“Ask a Priest: What If I Was Afraid to Admit I’m Chaste With My Fiancé?”

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Q: Recently I had a friend over for drinks and she began talking about her ex-boyfriend and the type of contraception she was using. She then asked me what contraception I was using with my fiancé. If I told her the truth and said we are abstaining from sex before we are married, this private and very personal information would be shared with many people and would be the talk of the town. So, I chose to lie and told her we weren’t using any protection when we have sex, thus leading her to believe we have sex before marriage. I feel guilty ever since for effectively denying my Catholic faith and values, and I am not sure what to do about it. If the details of my private life became known, it would have a major impact on my life. But I also feel awful for not sticking up for my faith and God’s commandments. Can you please advise what I should do if this situation arises again? And whether I need to go to confession over this? – D.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s great to hear that you and your fiancé are striving to save sex for marriage. It is a fine way to set a solid foundation for a happy marriage.

The first observation is that you shouldn’t feel as though you have to reveal personal details about your relationship with everyone.

It’s one thing to speak about your commitment to chaste living with someone who would appreciate it or who would be edified by it (for instance, a teenager who looks up to you).

It’s another thing to speak about it with someone who will mock you and spread it around town. Remember Jesus’ words, “Do not … throw your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

On the other hand, Our Lord also said that “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

The world needs the witness of those willing to stand up for the Gospel.

Let’s face it: You will likely face similar questions in the future. “What kind of contraception do you and your husband use?” “Do you plan to get a tubal after the second baby is born?” And so on.

It would be helpful for you and your fiancé to have a heart-to-heart talk about how you plan to witness to your faith, and what kind of strategy you will follow when the indiscreet questions arise. Handled well, the questions could be an opportunity to evangelize others.

Another issue, sorry to say, is that, in effect, you slandered your fiancé.

By implying that the two of you were having sex, you gave the impression that he is fornicating (with you) and thus sinning gravely. If word of that gets around, it could damage his reputation (and yours) with people who perceive you to be an upright, God-fearing couple.

For that reason, it would be good to go to confession as soon as possible.

Now, let’s go back to the broader situation.

If your friends and others would ridicule you for being chaste, you might want to start cultivating a new circle of friends. You could do that by getting involved in parish projects and Bible studies or theology-of-the-body studies or by attending Catholic events (lectures, fundraisers, etc.).

For now, resolve to either speak the truth about your support of chastity, or, if you don’t want to throw the pearls before swine, let the question go without a reply.

If pressed, you could simply say the truth. If your friend mocks you, and others mock you, that might lead to a kind of housecleaning of your social network. The anti-chastity folks might drift out of your life – which might not be a bad thing.

Whatever you do, think of the long term. Chastity isn’t a widely embraced value in the world. You and your fiancé will need to find a way to live your chastity joyfully in this valley of tears.

But don’t lose hope. There are others out there who will benefit from your example.

Intensify your prayers for you and your fiancé. Our Lord and Our Lady will be there to help you both.


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  1. If you are under 30, I’d suggest joining a Young Adult Group. Maybe contact the diocese in your area and ask them which parish has a strong Young Adult Group that ministers to college age students; as often these students (in my experience) stay connected with the group after college if they stay in the area. In my area (Boston) the Oblates of the Virgin Mary have a very strong ministry to the college age Young Adults (up to age 30.) Good luck!

  2. To be WORRIED about ‘following the ways of God and what your social circle would think of you and that ‘your life’ would be over? Oh my… I’m afraid these are all the signs of embrace of ‘the culture of death.’ Your LIFE, the REAL LIFE in Christ will be over IF you ever did have sexual relations out of wedlock. (yes, Christ is forgiving for those who ‘know not’ what they say or do, but one has TO ASK for that forgiveness. (say the sorrows in private before the Blessed Sacrament tabernacle and say sorrow in the Penitential Rite at Mass… and yes, Father is correct… RUN do not walk to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and say it in words to Jesus thru the chosen Apostle acting in His name. THEN…well, ask advice as to whether you should speak of this to your fiancé and whether the two of you should go to this ‘so called’ friend and TOGETHER state you ARE chaste until Holy Matrimony. Tell her that her insensitivity of asking ‘took you by surprise’ and that you
    just ‘like ya know’ gave her THE ANSWER you thought she wanted … not what is truth. You are saving yourself FOR HOLY MATRIMONY. Who cares what she thinks? Get a new social circle.

    Consider also that any person who would ask such question on what ‘pill’ you use MIGHT be feeling you out
    whom (maybe) she respects. Maybe SHE ALSO does NOT use contraception. Maybe she has an Ex because
    she also DOESN’T USE a pill. (chalk it up to two immature college females chatting and one testing the
    spirit of another) Father is right, find some more mature friends of a GROUP CHURCH nature.

  3. REMEMBER this earth is not OUR LIFE…we are here to GROW in Spirit and PUT GOD first not ‘what others think of our GOOD WAYS.’ Go ask forgiveness, accept the forgiveness, and FORGIVE YOURSELF… heck
    you are ‘human.’ Remember Peter who denied Him 3 times . . . in his human nature. BUT, later Peter WAS NAMED the ROCK of Jesus’ earthly church. forgive yourself… after being forgiven.

  4. . . . just another opinion of me (ask a priest behind screen) but if this ‘friend’ was so ‘without spirit’ as to ask such a question… the truth is she does not KNOW YOU as friend. She’s a casual acquaintance and connected only as a school classmate or maybe a co-worker or maybe someone you enjoy a sport with (tennis, bowling or whatever) IF SHE KNEW YOU . .. the question would not be asked. JUST as when some in Jesus’ day (the pharisees with a false piety) would ASK of him…and He answered in a riddle… aka ‘not a direct answer.’ / So you should follow . . . either LAUGH off her question and walk away (which would be a riddle to her) or ask her a question: ‘why would you even ask that of me?’ Obviously you KNOW NOT who I am… if you knew me, you would have no need to ask such a question.

    That you did ask… tells me about YOU… and I think it best we keep a ‘gracious social distance’ from now on. As much as possible NEVER get angry at such insensitive folk… because THE ACTIONS are what will be spread. The WORDS such state … will be taken ‘from whence it comes’ ONLY THOSE AS THIS INSENSITIVE one will ‘eat up’ what she speaks of you. (GET A NEW SOCIAL CIRCLE and LEAVE HER)

    SHREWD AS A SERPENT, SIMPLE AS A DOVE when ‘in the world but not of the world.’

    even if you went to ‘explain your error’ . . . 1. most likely she won’t even remember what she asked or what you answered. (the world KNOWS NOT what they do or say) 2. You can ‘fear’ she’ll
    repeat to others that you are PURE (chaste) and waiting for marriage to others, BUT TRUTHFULLY, she
    could CARE LESS of your honesty to her if NOT in the truth of God (or still growing into it) She will believe
    what you are by YOUR ACTIONS… if you have to say something… just say “I waS

  5. If you must say something to this one again… say ‘don’t believe every word I say when answering STUPID questions.’ I am an authentic CHRISTIAN of Catholic tradition as is my fiancee and ‘WE WAITING til we pronounce our vows in HOLY matrimony, where we will be OPEN to new life from God, called BLESSING. We anticipate that JOYFUL event someday. That’s my answer … believe it or not.

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