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Give us this day our daily... Catholic church issues prayer for faithful to say before sex

By Simon Caldwell
Last updated at 1:06 PM on 03rd September 2009

Roman Catholic couples are being encouraged to pray together before they have sex.

A book published by a prominent Church group invites those setting out on married life to recite the specially-composed Prayer Before Making Love.

It is aimed at 'purifying their intentions' so that the act is not about selfishness or hedonism.

Message: The Roman Catholic church encourages couples to pray before sex to remind themselves that intercourse is a selfless act, not driven by hedonism
The prayer, which appears in the Prayer Book for Spouses, implores God 'to place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes'.

It adds: 'Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will.
'Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, for ever and ever.'

The 64-page book has been published by the London-based Catholic Truth Society.

Marital advice: The prayer book
The group has close links to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

The Rt Rev Paul Hendricks, who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and sits on the charity's board, said he thought the prayer's inclusion was 'brave but good'.

'I suppose it is a bit idealistic but it is recognising that God is at the heart of the marriage relationship between husband and wife,' he said.

'It is important for the Church to affirm the value of marriage and family life and I suppose this is a particular way of doing that.'

'Perhaps it is something that has not been tried, certainly for a while - I can't remember seeing something like that before.'
The book contains prayers for every stage of marriage and family life, including engagement, planning for parenthood, pregnancy and caring for children and elderly parents.
The prayers, written by a variety of authors, are interspersed with Catholic teaching on the meaning of marriage and family.

The book pushes the message that marriage should be exclusive and life-long and condemns abortion.

It criticises 'those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity'.

It adds: 'It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage.'

United Kingdom
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I think this prayer is stunningly beautiful, and properly recognizes the sexual act as it is intended by God: an act of complete giving, rather than "getting" or taking. The mindset of most in our modern culture, especially men, is one of unbridled lust in which women are reduced to objects of pleasure who can be "consumed."

That is a mindset very much at odds with how God intends us to think, very much at odds with the magnificent beauty of God's gift of our sexuality. Kudos to the writer and promulgators of this prayer. May it lead many couples closer to each other and to God.

- Eddie_K, Rochester, NY, 03/9/2009 13:53

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Over the years I've often prayed for a chubby. Once I prayed she'd be gone when I awoke too. Not much more though.

- tenletters, usa, 03/9/2009 13:34

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I propose a toast to all the couples like us, whose exclusive, indissoluable, monogamous sex is still as earth-shaking, sheet-ripping, and window-rattling as ever, even after 25 years of joyfully bangin' away.

- Indiana Joe, Indiana USA, 03/9/2009 12:15

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I think it's a nice prayer full of nice thoughts, even if the thought of saying it just as your peelinging clothes off is a bit dumb. The folks who pretend there is something absurd about what it says are just being hateful. Now, the photo is a different story. It is intentionally silly, but harmless.

- Indiana Joe, Indiana, USA, 03/9/2009 12:13

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If people believe that this is a good thing and couples practice it themselves, then there cannot be anything wrong with it, as it is harmless and doesn't affect anyone else, so we have no reason to laugh or joke about it.

However, we don't have any reason not to joke about it either. We can always rely on some nutty religious group ready to provide some amusement and leave themselves open to all sorts of comments. Thanks must go to the Catholic Truth Society for a good laugh. Never heard of them before but at least they made the papers.

- John, Macclesfield, 03/9/2009 11:31

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The Pope isn;t demanding this. Don't be such a dolt. What is the "controversy" about prayer? Sex is sacred.

I find some of the prayer ideas here funny, though (chill out roxane).

- Liz, Houston, TX, 03/9/2009 07:18

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