even though this act is still procreative in itself), how much more must he not utterly rejectthe notion that non-procreative sexual acts, such as sensual kisses and touches, are allowed for spouses to perform? To deny this obvious truth is simply said to be dishonest! However, while St. Thomas here erroneously taught that the payment of the marital debt is a sufficient motive for excusing the marital sexual act from sin, this teaching by him is nevertheless contradicted by Pope Pius XI’s authoritative encyclical Casti Connubii, which, as we have already shown, teaches that the marital debt is a secondary end or purpose after the primary motive of procreation of children (Casti Connubii # 59); still, the fact that this great Saint and Doctor of the Church teaches that the procreative sexual act itself is sinful unless it is excused, totally proves that St. Thomas teaches that all non-procreative sexual acts are unlawful and sinful.
Continuing on with the topic of “Whether there can be mortal sin in touches and kisses?”—St. Thomas Aquinas’ general refutation of, and reply to all the objections against the Church’s moral teaching that there can be mortal sins in sensual kisses and touches also for married people, utterly destroys the notion that one may perform these acts.
Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 154, Art. 4 [continued]:
“On the contrary, A lustful look is less than a touch, a caress or a kiss. But according to Mat. 5:28, "Whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." MUCH MORE THEREFORE ARE LUSTFUL KISSES AND OTHER LIKE THINGS MORTAL SINS.”
This means that St. Thomas views lustful kisses “and other like things” as worse sins than adultery or fornication! This is probably due to the fact that St. Thomas views sexual sins that cannot serve for procreation as worse sins than those that can. Notice also that St. Thomas says that “A lustful look is less than a touch, a caress or a kiss” in order to show us that the main sin is in the intention when we lust against our reason and consent to committing unnecessary, intoxicating and shameful acts; but that external acts, such as “a touch, a caress or a kiss” aggravate the guilt of the act, and that these are therefore worse mortal sins than just the lustful look and thought. Thus, if even St. Thomas condemns as mortally sinful a lustful look, in addition to teaching that married people’s sexual sins are worse than adultery, “MUCH MORE THEREFORE ARE LUSTFUL KISSES AND OTHER LIKE THINGS MORTAL SINS.”
In fact, St. Thomas abhors all non-procreative sexual acts with such a detestation and hatred that he even views the vices of fornication, rape or incest as a lesser sexual crime than the vice of masturbation. However, one must not think that St. Thomas teaches that fornication, rape or incest are generally lesser sins than masturbation or other non-procreative sexual acts. Fornication, rape and incest are greatercrimes in the sense of justice, but masturbation is a greater violation of the Natural Law with respect to the sexual act since it more grievously “transgresses that which has been determined by nature [for the procreation of children]”. It is therefore considered, according to St. Thomas, as a greater crime in the sense of sins against human sexuality.
Here is the text itself. In the Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 154, a. 12, Aquinas says:
“In every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature [for the procreation of children] with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is gravest of all. After it comes incest, which, as stated above (Article 9), is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us. With regard to the other species of lust they imply a transgression merely of that which is determined by right reason, on the presupposition, however, of natural principles. Now it is more against reason to make use of the venereal act not only with prejudice to the future offspring, but also so as to injure another person besides. Wherefore simple fornication, which is committed without injustice to another person, is the least grave among the species of lust. Then, it is a greater injustice to have intercourse with a woman who is subject to another’s authority as regards the act of generation, than as regards merely her guardianship. Wherefore adultery is more grievous than seduction. And both of these are aggravated by the use of violence. Hence rape of a virgin is graver than seduction, and rape of a wife than adultery. And all these are aggravated by coming under the head of sacrilege, as stated above (10, ad 2). … Reply to Objection 4. Gravity of a sin depends more on the abuse of a thing than on the omission of the right use. Wherefore among sins against nature, the lowest place belongs to the sin of uncleanness, which consists in the mere omission of copulation with another. While the most grievous is the sin of bestiality, because use of the due species is not observed. Hence a gloss on Genesis 37:2, "He accused his brethren of a most wicked crime," says that "they copulated with cattle." After this comes the sin of sodomy, because use of the right sex is not observed. Lastly comes the sin of not observing the right manner of copulation, which is more grievous if the abuse regards the "vas" [orifice] than if it affects the manner of copulation in respect of other circumstances.”
The first objection of the article argues that sins against nature are not the worst, because they are not the most contrary to charity: “The more a sin is contrary to charity the graver it is. Now adultery, seduction and rape, which are injurious to our neighbor, seem to be more contrary to the love of our neighbor, than unnatural sins, by which no other person is injured. Therefore sin against nature is not the greatest among the species of lust.” St. Thomas replies to this objection: “As the order of right reason is from man, so the order of nature is from God himself. And therefore in sins against nature, in which the very order of nature is violated, injury is done to God himself, the one who ordains nature.” In reply to the second objection, St. Thomas says: “Vices against nature are also against God, as stated above (ad 1), and are so much more grievous than the depravity of sacrilege, as the order impressed on human nature is prior to and more firm than any subsequently established order.”
Aquinas is focusing on the sins precisely as a violation of the right use of sexuality, and abstracting from other aspects of them. As justice is a greater virtue than chastity, so injustice is a greater evil than unchastity, and thus all things considered, Aquinas would consider rape a greater evil than masturbation or contraception. This formal way of speaking is recognized by some more considerate authors:
“The teaching of medieval theologians that such sexual sins as masturbation, sodomy, and contraception are more perverse, as sexual sins, than fornication or adultery or even rape (the former were said to be contra naturam whereas the latter were said to be praeter naturam), angers many people today. But this teaching must be understood properly. The medieval theologians are claiming that certain kinds of sexual sins more seriously offend the virtue of chastity than do others. They are not saying that these sins are for this reason less grave as sins than adultery or rape, for instance. After all, adultery and rape are very serious violations of the virtue of justice as well as being violations of the virtue of chastity. Thus, as a sin, rape is far more serious than masturbation or homosexual sodomy because it not only offends chastity but also gravely violates justice.” (Ronald David Lawler, Joseph M. Boyle, William E. May, Catholic sexual ethics: a summary, explanation & defense)
St. Thomas Aquinas continues to answer the question of “Whether there can be mortal sin in touches and kisses” between married and unmarried people:
“Further, Cyprian says (Ad Pompon, de Virgin., Ep. lxii), "By their very intercourse, their blandishments, their converse, their embraces, those who are associated in a sleep that knows neither honor nor shame, acknowledge their disgrace and crime." Therefore by doing these things a man is guilty of a crime, that is, of mortal sin.”
“I answer that, A thing is said to be a mortal works/sin in two ways. First, by reason of its species, and in this way a kiss, caress, or touch does not, of its very nature, imply a mortal sin, for it is possible to do such things without lustful pleasure, either as being the custom of one’s country, or on account of some obligation or reasonable cause. Secondly, a thing is said to be a mortal sin by reason of its cause: thus he who gives an alms, in order to lead someone into heresy, sins mortally on account of his corrupt intention. Now it has been stated above [I-II, Q. 74, A. 8], that it is a mortal sin not only to consent to the act, but also to the delectation [or pleasure] of a mortal sin. Wherefore since fornication is a mortal sin, and much more so the other kinds of lustit follows that in such like sins [that is, sins of lust] not only consent to the act but also consent to the pleasure is a mortal sin. Consequently, when these kisses and caresses are done for this pleasure [lust] it follows that they are mortal sins, and only in this way are they said to be lustful. Therefore in so far as they are lustful, they are mortal sins.”
. “and much more so the other kinds of lust…” i.e., lust committed both inside and outside of marriage. And by the way, St. Thomas also views sexual sins committed within a marriage as worse sins than those committed outside of marriage, as we have seen and shall see further on.
And for those objecting that St. Thomas was referring only to the unmarried people here since he mentioned the word “fornication” in some instances (but not others), we will provide the following quote by him refuting this argument:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 64. Art. 1, Reply to Objection 3: “If the husband [refuses to pay the marital debt without a just cause] . . . then he sins, and his wife’s sin, should she fall into FORNICATION [adultery, impure thoughts or masturbation] on this account, is somewhat imputable to him. Hence he should endeavor to do his best that his wife may remain continent.”
Hence, it is totally clear from above that when St. Thomas was mentioning the word “fornication,” “lascivious,” “unclean,” or “covetous” person, he was using it to refer to the sins of the unmarried and married people alike. And we know that this is the case, for when St. Thomas condemned lustful kisses and touches above as mortal sins – in the Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 154, Art. 1 & 4 – we know that he was referring to both, since, as he said, all fornicators, all unclean people, all covetous and all lascivious people was included in this category of mortal sinners (see objection 1 and reply to objection 1 quoted above).
St. Thomas Aquinas explains himself further in another part of his Summa, saying that acts “such as impure looks, kisses, and touches” regards the virtue of purity, while the virtue of “chastity regards rather sexual union.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 151, Art. 4: “Consequently purity regards venereal matters properly, and especially the signs thereof, such as impure looks, kisses, and touches. And since the latter are more wont to be observed, purity regards rather these external signs [i.e., looks, kisses, and touches], while chastity regards rather sexual union.”
Here we have another great evidence that kisses and touches for venereal pleasure was known very clearly to be sinful, shameful and contrary to purity even by the lay people of St. Thomas’ time. St. Thomas tells us that the virtue of “purity regards venereal matters properly, and especially the signs thereof, such as impure looks, kisses, and touches.” But he adds that the virtue of purity were “more wont to be observed” by the people of his own time in regards to these “impure” acts, thus confirming the fact that unnecessary sexual acts, such as kisses and touches for sensual pleasure, is a completely foreign concept to the Church and Her Saints that have been foisted on the modern man and woman through the diabolical media to be a cause of or even to be “love”, “affection”, or an integral part of the marital act, when it in fact is nothing but filthy lust! “The activities of marriage itself, if they are not modest and do not take place under the eyes of God as it were, so that the only intention is children, are filth and lust.” (St. Jerome, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, Book III, Chapter 5:21) Thus, according to St. Thomas, in contrast to the lustful spouses of our own times, the people of the former times were lucky enough to have this good “shamefacedness” that kept them from performing unnecessary and unlawful sexual acts “such as impure looks, kisses, and touches.”
In addition, it is very important and of worth noting that St. Thomas, in the context of this quotation, referred to the marital sexual act, by using the words “the conjugal act” as well as “of marriage,” which directly refutes one of the principle objections of the heretical objectors to the condemnation of sensual kisses and touches by the Church and Her Saints (that is, that the quotes doesn’t apply to marriage or the marital act):
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 151, Art. 4: “I answer that, As stated above (Objection 2), "pudicitia" [purity] takes its name from "pudor," which signifies shame. Hence purity must needs be properly about the things of which man is most ashamed. Now men are most ashamed of venereal acts, as Augustine remarks (De Civ. Dei xiv, 18), so much so that even the conjugal act, which is adorned by the honesty [Cf. 145] of marriage, is not devoid of shame: and this because the movement of the organs of generation is not subject to the command of reason, as are the movements of the other external members. Now man is ashamed not only of this sexual union but also of all the signs thereof, as the Philosopher observes (Rhet. Ii, 6). Consequently purity regards venereal matters properly, and especially the signs thereof, such as impure looks, kisses, and touches. And since the latter are more wont to be observed, purity regards rather these external signs [i.e., looks, kisses, and touches], while chastity regards rather sexual union.”
In another part of his Summa, St. Thomas speaks about the “"shamefacedness," whereby one recoils from the disgrace that is contrary to temperance” – which sadly is lacking in deviant lustful spouses – and he shows that “vices of intemperance” that arouse the sexual desire, such as “kissing, touching, or fondling,” are contrary to the virtue of “purity.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 143, Art. 1: “… there are two integral parts of temperance, "shamefacedness," whereby one recoils from the disgrace that is contrary to temperance, and "honesty," whereby one loves the beauty of temperance. For, as stated above (Q, A, ad 3), temperance more than any other virtue lays claim to a certain comeliness, and the vices of intemperance excel others in disgrace. The subjective parts of a virtue are its species: and the species of a virtue have to be differentiated according to the difference of matter or object. Now temperance is about pleasures of touch, which are of two kinds. For some are directed to nourishment: and in these as regards meat, there is "abstinence," [from gluttony] and as regards drink properly there is "sobriety." [from drunkenness] Other pleasures are directed to the power of procreation, [that is, they arouse the sexual desire] and in these as regards the principal pleasure of the act itself of procreation, there is "chastity," [from acts of adultery, fornication or other unlawful sexual acts] and as to the pleasures incidental to the act, resulting, for instance, from kissing, touching, or fondling, we have "purity [from all such non-procreative sexual acts]."”
Here St. Thomas Aquinas is discussing temperance as a virtue as opposed to the “vices of intemperance”, and he says that the contrary species of the matter or object of “kissing, touching, or fondling” is purity. This means that “kissing, touching, or fondling” can be a means of impurity, and a vice of intemperance, and it shows us that St. Thomas, in this context (as in the other quoted above), referred to it as impurity.
Furthermore, we here see the fact we have already spoken about that spouses who have lost their temperance of “shamefacedness” that St. Thomas speaks about are able to perform such shameful acts as kisses and touches for venereal pleasure. Sad to say, but it is exactly their lack of shame and “shamefacedness” and their forgetfulness of God’s presence, and that God’s eyes sees them and all their unnecessary and lascivious acts, kisses and touches that are performed in connection to the marital act, or as an individual act separated from it—that are the reason for why they dare to perform these unlawful and shameful acts. “Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 15) and Gregory of Nyssa [Nemesius, (De Nat. Hom. xx)] say that "shamefacedness is fear of doing a disgraceful deed or of a disgraceful deed done."” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 144, Art. 2) And in Reply to Objection 1 of the same article, St. Thomas states: “Shamefacedness properly regards disgrace as due to sin which is a voluntary defect [of the will]. Hence the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 6) that "a man is more ashamed of those things of which he is the cause [of doing]."”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 144, Art. 1, Reply to Objection 2: “As stated above, shamefacedness is fear of baseness and disgrace. Now it has been stated (142, 4) that the vice of intemperance is most base and disgraceful. Wherefore shamefacedness pertains more to temperance [from the vice of intemperance] than to any other virtue, by reason of its motive cause, which is a base action though not according to the species of the passion, namely fear [from being shamed*]. Nevertheless in so far as the vices opposed to other virtues are base and disgraceful, shamefacedness may also pertain to other virtues.”
* “Now shamefacedness is inconsistent with perfection, because it is the fear of something base, namely of that which is disgraceful. … Therefore shamefacedness, properly speaking, is not a virtue, since it falls short of the perfection of virtue.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 144, Art. 1)
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 144, Art. 4: “I answer that, As stated above (1 and 2) shamefacedness is fear of some disgrace. Now it may happen in two ways that an evil is not feared: first, because it is not reckoned an evil; secondly because one reckons it impossible with regard to oneself, or as not difficult to avoid. Accordingly shame may be lacking in a person in two ways. First, because the things that should make him ashamed are not deemed by him to be disgraceful; and in this way those who are steeped in sin are without shame, for instead of disapproving of their sins, they boast of them. Secondly, because they apprehend disgrace as impossible to themselves, or as easy to avoid. On this way the old and the virtuous are not shamefaced. Yet they are so disposed, that if there were anything disgraceful in them they would be ashamed of it. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 9) that "shame is in the virtuous hypothetically."”
Though they are not in themselves mortal sins when they are not performed for the sake of venereal pleasure, St. Thomas Aquinas clearly recognizes that kisses and touches come to be treated as such "ex sua causa," "because of a wicked intention," as the Blackfriars edition of the Summa renders it (cf. Summa Theologica 2a.2ae.154.4; 43: 220-21); kisses that are intended to arouse, to incite venereal pleasure, are properly called libidinous and are condemned as mortal sins.
In fact, the Angelic doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, defines lust in the following manner:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 153, Art. 3: “I answer that, The more necessary a thing is, the more it behooves one to observe the order of reason in its regard; wherefore the more sinful it becomes if the order of reason be forsaken. Now the use of venereal acts, as stated in the foregoing Article, is most necessary for the common good, namely the preservation of the human race. Wherefore there is the greatest necessity for observing the order of reason in this matter: so that if anything be done in this connection against the dictate of reason’s ordering, it will be a sin. Now lust consists essentially in exceeding the order and mode of reason in the matter of venereal acts. Wherefore without any doubt lust is a sin.”
All of this absolutely proves that all unnecessary sexual acts like sensual kisses and touches are sinful! for according to St. Thomas, whenever spouses go beyond “the order and mode of reason in the matter of venereal acts” during marital relations, they committed the sin of lust. Notice that St. Thomas says “that if anything be done in this connection against the dictate of reason’s ordering, it will be a sin.” He says that “anything” that is done “against the dictate of reason’s ordering” is sinful, and not only some things, (as many heretics of our own times claim), and that “lust consists essentially in exceeding the order and mode of reason in the matter of venereal acts”, that is, exceeding that which “is most necessary for the common good, namely the preservation of the human race.” Since the venereal act “is most necessary for the common good,