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Thinking About Chastity

January 25, 2011
Just the other night I was with friends and ended up having a conversation about… guess what? Chastity! Well, love, marriage, sex and relationships. One of my friends explained that he didn’t want to get married because for it to end up in divorce would be a failure. Even though he did not see marriage as defined by the Church, or as a Sacrament, intuitively he felt there was a difference.
I think a lot of young people feel this way: being married and then getting a divorce constitutes a failure; merely living together, albeit in a committed, long-term and loving relationship, and then breaking up, is not. So they end up in relationships, living together, outside of marriage.
There is so much confusion regarding marriage, sex and relationships. As a response to some of this confusion and the trends we see in our culture, the Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released today a pastoral letter to young people on chastity.
“Chastity is a very real challenge, particularly for young people in our country today.  We want to encourage those young people who are struggling to live a life of chastity that their bishops stand prayerfully with them and are there to support and encourage them,” says Commission Chairman Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB of Vancouver. “I am certain that young people striving to be faithful to the Gospel are not afraid of a challenging and authentic love. It is the only kind that ultimately gives true joy!”
According to the letter, chastity is an offering of oneself in response to God’s gift in Jesus Christ.  This echoes the words of Pope Benedict XVI at his papal inauguration:
If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. ...I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return.
The launch of the pastoral letter was assisted by Salt + Light Television. We gathered seven young adults to help us deliver the letter in video form. The letter can be downloaded for free at www.cccb.ca. Printed copies can be ordered from the CCCB Publications service at www.cccbpublications.ca.
The video production can be viewed on our YouTube channel. It will also be available as a DVD that can be used in the classroom or with youth or young adult groups.
You can also watch the full video tonight, following our daily Perspectives Update, at 7:05 and 11:05pm ET; 8:05pm PT.
And next week, tune in for a more in-depth look at chastity on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition.
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