Ver. 5. &c.For they who are according to the flesh. That is, who live according to the false, vain, and deceitful maxims and customs of carnal men, which he also calls the prudence of the flesh: and this prudence he calls death,as leading men to eternal death. Such carnal men relish nothing else but such pleasures. But they who are and live according to the spirit, mind the things which are of the spirit, fix their hearts on the things that belong to God, and his service; and this wisdom of the spirit, in which they experience much greater pleasure, leads them to eternal life, and to eternal peace in the enjoyment of God. The false wisdom of the flesh is an enemy of God, cannot be subject to the law of God, because the maxims of the flesh, and of the world, are so opposite to those of the gospel, and to the doctrine of Christ. (Witham) --- They who are subject to the flesh, by having their affections fixed on the things of the flesh, that is, carnal men, whilst they are such, cannot please God: for this prudence of the flesh makes them the enemies of God. (Estius)”
The Church understood from the beginning that the inspired words in Holy Scripture, which teaches us that: “It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1) meant that the sexual marital act was especially powerful in influencing a man or a woman to “walk according to the flesh” and thus fall into sins of the flesh and die spiritually. For it is written: “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
Carrying on the Apostolic Tradition from the beginning, St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) understood that St. Paul was advising the married to engage in the procreative act while renouncing the enjoyment of sexual pleasure. According to St. Clement, Paul speaks “not to those who chastely use marriage for procreation alone, but to those who were desiring to go beyond procreation, lest the adversary should arise a stormy blast and arouse desire for alien pleasures.” Thus, according to Clement’s treatise “On Marriage,” Satan is the source of a couple’s desire for sexual delight and “alien pleasures.” Furthermore, when Clement considered the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” he understood it as God’s commanding husbands to engage in intercourse “only for the purpose of begetting children.” St. Clement also pointed out that in all the Jewish scriptures there was not a single instance in which “one of the ancients approached a pregnant woman” and taught that the avoidance of sexual relations from the time one’s wife became pregnant to the time of the child’s weaning was “a law of nature given by God.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter XI, Section 71, 72)
Being a champion of virtue and the highest moral perfection, St. Clement could thus safely assert that: “The human ideal of continence… teaches that one should fight desire and not be subservient to it so as to bring it to practical effect. But our [Christian] ideal is not to experience desire at all. Our aim is not that while a man feels desire he should get the better of it, but that he should be continent even respecting desire itself. This chastity cannot be attained in any other way except by God’s grace. That was why he said "Ask and it shall be given you."…Where there is light there is no darkness. But where there is inward desire, even if it goes no further than desire and is quiescent so far as bodily action is concerned, union takes place in thought with the object of desire, although that object is not present.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VII, Section 57)
St. Clement’s divinely inspired teaching that echoes the teaching in the biblical books of Tobit and St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians clarifies the Scriptural truth that “we should do nothing from desire” which in fact is the most perfect and evangelical teaching that should influence and direct all our deeds on this earth. St. Clement of Alexandria writes, “Our will is to be directed only towards that which is necessary. For we are children not of desire but of will. A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and so that he may beget children with a chaste and controlled will.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VII, Section 58)
If those wondrous words of the Holy Spirit that “we should do nothing from desire” truly influences and directs all our actions and thoughts, the Devil would never be able to cast us down to Hell and eternal torment which all people deserve who live for the sake of the flesh instead of for the spirit. “For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.” (Romans 8:13) Indeed, St. Clement rejected as “vulgar and plebeian” any efforts to seek pleasure in the marital act. Although he praised the values of mutual assistance and support, he also held “that ‘voluptuous joy’ had no proper place in Christian life.” In sum, “Christian couples will never have intercourse simply because they enjoy it and each other; they must make love only to beget a child.” In truth, the man who marries should do so “for the sake of begetting children” while practicing “continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife” and begetting “children with a chaste and controlled will” for the glory of God. Thus, St. Clement and the rest of the Church understood the inherent danger in living after our sensual desires. (Cf. The Paedagogus or Instructor, Book II, Section 83; The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VII, Section 58)
St. John Chrysostom, carrying on the apostolic tradition of despising our fleshly lusts and desires, writes that: “Our soul hath by nature the love of life, but it lies with us either to loose the bands of nature, and make this desire weak; or else to tighten them, and make the desire more tyrannous. For as we have the desire of sexual intercourse, but when we practice true wisdom we render the [sexual] desire weak, so also it falls out in the case of life; and as God hath annexed carnal desire to the generation of children, to maintain a succession among us, without however forbidding us from traveling the higher road of continence; so also He hath implanted in us the love of life, forbidding us from destroying ourselves, but not hindering our despising the present life.” (Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, Homily LXXXV, John xix. 16-38, Ver. 24)
St. Augustine also agreed with this, teaching that the “lover of the spiritual good” hates and neglects the pleasures of the flesh: “What lover of the spiritual good, who has married only for the sake of offspring, would not prefer if he could to propagate children without it [lust] or without its very great impulsion? I think, then, we ought to attribute to that life in Paradise, which was a far better life than this, whatever saintly spouses would prefer in this life, unless we can think of something better.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book IV, Chapter 13, Section 71, A.D. 421) “Thus a good Christian is found to love in one and the same woman the creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed [in Heaven]; but to hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and carnal intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is characteristic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife. … It is necessary, therefore, that the disciple of Christ should hate these things which pass away, in those whom he desires along with himself to reach those things which shall for ever remain; and that he should the more hate these things in them, the more he loves themselves.” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, Book 1, Chapter 15:41, c. 394 A.D.)
Indeed, “The chaste are not bound by a necessity to depravity, for they resist lust lest it compel them to commit unseemly acts; yet not even honorable procreation can exist without lust. In this way in chaste spouses there is both the voluntary, in the procreation of offspring; and the necessary, in lust. But honesty arises from unseemliness when chaste union accepts, but does not love, lust.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book V, Chapter 9, Section 37)
Thus the conception of children is “the one alone worthy fruit…of the sexual intercourse.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 1) No other aspect of the marital act can be described as “worthy.” Therefore, when a husband engages in marital relations during those times when his wife is pregnant, nursing, or menstruating, the husband or the wife or both are seen as seeking the unworthy fruit of sexual pleasure: “There also are men incontinent to such a degree that they do not spare their wives even when pregnant. Therefore, whatever immodest, shameful, and sordid acts the married commit with each other are the sins of the married persons themselves, not the fault of marriage.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 5) St. Augustine with the rest of the Church always regarded marital intercourse as sinful whenever husband and wife “indulged” in marital intimacy without the intention to conceive a child. According to Augustine, there are two forms of marital intercourse, the necessary and the unnecessary. The only “necessary” marital intercourse is intercourse for begetting children. Such “intercourse for begetting is free from blame, and itself is alone worthy of marriage.” “Unnecessary” or blameworthy intercourse is simply lust: “But that which goes beyond this necessity, no longer follows reason, but lust.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 11)
Therefore, St. Augustine concluded that marital intercourse could be totally excluded from marriage without doing any harm to the marriage itself. Augustine found the three goods of marriage exemplified in the virginal marriage of Mary and Joseph: “This is why I said the full number of the three goods of marriage is found in what I declared by the Gospel was a marriage: ‘Faithfulness, because no adultery; offspring, our Lord Christ; and sacrament, because no divorce.’” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book V, Chapter 10, Section 46)
St. Augustine taught that engaging in intercourse with one’s spouse because of sexual need or desire occupied the bottom rung of the ladder of marital morality. This was a “sin” according to him. Higher up was intercourse to generate children, exemplifying the good use of the evil of concupiscence. Here there was no sin. Then came the top rung. Couples engaging in “angelic exercise” had “freedom from all sexual intercourse.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 8) It is thus clear that “continence from all intercourse [within or without marriage] is certainly better than marital intercourse itself which takes place for the sake of begetting children.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 6, in "The Fathers Of The Church – A New Translation Volume 27")
According to the teaching of the Church, the good of offspring is expendable when the greatest good of avoiding marital intercourse is chosen. This is also why the Church and The Council of Trent infallibly teaches in Session 24, Canon 10 that it is “better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony”, which, as we have seen, is a restatement of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words in the Holy Bible (1 Corinthians 7). St. Augustine offered married couples striving for the “better and more blessed” way some suggestions for ridding the elements of sexual desire and sexual pleasure from their lives. He proposed that a person’s love of heavenly realities would develop in direct proportion to a person’s hatred of earthly realities. Since there would be no sexual intercourse in the next life, Augustine taught that the virtuous husband would do well to hate sexual union in this earthly life. Being a lover of virtue, the bishop of Hippo wanted the husband to “love” the spouse created by God while hating “the corruptible and mortal relationship and marital intercourse.” St. Augustine reiterated: “In other words, it is evident that he loves her insofar as she is a human being, but he hates her under the aspect of wifehood.” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Chapter 15, Section 40-42)
The idea of marriage as a partnership in which sexual tenderness played a role is totally absent from St. Augustine’s or any other of the Saints’ writings. This novel and heretical idea was completely unheard of in Christianity until impious and lustful heretics, like the members of Gnostic sects, tried to justify all kinds of abominable and vile sexual acts with or without a spouse. Indeed, the Church’s view on sexuality has been clear from the beginning, teaching us that both married and unmarried persons who love each other passionately or immoderately exceeds “the bounds of moderation” and heaps up “the uncleanness of a more bestial intemperance.” (St. Augustine, On the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, in "The Fathers of the Church", 19, 28, 139)
Like the rest of the fathers, Augustine wanted a strict control over the act of marital intercourse “lest there be indulgence beyond what suffices for generating offspring.” St. Augustine himself had quite the experience of unlawful sexual indulgence and was well aware of the fact that sexual pleasure indulged in – and not restrained – holds us in bondage and is immensely powerful in taking over and control our soul: “Because of a perverse will was lust made; and lust indulged in became custom; and custom not resisted became necessity. By which links, as it were, joined together (whence I term it a “chain”), did a hard bondage hold me enthralled. Thus came I to understand, from my own experience, what I had read, how that ‘the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.’…‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death’ but Thy grace only, through Jesus Christ our Lord?” (The Confessions of Augustine, Book VIII, Chapter 5)
He added that marital chastity fights valiantly for and demanded an end to spousal intercourse when a wife was “no longer able to conceive on account of age” since nature itself teaches that it’s unnecessary to perform the marital act at this time. In sum, the only time marital intercourse was good and lawful was the one instance when the married couple used their marriage bed as a place to conceive a child:
“It, [conjugal chastity] too, combats carnal concupiscence lest it exceed the proprieties of the marriage bed; it combats lest concupiscence break into the time agreed upon by the spouses for prayer. If this conjugal chastity possesses such great power and is so great gift from God that it does what the matrimonial code prescribes, it combats in even more valiant fashion in regard to the act of conjugal union, lest there be indulgence beyond what suffices for generating offspring. Such chastity abstains during menstruation and pregnancy, nor has it union with one no longer able to conceive on account of age. And the desire for union does not prevail, but ceases when there is no prospect of generation.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book III, Chapter 21, Section 43)
It is thus clear that “Marriage is good, as long as sexual relations are for procreation and not for pleasure. … The law of nature recognizes the act of procreation: have relations with your wife only for the sake of procreation, and keep yourself from relations of pleasure.” (St. Athanasius the Great, Fragments on the Moral Life, Section 2)
St. Augustine, Sermons on the New Testament, Sermon 1:25: “It was thus [from duty] those holy men of former times, those men of God sought and wished for children. For this one end—the procreation of children—was their intercourse and union with their wives. It is for this reason that they were allowed to have a plurality of wives. For if immoderateness in these desires could be well-pleasing to God, it would have been as much allowed at that time for one woman to have many husbands, as one husband many wives. Why then had all chaste women no more than one husband, but one man had many wives, except that for one man to have many wives is a means to the multiplication of a family, whereas a woman would not give birth to more children, how many soever more husbands she might have. Wherefore, brethren, if our fathers’ union and intercourse with their wives, was for no other end but the procreation of children, it had been great matter of joy to them, if they could have had children without that intercourse, since for the sake of having them they descended to that intercourse only through duty, and did not rush into it through lust. So then was Joseph not a father because he had gotten a son without any lust of the flesh? God forbid that Christian chastity should entertain a thought, which even Jewish chastity entertained not! Love your wives then, but love them chastely. In your intercourse with them keep yourselves within the bounds necessary for the procreation of children. And inasmuch as you cannot otherwise have them, descend to it with regret. For this necessity is the punishment of that Adam from whom we are sprung. Let us not make a pride of our punishment. It is his punishment who because he was made mortal by sin, was condemned to bring forth only a mortal posterity. This punishment God has not withdrawn, that man might remember from what state he is called away, and to what state he is called, and might seek for that union, in which there can be no corruption.”
St. Augustine, in his work On Marriage and Concupiscence continues to explain the reason why all should despise and hate the concupiscence and sexual desire of the flesh:
“But what in this action does it effect [sometimes even against our own will], unless it be its evil and shameful desires? For if these [evil lusts and desires] were good and lawful, the apostle would not forbid obedience to them, saying, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey the lusts thereof." [Rom. 6:12] He does not say, that you should have the lusts thereof, but that you should not obey the lusts thereof; in order that (as these desires are greater or less in different individuals, according as each shall have progressed in the renewal of the inner man) we may maintain the fight of holiness and chastity, for the purpose of withholding obedience to these [evil and shameful] lusts [caused by original sin]. Nevertheless, our wish ought to be nothing less than the nonexistence of these very desires [which war against the Spirit], even if the accomplishment of such a wish be not possible in the body of this death. This is the reason why the same apostle, in another passage, addressing us as if in his own person, gives us this instruction: "For what I would," says he, "that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." [Rom. 7:15] In a word, "I covet." For he was unwilling to do this, that he might be perfect on every side. "If, then, I do that which I would not," he goes on to say, "I consent unto the law that it is good." [Rom. 7:16] Because the law, too, wills not that which I also would not. For it wills not that I should have concupiscence, for it says, "Thou shall not covet;" and I am no less unwilling to cherish so evil a desire. In this, therefore, there is complete accord between the will of the law and my own will. But because he was unwilling to covet, and yet did covet, and for all that did not by any means obey this concupiscence so as to yield assent to it, he immediately adds these words: "Now, then, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me" [Rom. 7:17].” (On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book I, Chapter 30.--The Evil Desires of Concupiscence; We Ought to Wish that They May Not Be, A.D. 419)
Finally, Athenagoras the Athenian in his A Plea for the Christians (c. 175 A.D.), writes on the elevated sexual morality of the Christians:
“Therefore, having the hope of eternal life, we [Christians] despise the things of this life, even to the pleasures of the soul, each of us reckoning her his wife whom he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the purpose of having children. For as the husbandman throwing the seed into the ground awaits the harvest, not sowing more upon it, so to us the procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite. Nay, you would find many among us, both men and women, growing old unmarried, in hope of living in closer communion with God. But if the remaining in virginity and in the state of an eunuch brings nearer to God, while the indulgence of carnal thought and desire leads away from Him, in those cases in which we shun the thoughts, much more do we reject the deeds. For we bestow our attention, not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions,—that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage...” (A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXXIII)
A great and edifying example of how good and virtuous spouses should view the marital sexual act and sexual pleasure is like a man that is tied to a chair and drugged with heroin or other substances against his will. This man would not commit any sin or fault even though his body became incredibly high or intoxicated by the drug and his body enjoyed the pleasure to the fullest. This is because his will refused to accept the drug intake that was forced on him. Spouses should view the marital act in the exact same way. They should hate the pleasure that is included in the marital act with their will, while accepting that their body must experience a delight of sorts for conception to occur. Just like the man that was tied to the chair and drugged against his will, they should not be accepting of the dose of pleasure that is given them, even though their body experiences the pleasure.
Spouses should thus not accept the dose of pleasure that is given them as anything else than an evil and unwelcome product of the fall of Adam and Eve, and of original sin. Although their body will be experiencing the pleasure, their will and heart should be firmly set against it, without seeking after it.
Sexual pleasure is not love or a cause of holiness but a “tribulation of the flesh” that makes a person “divided” according to the Holy Bible
Today, there are many heretical people who argue that the marital act is holy in itself, and that it brings us closer to God. This, however, is a direct contradiction of Our Lord’s words in the Holy Scripture and the Natural Law which teaches us that those who are married and perform the sexual act “shall havetribulation of the flesh” (1 Corinthians 7:28) and that the married life makes a person “divided”. Strangely enough, this heresy that extols the sexual experience as a way to achieve holiness or oneness with God is not new, since those people who teach this heresy today are in perfect agreement with a second century heretical Gnostic cult that opposed the early Christian Church by advocating participation in the sexual experience. While little is known about their liturgies, it seems that sexual orgasm was regarded as a means of revelation according to their teachings. These impious heretics were reported as making a parody of the Christian meal, the agape, which followed the celebration of the Eucharist. Deploring such activity, the holy Bishop St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215 A.D.) noted that “they have impiously called by the name of communion any common sexual intercourse.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter IV, Section 27)
Indeed, “They [the heretics] maintain that one should gratify the lusts and passions, teaching that one must turn from sobriety to be incontinent. They set their hope on their private parts. [Phil. 3:19] Thus they shut themselves out of God’s kingdom and deprive themselves of enrollment as disciples, [Rev. 20:12, 15; 21:27] and under the name of knowledge, falsely so called, they have taken the road to outer darkness. [Matt. 8:12] "For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is righteous, whatever is pure, whatever is attractive, whatever is well spoken of, whatever is virtuous, and whatever is praiseworthy, think on these things. And whatever you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, this do. And the God of peace shall be with you." [Phil. 4:8-9] And Peter in his epistle says the same: "So that your faith and hope may be in God, because you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth," [1 Peter 1:21] "as obedient children, not behaving after the fashion of the lusts in which in your ignorance you formerly indulged; but as he who has called you is holy, so also must you be holy in all your conduct; as it is written, 'Be ye holy for I am holy'" [1 Peter 1:14-16 (Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 20:7)].” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter XVIII, Section 109-110)
St. Epiphanius (310-403) also refers to certain Gnostic heretics who, in addition to being opposed to procreation, also loved copulation and the impure pleasure they could derive from it. He explains that in the early Church, the lustful heretics who were called Gnostics tried to excuse their unnatural and non-procreative sexual acts by deceptively lying about and perverting the Holy Scriptures. This is exactly what we see today. Many heretics, married as well as unmarried, pervert and lie about the Holy Scriptures in order to excuse their abominable sexual acts. St. Epiphanius describes them this way: “Mastered by the pleasure of fornication they invent excuses for their uncleanness, to tell themselves that their licentiousness fulfills [Paul’s commandment].” He also added that “Their eager pursuit of seduction is for enjoyment, not procreation, [just like the married who perform non-procreative sexual acts] since the devil mocks people like these, and makes fun of the creature fashioned by God. They come to climax but absorb the seeds in their dirt—not by implanting them for procreation, but by eating the dirt themselves.” (St. Epiphanius, Panarion or Medicine Chest Against Heresies, Section II, Chapter 26.--Against Gnostics or Borborites)
Because of many false and heretical teachings, almost every spouse now equates love with lust. How to enjoy sex more with your husband or wife is all over the TV, radio, music, newspapers, and magazines. If one spouse does not sexually gratify the other, then the unsatisfied spouse cries out that the other spouse does not love him or her. How perverse this is and totally destructive to true love! How in the world can a shameful momentary sexual pleasure to the flesh be compared to true love—the love that spouses are supposed to have for one another, 24 hours a day and in every thought and deed of the day, even during hard times when they must suffer. And if one spouse cannot give sexual pleasure to the other for whatever reason, the non-satisfied spouse looks elsewhere to another man or woman or to an animal or inanimate object to get that sexual pleasure and so-called love that the inadequate spouse cannot give. How great indeed are the evils caused by spouses who indulge in sexual pleasure instead of fighting against it, instead of quieting it! Satan, indeed, has power over them to cause all kinds of trouble and sins in their life (Tobias 6:16-17, 22; 8:9). In truth, such spouses are like drug addicts that use each other to get their sexual “fix”. What a sick love they have: to equate sexual lust or concupiscence with love! Indeed, “Those who copulate not to procreate offspring but to satisfy lust seem to be not so much spouses as fornicators.” (Gratian, Decretum 220.127.116.11)
For instance, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary never needed to perform the sexual act in order to foster their love for one another or in order to grow in holiness. And no married couple could ever have a greater love for one another than these two holiest Saints in Heaven! One must realize that the Holy Family was completely chaste for a purpose, to designate God’s goal for families—that is, to remain chaste as much as possible and only have relations with the intention of bearing children.
St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book I, Chapter 13, A.D. 419: “The entire good, therefore, of the nuptial institution was effected in the case of these parents of Christ [Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary]: there was offspring, there was faithfulness, there was the bond. As offspring, we recognize the Lord Jesus Himself… because He who was to be without sin, and was sent not in sinful flesh [sinful because of original sin], but in the likeness of sinful flesh, [Rom. 8:3] could not possibly have been made in sinful flesh itself without that shameful lust of the flesh which comes from [original] sin, and without which He willed to be born, in order that He might teach us, that every one who is born of sexual intercourse is in fact sinful flesh [but made pure through baptism], since that alone which was not born of such intercourse was not sinful flesh. Nevertheless conjugal intercourse is not in itself sin, when it is had with the intention of producing children; because the mind’s good-will leads the ensuing bodily pleasure, instead of following its lead [that is, the sexual act is no sin when spouses spouses perform the normal, natural and procreative marital act while also directly desiring the procreation of children before the marital act]; and the human choice is not distracted by the yoke of [original] sin pressing upon it, inasmuch as the blow of the sin [of concupiscence] is rightly brought back to the purposes of procreation.”
St. Aquinas made some astute observations on the nature of the love of friendship. “Perfect love,” wrote Aquinas, “is that whereby a man is loved in himself, as when someone wishes a person some good for his own sake; thus a man loves his friend. Imperfect love is that whereby a man love something, not for its own sake, but that he may obtain that good for himself; thus a man loves what he desires.” (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I:II, q. 17, art. 8) Therefore, St. Thomas divided love into two categories, the love of friendship, which was pure and the true kind of love, and the love of fleshly desire or concupiscence, which was an impure, selfish and false kind of love. And so, a good husband and wife “must love each other not as adulterers love, but as Christ loved the Church.” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, #23)
So why has sex become equated with “love”? Because it tends to pleasure and appease man’s senses. That’s why. But this is a dangerous love and not a true love for it is only an external form of love based on a pleasurable, intimate act—and one cannot truly foster a true love for one another based on one act that is often violent and bestial in nature. Many people, for example, have sex often but they don’t truly love one another because of it as one would think they should do if sex now really was an expression of love; hence that the majority of couples today are divorcing, committing adultery or fornicating or entering second sinful unions that are not marriages. They do not really love one another but rather only love the other person in so far as he or she can fulfill their pleasures in life. “Men shall be lovers of themselves... and lovers of pleasures more than of God.” (2 Timothy 3:4)
St. Augustine rightly points out that true love is not founded on selfishness but on a love for the person—an inherent truth about love that is found in the Natural Law—which sadly is something that most people totally lack today since almost all are selfish pleasure-seekers: “I shall win my point that the love of the world by which a man is a friend of this world is not from God, and that the love of enjoying any creature whatsoever without love of the Creator is not from God; but the love of God which leads one to God is only from God the Father through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. Through this love of the Creator everyone uses even creatures well. Without this love of the Creator no one uses any creature well. This love is needed so that conjugal modesty may also be a beatific good; and that the intention in carnal union is not the pleasure of lust but the desire for offspring.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book IV, Chapter 3, Section 33, A.D. 421)
In contrast to the selfish pleasure-seekers mentioned above, other people might have sex more seldom or never and yet show true love to one another in other ways, such as through appreciation, affection and self-sacrifice, and by doing things together or by being intimate and caring in other ways. This is true love because this love is not centered on self-love or self-gratification that the worldly and impure couple seek after. This true love is sadly never found amongst the worldly people who equates true love with self-gratification. That is why they can go and abort their babies as if they were trash since having children doesn’t fit their sinful lifestyle; and why they can commit adultery and be unfaithful or abusive and dishonest etc., for their love is not centered on real love that seek to please others, but is self-centered and selfish in nature. When Pope Pius XI speaks of charity, it is not charity “founded on a mere carnal and transitory desire nor does it consist in pleasing words only, but it is a deep-seated devotion of the heart” and a love free from selfishness.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 23), Dec. 31, 1930: “This conjugal faith, however, which is most aptly called by St. Augustine the "faith of chastity" blooms more freely, more beautifully and more nobly, when it is rooted in that more excellent soil, the love of husband and wife which pervades all the duties of married life and holds pride of place in Christian marriage. For matrimonial faith demands that husband and wife be joined in an especially holy and pure love, not as adulterers love each other, but as Christ loved the Church. This precept the Apostle laid down when he said: "Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church," [Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19] that Church which of a truth He embraced with a boundless love not for the sake of His own advantage, but seeking only the good of His Spouse. The love, then, of which We are speaking is not that based on the passing lust of the moment nor does it consist in pleasing words only, but in the deep attachment of the heart which is expressed in action, since love is proved by deeds. This outward expression of love in the home demands not only mutual help but must go further; must have as its primary purpose that man and wife help each other day by day in forming and perfecting themselves in the interior life, so that through their partnership in life they may advance ever more and more in virtue, and above all that they may grow in true love toward God and their neighbor, on which indeed "dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets." [Matt. 22:40] For all men of every condition, in whatever honorable walk of life they may be, can and ought to imitate that most perfect example of holiness placed before man by God, namely Christ Our Lord, and by God’s grace to arrive at the summit of perfection, as is proved by the example set us of many saints.”
Love is a constant theme in modern culture. Modern music, cinema, newspapers, radio, and television constantly assault our senses with stories and features about love. Unfortunately, the attributes of authentic human love, that is, the values of fidelity, exclusiveness, dependability, stability, childbearing, the establishing of a nuclear family and love of children are downgraded, while the values of sexual compatibility, amorous passion, and emotional ecstasy are given special attention. In modern parlance, the term “making love” has come to mean having sexual intercourse, and its value is measured solely in terms of erotic intensity and sexual climax. This understanding of “lovemaking” makes no attempt to characterize sexual intercourse as an expression of genuine love of God and of children. It completely ignores the fact that the only primary purpose of the marital act is the procreation of children. Contemporary society has, in essence, separated love from sex, thus creating a chasm of moral ambiguity from which emerges a plethora of disordered sexual desires and carnal appetites.
Hence, Saint Augustine rightly remarks, “Evil [sexual] union is the work of the men operating evilly from their good members. The condition of the newborn is the work of God operating well from evil men. If you say that, even when there is adultery, the union is good in itself, since it is natural, but adulterers use it evilly, why will you not acknowledge that in the same way lust can be evil, yet the married may nevertheless use it well for the purpose of begetting children? Will you assert there can be evil use of good, but there cannot be good use of evil? We see how well the Apostle used Satan himself, when he delivered a man over to him for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord, and when he delivered others up to him that they might learn not to blaspheme [1 Cor. 5:5].” (Against Julian, Book III, Chapter 7, Section 16, A.D. 421)
Pope Gregory XVI, in his encyclical “Mirari Vos”that condemned all forms of liberalism as well as religious indifferentism, firmly rejected this kind of lustful and selfish pseudo-marriage that so many in today’s world enter into, and directed all the faithful to hold fast to the teaching of the Church:
“Recalling that matrimony is a sacrament and therefore subject to the Church, let them consider and observe the laws of the Church concerning it. Let them take care lest for any reason they permit that which is an obstruction to the teachings of the canons and the decrees of the councils. They should be aware that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon contrary to the discipline of the Church or without God’s favor or because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it [that is, the procreation and education of children, faithfulness, and mutual love and help].” (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos #12, Aug. 15, 1832)
But why does he say this? Because all those kinds of selfish, lustful and impious “marriages” devoid of God mentioned above in effect are nothing but fornication in disguise of a marriage. “It seems evident that a woman taken merely to have sex is not a wife, because God instituted marriage for propagation, not merely for satisfying lust. For the nuptial blessing [in Gen. 1:28] is, "Increase and multiply."… It is shameful for a woman when her marriage bears no fruit, for this alone is the reason for marrying… bearing children is the fruit of marriage and the blessing of matrimony is without doubt the reason that Mary’s virginity defeated the Prince of this World. Thus anyone who joins himself to another, not for the sake of procreating offspring, but rather to satisfy lust is less a spouse than a fornicator. … As no congregation of heretics can be called a Church of Christ because they do not have Christ as their head, so no matrimony, where one has not joined her husband according to Christ’s precept, can properly be called marriage, but is better called adultery.” (Gratian, Marriage Canons From The Decretum 18.104.22.168-2)
Most people living today, especially those in the more developed nations, have become totally perverted through the media, television, music, magazines, internet sites, billboard ads, and posters. Almost everywhere one looks today, one will see impurities along with men and women who are scantily clothed or literally naked. The world has changed much over the years. Few people consider and think about how much the world have changed in a comparatively short time, but the world was very different just a 100 years ago. Back then, there were no sexual education; neither were there (generally) any pornography or immoral movies, series and magazines; and one would never find billboards plastered with images of literally naked or semi-naked women at totally public places for everyone to see, no matter the age. Before in time, one could indeed go and shop for food or clothing in total peace of mind without having to worry about seeing half naked, sensual women and men being displayed all over the place. This doesn’t exist today, at least not in the western culture. But however bad that is, it cannot be compared to the sheer horrors of the media. In the media, perverted viewers observe perverted characters and families and imitate them. This destroys their conscience as they imitate them and their sinful behavior and sexual perversions.
One can only shudder in horror over the number of people that actually have imitated what they have heard, read or seen in the media, magazines and television that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Who among men who frequently watch media can honestly say that he hasn’t learned to commit some new sin that he before didn’t know about through the media? The media is indeed the devil’s favorite playground in the total and complete destruction of human morality. In fact, the media has such power to normalize trends and sinful behaviors – as one frequently witness when fans starts to behave and dress as their “idols” seen on the media – that it has normalized and preconditioned peoples minds into believing that it’s totally normal to act like this and that everyone commits such acts as are shown and promoted. A few examples one almost always encounters are: immodest dress (hence the reason why virtually the whole world has gone from being somewhat modestly dressed to half-naked in just 50 years or so), homosexuality, cursing, taking God’s name in vain, tips or recommendations on how to increase sexual pleasure, or the constant viewing of lustful kisses, touches, and unlawful and mortally sinful sexual practices. Such depraved sexual sins were much more, if not totally uncommon before since most, if not all people, were ignorant about them, and as a result, were less likely to know even how to commit them.
St. Clement of Alexandria, On Marriage (c. 198 A.D.): “For the marriage of other [sinful, selfish and lustful] people is an agreement for indulgence; but that of philosophers leads to that agreement which is in accordance with reason, bidding wives adorn themselves not in outward appearance, but in character; and enjoining husbands not to treat their wedded wives as mistresses, making corporeal wantonness their aim; but to take advantage of marriage for help in the whole of life, and for the best self-restraint.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book II, Chapter XXIII)
It is the purpose behind the marital act, the will of not wanting to live a sensual life, the thought of wanting to have children for the glory and honor of God—that produces the good fruits in parents. It is not merely a natural act or process that achieves this good fruit, but again, the intention. True love thus resides in the will or thought, and not first and foremost in an external deed. This is not to say, however, that an external act if performed with a good intention cannot be a sign of true love, because it can (examples being alms-giving or other good and charitable deeds), and in this sense intimacy can be called love, but only in so far as it is not selfish or self-centered in nature.
St. Robert Bellarmine, The Art of Dying Well, Chapter XV, On Matrimony: “There are three blessings arising from Matrimony, if it be made a good use of, viz: Children, fidelity, and the grace of the sacrament. The generation of children, together with their proper education, must be had in view, if we would make a good use of matrimony; but on the contrary, he commits a most grievous sin, who seeks only carnal pleasure in it. Hence Onan, one of the children of the patriarch Juda, is most severely blamed in Scripture for not remembering this, which was to abuse, not use the holy Sacrament. But if sometimes it happen that married people should be oppressed with the number of their children, whom through poverty they cannot easily support, there is a remedy pleasing to God; and this is, by mutual consent to separate from the marriage-bed, and spend their days in prayer and fasting. For if it be agreeable to Him, for married persons to grow old in virginity, after the example of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, (whose lives the Emperor Henry and his wife Chunecunda endeavoured to imitate, as well as King Edward and Egdida, Eleazor a knight, and his lady Dalphina, and several others,) why should it be displeasing to God or men, that married people should not live together as man and wife, by mutual consent, that so they may spend the rest of their days in prayer and fasting?”
In this context of speaking about selfish pleasure seekers, it is necessary to speak about the male population, that especially today are completely consumed by the search for and gratification of their foul, sensual and carnal appetites. St. Thomas Aquinas denounces such men unequivocally, teaching that: “On the contrary, Augustine says… thou shouldst excel thy wife in virtue, since chastity is a virtue, thou yieldest to the first onslaught of lust, while thou wishest thy wife to be victorious.’” (Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 151, Art. 1; De Decem Chord, Serm. ix de Tempore)
Just as an external deed can be done for a good cause, so it can also be done for an evil cause, even if it outwardly appears to be good or devout. For example, if someone were to give alms in order to achieve human praise and glory from other men and not from God, this deed of alms-giving would be worthless before God and would in no way profit the giver for salvation, but would actually only increase his torment in Hell, since it was a sin of vanity and vainglory. Therefore, a physical deed can never be meritorious in itself, but it is the intention behind the deed that defines its goodness or badness of the action. This truth is important to make clear since so many people today erroneously seem to believe that the sexual act in itself is a source of love.
Matthew 6:1-4 “Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.”
Spouses who love their spouse with an adulterous love are adulterers
According to the teachings of the Doctors, Theologians and Saints of the Catholic Church, any man who is a too ardent lover of his spouse, (that is, he or she who loves his wife’s or husband’s body too much or the lust or pleasure that he or she receives from them too much or more than he loves God or his spouse’s soul,) is an adulterer of his God and of his wife.
St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book 1, Section 20, 40, A.D. 393: “Do you imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? . . . He who is too ardent a lover of his own wife is an adulterer [of his God and wife].”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 154, Art. 8: “And since the man who is too ardent a lover of his wife acts counter to the good of marriage if he use her indecently, although he be not unfaithful, he may in a sense be called an adulterer; and even more so than he that is too ardent a lover of another woman.”
Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law, Case Thirty-Two, Question IV: “Also, Jerome, [in Against Jovinian, I]: C. 5. Nothing is more sordid than to make love to your wife as you would to an adulteress. The origins of love are respectable, but its perversion is an enormity. §1. It gives no respectable motive for losing one’s self control. Hence, the Sentences of Sixtus says, "He is an adulterer who is too passionate a lover of his wife." Just as all passion for another’s wife is sordid, so also is excessive passion for one’s own. The wise man should love his wife reasonably, not emotionally. The mere stimulus of lust should not dominate him, nor should he force her to have sex. Nothing is more sordid than to make love to your wife as you would to an adulteress.”
Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law, Case Thirty-Two, Question VI: “‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [Ex. 20:14]… You ought to excel over your wife in virtue (for chastity is indeed a virtue). Are you captive to the impulses of lust? Do you expect your wife to be victorious in this while you lie vanquished? As the head of your wife, you lead her to God. Would you be willing to follow a head like yourself? The husband is the head of the wife [Eph. 5:23]. So where the wife behaves better than the husband, the home is turned upside down on its head. If the husband is the head, the husband should behave better, and so lead his wife in all good deeds.”
People who are in a marriage should ask themselves these questions: “Whom do I love during the act of marriage: God and my spouse in all honesty and virtue, or my spouse’s body and the lust I derive from it?” “Have the thought of God or that He is present ever even entered my mind during marital relations?” “Have this absence of God’s presence in my mind also driven me into committing shameful sins by inflaming my concupiscence in unlawful ways?” In truth, those couples who doesn’t shut God out from themselves or their hearts during marital relations will undoubtedly be less likely to fall into other sins during the act of marriage. Saint Alphonsus, in his great book called the True Spouse of Jesus Christ, explains this crucial truth to us.
St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church, On the Presence of God: “The Saints by the thought that God was looking at them have bravely repelled all the assaults of their enemies… This thought also converted a wicked woman who dared to tempt St. Ephrem; the saint told her that if she wished to sin she must meet him in the middle of the city. But, said she, how is it possible to commit sin before so many persons? And how, replied the Saint, is it possible to sin in the presence of God, who sees us in every place? At these words she burst into tears, and falling prostrate on the ground asked pardon of the saint, and besought him to point out to her the way of salvation.” (True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 497)
And Gratian says that: “Unbridled desire and shameful employment of marriage are licentiousness and impurity… Second [in Gal. 5:19], the works of the flesh are called "impurity," and "licentiousness," its companion, is included with it. In the Old Law, the Scriptures generally include these among those horrible crimes committed in secret, which are said to be so filthy as to pollute the mouth that speaks of them, or the ears that hear of them. It says [Lev. 15:31], "You shall teach the children of Israel to take heed of uncleanness," including in this passage all unbridled desires, even those acts within marriage that are not performed as though God were present, with shame and modesty, for the sake of children. Such are called licentiousness and impurity.” (Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law, Case Thirty-Two, Question IV, Part 4, C. 12)
If it’s God we love the most, then it must naturally be Him that we are seeking to please, and not ourselves, our flesh, or our spouse. Our Lord God Jesus Christ Himself taught us this specific truth in the holy gospels, saying: “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)
In answering the question “Whether it is a mortal sin for a man to have knowledge of his wife, [that is, to perform the sexual act with his wife] with the intention not of a marriage good but merely of pleasure?” St. Thomas Aquinas explains that “the right answer to this question is that if pleasure be sought in such a way as to exclude the honesty [and chastity] of marriage, so that, to wit, it is not as a wife but as a woman that a man treats his wife, and that he is ready to use her in the same way if she were not his wife [and merely for fulfilling his own lust], it is a mortal sin; wherefore such a man is said to be too ardent a lover of his wife, because his ardor carries him away from the goods of marriage.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 49, Art. 6)
St. Clement of Alexandria, in his book “The Instructor” shows us very clearly how “he violates his marriage adulterously who uses” the marital sexual act in a forbidden, obscene or lewd way:
“For many think such things to be pleasures only which are against nature, such as these sins of theirs. And those who are better than they, know them to be sins, but are overcome by pleasures, and darkness is the veil of their vicious practices. For he violates his marriage adulterously who uses it in a meretricious way, and hears not the voice of the Instructor [the Lord], crying, "The man who ascends his bed, who says in his soul, Who seeth me? darkness is around me, and the walls are my covering, and no one sees my sins. Why do I fear lest the Highest will remember?" [Sirach 23:18] Most wretched is such a man, dreading men’s eyes alone, and thinking that he will escape the observation of God. "For he knoweth not," says the Scripture, "that brighter ten thousand times than the sun are the eyes of the Most High, which look on all the ways of men, and cast their glance into hidden parts." [Sirach 23:27-28] Thus again the Instructor threatens them, speaking by Isaiah: "Woe be to those who take counsel in secret, and say, Who seeth us?" [Isaiah 29:15] For one may escape the light of sense, but that of the mind it is impossible to escape. For how, says Heraclitus, can one escape the notice of that which never sets? Let us by no means, then, veil our selves with the darkness; for the light dwells in us. "For the darkness," it is said, "comprehendeth it not." And the very night itself is illuminated by temperate reason. The thoughts of good men Scripture has named "sleepless lamps;" although for one to attempt even to practice concealment, with reference to what he does, is confessedly to sin. And every one who sins, directly wrongs not so much his neighbor if he commits adultery, as himself, because he has committed adultery, besides making himself worse and less thought of. For he who sins, in the degree in which he sins, becomes worse and is of less estimation than before; and he who has been overcome by base pleasures, has now licentiousness wholly attached to him. Wherefore he who commits fornication is wholly dead to God, and is abandoned by the Word as a dead body by the spirit. For what is holy, as is right, abhors to be polluted. But it is always lawful for the pure to touch the pure. Do not, I pray, put off modesty at the same time that you put off your clothes; because it is never right for the just man to divest himself of continence. For, lo, this mortal shall put on immortality; when the insatiableness of desire, which rushes into licentiousness, being trained to self-restraint, and made free from the love of corruption, shall consign the man to everlasting chastity. "For in this world they marry and are given in marriage." But having done with the works of the flesh, and having been clothed with immortality, the flesh itself being pure, we pursue after that which is according to the measure of the angels.” (The Paedagogus or The Instructor, Book II, Chapter X.--On the Procreation and Education of Children, c. 198 A.D.)
Indeed, “The good of marriage remains a good, as it has always been a good among the People of God. … Now it allows human beings to procreate children, not like animals by merely copulating with females, but in a decent conjugal order. Nevertheless, when a Christian mind focuses on celestial things, it wins a victory beyond all praise. Yet, since, as the Lord says [Mt. 19:11-12], not all can accept this message, let those who can do so, and let those who cannot be content to marry. Let them weigh well what they have not chosen, and persevere in what they have embarked on. Let no opportunity be given to the Adversary, and let Christ be robbed of no offering. If purity is not preserved in the conjugal bond, one should fear damnation.” (Gratian, Marriage Canons From The Decretum, Case Twenty-Seven, Question I, Part 2, C. 41)
In a sense, one can truly say that the person who sets his heart on loving a physical pleasure with his will – whatever it may be – worships and loves a kind of idol. That is why we as humans must always do our utmost to try to escape or minimize the pleasures that are addictive to us. For the stronger a pleasure is and the more delightful it is to our senses, the more potential there is for it to become a sin and for a person to grow attached to it. St. Thomas Aquinas writes concerning this, “If the sexual pleasure is sought beyond the limits of integrity proper to marriage, in the sense that in conjugal relations the spouse sees in the partner not any more the characteristics proper to the spouse, but only a female/woman and is disposed to do with her the same things even if she were not his wife, he has sinned mortally.” (In Sententiarum, d.31, q.2, art, 3) Also, “It is needed to be said that a man seeks in the wife pleasure as from a prostitute when he looks at her with the same look with which he would look at a prostitute.” (Ibid., d.31, q.2, art, 3) And so, “Self-restraint is to prevail over sensual pleasure; on the other hand, the prevalence of the latter is what I call licentiousness.” (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Vol. II, Epi Ithika or Moral Epopees 31, Ori pachimereis, PG 37, 651A)
Another good example how loving one’s spouse (like an adulterer) – in an inordinate, unreasonable and sensual manner is sinful and evil – is found in The Revelations of St. Bridget in a chapter about a damned person who “was married and had no more than one wife and did not have intercourse with any other woman. However, he maintained his fidelity in marriage not because of divine charity and fear but because he loved the body of his wife so tenderly that he was not attracted by sexual union with any other body.” This example shows us that even in the time of St. Bridget in the 14th century, men and women of bad will loved the carnal pleasure they could derive from their spouse in an unreasonable and evil manner. Indeed, even though this man only loved his wife in a sensual manner rather than other women, he was still damned, thus showing us God’s hatred of and severity in judging marital sexual sins.
“The bride [St. Bridget] had a vision of what seemed to be two demons, alike in every limb, standing before the judgment seat of God. They had mouths wide open like wolves, glass-like eyes with burning flames inside, hanging ears like rabbits, swollen and protruding bellies, hands like those of a griffin, legs without joints, feet that looked mutilated and half cut-off. One of them said then to the judge: “Judge, sentence the soul of this knight who matches me to be united to me as my mate!”
The judge [Our Lord Jesus Christ] replied: “Tell me what rightful claim you have to his soul!”
The demon answered: “I ask you first, since you judge fairly: Is it not said, where an animal is found similar in type to another, that it belongs to the lion species or wolf species or some other such species? So now I ask to which species this soul belongs—is she like angels or demons?”
The judge said: “She does not match the angels but you and your mates, that is clear enough.”
Then, almost in mockery, the demon said: “When this soul was created from the fire of your unction, heat of union, that is, of your love, she was like you. Now, however, since she despised your sweet love, she is mine by a triple right: first, because she is like me in disposition; second, because we have the same tastes; third, because we both have a single will.” … Her belly is swollen, because the extent of her greed had no measure. She was filled but never satisfied. … I have a similar greed. If I alone could gain possession of all the souls in heaven and earth and purgatory, I would gladly seize them. And if only a single soul was left, I would out of my greed never let her go free from torment. Her breast is icy cold just like my own, since she never had any love for you and your commandments were never to her liking. So too, I feel no love for you. Rather, out of the envy I have toward you, I would willingly let myself be continuously killed in the bitterest of deaths and resuscitated again for the same punishment if only you were killed, if it were possible for you to be killed. …
This person was married and had no more than one wife and did not have intercourse with any other woman. However, he maintained his fidelity in marriage not because of divine charity and fear but because he loved the body of his wife so tenderly that he was not attracted by sexual union with any other body. …
Then the judge [Jesus Christ] turned to me [St. Bridget] who had seen all this and said: “Woe to this man who was worse than a robber! He had his own soul on sale; he thirsted for the impurity of the flesh; he cheated his neighbor. This is why voices of men cry out for vengeance on him, the angels turn away their faces from him, the saints flee his company.”
Then the demon drew close to the soul that matched him and said: “O judge, look: here am I and I again! Here am I, wicked through my own wicked will, unredeemed and unredeemable. But this one here is another me: though he was redeemed, he made himself like me by obeying me more than you. … So she is mine! Therefore, as they say, her flesh will be my flesh, though, of course, I have no flesh, and her blood will be my blood.” The demon seemed to be very happy about this and began to clap his hands.
The judge said to him: “Why are you so happy and what kind of happiness is that you feel in the loss of a soul? Tell me while this bride of mine stands here listening. Although I know all things, answer me, for the sake of this bride, who can only grasp spiritual matters figuratively.”
The demon said: “As this soul burns, I burn even more fiercely. When I burn her with fire, I am burned even more. Yet, because you redeemed her with your blood and loved her to such an extent that you, God, gave yourself for her, and I still was able to deceive her, I am made glad.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 6, Chapter 31)
Sad to say, the truth of the matter is that most people in this world fits the description of this damned soul, since they love their spouse in an inordinate way. The Son of God, in a Revelation spoken to Saint Bridget, speaks of this, saying:“But now, the redeemed soul of man has become like the most ugly and shameless frog, jumping in its arrogance and living in filth through its sensuality. She has taken my gold away from me, that is, all my justice. That is why the devil rightly can say to me: ‘The gold you bought is not gold but a frog, fostered in the chest of my lust. Separate therefore the body from the soul and you shall see that she will jump directly to the chest of my lust where it was fostered.’ … Such is the soul of the man I am talking about to you. She is namely like the most vile frog, full of filthiness and lust, fostered in the chest of the devil.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1, Chapter 21)
Hierarchy of sexual sins, licentiousness and illicit marital relations
Thomas N. Tentler, author of Sin and confession on the eve of the Reformation, and who studied the topic of the hierarchy of sexual sins developed in the Catholic Church from confession manuals, have listed the rank ordering of sexual sins committed by married and unmarried people. Now this is interesting, for this is how Catholic priests (before the beginning stages of the Great Apostasy) would have viewed and judged many of the sexual acts people today commit without any shame. Many of the things you perhaps would think are acceptable, will be seen are not — and in fact to be totally sinful. This will give us an overview on what is acceptable and what is not while having marital relations. The sins are ordered in 16 categories and applies to both the married and unmarried. They are as follows: