to this, what they see may seem silly or gross, but at this age they can feel the strong lust of an adult. It is important that they develop good mental habits about sexuality to prevent future serious problems. Chastity of the eyes, “bouncing” the eyes: This is what one must train oneself to do when one sees a pretty but immodestly attired woman. The advantage goes to the one who can learn to bounce the eyes away from the woman and keep them away.

It seems such a small sin to gawk at a picture of a beautiful woman, but such stares lead to a greedy yearning for more and more, and there are legions of men who can attest to the frustration and despair that unrestrained greed leads to. This is one of the areas in life in which small sins quite readily lead to larger ones.

Appendix C A Brief Guide for What Mothers (if possible) Should Discuss with Teenage Girls Before the First Menstrual Period (usually 12-13 years old)

Puberty: a time of tremendous hormone changes. It affects the whole body. • Hair everywhere: armpits, private area. • Body odor • Acne • Dandruff • Eat and sleep more during growth spurts. • Moody/irritable/just do not feel happy/may be more difficult to focus on studies: especially when 13-14 years old. Modest Dress: There are no universally accepted standards for modesty. We list some here for consideration. These generally apply to girls after the age of nine. • Skirts should not be higher than the knee when standing • Skirts should not have slits that come above the knee. • No sleeveless outfits. • The neckline should not be much below the collarbone. • Avoid tight-fitting clothes, especially those which accentuate the breasts or caboose.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents • • • •

No see-through clothing No bare midriff No visible undergarments Shorts should be long enough to reach at least the middle of the thigh

Menstrual period: a normal, natural event that usually occurs about once a month and last from 2-7 days. •

• • •

“Periods” are often accompanied by crampy lower abdominal pain (“cramps”) that usually last 2-3 days. o The most effective over-the-counter medications are antiinflammatories such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), and naproxen (Aleve). These are more effective if taken at the first sign of cramps and should always be taken with food. Tylenol helps some women. o Some women find relief by applying a heating pad or hot water bottle against the lower abdomen, or by taking a warm bath. Bleeding may be irregular, especially for the first few years. Some women become irritable before the start of their period. Discuss types of feminine protection and how to use: pads and tampons. o Discuss the need to keep some feminine pads handy for unexpected bleeding. o Need to be sure to change tampons often and remove the last one promptly. If forgotten, and left inside the woman, they can cause an infection which may be serious and which will usually first manifest itself as a very odorous vaginal discharge.

Appendix D A Very Brief Note About Discussing Homosexuality with 14-Year-Olds

Homosexuality is probably the strangest subject in the area of sexuality. Since the issue is constantly at the forefront in our culture, it is impossible to keep children from hearing about it. No matter how sheltered the student is, we recommend discussing the basics of the issue by the age of 14. The discussion need not be long. •

Some people, due to problems in their life, can develop very unnatural ideas about sexuality including an attraction for people of the same sex. This condition is called homosexuality and it affects men much more commonly than women. Tell the student that you will discuss the issue fully when they are older but that they should know that people like this exist, that they are confused due to mental problems, and that we should pray for them. Tell the student that a lot of people use the word “gay” when they are referring to homosexuals, and that some people use derogatory words about homosexuals that are hurtful and unkind.

Answers to Test Questions: 1: F, 2: T, 3: T, 4: T, 5: F 6: F, 7: T, 8: T, 9: T, 10: F 11: T, 12: F, 13: F, 14: F, 15: F 16: T, 17: F, 18: F, 19: F, 20: T 21: T, 22: T, 23: T, 24: T, 25: T 26: F, 27: T, 28: F, 29: F, 30: T 31: T, 32: F, 33: F, 34: F, 35: F 36: F, 37: T, 38: T, 39: T, 40: F 41: F, 42: T, 43: F, 44: T, 45: F 46: F, 47: F, 48: T, 49: T, 50: F 51: F, 52: T, 53: F, 54: F, 55: F


Definitions marked * are quoted from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, 1994. abortion. The intentional killing of a human embryo or fetus. This may be done through surgical or chemical means. “Spontaneous abortion” is the medical term for miscarriage, in which case the developing embryo or fetus dies spontaneously within the womb, without artificial, external influence. Spontaneous abortions often occur in association with birth defects, abnormalities of the uterus, and maternal illnesses. abortifacient. A device or hormone, often considered a “contraceptive,” but which has as its primary mechanism of action killing of a developing embryo, not creating a barrier to fertilization. addiction. A habitual behavior primarily used to reduce, avoid, or escape stress, which entails likely subsequent, serious harm to the addict and/or others. adultery. When a married person has sex with someone who is not his or her spouse. AIDS. The Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The last stage of HIV infection in which the patent develops unusual infections and cancers. arousal. A state of excitement or stimulation. barrier methods of contraception. Methods of contraception which prevent sperm from coming into contact with an egg, for example, condom, diaphragm, and cervical cap. bestiality. A sexual abnormality in which one performs sexual acts with animals.


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

bisexual. A person whose gender orientation is roughly equal toward males and females. birth control pill. “The Pill.” A potent steroid hormone which artificially regulates a woman’s menstrual cycles and which is commonly prescribed for use as a contraceptive. Its primary mode of action is to reduce the likelihood of conception but it can also act to abort a developing embryo. celibate. One who makes a commitment to never having sex, such as a priest or nun. cervix. The lowest part of the uterus (womb). A common location for cancer to develop. circumcision. A minor surgical procedure wherein a redundant flap of skin that covers the tip of the penis is cut off. codependency. *“A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin).” conception. The union of sperm and egg which occurs in the fallopian tube approximately one week after ovulation. This union forms the one-celled zygote. consent. Agree or permit. contraceptives. Medications or devices used to prevent the union of egg and sperm. dysfunctional. Unhealthy, abnormal, or otherwise impaired. ectopic or tubal pregnancy. The condition which occurs when an embryo becomes lodged in the fallopian tube as it travels toward the uterus. Such embryos eventually die and may threaten the life of the mother by causing internal bleeding. embryo. What the developing human person is called from conception through the second month of life. encyclical. A Catholic Church document written by the pope which is meant for widespread circulation. It is highly authoritative, second only to apostolic constitutions as authoritative writings of the pope. exhibitionism. A sexual abnormality in which one habitually seeks sexual gratification from publically displaying one’s own private body parts. extramarital sex. Sexual intercourse between a married person and



someone other than his or her spouse. fallopian tube. *“Either of the pair of tubes conducting the egg from the ovary to the uterus.” fertile. Capable of reproducing. Fertility Awareness. A method by which a couple achieves greater awareness of the woman’s natural, biological rhythms and uses this knowledge to attempt to achieve or avoid pregnancy. fertility rate. Birth rate. The number of births per one thousand women per year. fertility regulation. Any attempt to increase or decrease a sexually active couple’s chances of reproducing. fertilization. See “conception.” fetish. A sexual abnormality in which one habitually seeks sexual gratification from the use of inanimate objects. fetus. What the developing human person inside the uterus is called during the period from the end of the second month of life until birth. frustration. Disappointment or dissatisfaction arising from unfulfilled desires. gay. A synonym for “homosexual” which supposedly connotes other characteristics, the specifics of which no one can agree. genitals. The sex organs. The penis and the vagina. heterosexual. A person whose predominant gender orientation is toward the opposite sex. HIV. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus that causes HIV disease and AIDS. holistic (approach to sex). To view sexuality in the greater sense as it relates to each person as a whole or each couple as a unit; in contrast to arbitrarily distinguishing between genital and nongenital sexual interactions, isolating a person’s sexuality from himself or herself, or isolating a couple’s sexuality from the totality of their relationship. homophobia. *“Irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.” homosexual. A person whose predominant gender orientation is toward the same sex. Illegitimate child. A baby born to a couple who are not married. Implantation. The attachment of a developing embryo to the uterine


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

wall. The placenta develops at this site of attachment. infertility. The inability to get pregnant I.U.D. Intrauterine device. A form of birth control. Most I.U.D.s work primarily by inhibiting implantation of the developing embryo onto the wall of the uterus and thereby causing an abortion. lust. Disordered sexual desire. masturbation. Sexual self-stimulation of the genitals. matrimony. The joining of a man and woman through marriage. menstruation. The monthly evacuation of the inner lining of the uterus following the demise of the unfertilized ovum (egg). Often associated with uncomfortable, lower abdominal cramps. mental. Relating to the mind. “Mental problems” include depression and anxiety problems. method failure rates. As applied to efforts to avoid pregnancy, the optimal estimated failure rate that may be achieved by a method of fertility regulation under ideal conditions. It is an unrealistic expectation when considering any population of imperfect humans. miscarriage. The event of a baby dying inside the womb from natural causes. modesty. The moral virtue which moderates how one dresses, moves and speaks so as to avoid undue attention to one’s sexual nature. An excess of modesty is prudishness, a lack of it is immodesty. morality. Of, or relating to, the goodness of behavior. Natural Family Planning. See “Fertility Awareness.” nidation. See “implantation.” nonsurgical. Not involving surgery. The desired therapeutic effect is brought about without resorting to surgery, for example, through medications alone. nuclear family. The institution which consists of a father, mother and their children. nuptial. Of or relating to marriage or the marriage ceremony. objective. *“reality independent of the mind.” oral contraceptive. See “birth control pill.” ovum. *“The female gamete;” an egg prior to fertilization (conception). ovulation. The release of the ovum (egg) from the ovary. PAP smear. A screening test for cancer of the cervix that is



performed during a gynecological exam. A sample of cervical cells is obtained using a swab or small spatula or brush, and is then sent to the laboratory for evaluation. pedophilia. A sexual abnormality in which an adult performs sexual acts with children. pelvic inflammatory disease. An infection of the fallopian tubes in the female. It is always considered to be sexually transmitted and is most commonly caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. PID. See “pelvic inflammatory disease.” “The Pill.” See “birth control pill.” Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A private national organization which actively promotes access to abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sex education. Planned Parenthood has over 100 clinics which perform 134,000 abortions annually making it the foremost provider of abortion services in the United States. (See: Planned Parenthood Federation of America 1993-1994 Annual Report [New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 1994]). It receives large sums of money from the United States government and from many national foundations and corporations. pornography. *“The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” Or, to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: “I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.” Post Abortion Syndrome. A constellation of symptoms that many women experience after an abortion including depression, nightmares, flashbacks, guilt, and “anniversary reactions.” pregnancy. The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus. premarital abstinence. The refraining from premarital sex. premarital sex. Sexual intercourse between two single people before they are married. procreate. To bring forth offspring, to have children. prostitute. A woman who engages in sexual acts for money. prostitution. The crime of engaging in sexual acts for money. psychosexual. Mental processes related to sex. psychosexual dysfunction. Unhealthy attitudes about sex. redemptive. Saving. religion. A faith, an institutionalized set of teachings, or ritualized


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

activities with which an individual affiliates because it or they most accurately reflect the individual’s understanding about the nature of God and humankind, and the relationship of the two to each other. replacement level. Average number of children that women in a population must have during their lifetimes to replace the number of people who die so as to keep the population level stable. screening tests for STDs. Tests used to identify patients who have a sexually transmitted disease despite not having symptoms of one. secondary virginity. The state of one who has previously engaged in premarital sex and resolves not to do so again. self esteem. One’s value of oneself. Self-confidence, self-respect, self-love. self-stimulation. See “masturbation.” semen. A mixture of sperm and secretions from the prostate which travels from the man’s penis into the woman’s vagina during orgasm. sexually transmitted disease. An infection or wart that is passed from one person to another through sexual acts. sexual masochism. A sexual abnormality in which one performs sexual activities which are intended to cause physical pain to oneself. Sexual Revolution. The current period of dramatic change in the attitudes and behaviors related to sex and family life which began in earnest in the 1960s. sexual sadism. A sexual abnormality in which one performs sexual activities which are intended to cause physical pain to others situational ethics. An ethical system which states that no act is objectively or certainly immoral, that the morality of all behaviors must be considered in the light of the circumstances involved. sperm. *“A male gamete.” As the egg is to the female, the sperm is to the male. Both contain half of the genetic material needed to create new life. Sperm are contained in semen. spiritual nature. An indomitable inner force that leads people to aspire to greatness, whether or not they ascribe to a particular religious belief system. It imparts an instinctual sense of purpose in life, of the existence of a transcendental realm, and thereby summons all persons to selflessness and to do good and avoid



evil. STD. A sexually transmitted disease. sterilization. A surgical procedure performed on a male or female for the purpose of making that person incapable of reproducing. subjective. *“characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind." symptom. *“Subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance.” theology. The study of God and religion. transsexual. *“A person with a psychological urge to belong to the opposite sex that may be carried to the point of undergoing surgery to modify the sex organs to mimic the opposite sex.” transvestite. *“A person, usually a male, who adopts the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite sex especially for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification.” ultrasound. Medical instrument which uses sound waves to image parts of the body or the developing baby inside the mother’s womb. VD. A venereal or sexually transmitted disease. virgin. *“A person who has not had sexual intercourse.” virtue. Good habits. Those character traits that are most admired and that lead to the most genuine freedom, love and self-fulfillment. The greatest virtue, the one toward which all others are directed, is charity or love. voyeurism. A sexual abnormality in which one habitually seeks sexual gratification from looking at sordid pictures, videos, or movies or at live people in states of undress or involved in sexual activity. vulgar. Indecent, low-brow, crude, obscene, poor taste. whore. A prostitute. zygote. The single-celled human organism formed by the union of sperm and egg. Through cell division the zygote becomes a human embryo and then a fetus.


A abortion grieving process and, 104–15 "Harder Truth" video about, 99 hiding consequences of, 168–169 mother's instinct and, 105 pressure to have, 102 rates of, 100 safety of, 101–102 state laws regarding, 101–102 techniques, 100–101 abstinence, 55, 56 addictions, 179 codependency and, 134–136 defined, 116 as false gods, 173 sexual degrees of, 116 help for, 116 and social problems, 23 Twelve Step Programs and, 156– 158 unhappiness and, 163 adoption, 108–109 homosexual, 108 Africa AIDS and HIV in, 56, 57 AIDS. See HIV and AIDS alcohol, 23, 27, 36, 37, 38, 116 codependency and, 134, 136 domestic violence and, 118 Needs Misconception and, 114 pornography and, 62 STDs and, 48 rape and, 118, 119

Alcoholics Anonymous, 156–158 almsgiving discipline of, 174 as a work of mercy, 177 anal intercourse (sex), 46, 54, 124– 127, 128, 144, 170 Anima Christi, The, 36 Apostles' Creed, 173 arousal. See sexual response cycle Augustine, Saint, 39, 96 Austen, Jane, 166

B beatitude (blessedness), 36 bestiality, 131 Bible, see individual books 7, 36, 68, 91, 96, 172, 174, 181 selected quotes, 5–7 Billings' Method, 82 birth, 5 birth control. See contraceptives bisexuality, 121 Bloom, Alan, 156 The Closing of the American Mind, 148 Bonnaci, Mary Beth, 28 "Broken Record" technique, 28

C cancer of the cervix, 5 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 7–9, 13, 68, 80, 172, 175 Catholic Church, 29, 32, 35, 91, 96, 97 authentic interpreter, 7


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

contraceptives and, 67–69, 82–86 historical view of, 180 as leaders in discussion of sexuality, 6 natural family planning, 91 ridiculed, 181 summary of teachings on sexuality, 12–14 celibacy, 13, 32, 111, 133 censorship, 169–170 cervical mucous method, 80 cervix, 5, 100 chastity, 14, 32, 42, 63, 75, 85, 96 how to practice, 63–64 Chautard, Jean-Baptiste, The Soul of the Apostolate, 142, 176 child abuse, 131 pornography and, 62, 65, 117 relationship to domestic violence, 117 child pornography, 62, 65 chlamydia, 49, 50 choosing a spouse, 33–34 Christ. see Jesus Christ Christianity, 14, 69, 80,175 mentality, 10, 11, 115, 136 chromosomes, 4, 71, 126, 127 circumcision, 5–6 climax(ing), 3 43–44, 45, 46, 47, 109, 113, 143 Code of Canon Law, 68 codependency, 134–136 conception, 4 condom, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57, 70, 72, 73, 90, 95, 125, 138, 144 Confucius, 179 consensual sex, 119 "contraception-abortion mentality", 73, 101 contraceptives, 22,40, 69, 76, 77, 83-84, 85, 86, 88, 89, 91, 115, 125, 143, 144. See also Sterilization attitudes and, 135 business of, 76, 93 and censorship, 169 failure rates of, 72

five aspects of love and, 73–75 legitimate use of, 77 main types of, 70–72 problems with teen use of, 77 "sacred cow" status of, 92 world overpopulation and, 78 1 Corinthians 1:13, 147 6:15-20, 7 courtship, 20, 167 Culture of Death, 96–97 custody of the eyes, 63

D date rape, 119 dating guidelines, 167 Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), 176 diaphragm, 72 domestic violence, 117, 118 drug abuse, 18, 23, 25, 26, 29, 36, 53, 116, 163, 172 HIV, STDs and, 47, 48, 52, 54, 55, 57 prostitution, pornography and, 17, 19, 62 rape and, 118, 119

E encyclicals, 11. See also Popes entertainment effects of, 166 guidelines, 165–167, 180 Ephesians 5: 21-31, 6 EWTN (Catholic Television and Radio), 177 exhibitionist, 122, 130

F Fahrenheit 451, 168 fallopian tubes, 4 fellowship (Catholic), 178

Index feminism, 101, 106, 118, 119, 137 fertility awareness. See Natural Family Planning (NFP) fertilization, 4 fetish, 130 forgiveness, God’s, 33, 42 Freud, Sigmund, 86

G Galatians 6:7-9, 60 "gay", 123–134 Genesis 1:25-28, 5 2:15-25, 5 Ghandi, Mahatma, 86 Glory Be, The, 145 Golden Rule, 29 gonorrhea, 49, 50 good morality and, 146 superficial vs. essential, 35 grief process in miscarriage vs. abortion, 104

H Hail Mary, The, 119 happiness four levels of, 160–163 types of, 35 "Harder Truth" abortion video, 99 Hepatitis B & C and homosexual activity, 31, 49, 50 herpes, 49, 50 heterosexuality, 120 HIV and AIDS, 53–57 homophobia, 129–130 homosexuality, 27, 122, 123–129 cause of, 126 in other cultures, 127 intolerance of traditional view of, 128 and sin, 127–129 STDs and, 31 treatment, 133 homosexuals

217 mislabeling as “gay”, 123–126 promiscuity of, 124 rejection of abstinence, 125 hormones and contraception, 70 hymen, 3

I Ideas for a Chaste Family Life, 183 illegitimacy, 23, 24, 92, 137, 138 immorality, 7, 146, 150–153, 155– 157, 158 implantation, 4, 71–72, 76 incest, 99, 120 infertility adoption as solution, 108–109 moral dilemmas of, 106–108 and STDs, 50 Instruction on the Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day, 176 Internet and pornography, 59, 64 intrauterine device (IUD), 70, 72 Introduction to the Devout Life, 176

J Jesus Christ, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 25, 37, 38, 39, 45, 59, 88, 96, 108, 133, 136, 145,149, 161, 165–166, 172, 174,178, 181, 182 as center of Christian life, 8 and the Church, 10 fornication, 29 the healer, 42 healthy obsession with, 67, 68, 91 peace of, 36, 140 as spouse, 32 Jesus of Nazareth, 38 Jesus Prayer, the, 79, 173 John 8: 3-11, 25 judging, 156


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

L lesbianism, 123 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 129, 176 Lewis, C.S., 150 litany, 176 love agape, 11, 12, 13 eros, 11–12 five aspects of, 17, 73–75, 85–88 natural law and, 152 necessity of, 17–18 Luke 15:11-32, 37 14:25-32,165 1:46-55, 170 18:13, 173 lukewarmness, 96–97 lust, 14, 40, 59

M Magnificat, The, 170 manual manipulation, 45 marital intimacy, 2–3, 9 marital sex advantages of waiting, 31–32 frequency of, 46 levels of, 142–148 sexual attitudes and, 46–47 marriage vow, 45, 111, 113, 119 martyr, 95, 163, 182 Mary, Mother of God, 14, 176 devotions to, 176 Mass, 116, 171, 173, 181 masturbation, 45 Matthew 18:22, 25 19:12, 8 22:35-40, 6 McGuigan, Barbara, 55 media, 39 on abortion grief, 105 to avoid, 179–180 censorship, 168–170

priest scandal and, 132, 133 promotion of homosexuality, 127 promotion of views on contraception, 69 as temptation, 63–64 "Megan's Law", 131 Memorare, The, 66, 174 menstruation, 29 miscarriage, 104 mistress, 19 modesty, 28, 58, 60, 115, 135, 143 molestation, 117, 144 moral relativism, 147–149, 150, defined, 147 liberalism and, 149 and natural law, 152 religions and, 148 morality, 39, 80, 128, 146–147, 150, 152, 153, 155 defined, 146 distinguishing between religion and, 156 imposing morality on others, 158– 159 Morning Offering, The, 173 mortification, 174–175 Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 99, prayer of, 109 Muggeridge, Malcolm, 60

N natural family planning (NFP), 67, 84-85 Catechism of the Catholic Church on, 79 divorce rate and, 91 falsehoods about, 89 five aspects of love and, 87–88 reasons for lack of acceptance, 93–97 three types of, 81–82 natural law, 83 compared to divine and civil law, 151–153 Pope Pius XII on, 152

Index "Needs Misconception", 110–115 conflict with Christian mentality, 115 needs vs. desires, 110–112 New Advent, Catholic encyclopedia, 177 Non-Discrimination Against Homosexual Persons (from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), 176 novena, 174

O OK Syndrome, 94–97 one night stand, 19 oral sex, 43, 44, 45–46, 60, 143 orgasm, 3, 43, 46, 45, 46, 61 orgy, 19 original sin, 37, 142, 171, 176 Our Father, 15, 173 ovaries, 4 ovulation, 4, 22, 106 Ovulation Method, 82, 98

P Pap smear, 5, 50 papal apostolic exhortations The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (Familiaris Consortio), 9–10 papal encyclicals Chastity in Marriage (Casti Connubii), 175 Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio), 175 God is Love (Deus Caritas Est), 12 Gospel of Life, The (Evangelium Vitae), 176 On Human Life (Humanae Vitae), 82–86, 175 Mother of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Mater), 175 Redeemer of Man, The (Redemptor Hominis), 17–18,

219 175 Some False Opinions which Threaten to Undermine Catholic Doctrine (Humani Generis), 176 Splendor of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor), 152, 175 penis, 2, 3, 5, 6, 49, 51 “petting”, 45, 143 placenta, 4, 5, 54, 72 Planned Parenthood, 69, 95 polygamy, 120 Pope Benedict XVI, 9, 11 on abortion, 99 and Needs Misconception, 115 on priest scandal, 132 on sin, 38–39 Pope John Paul II, 6, 10, 17, 20, 46, 47, 67, 128, 145, 179 on "Culture of Death", 96, 97 "Language of the Body", 19, 141 On Love and Responsibility, 44 on moral relativism, 152 on priest scandal, 132 Theology of the Body, 12, 32, 36, 40, 59, 76, 141 pornography, 58–65 defined, 58 Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS), 105 Prayer from the Angelus, 42 Prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 153 Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, 26 Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila, 164 Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, 133 pregnancy changing definition of, 71-72 STDs and, 48–50 premarital sex, 20–25, 27–36 how to say no to, 28 media glamorization of, 24 falsehoods about, 29–31 physical risks of, 21–22 psychological risks of, 22–23 as sin, 20


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

social risks of, 23–24 spiritual risks of, 21 teen reasons for, 27–28 Priest scandal, 131–133 Project Rachael, 105 promiscuity, 138 and alcohol, 48 contraceptives and, 77, 169 definition, 43 feminist promotion of, 137 homosexual, 124, 125, 139 legalizing abortion and, 103 and pornography, 61 sexual revolution and, 43, 92, 119, 137 STDs and, 49 propaganda abortion and, 102 contraceptive use and, 69 defining pregnancy, 71–72 homosexual, 126, 127 media censorship, 168–170 prostate gland, 3 prostitution, 7, 18, 75, 90, 110, 114, 115, 116 risk of violence and, 118

R rape, 99, 115, 118–119 "date rape", 119 marital, 89, 112 pornography and, 62 victim's role in, 119–120 Reardon, David, Aborted Women: Silent No More, 158 religious freedom, 159 religious vocation, 32 RU486, 101 rhythm method, 81

S Sacrament of Confession, 16, 21, 33, 116, 157, 173 Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage), 13

Sacrament of the Eucharist, 21 “Safer Sin”, 55 "safe sex", 55, 95 "Sandwich" technique, 28 self-discipline (denial), benefits, 32, 41, 85–86, 87, 174 seminal vesicles, 3 Seven Deadly Sins, 69, 173 sex as a false god, 38, 174 five main reasons to have, 112– 113 sexual abuse, 110, 116–120 sexual deviations, 130–131, See also Homosexuality sexual harassment, 117 sexual intercourse, 2, 3, 4, 13, 17, 19, 32, 43, 44, 45, 47, 54, 83, 84, 85, 87, 112 codependence and, 135 HIV and, 57 incidence of fertility in, 81 “marital debt” and, 111 risk of pregnancy and, 73 and sperm collection after, 107 sexual masochist, 130 sexual orientation, 121–123 sexual purity, 28, 94, 96 homosexuality and, 128 before marriage, 32 role of confession in, 14 sexual response cycle, 3, 4, 43 sexual revolution, 6, 43, 124, 126, 147 effects of, 137–139 outcome of, 91 sexual sadist, 130 sexuality, 2, 3 avoiding problems with, 40 confusion between sexuality and romance, 20 distorted views of, 64 historical view, 95 holistic approach to, 80 levels of sexuality, 44, 142 normal, 2–3

Index summary of Catholic Church teachings on, 13–15 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), 47–52 pregnancy and, 47, 48, 80 Shakers, 1 Sign of the Cross, 92, 173 Silver Rule, 28 sin, 2, 8, 14, 21, 37, 38–39, 42, 45, 51, 115, 116, 178, 179 and abortion, 99 and child abuse, 117 and forgiveness, 25, 33 and homosexual acts, 123, 125, 128, 139 and immorality, 146, 150, 155 and incest, 119 and pornography, 61, 62 , 63, 65 pride as, 173 and oral sex, 44 original sin, 14, 37, 142, 171, 176, 178 and priest scandal, 132 premarital sex, 20, 21, 28, 32 Seven Deadly, 69 and sexual deviants, 130, 136 steps toward, 36–38 tolerance and, 135 Sirach 26:1-4, 13-18, 134 Smith, Rev. Philip, 19, 155 Smith, Msgr., William, 172–173 sperm, 3, 4, 5, 70, 71, 72, 106, sperm donor, 107, 108 Spitzer, Fr., Robert, Healing the Culture, 160 St. Paul, 147, 180 sterilization, 71, 73, 74–75, 83, 88 tubal ligation, 73 vasectomy, 73 symptothermal method of NFP, 82 syphilis, 49, 50

T Ten Commandments, 151, 173, 179 testicles, 3, 49

221 The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (from the Pontifical Council for the Family), 176 Theology of the Body Moment, 32, 36, 40, 59, 76, 141 Thomas Aquinas', definition of love, 17 transsexual, 131–132 transvestite, 131 truth, universal (objective), 147– 149, 150 Twelve Step Programs, 156–158 Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, 156–157

U Uganda, 56–57 uterus, 4, 5, 47, 70, 71, 72, 100, 106

V vagina, 3, 5, 47 49, 51, 100 Vatican II documents Joy and Hope (Gaudium et spes), 8 Vatican web resources, church documents available, 66 venereal diseases. See sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) venereal warts, 49, 50 vice, overcoming, 63 virginity, 9, 30 virtue, 16, 39, 46, 75, 94, 95, 96, 135, 176, 181 cardinal four, 70, 156 chastity, 63–64 defined, 60 justice, 153 of modesty, 60 practice of, 63 voyeur, 124, 143

W Washington Post, 86 Weigel, George on teachings of


Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents

Pope John Paul II, 6 West, Christopher, The Good News about Sex and Marriage, 145 wet dreams, 47, 111 withdrawal, 72 works of mercy, 177-178

Z zygote, 4

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