I'm not that far in the book, Thomas has just reached 17 and he is not Catholic (yet).
I read this passage this morning and it spoke to me. Something I think all of us can understand yet fall victim to from time to time.
People who are immersed in sensual appetites and desires are not very well prepared to handle abstract ideas.
This is why I think we Catholics pursue acts of penance, fasting and abstinence. When we starve our cravings and temptations then we truly can think clearly and think things through.
I am left wondering how we are to teach these ideas to our children. Is it that they must come to these conclusions by themselves? I suppose the best I can do is plant the seeds of these fruits multiple times.