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Archbishop Sheen Today! -- Sex and holy purity (Part One)
Catholic Online (Renew America web site) ^ | October 19, 2004 | Barbara Kralis

Posted on 10/22/2004 8:18:29 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA

Archbishop Sheen Today! -- Sex and holy purity (Part One)

Barbara Kralis

Barbara Kralis October 19, 2004

What is the single greatest gift a young man and woman can give each other in marriage? It is their holy purity or chastity. Without holy purity, human love — popularly known as 'sex' — becomes corrupt. There is no true human love without holy purity.

What is the single greatest virtue a young man and woman find most difficult to practice in this 21st century? It is the virtue of holy purity or chastity.

The sixth and ninth Commandment of God teaches specifically against sins of the flesh. [1] When we practice holy chastity as taught by God's Commands, we also will obtain purity of mind and heart. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, "purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God." [2]

Without a knowledge and great love for God, holy purity will be very hard to maintain. St. Paul teaches us that chastity is a 'fruit of the Holy Spirit.' [3] A strong Sacramental life, especially frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession and the Eucharist, is most important.

Nevertheless, what about the countless temptations that seemingly are everywhere?

The best defense is a good offense — maintain a holy attack against impurity. How can young people accomplish this?

Here is a list of weapons to use to maintain holy purity:

~Begin each day with Holy Mass, if possible, and fruitful prayer. [4] Moreover, remember Sister Christine Joseph's morning prayer and offer every thought, word, and deed of the day to Jesus.

~Dress modestly. Forget the current partially nude fashions. Instead, women should dress their body in modest clothing. Remember, a women's husband is the only person who should see and receive the joy of her body. Follow the dress code for permission to enter Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome: women must cover their shoulders and upper arms, must wear skirts below the knee, the collar of their blouse is to be at the collar bone, and no tight revealing clothing. The Basilica's custodians standing on the outside porte-cochere will shake their finger at badly dressed persons and ask: "Quo vadis?" [5] They will tell them to go back to their hotel, put some clothes on and then come back to enter the House of God

~Avoid inappropriate conversations. When a discussion becomes off color or the language is impure, change the subject or walk away from the group. Remember, the tongue and lips that receive Holy Communion should not be accused of uttering neither indecent words nor risqué stories.

~Arm oneself with holy sacramentals. Wear a blessed crucifix [6] on your chest; wear a properly invested Brown Scapular around your neck; [7] keep a blessed rosary in your pocket or purse. A blessed 'Angus Dei' medal could be attached to your rosary. [8]

~Reject bad forms of entertainment. Imagine sitting next to the guest of honor, Pope John Paul II. Would he be offended at the television program or the movie we were watching? If it is not appropriate for the Pope, it is not appropriate for persons desiring holy purity.

~Avoid useless activities. Ask the question: 'By performing this activity, would it be giving honor and glory to God?' If it would not, best to leave the activity alone.

~Remain cheerful. The crowd will follow a cheerful, courageous leader. Care not for human respect and give your heart to God. Observers will want to possess and imitate this same courage and dignity.

~Avoid occasions of sin. Very often young people feel compunction for their faults and yet they go back to the very sins they previously condemned and commit them again...and again. Do not return to the scene of the crime, for it will tempt the heart once more.

Often times, when resisting the sins of the flesh, young people will develop a divided heart. Having become lukewarm from serving two masters — the desires of the flesh and the service of the Lord — young people run the risk of seeking approval from their peers rather than from God. The Virtue of purity requires an undivided heart.

Saint (Mother) Theresa of Calcutta had this advice for young people:

~You are the future of family life.

~You are the future of the joy of loving.

~You are the future of making your life something beautiful for God...a pure love.

~That you love a girl or that you love a boy is beautiful, but do not spoil it, do not destroy it.

~Keep your heart pure...Keep your heart virgin.

~Keep your love virgin, so that on the day of your marriage you can give something beautiful to each other...the joy of a pure love.

What is the holy remedy? The first step is to begin again...and again. Seek the forgiveness of our merciful Lord in the confessional. The second step is to go to our Holy Mother, Mary, Mater pulchrae dilectionis, Mother of Fair Love. Mary Most Pure will help us overcome the many temptations of the flesh and to live holy purity as she lived it so perfectly with Saint Joseph.

Sex and Holy Purity — Part One

By Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

What is the one thing in this free world, thanks to the press and television, that is the major interest to the young? It is sex. So, let's talk about it.

Today, sex has become almost mental. Every advertisement has to use it so that you are inclined always to think about it. What is it really?

Well, the reason you want to know about it is that it is a mystery. What is a mystery? Well, a mystery is a Sacrament. As a matter of fact, the Greek work 'mysterion' is the Latin word 'Sacramentum' and the English word 'Sacrament.'

Now, what is a Sacrament? Then we will understand sex.

Every Sacrament or every mystery has two elements. First, physical; second, spiritual. Something that is visible; something that is invisible.

Take for example, the Sacrament of Baptism. What is the physical side of Baptism? Water. What is the invisible side of Baptism? The cleansing of the soul to make us children of God.

A word is a sacrament. Because there is something audible and then there's something invisible about it, namely, the meaning of the word.

Take, for example, a pun. I don't know whether or not I can think of one at the moment...but, oh yes, here is one. A little girl was once asked, "What are you going to do when you get as big as your mother? In addition, the little girl said, "Diet."

Now, you see, you laughed at that. Now why did you laugh at that? If, for example, a horse heard that joke, the horse wouldn't give a horse laugh. Why do you laugh? Because in addition to hearing the sound that a horse would also hear, you got meaning out of it. You got purpose.

The Eucharist is a Sacrament, a mystery. Something you can see, bread; something invisible, the presence of Christ.

Sex is a mystery. There is something physical about sex. Everyone is either male or female. It is that simple. Period. Not at all complicated.

What is the invisible sign of sex? What is the mystery? It is the mystery of love and it stands for something spiritual.

First, sex stands for God's creative power given to people. He gives the creative power to a husband and wife, instead of directly creating us Himself alone. He says to a father and mother, "I will let you share my creative power and you will give life." This is the spiritual side of marriage and of sex, but it also stands for something else.

When you girls and boys get older, someday you will come to the altar. You will be married and there will be a reading from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians and this is what you will be told. Every bride stands for the Church, every groom stands for Christ. Think of it.

God intended that in marriage, the husband would stand for Christ; the bride would stand for the Church. Does that mean that the man is the head of the woman in the sense of domination? No. The man is the head of the woman in the sense of sacrifice.

So, as Christ gave himself up for his spouse, his bride, which is the Church, so the husband sacrifices himself for the wife.

Now, that's the spiritual side of marriage and of sex. It, therefore, refers to love, human love between husband and wife, the love for God, the love for the Church.

Parents find it very difficult to teach their children the complete mysteries of sex. They can communicate the physical side of love — that is easy — but to communicate to you the mystery, the deep profound love that is involved, well, that is something that is almost impossible to describe.

Therefore, there will always be a difficulty in the way of explaining the mystery of love. [9]

(next week — Part Two)


1. The Commandments of God are these ten:

i. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them.

ii. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

iii. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

iv. Honor thy father and thy mother.

v. Thou shalt not kill.

vi. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

vii. Thou shalt not steal.

viii. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

ix. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

x. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

The Commandments, written on two tables of stone, were given to Moses in the midst of fire and smoke, thunder and lightning, from which God spoke to him on the mountain, about fifty days after the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of Egypt and while they were on their journey through the desert to the Promised Land.

2. Cf. CCC n. 2519

3. Cf. Gal 5:23

4. The fruits of prayer are: 1) It strengthens our faith; 2) nourishes our hope; 3) increases our love for God; 4) keeps us humble; 5) merits grace and atones for sin.

5. Quo vadis? In English" "Where are you going?"

6. In the Catholic Church, the faithful pray before a crucifix rather than a cross, as other denominations do. A cross has no figure on it and a crucifix has the crucified body of Our Lord. The word crucifix means fixed or nailed to the cross. It is required that all Catholic altars have a permanent crucifix in a prominent place, and not the image of the 'risen Christ.' "By his wounds we are healed" (Is 53:5).

7. The scapular is a long, broad piece of woolen cloth forming a part of the religious dress of monks, priests and sisters of some religious orders. It is worn over the shoulders and extends from the shoulders to the feet. The small scapular made in imitation of it, and consisting of two small pieces of cloth fastened together by strings, is worn by the faithful as a promise or proof of their willingness to practice some particular devotion, indicated by the kind of scapular they wear. Among the faithful there are many kinds of scapulars in use, such as the brown scapular or scapular of Mount Carmel worn in honor of Our Lord's passion; the white, in honor of the Holy Trinity; the blue, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the black, in honor of the seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin. When these are joined together and worn as one they are called the five scapulars. The brown scapular is best known.

8. The Agnus Dei sacramental is the beeswax of the Paschal candle of the previous year's use in the papal chapels and Basilica of St. Peter's. It is used to make little locket-like Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) medals. The heart-shaped gold-colored locket is embossed with a cross and the lamb of Christ and contains a drop of the beeswax solemnly blessed by the Pope in Rome with special prayers for those who carry it on their person in honor of Our Blessed Redeemer, whom we lovingly call the 'Lamb of God.'

9. Source: "Youth and Sex" video, produced by Sheen Productions, Inc., 23 E. Main St., Victor, N.Y. with permission.

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. She is a regular columnist at, Catholic, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review Magazine, Washington Dispatch, MichNews, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, Phil Brennan's WOW, ChronWatch, etc. Her first journalism position was with Boston Herald Traveler, 1964. Barbara published/edited 'Semper Fidelis' Catholic print newsletter. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas, and co-direct the Jesus Through Mary Catholic Foundation. She can be reached at:

© Copyright 2004 by Barbara Kralis

TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: archbishopsheen; chastity; morality; morals; purity; sex

1 posted on 10/22/2004 8:18:30 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA
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To: NYer; GirlShortstop; Lady In Blue; Bonaventure; AAABEST; Maeve; ArrogantBustard; AlbionGirl; ...

Archbishop Sheen ping!

2 posted on 10/22/2004 8:21:41 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Convert from ECUSA

Thank you for posting this!

3 posted on 10/22/2004 11:56:58 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

You're welcome, my pleasure.

4 posted on 10/22/2004 12:28:47 PM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Convert from ECUSA; Pyro7480
These words from Archbishop Sheen are taken from the back of a prayer card I received for his cause for canonization.


Sanctity, then, is not giving up the world. It is exchanging the world. It is a continuation of that sublime transaction of the Incarnation in which Christ said to Man:

"You give Me your humanity, I will give you My Divinity. You give Me your time, I will give you My eternity. You give Me your bonds, I will give you My Omnipotence. You give Me your slavery, I will give you My freedom. You give Me your death, I will give you My Life. You give Me your nothingness, I will give you My All."

And the consoling thought throughout this whole transforming process is that it does not require much time to make us saints; it requires only much love.

5 posted on 10/22/2004 3:22:51 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Convert from ECUSA
Thank you so much for including me in your ping list, and for this outstanding post.

It is a bitter-sweet read for me, because of all that I did that was wrong, and all that I lost because I rejected what was right and Holy and Good.

My mother has a book that dates back many decades called "La Donna Cattolica." It contains instructions on what it means, and what Catholic law one has to abide by, to truthfully call oneself a Catholic Woman. The book predates this piece by Bishop Sheen by a couple of decades, and touches upon many of the things Bishop Sheen talks about here.

I know that God loves one that repents, but how he must also love one who is tempted and tempted and tempted, but because of the love he or she holds for Jesus, invokes the Holy Spirit religiously, and lays waste to those temptations.

The Lord may not have come for the righteous, but the righteous are far too easily forgotten.

Bishop Sheen, a true Man, a true lover of the Lord, and a true, far too scarce, Shepherd.

6 posted on 10/22/2004 4:27:18 PM PDT by AlbionGirl ("Though this may be play to you, 'Tis death to us.")
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To: Convert from ECUSA

GOOD STUFF in this article! My wife emailed me this article several days ago -- and I was thrilled to see it posted here on FR! Kudos and many thanks!

7 posted on 10/26/2004 11:37:43 AM PDT by ConservativeStLouisGuy (11th FReeper Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Excerpt)
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To: ConservativeStLouisGuy

You're very welcome!

8 posted on 10/26/2004 12:44:13 PM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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