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Pope Francis tells couples not to have sex before marriage in Vatican guide that argues ‘chastity’

Pope Francis has told couples not to have sex before marriage in a new Vatican guidebook that explains what the church sees as requirements for a successful union.

The Catholic Church leader argues in the foreword to the new document for priests and dioceses working with engaged couples that “chastity teaches the timing and method of true love.”

He also claims that modern unions quickly “fall apart” and that chaste couples can learn how to be together without the pressures of sexual relations.

This teaching also helps when couples are older, Pope Francis adds. He explains that it helps them in sexless periods later in life and that it should also apply when engaged couples live together.

The 97-page document, published Tuesday and called the catechumenal itineraries for married life, “is a gift and it is a task,” the Catholic Church leader said.

This move has not been without controversy, The Telegraph writes, and seems to contradict the Pope’s openness to divorced and same-sex couples.

Pope Francis has told couples not to have sex before marriage in new Vatican guidebook that explains what the church sees as prerequisites for a successful union

Pope Francis has told couples not to have sex before marriage in new Vatican guidebook that explains what the church sees as prerequisites for a successful union

Pope Francis said in the text that given the high divorce rate and fewer marriages in recent years, there is a need for “renewed pastoral commitment.”

He added that “the origin of many difficulties” that married couples face is “the hedonistic mindset that distorts the beauty and depth of human sexuality.”

The document goes on to say: ‘The Church must never fail to present the precious virtue of chastity, even if it now stands in stark contrast to the general mindset.

Chastity should be presented as an authentic ‘ally of love’, not as its denial.

“Chastity teaches couples the times and ways of true, delicate and generous love, preparing them for the authentic gift of themselves to live their entire lives in marriage”

And sex is encouraged within marriage: “Fertility is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love is naturally fruitful,” states the Catechism.

Divorce rates in England and Wales have been on the rise in recent years and now lead to one in three marriages ending between 1964 and 2019, according to figures.

General view of St. Peter's Square during Holy Mass as Pope Francis canonizes ten new saints at the Vatican, May 15

General view of St. Peter’s Square during Holy Mass as Pope Francis canonizes ten new saints at the Vatican, May 15

In 2020, there were 103,592 divorces in England and Wales, a 4.5% decrease from 2019, which is believed to be the result of a pandemic.

Most people were married for an average of 11.9 years before divorcing, 2020 ONS figures also show.

But theologians have criticized the Catholic Church’s position as outdated and not good for modern marriages.

Vito Mancuso, an Italian theologian, said: ‘To exclude’ [sex]as Catholic teaching has always done, is a grave ethical error.”

He also lashed out at “the Catholic Church’s inability to understand sexuality.” In this, Pope Francis is no different from his predecessors.’

Father Alberto Maggi, another theologian, told La Repubblica newspaper, “Documents like this… are a step back.”

He added: ‘[It] should listen more to the reality of young people today, of how they live, before re-publishing the doctrine they have always proposed.”

Austen Ivereigh, a British expert on the Catholic Church, claimed this was nothing new: ‘This is not a ban or a new rule. They invite people to follow this path. They know it goes against society. The Church understands that most people today live together and have sex before getting married.”

And he agreed with the Church’s view that it could avoid “the incredibly high divorce rates we see in society.”

Pope Francis told a gay man in 2018, the Times said, that “God made you this way and loves you the way you are” and in 2016 made it easier for people to get married after they divorced when the marriage was “irreparable.” broken’.

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