In a world super-saturated with sexual suggestions, innuendo and invitation, the message delivered by Father John McGoey, author and family life educator, cannot be heard too often. Nor is it sufficient simply to hear his message: it must be understood, put into practice and communicated to others, specially our young people.

On March 26, Father McGoey addressed more than 250 people at the 15th Annual Dinner for Pregnancy Distress Service in Winnipeg. His message was at once simple and profound, “love has nothing to do with sex, and sex has nothing to do with love.” In a society preoccupied with sex, this message is indeed a radical one.

In rhetorical fashion he asks the audience, “How can a 72 year-old, Roman Catholic priest, who has no personal experience of sex, know that love has nothing to do with sex?” His response, “Because as a celibate I am not deprived of a loving life simply because I choose not to use the genital function” It is love that is the great achievement of the human person and love is not a sexual relationship: Love is a personal relationship. This is the message we have to get across to our kids. If we can teach our kids to think about love as much as adults think about sex, it would transform the world.

During his talk, Father McGoey returned again and again to the statement that “sex is so easy and love is so hard.” Because of the “garbage” they receive from the media, especially television, “when you say love, kids think sex.” We have to teach our children that difference between love and sex. “If there must be a choice, it is more human to live without sex than to live without love. Only in married love is sex a prime factor.”

The media is largely responsible for the notion “that sex is necessary; that sex is for fun; that if it feels good its okay as long as you use contraception and no one gets pregnant,” he says. This distortion of the purpose of sex is a recipe for disaster. If young people marry, believing this propaganda, the marriage id doomed from the start. It is clear from the growing incidence of marriage break-up that “marriages d not suffer from a lack of sex, but from a lack of love. If you have learned that it is alright to play around before marriage, you’ll play around after marriage.” Marriage doesn’t make a loving relationship. The only love in marriage is the love two people bring to it. It is love, not sex that makes marriage a loving thing. “Let’s give our kids a chance”, pleads Father McGoey, “Let’s teach the truth. Let’s teach them that they must be strong enough, good enough and wise enough to say no to sex before marriage. The best possible preparation for a living marriage is to love enough to say no to sex before marriage.”

Father McGoey defines the loving person as one “who does what has to be done even when it is difficult.” The loving person is one who says, I will do everything I can to help you, and I will never do anything to harm you. “A man is not a real man until he becomes a loving person.” Love is in the person, McGoey told the audience, not in sexual acts. “We have to teach our children to be loving persons, to think love, and know the difference between love and sex. They learn this lesson best from the two people who had them,” Father McGoey insists. Because men can never experience what it is to be a woman, sons need their mothers to teach them what it means to be a woman. Similarly, daughters need, and must learn from their fathers what it means to be a man.

Father McGoey spends much of his time speaking to students and ha authored a number of books for parents and children. These books are available through his publisher, Fidelity House, Unit 23 – 80 Barbados Blvd., Scarboro Ont. include,  “Through Sex to Love’, Sex and the Believing Girl”, and its companion “Sex and the Believing Boy”.