From a Priest: Premarital Sex Is a Mortal Sin--We Must Be Clear and Insist on Repentance As the Only Way To Be Saved


It’s a good article. People do need to realize that sexual sinning like that is not acceptable regardless of what society says.

actually,it is only grave matter.

Msgr Pope usually writes good, clear articles. This is one of them.

But, then, if you read his interactions with the commentors, he usually screws it up terribly. He tends to be insulting, dismissive, condescending, rude, short, and pig-headed.

He does this a lot.

I’ve written to him a few times, telling him that IMO he needed to refrain from interacting with commentors. His replies to me were insulting, dismissive, condescending, rude…

Maybe he needs to take a few lessons on how one shepherds his flock with compassion and MERCY instead of vitriol and his most perfect judgement. Just saying…

His text can be summarized “… fornication is a mortal sin and those who do not repent of it will go to Hell”. That is an accurate statement and the Church’s clear and unambiguous teaching. The normal conditions of knowledge, intent, and so on of course apply as with any other sin.

As the shepherd of a flock he first must be truthful, even if that requires saying hard things.

Further down in his text he writes “God hates sin but He loves sinners and is full of mercy and compassion for them. But this mercy must be accessed through repentance.”

That’s the mercy offered to those who commit sin. You cannot find a single instance where Jesus offered mercy to someone who did not acknowledge sinning and indicate remorse and repentance. And Jesus’ constant admonition was “Go and sin no more”.

If we love someone, we wish him or her good. Telling them it is okay to sin is hardly working towards their good, especially when it endangers their immortal soul.

Monsignor Pope delivers his message in clear blunt terms because those are the terms required thanks to poor catechesis and the dominant secular notion that fornication is “no big deal”. As he writes “Sadly, many Catholics say their pulpits and classrooms are silent about these issues. The hope in this post today is to present a resounding, biblical trumpet call to purity which leaves no ambiguity as to the sinfulness of sex before marriage.”


Rob -

Yes, he does. I am glad he does it. And, then, in a lot of cases, he undoes the good he does by getting involved in petty, rude exchanges with people in the comments.

That was the side discussion we were having above.

Oh yeah, and sometimes, he just writes something really, really odd…like THIS.

He obviously has never seen the Matrix movies.

Thanks for the link.

I would say that he has. Neo in the “Matrix” is a Christ-like figure, prophesied to appear as a Messiah leading the people to freedom, and able to perform miraculous deeds.


There were no citations of allegedly petty rude exchanges. I have taken the time to read all of the comments by Monsignor Pope to comments to the cited blog entry, and while he can be blunt, I read none that are petty or rude.

I suppose if Jesus were blogging He’d be attacked for His rude petty comments:

Matthew 23: 23-35

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."

How rude.


Very well done. St. Paul says it so clearly.

He’s been caustic with me twice before, once even making fun of my name (which I decline to share here) when it was simply my birth name in a different language. He apologized for that one, and retracted a bit on the overall argument that I critiqued when I explained some more. So I’ve had some problems with him, but the exchanges have been fruitful in the end.

Nevertheless, this was a very excellent piece. I might have said something about the three elements of mortal sin based on the title, but he made very good arguments covering that in the article.

He is being a shepherd. A good shepherd will loudly and clearly let their flock know when they are in danger.

And there is no lack of Mercy. Did this priest claim that he will withhold absolution for anyone?

Do compassion and mercy cancel out God’s perfect justice? And it is not the judgment of this priest, it is the teaching of the Church.

The opening paragraph of Msgr. Pope’s article is worth quoting:

"We live in times in which many call good or “no big deal” what God calls sinful. This is especially true in the area of sexuality, where whole sectors of our society not only tolerate but even celebrate sexual practices that the Scriptures call gravely sinful, and which will lead to Hell if not repented of.

Acts of fornication (pre-marital sex) and homosexual acts cannot be considered acceptable by any Catholic or by any person who sincerely accepts the Scripture as the Word of God. And even for those who do not share our faith, acts of fornication and homosexual acts can be plainly seen to cause great harm in the manner in which they spread serious disease, harm marriage and family, lead to abortion, and for the children who do survive abortion, subject them to having single mothers, absent fathers, and a lack of the best environment which they are due."

We have gone through several decades in which it seems people are unwilling to call sin what it is, to call evil what it is, or to demand repentance. And even when we recognize sin, we take refuge in the mantra, ‘you cannot judge.’ We can certainly judge what is objectively good and bad. Ignoring sin only leads to social and family destruction.

After reading through the article a second time, I watched the video of the “cohabitors vows.” I had to laugh. But unfortunately, those vows might well apply to some supposed marriages.

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