S+L logo

Tonight on Perspectives: Is chastity possible today?

February 4, 2011
“If we are not working to develop a pure heart or a pure mind, then our bodily actions will reflect this. If we have no control over our desires or passions, then we cannot be trusted in either the big or the small things. We will remain slaves of our own passions and weak in spirit. If we cannot say “no,” then our “yes” will mean nothing. The more we accept chastity and make it our way of life, the more people around us will sense that the Holy Spirit dwells within us.”
The above is one of the most beautiful excerpts from the newly released pastoral letter on chastity from the Canadian Conference of Catholic bishops (read the complete letter here) Salt + Light also produced this video to coincide with the letter’s release.
It seems that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body has sparked the discussion but in doing so, it has also revealed much uncharted territory in Catholic teaching. As a Catholic, we understand that the Church possesses Wisdom and Truth in all its fullness but that we will spend eternity articulating these truths. So I guess now is as good a time as any to start!
In preparation for our most recent episode of Perspectives Weekly, we began some creative prodding on Facebook. And when that didn’t work, we resorted to straight-out challenging people to have “the discussion”. What is chastity? Why does it resist definition? Are we all tired of talking in circles? How can chastity not be a vague concept to us? Is chastity something that can only be understood when lived? There are many, many questions and almost as many interpretations of what a chaste life actually looks like.
Here’s what some of our friends on Facebook had to say:
Elena Feick writes: Chastity is unpopular these days, but it is also one of the two main ways in which we create a healthier relationship between men and women. Chastity is not just saving sexual intimacy for marriage, it is a way of life that involves striving to dress modestly and to treat oneself and others with respect. It is a way of viewing the human person that is empowering and grace-filled.
And now for a word from Paddy Mott:
Most Catholics have at least a rudimentary understanding of chastity, especially in the "what not to do" categories, and the general population understands pre-marital chastity to a degree. However, what a lot of people (Catholic and not) do not have in the "now" era of technology is the self-control to put their knowledge into practice. Everyone knows that modesty and abstaining from sex before marriage, and having a full marital respect towards their partner after, will reduce STI transmission, reduce unwanted pregnancies, and statistically leads to happier marriages. The sad part is that there aren't many people who are willing to make that sacrifice. That’s where we come in. Our role is to be people that our peers can relate to, but still represent life the way it was designed to be lived.
Jean Vanier would say that life is all about becoming Human. Michael O’Brien writes that “love is a long apprenticeship”. Let’s hope that this discussion marks the beginning of one such apprenticeship among Canadian Catholics.
Join host Pedro Guevara Mann as he welcomes four young Catholics to Perspectives. Together, Pedro, Matt Nelson, Christa Huddart, Paul Fabina and Leanna Capiello of the University of Windsor put it all on the table in the effort to discover true purity of heart.
Because this topic is an involved one (to say the least), we will be following it up with another episode on chastity next week; only this time the guests will be drawn from the married and religious vocations. Tune in to the discussion tonight (and next Friday) for Perspectives Weekly at 7pm and 11pm ET, 8 pm PT.

Related posts

Deacon-structing Sacraments | Part 1: A Sign of Grace
I guess you can’t blame Catholics if they don’t know the meaning of a Sacrament. I was a Catholic for 38 years and had received 5 of the 7 Sacraments before I really came to understand what Sacram ...read more
Read Fr. Thomas Rosica's reflection on the Broadway sensation WICKED, and it's themes of evil, redemption, friendship, and power of forgiveness. ...read more
St. Thomas More and the responsibility <br>of Christian citizenship
Read Sebastian Gomes' article on St. Thomas More, who lived in turbulent times and is a model for the Christian citizen of today. ...read more
“To set the world at naught”: <br>Thomas More, John Fisher, and the role of conscience
Read about St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher: two heroic saints who defied a tyrannical king and gave their lives rather than act against their conscience. ...read more
"I am not He, I prepare His way"
John was identified with the people of Israel, and his vocation was ultimately not only the restoration of Israel but also the conversion of the world. John was the sharp-edged sword who pointed out t ...read more
SLHour: The Real Uncle Tom
The name Josiah Henson probably doesn’t mean much to you. This week, author and film maker Jared Brock tells us about the former slave whose life story inspired Uncle Tom’s Cabin and possibly igni ...read more
Welcome to S+L’s Weekly News Round-Up. As part of my job, I come across many interesting Catholic news and stories on a daily basis. Some of them I'll cover on Perspectives Daily and the others I’ ...read more