May 4, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Chastity Guide


In the summer of 1940 a group of approximately fifty Jesuit Fathers met at Campion, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, for the annual convention of the Midwest Section of THE INSTITUTE OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. In the course of that 1940 convention the members of the Institute (mostly student counsellors and professors of Religion in Jesuit colleges) thoroughly discussed the need of a text on chastity adapted to the intellectual and practical requirements of young men and women just entering college. It was agreed that such a book was needed; and a committee of t1free was appointed to plan and prepare the text. The committee wits composed of the Reverend Benjamin R. Fulkerson, S. J., A. Al., S. T. L., of the Department of Religion, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri; the Reverend Clarence F. Whitford, S. J., A. AL, Ph. D., of the Department of Philosophy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and the present writer. During the following year a text was prepared, and this text was unanimously approved by the members of the Institute at the 1941 convention. The text, as approved, was planographed and was used experimentally during the next year and a half. The present printed edition is substantially the same as the planographed brochure.

In preparing the book the committee sought to give to young men and women of approximately college age a clear, adequate presentation of the Catholic moral teaching on chastity. Since we presumed that the majority of the readers to whom the book was directed would be unmarried, we limited our subject almost exclusively to extra-marital chastity, and in our practical illustrations and applications we made frequent reference to questions of greatest interest and profit to youth of today: for example, kissing, reading, conversation, entertainment, and purity of thought.

We did not wish, however, to confine our treatment of chastity to the solution of practical cases. Because of the radical views on purity prevalent in our “modern world” our young men and women need to be well instructed in the obligations of chastity and to have a deep appreciation of the motives, particularly the Christian motives, that are calculated to inspire one to practice the virtue of chastity. We have included chapters that deal specifically with these points. Moreover, since the obligations and ideals of chastity can hardly be completely understood without some consideration of the more general questions of friendship, companionship of the sexes, and love, we have prefaced the treatment of chastity with several chapters on Friendship and Sex Attraction.

The experimental planographed edition of this book was entitled Chastity, and Catholic Youth. During the period of experimentation it was used as a textbook in many colleges and universities in classes representing a variety of groups–college men, college women, and religious of both sexes. A number of student counsellors also used it in their guidance work.

Many non-Catholics read the experimental brochure. and found it helpful. Some of these suggested that tile word Catholic be dropped from the title lest it give other non-Catholics the impression that the book is only for Catholics and thus deter them from reading it. Our non-Catholic readers themselves pointed out the fact that the larger part of the book contains material that would be very helpful to earnest non-Catholics, and that even the specifically Catholic parts would be at least informative, if not inspiring. We welcomed this suggestion, because the preservation of purity is surely one of the points on which all good people, especially those who profess to be Christians, should zealously cooperate.

A word about the authorship of the book. After the committee was appointed by the members of the Institute, it was agreed that the undersigned should write the book with the collaboration of Fathers Whitford and Fulkerson. Both collaborators assisted in planning the book and gave detailed criticisms of the completed manuscript. Besides rendering this general assistance, which extended to all parts of the book, Father Whitford was particularly helpful because of his knowledge of the psychology of instinct, and Father Fulkerson contributed from his own notes a large share of the concrete suggestions contained in chapters V and VI.

In conclusion, the author wishes to acknowledge a special debt of gratitude to the Reverend Francis Hurth, S. J., Professor of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University, Rome. Much of the material on the analysis of the sex instinct contained in the early chapters of this book is adapted from the private notes of Father Hurth and is used with his permission. Grateful acknowledgement is also due to Father Bakewell Morrison, S. J., Chairman of The Midwest Section of the Institute of Religious Education, for his encouragement, and to Father G. Augustine Ellard, Professor of Ascetical Theology at St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s, Kansas, for invaluable criticism.

Gerald Kelly, S. J.

Digitized, marked-up and posted by the Augustine Club at Columbia University, 2001

Last update: March 1, 2002

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