This small book called “Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage” contains problems that serious, young Catholics might ask when looking at the many scenarios of young love. It is written by a Catholic Priest, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R., in 1955. Great information!
You may find this advice old-fashioned….well, this world could use a lot more “old-fashioned” advice! Last time I checked, human nature was still the same as it was in the old days! 🙂
To Kiss or Not to Kiss?
Most boys expect to be permitted to kiss a girl at least after one or two dates. Is it permissible or advisable to go along with their wishes? Some girls with whom I have talked say that if you don’t permit it you will lose every boy-friend.
Let’s bring this question down to some fundamental principles and reasoning, leaving out of consideration for the moment whether “most boys expect it” or “all girls advise it.” Little of value for one’s happiness is ever learned from what “everybody happens to be doing.”
The purpose of dates between marriageable young people is that they may become acquainted with each other’s characters and so find out whether, when the question comes up as it should eventually, there is a good chance of their being happily married.
Let it be noted that the purpose of dates is not primarily and exclusively “a good time”-with no further implications.
Of course, every boy and girl want to have a good time on a date, but this should be subjected, in their minds, to the more serious purposes that justify company-keeping and its dangers.
It is because so many young people think of dating as just a means of “having a good time” that so many fall into sin on their dates.
A decent boy and girl will never think of a good time as permitting anything contrary to God’s law; nor will they be unmindful that on their dates they are making a test of each other.
Passionate kissing, it has been shown in this column, is forbidden to unmarried people. There are different kinds of kissing, and the above problem can only be considered as pertaining to that kind which is not gravely sinful.
There is no question about the other. Even that, however, we say, indulged in on a first or second or third date, is a serious obstacle to the fulfillment of the purpose of company-keeping.
Kissing, even though it be quite modest, stimulates physical attraction to another. In proportion as it does so, it lessens the ability of intelligence to judge the fitness of a companion for marriage.
Many a girl who permitted a boy to kiss her on short acquaintance has been swept into marriage by her feelings, only to find that he was anything but the person to make her happy.
Many a girl who permitted kissing to a near stranger has been swept into sin and into a forced marriage.
The above principles are so true that even if all boys expected a girl to consent to kissing, and all girls advised it, (which is not true), they should still be followed by an intelligent, self-respecting, God-fearing girl.
Following them is the only known way of finding an intelligent, self-respecting, virtuous boy for a partner in marriage.
Different Views on Kissing
Why is there so much difference in the advice given by different priests in regard to kissing on dates?
Some say it is all right if we don’t go too far; others warn us against it under any circumstances; others make us feel that it is seriously wrong.
If we girls tell the boys we don’t think it is right, they almost always answer that some priest told them that it is not wrong. We are confused and want to know what stand we should take on this matter.
The subject of kissing on dates is an involved one, and different statements of different priests regarding it are almost always due to the different ways in which the questions are presented by young people themselves.
The priest who says it is not wrong is usually answering a question put somewhat like this: “Is it wrong to let a boy friend kiss you goodnight?”
The assumption in the question is that the kiss is but a brief affair, registering affection and even respect, but without passion-stimulating side-actions or prolonged and dangerous embracing.
Of course the answer to this question, on strictly moral grounds, is that it is not sinful any more than an affectionate kiss between mother and son or brother and sister is sinful.
The priest who tells you that kissing on dates is sinful has properly gathered from the way the question is put to him, that he is being asked about prolonged kissing, kissing “for the sake of a thrill,” kissing and embracing as a pastime in which ordinarily there are thoughts, desires and inclinations toward indulgence in bodily pleasures that are sinful for the unmarried.
Such kissing is not merely an expression of affection, no matter how much young people may protest that it is.
It is an unnecessary and highly provocative occasion of sin. No priest can say otherwise than that to thrust oneself into an unnecessary and extremely dangerous occasion of sin is a sin in itself.
If a boy ever quotes a priest as saying that this is lawful, you may be sure he is either misquoting or deliberately lying.
The priest who warns you against too much freedom in regard to kissing is aware of the fact that the first kind of kissing here spoken of often leads to the second among young people keeping company.
He wants you to know that there is a tendency in your nature and in your boy friend’s nature to carry kissing too far, and that you must be aware of that tendency, must discipline it in yourself and be watchful to resist any weakness with regard to it in your boy friend.
It is not, therefore, the moral law that is confusing in this matter. It is the fact that, while you want to be good, there is a strong inclination within you toward what is dangerous and bad.
It is your lower nature that suggests that you make the law of God seem confusing, so that it will be free to do what it pleases.
On Resisting Advances
“I am a high school senior, 17 years old, and I find that I hardly ever go out with a boy but that he makes some kind of evil advances.
It seems, to me, and most of my girl friends will tell you the same thing, that all the boys want on a date nowadays is to indulge in kissing, petting, and even worse things.
How can a girl stay decent when everybody she goes out with seems to be interested only in doing the wrong thing?”
It is not easy, we readily admit, but we quickly add that it is supremely important and worthwhile.
There are two reasons why so many girls find that “all the boys they go out with” seem to want to engage them in sinful kissing, petting, etc.
One reason is that there are so many boys in the United States who have been brought up without any real religion, certainly with no powerful religious motives for resisting the strong inclinations of their lower nature.
Public grade and high school education has no way of providing such religious motives, and without them it is difficult for anyone to be chaste and pure.
Even Catholic high school and college youths who received no solid religious and moral training at home, will often appear just as unprincipled as those who never went to a Catholic school.
This only proves that the best of schools cannot accomplish much without the cooperation of the home.
The second reason why sinful petting and kissing and worse things are taken for granted by so many boys is that so many girls are unprincipled enough to give in easily to such practices.
No matter how bad many of the boys are, it is certain that they would not be so bad if they did not meet with cooperation in their evil instincts by the majority of girls.
A girl of 17 surely has little reason to complain that it is too hard to be good. She is too young to think that it is necessary to get married in the immediate future; even if she is in a position to marry soon, she still has plenty of time in which to choose a good partner.
She should be willing to give the gate to a dozen boy friends, one after the other, if she finds that each one in turn demands privileges that come under the heading of impurity.
And despite the pessimism of our correspondent, it is certain that a girl who is herself devoted to purity will be able to make some of the boys she meets as devoted to it as she is. Girls have more power in this regard than they realize.
“It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.” – Light and Peace, Quadrupani, 1793
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