Expert Answer Forum
Pre marital sex? QUESTION from Shodan November 20, 1999 Why is pre marital sex considered a sin?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on November 23, 1999 Dear Mr. Shodan:
Well the quick and easy answer is: Because God says so!
The next quick and easy answer is: Because fornication (pre-marital sex) violates the purpose the God gave for sex. Thus it is sort of like using a rock for a hammer. One needs to use a hammer for a hammer. Even though a rock might get the job done, it will likely get it done with some damage to the wood assuming the nail can be driven straight at all. The nail was designed and meant to be driven into wood with a hammer.
Sex was meant to be a procreative and unitive experience of marriage and ONLY within marriage can it be truly that.
The Catechism (2353)states: Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
But to answer the question more completely, a look at the meaning of marital sex is needed. Here again the Catechism:
III. THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
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.
2361 Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply 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 woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.142
Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety. So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, Blessed are you, O God of our fathers. . . . You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together. And they both said, Amen, Amen. Then they went to sleep for the night.143
2362 The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.144 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:
The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.145
2363 The spouses' union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple's spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.
2364 The married couple forms the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.146 Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.147 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.148
2365 Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.149
Bottom line is that fornication avoids and destroys all that the sexual experience truly means and is meant for.
It is a grave sin because it bastardizes true love and the true meaning of marriage which God has ordained.
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