2 questions, please help!

The first is this: It has to do with a girl that I met at a youth conference this weekend. I am 17 years old, I met this girl who I like, and we were holding hands on the bus ride back to the parish, I can’t help getting aroused/getting an erection just by holding her hand! I don’t want to get aroused, I plan on getting lunch with her, can I still hold her hand? I don’t want to commit sexual sin. I know she’s going to want to hold my hand:(
Is there anyway I can hide my…in public?

The second question: This upcoming week I will be visiting 3 colleges with my father. My father told me not to wear this bracelet I got at the gift shop at the conference when we visit this ROTC school called The Citadel. I thought it would be wrong/sinful for me to do that, I thought I would be denying Jesus if I did that, so I disagreed and argued with my father about it, he got really mad, should I go to confession?

I also want to mention that I know I would get an erection by holding her hand, I love holding her hand, but I don’t want to get an erection, I don’t want to entertain it or enjoy it. How can I possibly court her without even holding her hand at the minimum? I will probably be “just a friend” if I don’t even hold her hand. I want to date her for the ultimate purpose as to discern whether to marry her or not, not just “for fun”. I don’t want to lose my soul though, please help. How have other guys (who are married now) dealt with this? Can I still hold her hand knowing that I will get an erection, even though I don’t want to consent to it or entertain any temptations? How do any guys my age go through courtship without committing a mortal sin?
(btw, I got an erection/arousal just by typing this!:()

Erections can happen when a young man has no intention of becoming sexually aroused. Holding hands is pretty innocent. The measure of sin for you it seems to me would be your thoughts and intentions in such a situation.

#1) An erection, by itself, is not sinful. It can be an indication of a healthy, natural interest in a glorious being called woman. Even knowing a propensity to an an erection by holding hands is not by itself sinful, and even pleasure from that sensation. Only when knowledge moves further beyond into desire to stimulate your sexual organs is there clearly any sin involved. Attraction is a good thing, even if it sometimes has embarrassing fruits.

That said, there is plenty of room for sin too in these grey areas. On top of deliberate stimulation, many people will likely lust, to abuse the personhood that reflects God’s own image by dehumanizing objectification. They “use” the person to satisfy their own selfish desires. Also Catholic theology rightfully encourages people to use prudence to avoid situations that might lead you to serious sin. Be careful here, though. If you would likely be in danger of temptation avoiding the girl by, say, being in your own room where you would just suffer another type of temptation, say, internet porn, then you’re likely better off trying your best to avoid sin by being with a girl you naturally like. Perhaps you can learn to appreciate the other assets of her personhood a bit more that don’t cause an embarrassing reaction. Anyways, that analysis of how best to avoid temptation is very fact-based and subjective (what’s true for you may not be true for another in the identical situation), and you have to decide that for yourself (though a spiritual advisor could help).

Me, I would try to learn how to be with the girl in a pleasant way, trying my best to remain pure and keeping her interest at heart (but still enjoying her beauty and company). If I mess up in thought or deed, I will avail myself of the sacrament of confession.

#2) I don’t quite understand the scenario, but it seems you disobeyed your father in an attempt to honor Jesus. This sounds like a clear case of breaking the fourth commandment to honor your father, but at the same time (at face value), it doesn’t sound like a mortal sin since you lacked full consent. Beware of your thought process here - you’re trying to make a good end (protect Jesus) justify a bad means (disobey and dispute with your father). Catholic theology absolutely prohibits that kind of logic. It doesn’t work out too badly here, but you might want to be more aware of that type of thinking in the future as it could lead to more grave sins. Jesus would much rather you obey your parents than wear a piece of jewelry that lends some support to your faith. Perhaps you can have the courage to apologize your dad, explain your rationale, but admit that you should have submitted to his authority. You are even entitled to think you were right in the underlying dispute, just that his position was not clearly against the moral law so you should have deferred to him.

Pardon the long-windedness; I hope there’s something helpful here. God bless!

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