The young men of the sixth grade at Roanoke Catholic School and I chatted about some things (which you can read below, if you like) and then took this pledge:
Pledge of the Christian Gentleman
Calling all the saints in heaven as my witnesses, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, I pledge to respect myself as a young man made in the image and likeness of the Creator.
I will honor all my classmates, especially the young women, who someday will be wives and mothers, like my mother. I will respect the young ladies I know in the same way that I would want my own mother to be respected.
I will strive daily to grow in genuine manliness, which means self-restraint, honesty, and, above all, kindness.
May God help me to grow up to be a man that a good woman would want to marry.
And may God guide and direct me, a Christian gentleman, to help build up His Kingdom of true love.
[…some prefatory remarks:]
Gentlemen, you have reached an age when we need to talk together about your growing up into manhood.
On tv, on the radio, on the computer: we are constantly besieged by suggestions that are beneath our dignity, beneath the dignity of Christian gentlemen.
One message we hear is: A real man is a ‘player,’ someone who can seduce a lot of women, who everyone admires for his ‘conquests.’
But, in fact, that is just a pathetic boy. He imagines he has a lot, but in fact he has nothing, because a good woman would never give him the time of day. His inner weakness shows itself by his outward rudeness and desperation.
On the other hand, a real man has the inner strength to be gentle—a gentle man. This is the truly strong and powerful man. He has within himself the strength to keep his conversation, his friendships, and his actions pure. He does not injure others, does not drag them down to a dirty level. Instead, he lifts other people up. He inspires other people to believe in themselves, like he believes in himself.
How to be a gentleman? Simple. Share in the mind, and in the actions, of the original gentleman, Jesus Christ.
How many times did Jesus make sexual suggestions to a woman? Never. Let’s analyze this fact briefly.
Sex is not evil. To the contrary, sex is one of the most marvelous goods. It is where we all came from. [If Kirk and Ann White had not spent some serious time together in late September, 1969, the chapel would have been quieter when I was speaking, and this url would result in error 404.]
So Jesus did not avoid the subject because it is evil. He avoided it for one simple reason: Because His mission in life did not involve…marriage.
There is one way for a gentleman to bring up the subject of having sex with a woman. One. One simple question. A very dramatic, very beautiful, very courageous question. “Will you marry me?”
A gentleman introduces the subject of having sex with a woman by uttering this question, and in no other way.
You guys are…12? 11? 13? Now, you have to be at least 18 years old to propose marriage. And it’s probably better to wait until you are between 20 and 25. So you have at least six years before you have to bring up the subject of having sex with a woman. Six years until you can bring it up. In the meantime, don’t let such matters spoil your friendships. And let the good Lord unfold for you the beautiful future He has planned.
Let’s take the pledge of the Christian gentleman…