Relationships between Men and Women
In order to establish a proper policy regarding relationships between men and women, one that is committed to fostering the virtues of purity and chastity, it is necessary, first, to outline the beliefs that shape this policy.
Any policy that involves moral principles should be applicable evenly to all members of The Collegium community. What is morally acceptable or unacceptable for some is morally acceptable or unacceptable for all.
Sexual intimacy is properly reserved to a man and woman sacramentally married to each other. Sexual intimacy inside this sacramental bond is a holy collaboration with God’s plan for creation. Sexual intimacy outside of this sacramental bond violates the Sixth Commandment and is mortally sinful.
Social interaction between men and women is acceptable and appropriate, within certain bounds, that is, provided the interaction is not such that it leads to or could lead to unacceptable sexual intimacy.
Dating/courting* should be preceded by a significant amount of social interaction in groups where there is no “pairing off.”
Dating/courting is a first step toward marriage. It is not an end in and of itself.
Dating/courting naturally leads to emotional and sexual intimacy, which are proper to marriage.
Conversely, thinking about dating as purely entertainment deludes couples into thinking that dating can occur without developing emotional and/or sexual intimacy. It also embraces and furthers a culture of casual sexual relationships between men and women.
Dating/courting should only occur between two people who think that there is a genuine possibility that they could marry.
We add to these beliefs a few observations:
An individual’s first sexual intimacy is a powerful experience. It will reverberate for life. If that experience is not with a person’s spouse, it will bring “baggage” into the marriage.
Pornography is a form a sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Aside from the fact that it is mortally sinful, it will also bring “baggage” into a marriage that can destroy that marriage.
Many, many movies and live or televised shows – even commercials – portray and encourage sexual intimacy in unhealthy, sinful ways.
The culture in which we live is literally “hell-bent” on the destruction of the family by perverting God’s intended role of sexual intimacy into something that is entirely unholy. The Collegium’s intention is to foster healthy, holy relationships that are in accord with God’s will and that underpin The Collegium’s vision to “prepare students for heaven,” by living virtuous lives on earth.
The Collegium encourages interaction between men and women in healthy group activities.
There are to be no athletics or games with physical contact in which men and woman play in the same games.
Dating/courting should involve communication with parents. Activities on a date should not include anything that would embarrass a couple if faculty members or parents were present. Dates should avoid isolation that can lead to inappropriate behavior or even the temptation to the same.
Students should avoid near occasions of sin: anything that could lead to sexual intimacy with someone other than a person to whom they are sacramentally married.
Students should avoid movies, shows, anything on a screen or live that encourages an attitude toward sexual intimacy that is not in accord with Catholic teaching.
(It is expected that 99.9%-100% of Collegium students will be single. However, there is nothing to preclude married students from attending.)
All of the policies for single students that are applicable to married students do apply to them.
Married students should also avoid near occasions of sin: anything that could lead to sexual intimacy with someone other than the person to whom they are sacramentally married or anything, such as pornography or inappropriate shows, etc., that could negatively impact the health of their marriage.
Faculty and Staff
All of the policies for single students that are applicable to faculty and staff do apply to them.
Married faculty or staff should also avoid near occasions of sin: anything that could lead to sexual intimacy with someone other than the person to whom they are sacramentally married or anything, such as pornography or inappropriate shows, etc., that could negatively impact the health of their marriage.
In the context of today’s culture, it may be tempting to criticize us for an overemphasis on sexual matters. We will gladly take that criticism. We also think it is appropriate to note why this is such an important topic.
If we look at the Epistles of the first three Sundays in Lent, we see that they admonish us strongly against sins of the flesh. Dr. Kwasniewski describes their message effectively:
They say to the believer: If you want to observe Lent properly, get your act together, starting with the regulation of your animal appetites. To be a Christian in reality and not in name only, there is “basic training” that has to be undergone, and sexual morality is the most basic part of the basic training.
Note how I say this: it is the most basic, not the most important. It is a condition or prerequisite of spiritual perfection, not the essence of perfection. Any well-catechized Catholic knows that fornication and other sexual sins are not the worst sins; pride, vanity, and acedia, indeed all the other deadly sins, are worse in themselves than lust. We know, too, that all human beings suffer to a greater or lesser degree from the disordered concupiscence of our fallen nature; we are prone to sins of the flesh, and many will struggle with them for a long time. All this is true; and yet it is no less true, as St. John Cassian and countless spiritual masters teach us, that we must fight against this sin and conquer it if we wish to make any progress in the spiritual life, in holiness, in the charity that loves God for His own sake and our neighbor for God. If we get stuck in porneia, we make the devil’s job easy. He can leave us alone to wreck ourselves.
(The entire article is well worth reading: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2018/03/a-case-study-of-rupture-in-lex-orandi.html.)
For The Collegium, our goal to promote progress in the spiritual life, which includes the virtues of purity and chastity, demands that we address matters of sexual intimacy, not as most important, but as first steps.
*One hundred years ago, there was no such thing as dating. Courtship consisted of what is considered dating today, but with a public, serious commitment. When this policy statement uses the terms together, it applies to both the meaning of courtship. We do this to help people who are more familiar with the term "dating," to understand the term in a deeper way.