Imagine being a Catholic teenager, boy or girl, and you are about to enter into a relationship. However, simultaneously, you have forgotten the Catholic guidelines for dating and, as a result, you are scared that you might act inappropriately during the relationship without knowing. Well, to all those young Catholics out there who find themselves in this situation…
Talented author Mary Beth Bonacci has written this short but sweet ‘Catholic Survival Guide’ which lists the different rules for dating in the Catholic faith. It is written in a clear, concise manner and will not just be appealing for the young Catholics starting a relationship but for any Catholic teen who wishes to remind themselves of Jesus’s teachings on love and chastity.
Throughout this gem of a book, Bonacci constantly tackles the question of ‘What is Chastity?’
According to her,
chastity is love, real love
and that definition is spot-on. It is the love of truly respecting someone’s sexuality and not turning that person into an object. For Bonacci, ‘human sexuality is a gift, an incredibly, beautiful, precious gift from God’’ and, consequently, two young Catholic teenagers in a relationship cannot abuse it.
What I also found appealing about Bonacci’s read was that from time to time she used humour to convey her message and I am fairly certain that there isn’t a Catholic teenager out there who doesn’t find humour appealing!
You can find an example of her witticisms at the beginning of the book when she says there are two types of love: ‘real love’ and ‘pizza love.’
‘Real love’ is respecting the partner and honouring chastity, whereas ‘pizza love’ is a completely different sort of love: just like pizza, you love it as an object but once its use has disappeared, that is to say, once it has been eaten, the remains are cast away. It is a humorous way of expressing the very real and serious difference between loving and objectifying someone – the point is clear.
I was also struck by the simplicity of the language. When teenagers see long-winded language in a book, often we have no desire to read that book and I certainly fall into that category.
However, this book writes about each separate matter in a simple yet direct tone, doesn’t beat about the bush and, because of that, it kept me engaged from start to finish.
All in all, this book is a must-read and I strongly recommend it to any teenager. Bonacci concludes the book with, ‘Don’t just abstain. Be radical. Be chaste’ and without shadow of a doubt, this book is the perfect guide to maintain that.
Catholic Survival Guide to Dating & Relationships for Teens, by Mary Beth Bonacci is available to order from CTS website.