Fr. Herbert Raterman was confessor and spiritual guide in a Cincinnati Jesuit prep school for many years. He developed a course on women and sex for teenage boys and their fathers, and spoke to them by the thousands. This small book repeats that course, treating the most delicate subjects with plain talk -- topics mothers simply cannot raise with their growing sons and many fathers, understandably, find difficult to discuss.
Fr. Raterman for years hosted the “Moments of Reparation” Radio program and says the traditional Latin Mass for Cincinnati Catholics each Sunday.
“We human beings are inclined to be selfish and self-centered, and sexual difficulties are often a result of this selfishness. Since charity draws us out of our own self-centered little world and makes us God-centered and neighbor-centered, you can see how important charity is for your proper sexual development.”
“[A playboy] brags about his sex knowledge, his physical powers, and, perhaps, even about his sins. He uses sex for recreation and fun but not for the purpose our all-wise God intended. On dates he treats a girl as a toy to be played with; and you know what a small child does with a toy when he gets tired of it—either he throws it away or he breaks it.”
“Many boys fearing they are insincere stay away from confession because of this thought, “How can I be sorry when I know I am going to sin again?” Talk this over with your confessor. He knows that you may fall again but he knows this does not necessarily mean you intend to fall again. Just because something happens often does not necessarily mean a person is insincere.… The Sacrament of Penance is not an instant cure; rather, it is like a healing process. So there may be falls again.”
“In time of any kind of temptation… don’t focus on getting rid of the temptation. It is more important to concentrate on relaxing.”
Tens of thousands of copies of this book were printed, but it has long been out of circulation. Readers and reviewers in the 1970s said things like this:
“Shows an extraordinary depth of understanding that could only come from years of experience in helping countless boys.”—F.J. Power, SJ, Messenger of the Sacred Heart, 1971
“By all odds the best thing on sex education for the young man that I have seen. It is updated in the true sense, avoiding rigorism but sacrificing nothing of Catholic teaching....Never afraid to emphasize mortal sin but gives useful indications and illustrations for determining it. Solitary vice is dealt with fully.”—Paul Hallett, National Catholic Register
“Handy...the questions and answers [are] explicit without being offensive.”—Liguorian
“Squares perfectly with the traditional morality we have all learned.”—Bishop Floyd Begin, Oakland, CA, dec.
But perhaps this letter to the editor of a leading Catholic newspaper in 1973 put it best:
“As a mother of six children, five of whom will be in Catholic schools next year, I am vitally concerned with the lack of Catholic teaching in ‘religion’ programs....So far, most of our parish schools have been spared the agony of fighting [sex ed] because for the last eight years Father Herbert Raterman, SJ, has conducted a six-session ‘Morality of Sex’ program to our students and parents....It is not only beneficial to students but to parents as well...recalls to us many Church teachings which have been obscured by promoters of ‘new theology’....I sound like a professional promoter, but I am not. I am just a mother satisfied with a sex education program and eager to tell other parents.”-- MR, Cincinnati