Pope Alexander VII, Various Errors on Moral Matters #40, September 24, 1665 and March 18, 1666: “It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded.” – Condemned statement by Pope Alexander VII. (Denz. 1140)
Nine, spouses should always remain chaste during the woman’s infertile periods and perform as few marital acts as possible each month in order to nurture virtue and perfection. The virtuous fruit and glory that such spouses give to Our Lord are undoubtedly very great, for those who have access to pleasure yet mortifies themselves can in a sense truly be called martyrs. These mortifications and sacrifices will also help make the power and influence of the devil grow less powerful in their life, and as a direct consequence to this, make the power and influence of God and His Holy Spirit grow stronger in their life—in those good spouses who abstain from performing the marital except for the procreation of children for the love of Our Lord. This will also make the home of these spouses more loving and free from those troubles and demons that most worldly couples are plagued with.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is about 28 days long, and the menstrual phase is about 5 days. Adding 7 days after the menstrual phase in accordance with God’s word in the Bible would mean that men and women should remain chaste for 12 days out of every 28 days during the woman’s natural menstrual cycle.
St. Finnian of Clonard, The Penitential of Finnian #46: “We advise and exhort that there be continence in marriage, since marriage without continence is not lawful, but sin, and [marriage] is permitted by the authority of God not for lust but for the sake of children, as it is written, ‘And the two shall be in one flesh,’ that is, in unity of the flesh for the generation of children, not for the lustful concupiscence of the flesh. Married people, then, must mutually abstain during three forty-day periods in each single year, by consent for a time, that they may be able to have time for prayer for the salvation of their souls; and after the wife has conceived he shall not have intercourse with her until she has borne her child, and they shall come together again for this purpose, as saith the Apostle. But if they shall fulfill this instruction, then they are worthy of the body of Christ… and there they shall receive the thirty-fold fruit which as the Savior relates in the Gospel, he has also plucked for married people.” (Medieval Handbooks of Penance by John T. McNeil and Helen Gamer. New York: Columbia University Press, 1938)
Ten, spouses should always abstain from marital relations after the woman have become pregnant since during pregnancy, the primary end or purpose of procreation is not possible to be fulfilled, and thus, it is a defective action to have marital relations during this time period. We see this distinction being made in the Church’s teachings in these words: “Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, # 54). Athenagoras the Athenian (c. 133-190), an early Christian author, explains it thus: “After throwing the seed into the ground, the farmer awaits the harvest. He does not sow more seed on top of it. Likewise, to us the procreation of children is the limit of our indulgence in appetite.” (A Plea For the Christians, Chapter XXXIII.--Chastity of the Christians with Respect to Marriage). In truth, it is not natural to sow one’s seed when one “awaits the harvest.”
The virtue of chastity is sexual purity according to one’s state of life. For married persons, this does not refer merely to refraining from adultery. Every kind of sexual immorality must be driven out of the holy matrimonial bond, so that not even any unchaste thoughts enter the mind of the husband or the wife. The chastity of husband and wife should extend to their entire selves, body and soul, even reaching to the inner thoughts of the heart and mind. There are no exceptions to chastity. No one is exempt from chastity according to their state of life. Even when a husband and wife have marital relations, the conjugal act cannot be lustful in heart or mind, nor can it be morally disordered in the particulars of the act itself. “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
St. Clement of Alexandria, On Marriage and Self-Control (c. 198 A.D.): “In general all the epistles of the apostle teach self-control and continence and contain numerous instructions about [virtuous] marriage, begetting children, and domestic life. But they nowhere rule out self-controlled marriage [or give license to lasciviousness]. Rather they preserve the harmony of the law and the gospel and approve both the man who with thanks to God enters upon marriage with sobriety and the man who in accordance with the Lord’s will lives as a celibate, even as each individual is called, making his choice without blemish and in perfection.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter XII, Section 86)
The idea that unnatural sexual acts can be used in the service of natural marital relations open to life is fundamentally incompatible with the holiness and chastity required of all married couples. Unnatural sexual acts are intrinsically evil, and so they cannot be used as the servants of natural marital relations open to life. No good employer would knowingly choose to hire employees entirely lacking in what is good and necessary to the task at hand. No holy king and queen would choose advisers or assistants who were fundamentally opposed to every good upon which their kingdom depends. No married Christian couple can morally choose to use unnatural sexual acts, partial or completed, even if the intention is to use these acts in the service of natural marital relations open to life. Evil cannot be used in the service of good, because good and evil are fundamentally incompatible. This is also why the Church teaches “that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon... because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it” since those kinds of selfish, lustful and impious “marriages” in effect are nothing but fornication in disguise of a marriage (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos #12). Indeed, “... [since] men do not reap the full fruit of the Sacraments which they receive after acquiring the use of reason unless they cooperate with grace, the grace of matrimony will remain for the most part an unused talent hidden in the field unless the parties exercise these supernatural powers and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace they have received.” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii #41)
St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, On Marriage and Family Life: “To this end every marriage should be set up so that it may work together with us for chastity. This will be the case if we marry such brides as are able to bring great piety, chastity, and goodness to us. The beauty of the body, if it is not joined with virtue of the soul, will be able to hold the husband for twenty or thirty days, but will go no farther before it shows its wickedness and destroys all its attractiveness. As for those who radiate the beauty of the soul, the longer time goes by and tests their proper nobility, the warmer they make their husband’s love and the more they strengthen their affection for him. Since this is so, and since a warm and genuine friendship holds between them, every kind of immorality is driven out. Not even any thought of wantonness ever enters the mind of the man who truly loves his own wife, but he continues always content with her. By his chastity he attracts the good will and protection of God for his whole household.” (St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: 1986, trans. Roth and Anderson, p. 100)
Ask God to eliminate or minimize sexual pleasure
Even though a husband must consummate the marital act for conception to occur, this does not mean he must have much pleasure to his flesh when doing so. He can pray to God to remove the pleasure and turn it to a strange, despised, and hated sensation or at least to a neutral sensation. To try to suppress or minimize the sensual pleasure in the marital act is surely a most pious and good thing to ask God for if one wish to become perfect. If this goal was achieved, then concupiscence would be conquered and the marital act would only occur with the intention of procreation and with no other motive, and the act itself would produce no particular pleasure to the flesh but only a strange and unwanted sensation caused by the venom of original sin in the flesh. “But continence doing this, that is, moderating, and in a certain way limiting in married persons the lust of the flesh, and ordering in a certain way within fixed limits its unquiet and inordinate motion, uses well the evil of man, whom it makes and wills to make perfect good: as God uses even evil men, for their sake whom He perfects in goodness.” (St. Augustine, On Continence, Section 27) Thus, “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.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VII, Section 58)
The Blessed Virgin Mary revealed to St. Bridget that her virtuous parents, St. Anna and St. Joachim, were united in the marital act in a perfect way and without any lust or will to please their own flesh, and the consequence of this virtuous act was that it produced the most perfect human that have ever lived after our Lord: Our Blessed Lady.
Our Lady spoke about her parents, saying: “He united my father and mother in a marriage so chaste that there could not be found a more chaste marriage at that time. They never wanted to come together except in accordance with the Law, and only then with the intention to bring forth offspring. When an angel revealed to them that they would give birth to the Virgin from whom the salvation of the world would come, they would rather have died than to come together in carnal love; lust was dead in them. I assure you that when they did come together, it was because of divine love and because of the angel’s message, not out of carnal desire, but against their will and out of a holy love for God. In this way, my flesh was put together by their seed and through divine love.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 9)
At one time in the history of the Catholic Church, some Catholic spouses actually tried to achieve this goal of minimizing pleasure during the marital act, and to only come together for a reasonable and just cause. Empirical evidence proves this fact. When I was young and into my teenage years, it was a joke among non-Catholics, such as Protestants, that Catholics are prudes because Catholic spouses do not enjoy sex, that they only had relations with the lights out and with only as much flesh exposed as necessary to consummate the marital act, which took place as quickly as possible in order to consummate the act. Catholic women were ridiculed the most because they never had or searched for any pleasure during the marital act. The lust-filled non-Catholics did their best to tell Catholic women to enjoy sex—and then to its fullest. This started to happen in my lifetime. And now almost all men, as well as women, are lust-filled whores! Almost all so-called Catholics now looks upon pleasure during sex as normal and good instead of something strange and abnormal caused by original sin. The majority of them also commit sexual sins of various sorts.
St. Jerome, Letter LXIX, To Oceanus, A.D. 397: “He took a wife that he might have children by her; you [took a ‘wife’] by taking a harlot [for the sake of lust]… He withdrew into the privacy of his own chamber when he sought to obey nature and to win God’s blessing: "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." [Gen. i. 28] You on the contrary outraged public decency in the hot eagerness of your lust. He covered a lawful indulgence beneath a veil of modesty; you pursued an unlawful one shamelessly… For him it is written "Marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled," while to you the words are read, "but whoremongers and adulterers God wilt judge," [Heb. 13:4] and "if any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy" [1 Cor. 3:17].” (The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter LXIX, To Oceanus, Section 4)
Contrary to these miscreants and impure spouses who use each other as though their spouse was a harlot given them to satisfy their sinful lust, the infallible word of God teaches us that true spouses are to regard each other as brothers and sisters instead of pieces of human meat that they wish to acquire in order to satisfy their sexual imaginations or perversions: “And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.” (Tobias 8:9) And so, living in Christ, all servants of the Almighty must seek God with a perfect and honest will, “purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly: Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever. For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)
Good spouses who wish to save their souls should not be concerned about the momentary pleasure they experience during the act of marriage or be working on enhancing it in unusual or unnecessary ways, but should rather be focusing their minds on God and to love and please Him, by feeling close to Him. “But we maintain our modesty not in appearance, but in our heart we gladly abide by the bond of a single marriage; in the desire of procreating, we know either one wife, or none at all. … So far, in fact, are they [the modest] from indulging in incestuous desire, that with some even the (idea of a) modest intercourse of the sexes causes a blush.” (Marcus Minucius Felix, The Octavius of Minucius Felix, Chapter XXXI, A.D. 210)
The Patriarchs and the Prophets of the Old Testament time understood that God hated that spouses should perform the marital act for any other motive than the begetting of children, and that is also why they were honored so much by Our Lord. One finds—over and over again in Holy Scripture—that their main concern when taking wives was the begetting of offspring, contrary to the lustful and selfish people of today. “For I pray that, being found worthy of God, I may be found at their feet in the kingdom, as at the feet of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; as of Joseph, and Isaiah, and the rest of the prophets... that were married men. For they entered into these marriages not for the sake of appetite, but out of regard for the propagation of mankind.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, Chapter IV, A.D. 107)
St. Augustine who similarly wrote extensively about procreation and sexuality explains in his “Sermons on the New Testament,” that the Patriarchs and the Prophets of old searched for and desired children and purity rather than fulfilling their own selfish and sensual interests, thus living a chaste lifestyle directly opposed to most of the lustful people of today: “Hence, my brethren, understand the sense of Scripture concerning those our ancient fathers, whose sole design in their marriage was to have children by their wives. For those even who, according to the custom of their time and nation, had a plurality of wives, lived in such chastity with them, as not to approach their bed, but for the cause I have mentioned, thus treating them indeed with honor... So then, my brethren, give heed. Those famous men who marry wives only for the procreation of children, such as we read the Patriarchs to have been, and know it, by many proofs, by the clear and unequivocal testimony of the sacred books; whoever, I say, they are who marry wives for this purpose only, if the means could be given them of having children without intercourse with their wives, would they not with joy unspeakable embrace so great a blessing? would they not with great delight accept it? For there are two carnal operations by which mankind is preserved, [eating and sex] to both of which the wise and holy descend as matter of duty, but the unwise rush headlong into them through lust; and these are very different things.” (St. Augustine, Sermons on the New Testament, Sermon 1:22-23)
St. Augustine, Against Faustus, Book XXII, Section 47, A.D. 400: “Again, Jacob the son of Isaac is charged [by heretics] with having committed a great crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom; and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom. There are sins against nature, and sins against custom, and sins against the laws [of God]. In which, then, of these senses did Jacob sin in having a plurality of wives? As regards nature, he used the women not for sensual gratification, but for the procreation of children. For custom, this was the common practice at that time in those countries. And for the laws [of God], no prohibition existed. The only reason of its being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the laws [of God] forbid it. Whoever despises these restraints, even though he uses his wives only to get children, still commits sin, and does an injury to human society itself, for the sake of which it is that the procreation of children is required.”
Though marriage remains good and honorable in the New Law, believers should not “pine” after the earthly blessings of marriage and family life as though they were living in the Old Covenant. This would be to live like a Jew concerned with wealth, long life, large families, etc. This would be to ignore the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ came calling us to Heaven, and that He is now urging us to spurn this present life and all it has to offer (St. Chrysostom, Exp. in Ps. IV; PG 55.55). It is possible for one to live married with a great number of children and things, and still to “despise what they have.” (Chrysostom, Hom. X in 1 Thess.; PG 62.459; NPNF, p. 368.) The one who finds his happiness in God drives out every earthly pleasure, and shows them to be pleasures in name only. Belonging to God is true pleasure and happiness. Anyone who experiences this pleasure will care little for others (Chrysostom, Exp. in Ps. LX; PG 55.124). This is St. John’s maxim, “He who desires earth shall not obtain heaven and shall lose earth.” (Chrysostom, Hom. I in Mt.; PG 57.62.) Chrysostom thought that many Christians of his time were living as Old Covenant believers, and for this reason, they radically misinterpreted the true signs both of God’s friendship and of His enmity (Exp. in Ps. XII; PG 55.149). They thought that the presence of wealth, long life, and many children were the signs of God’s blessing when in fact they were often just the opposite. Such was not the case at the foundation of the Church. During those blessed days the married lived like monks, and so St. Paul called married men “saints” (Chrysostom, Hom. I in Eph.; PG 62.9). One ought not, however, to think that God has abandoned a person because of wealth, long life, many children, or even because of the presence of personal misfortune. On the contrary, the sure sign that God has abandoned someone is if they are living in sin and all is going swimmingly! As Hebrews 12:6 states, “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
In order for marital intercourse to be legitimate it must be chaste. Commenting on Proverbs 5, St. Chrysostom interprets the references to one’s fountain and stag as references to one’s wife. A husband is to enjoy his wife sexually with temperance. King Solomon uses the image of the fountain and stag because of the purity of marital intercourse (Chrysostom, Exp. in Ps. IX; PG 55.126). “Desire managed with moderation makes you a father, but neglected it in many cases drives you down into lewdness and adultery.” (Ibid., CXLVIII; PG 55.491.) Again we see the essential connection in Chrysostom between sexual intercourse and procreation. Many today would say, “Desire managed with moderation makes you happy/fulfilled/satisfied”, while St. Chrysostom says, “Desire managed with moderation makes you a father.” And, “Use marriage with moderation, and thou shalt be first in the kingdom.” (Hom. VIII in Heb.; PG 63.68.) For the married to “take pleasure is not forbidden but in chastity, not with shame, and reproach and imputations.” (Chrysostom, Hom. VII in Mt.; PG 57.81; NPNF, p. 49.)
One of several helps to moderation in marriage is the pious practice of fasting from sexual relations. St. Ephrem the Syrian writes, “Chastity’s wings are greater and lighter than the wings of marriage. Intercourse, while [it remains] pure, is lower. Its house of refuge is modest darkness. Confidence belongs entirely to chastity, which light enfolds.” (Hymn 28 On the Nativity) Throughout the history of the Church certain pious couples have embraced a permanent fasting from sexual relations in their marriages. At certain periods when the ascetic strength of the Church was high the literature bears witness to the fact that the practice of marital celibacy was not at all uncommon. See Tertullian, “How many are there who from the moment of their baptism set the seal of virginity upon their flesh? How many who by equal mutual consent cancel the debt of matrimony: voluntary eunuchs for the sake of their desire after the celestial kingdom.” (A Son Epouse, VI.2.8-11; SC 273, p. 110; ANF, p. 42.) St. Athanasius the Great says that St. Paul taught this practice in 1st Cor. 7:29 (First Letter to Virgins). The Jews in the Old Covenant practiced such sexual fasting as is evident in many places in the Old Testament. We who enjoy so much grace and have received the Holy Spirit should have far more zeal in this practice than the Jews (Chrysostom, Virg., XXX, 1.1-15; SC 125, pp. 188, 190). If we do not, we will find ourselves without excuse. Sexual fasting was particularly taught by the Holy Fathers for three days prior to receiving holy communion.
The asceticism involved in taming the sexual impulse is especially difficult for the married man. He has a task more difficult than the monk, for he must crucify his desires while in the actual presence of his wife, and to be deprived of gratification that appears immediately before his eyes may be considered the very definition of punishment (Chrysostom, Hom. XIV in 1 Cor.; PG 61.120). However, it is possible, if we only will it, to win every contest against nature (Chrysostom, Laud. Paul. 6.3.16-17; SC 300, p. 264). By spiritual labors in marriage one can reject the influence of society which has made “sins into an art.” Not only can married Christians, through asceticism appropriate to their station in life, nearly rival the monks, according to St. Chrysostom, but their marriage can become a “type of the presence of Christ,” and Christ and the choir of His angels will come to such a marriage. Christ will again work a wedding miracle as He did at Cana, and turn water into wine. He will turn the water, which is the unstable, dissolving, and cold desire for sex, into something truly spiritual (Chrysostom, Hom. XII in Col.: PG 62.389). Married Christians can become virgin souls by freeing themselves from worldly thoughts. “The incorrupt soul is a virgin, even if having a husband.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XXVIII in Heb.; PG 63.201.)
Although difficult for the married man, the expectation of the blessing of increased marital love born of marital abstinence is enough to encourage him. John Cassian, relating the words of Abbot Abraham, an aged ascetic, writes: “A hundred times greater delight is to be gotten from married abstinence, too, than that which is offered to two people in sexual intercourse… I once used to have a wife in the wanton “passion of lust” but now I have her in the dignity of holiness and in the true love of Christ. The woman is the same, but the value of the love has grown a hundredfold.” (John Cassian, Conlalio XXIII, XXVI.3.27-4.1. 6.22-25; CSEL XIII, pp. 705-706.) “For, in good truth, a friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends; better to live in darkness, than to be without friends. And I will tell you why. Because many who see the sun are in darkness, but they can never be even in tribulation, who abound in friends. I speak of spiritual friends, who prefer nothing to friendship. Such was Paul, who would willingly have given his own soul, even though not asked, nay would have plunged into hell for them. With so ardent a disposition ought we to love.” (Chrysostom, Homilies on First Thessalonians, Homily II)
Chastity should especially involve the control of one’s gaze (Chrysostom, Hom. VII in Mt.; PG 57.81). Desire grows by looking (Chrysostom, Hom. XVII in Mt.; PG 57.256-257). St. Ephrem writes, “Do not annul by your eyes the vows of virginity your mouth has vowed.” (Hymn 2 On Virginity) Tertullian encourages Christian women to do all that they can to insure that others do not look upon them lustfully: “In the eye of perfect Christian modesty, carnal desire of one’s self by others is not only not to be desired, but even execrated, by you. Why excite toward yourself that evil passion? Why invite toward yourself that which you profess yourself a stranger? … Let a holy woman, if naturally beautiful, give none so great occasion for carnal appetite… she ought not to set off her beauty, but even to obscure it.” (De Cultu Feminarum, II.1.1-3, III.1.1-3; CCSL 1, pp. 354, 357; ANF, pp. 19-20.) In contrast to those who ruin their souls via improper gazing, the Virgin Mary “turned her face away from everything to gaze on one beauty alone [that is, God].” (St. Ephrem, Hymn 24 On Virginity) To look upon another is to touch that person with one’s eyes and to wrong both your spouse and the one being gazed upon (Chrysostom, Hom. XVII in Mt.; PG 57.257). If you practice chastity in marriage nothing is equal to the pleasure of wife and children (Chrysostom, Hom. XVIII in Mt.; PG 57.428). Chastity in marriage is ensured especially by the practice of chastity before marriage. For this reason, young men should marry early, not long after the onset of desire at about fifteen years of age (Chrysostom, Hom. IX in 1 Tim.: PG 62.546; NPNF. p. 437).
St. Augustine could rightly see the amount of wickedness and damnation that concupiscence was responsible for, teaching that: “Concupiscence is worse than ignorance, because to sin in ignorance without concupiscence is lesser sin; but concupiscence without ignorance makes sin more serious. Moreover, ignorance of evil is not always evil, but lust after evil is always evil. It is sometimes useful to be ignorant of a good, in order to learn of it at an opportune time; it is never possible that man’s good be lusted after by carnal concupiscence, since not even offspring itself is desired by the lust of the body, but by the intention of the soul, even though offspring is not sowed without the lust of the body. For, indeed, we are concerned with that concupiscence by which the flesh lusts against the spirit; not with the good concupiscence by which the spirit lusts against the flesh, [Gal. 5:17] and by which is desired the continence through which concupiscence is overcome. By this concupiscence of the flesh no one ever desires any good of man, unless the pleasure of the flesh is the good of man.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book VI, Chapter 16, Section 50, A.D. 421)
In our day and age, many people who are incontinent and who wish to satisfy their sensual appetites at every turn, sadly pervert and lie about the Holy Scripture in order to justify and excuse their immoderate and immoral sexual lifestyle. St. Methodius, in his work “Banquet of the Ten Virgins” (c. 311 A.D.) wrote against and exposed such people in his own time, showing us very clearly how such people pervert certain passages of Holy Scripture to their own destruction: “Now Paul, when summoning all persons to sanctification and purity, in this way referred that which had been spoken concerning the first man and Eve in a secondary sense to Christ and the Church, in order to silence the ignorant, now deprived of all excuse. For men who are incontinent in consequence of the uncontrolled impulses of sensuality in them, dare to force the Scriptures beyond their true meaning, so as to twist into a defense of their incontinence the saying, "Increase and multiply;" and the other, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother;" and they are not ashamed to run counter to the Spirit, but, as though born for this purpose, they kindle up the smoldering and lurking passion, fanning and provoking it; and therefore he, cutting off very sharply these dishonest follies and invented excuses, and having arrived at the subject of instructing them how men should behave to their wives, showing that it should be as Christ did to the Church, "who gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word," he referred back to Genesis, mentioning the things spoken concerning the first man, and explaining these things as bearing on the subject before him, that he might take away occasion for the abuse of these passages from those who taught the sensual gratification of the body, under the pretext of begetting children.” (Discourse III, Chapter X.--The Doctrine of the Same Apostle Concerning Purity)
Continuing to describe the lustful captives who refuse to practice virtue or abstinence, St. John Chrysostom, commenting on the words of St. Paul, writes: “[St. Paul] Again implying their weakness of character… the imperiousness… their utter slavery. And this is evident also from the advice which Paul gave. For from that lust he leads men quite away, saying… having separated them “for a season” only, and that by “consent,” he advises to ‘come together again’ (1 Cor. vii. 5.)