… I see, between the lines of your letters, and even mentioned in full, that you are kind of developing a complex of suffering from an imagined “liberal” disease. Let me try to be a doctor and cure you once and for all. A liberal, you? Forget it; I am 83 (going to 84 as the modern teenagers would say) and I still must meet the first liberal with eight children. Worldlings call themselves open-minded, which of course is trash and nonsense. They reject or accept God and His laws as suits themselves. Sometimes they will say with Satan “I will not serve”, at other times when they are sentimentally inclined they will praise God and His laws, not out of love for God, but for the love of themselves when everything goes to their own wishes. Will they ever say “Thy will be done”? No, never, it is their own will that must be done. Do you imagine for one moment that you belong to that unholy category? No, forget it.
As to the priest’s severity towards boy-girl relationships, it is fully understandable and we do not have to go deeper into that. Bear with him and respect him for it, he only tries to protect young souls. There is however one very important subject which is hardly ever, if ever, mentioned from the pulpit. Perhaps it is more considered to be a private (eye to eye) matter between parent and child, or confessor and penitent. This is the “holy fear” of deliberate mortal sins. A deliberate mortal sin, i.e. “I know it is a mortal sin, but I still want to do it”. That sin, in many cases, is the sin of impurity.
When I was a child, my parents instilled in me such a holy fear of a deliberate mortal sin that it stayed with me all my life. In the case of impurity, avoid all occasions and if an occasion starts arising, cut it off there and then. As so many virtues, it requires training first in small matters but the “holy fear” for the love of God and the fear of hell is in most cases the best defense and “early warning system.” Our Guardian angels, especially if regularly and humbly asked, will do the rest. Then, we should not forget the well known three Hail Mary’s at morning and night prayers to the holy Virgin for protection against the sin of impurity. A very powerful weapon.
Teach your children that holy fear and instill it in them thoroughly so that they will instinctively avoid any occasion with a possible danger in it.
Now, how must we see this in the light of boys-girls relationships?
Do not try them stop meeting each other. They will only end up doing it on the sly, which is much more dangerous. A few practical examples will better illustrate the dangers and how to strengthen against those dangers.
Does Johnny avoid electricity because of its potential dangers? Does James, with his love for diving, avoid water because of its potential dangers? Does Matthew, for the same reason, avoid aeroplanes? A triple NO. But …. Will Johnny touch live contacts with his bare hands? Will James go diving with leaking equipment or with an empty oxygen cylinder? And will Matthew go up in an aeroplane with spluttering and coughing engine? Again, a triple NO. But why don’t they do that? Because they are properly trained and warned against such dangers. Johnny likes electricity, James likes water and Matthew prefers aeroplanes. Anything wrong with that? Of course not.
All boys at a certain age like girls. Is that wrong? Certainly not. Here however come again the formerly mentioned dangers and the so necessary training. Again, teach them that “holy fear” for deliberate mortal sin. I cannot repeat that often enough as I myself experienced its blessings during my own whole life. Also teach them about the hidden dangers in girls but not forgetting the dangers in the boys themselves. This gives them a well developed pre-warning system and a kind of armour against the dangers involved. For example, if they have a date, and the girl arrives indecently dressed, send her packing. She won’t try it a second time.
Now what would I consider indecently dressed? On this subject many books have been written. Young boys may not recognize me as such, but I am still a male and I still feel and see things.
One of the main culprits of today: trousers. Definitely unladylike, often repulsive, should never be worn in church or at official occasions.
Indecent? Perhaps not at first sight but definitely an attack upon feminity. What is definitely indecent (I do not have to mention it to you, as you will know very well yourself, but I want to mention them for completeness sake) are skin-tight jeans etc., belly-buttons, hipsters, see-through blouses and similar devices of modern female outfits. Teach your boys to send those girls packing! A normal healthy boy will hardly be able to endure such conditions very long. So we must consider them as extremely dangerous. There are many cases of doubt. If you are in doubt dear daughter, ask your husband. As a male his judgment is more critical.
Then there is one more item to be mentioned; “mixed marriages”. As in the case of deliberate mortal sin, instill in the boys a holy fear for those atrocities. I have no better word for them. They commonly lead the spouses as well as the children to hell. In my days I was strictly forbidden by my parents as well as by my Catholic school, to even have a date with a non-Catholic girl. If the school found out one could be expelled for it.
I remember a good friend of mine at ice-skating. When he skated a few rounds with your mother-to-be, he told me that he felt rather up in the clouds. I warned him seriously about that girl. “You do not even know if she is a Catholic”. Very shortly afterwards I myself discovered that she was a Catholic, and a good Catholic too, and that was the end of your poor but very happy dad! “On cloud nine”, but I had to suppress it until I was sure of her religion.
I am going to stop this sermon now. However I want to repeat in short; GIVE YOUR BOYS, AND LATER YOUR YOUNG DAUGHTERS, A HOLY FEAR OF NON-CATHOLICS, MORTAL SIN AND MIXED MARRIAGES. If they meet a decent girl, willing and interested in the Catholic faith, leave the entire decision to your priests.
I have written all these lines because I hope it might be of help to you. Of one thing I am sure, if your mother would still have been alive she would have been of the same opinion. No doubt, she would have made a very wise remark here and there as she did so often.