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Pope tells youth to forget summer love, try chastity instead

As summer vacation season approaches in the northern hemisphere, Pope John Paul II has recommended chastity to young people, suggesting they use their holiday time to boost their prayer life.

The Holy Father made his remarks during a midday blessing in St Peter's Square on Sunday, the close of centenary celebrations of the death of St Maria Goretti, an 11-year-old Italian girl who died from stab wounds inflicted by a neighbour after she refused his sexual advances.

The pope said the saint reminds young people even today that true happiness requires courage, a spirit of sacrifice, and a willingness even to die to be faithful to God's commandments.

The Pope's words inspired an Italian priest to quickly publish a guide aimed to helping teenagers avoid temptation during the summer period.

"Don't, by your attitude and movements, exhibit your body, especially if you have a physique which turns heads," advises Fr Antonio Rungia in a pamphlet entitled A User's Guide to Chastity.

"Don't dress in a manner which attracts attention to your body," urges the guide, adding that it is best to avoid "morally dangerous places" as well as "invitations, especially from unknown people in isolated places".

Catholic News Service/News Interactive

Pope Presents Chastity to Young People as "Safeguard" of Authentic Love (Zenit)
At Close of Centenary Year of the Death of St. Maria Goretti (Zenit)
User's guide to chastity for tempted teens (AFP)
Pope: "Rediscover the importance of chastity" (Vatican Information Service)
St Maria Goretti
The Virtue of Chastity by Jennifer Luetkemeyer
Vatican archbishop says promoting chastity to prevent AIDS defends life (8/11/02)

9 Jul 2003