Chastity teaches true love Pope urges no sex before marriage in new Vatican guide

Pope gets interrupted by man shouting during service

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The Holy See, led by the 85-year-old Pontiff, released a document called the “Catechumenal Itineraries for Married Life”. In the document, which extends across 97 pages, the Catholic church urges couples against premarital intercourse, among other detailed advice regarding romantic relationships.

Upon release of the advisory document, Pope Francis claimed that it is “a gift and a task”.

He added that couples today do not prepare properly for married life and, as a result, marriages “fall apart in a short space of time”.

The document praised “the precious virtue of chastity” and suggested that unmarried couples should abstain from sex in order to “deepen their friendship”.

A part of the document read: “The Church should never lack courage to propose the precious virtue of chastity, even though it is by now in direct contrast with common mentality.”

And added: “It is worth helping young spouses to be able to find the time to deepen their friendship and to accept God’s grace.

“Premarital chastity certainly favours this course.”

The guide notes that this also refers to engaged couples that may live together.

It continues: “Chastity teaches engaged couples the timing and the method of true love, which is delicate and generous.”

And subsequently stresses that within marriage, sex is crucial as long as it aims in procreation.

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The guide mentions: “Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful”.

The bold statement from the Catholic Church sparked criticism among experts and seemed to contradict progressive statements by Pope Francis.

Theologian Father Alberto Maggi told La Repubblica newspaper: “Documents like this… are a step backwards.”

He added that the church “should listen more to the reality of young people today, of how they live, before reissuing the doctrine they have always proposed.”

Another expert on the Catholic Church, Austen Ivereigh defended the Pope, saying that the document was not a law set in stone, the Telegraph reported.

Ivereigh said: “This is not a prohibition or a new rule. They are inviting people to follow this path.

“They know it goes against the grain of society. The Church understands that nowadays most people cohabit and have sex before getting married.

“The advice had its merits, since couples who rushed into marriage based largely on sexual attraction might not last very long.

“The idea is for couples to have time to develop all the elements that are crucial for marriage such as patience and communication.”

In 2018, the Pontiff had said to a gay man that “God made you that way and loves you as you are” even though the catechism claims that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.

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