Q 24. I am engaged to a wonderful young man with strong catholic faith and morals. We are looking forward to our marriage next year. We meet and talk often. Some friends suggested that it is ok to get physically intimate as we are destined to be husband and wife in the future. They say it will help us emotionally connect & understand each other better. We know that it is a sin. How best can we explain our stand to these friends?

 While speaking about the distinction between being engaged and being married, Pope Francis made reference to the physical intimacy some couples share before marriage, reminding that the “powerful symbols of the body hold the keys to the soul. We cannot treat the bonds of the flesh lightly, without opening some lasting wound in the spirit”. The Pope further warned that the current “consumer culture” tries to turn love into an “object of consumption”, whereas, the period of engagement ought to allow a man and a woman to mature in the responsible decision regarding something so big that cannot be bought or sold.” The Church maintains such distinction between engagement and marriage in order to protect the profound meaning of the sacrament of marriage.

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Fr Bitaju Mathew, O.SS.T. belongs to the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives (Trinitarians). He serves as the secretary Vice Provincial of the Order in India and is currently Chaplain of the Jesus Youth International Formation Team.