The Virtue of Chastity (Part I)

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

If compassion is the favorite virtue of the modern world, the virtue of chastity could be the most hated.  The modern world worships sex, and anything that hinders that worship is to be condemned and ostracized.   It even sacrifices children in its altar by way of abortion.  Abortion is simply wanting the process but not the product.  The product is a burden, an “unwanted pregnancy”.  The same thing goes with its cousin called ‘contraceptives’.

If only sex had no product, then people could enjoy it with no limits.  But that is precisely the misunderstanding and wrong use of sex.  Sex is for having children.  To have children is a sacred duty to bring them up and care for them.  God has willed that when children are born into this world, they should have a father and a mother to take care of them.  And that ‘togetherness’ of the father and mother should be unbreakable otherwise it defeats the purpose of having parents if they could just easily separate.  That is why the marriage bond is exclusive (one man to one woman) and indissoluble (can’t be separated for life) for the children.  Secondly, true love demands exclusivity and loyalty.  So, the exclusiveness and indissolubility remain, even if a married couple does not have children.

It then follows that sex is exclusively for marriage.  Anything outside of marriage would be sinful, because it goes against the nature of marriage as designed by God.  Adultery, concubinage, masturbation, pre-marital sex, same-sex relationship, divorce, etc. are sins against marriage and chastity.

The virtue of chastity or purity means cleanliness in thought, word and deed in the area of sex.  The virtue is best summarized by the words of our Lord when he said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Matthew 5:28) Jesus Christ raised the standard for chastity because the previous teaching in the Old Testament was limited to adultery.  Therefore, chastity starts with the cleanliness of our mind against anything that goes against the use of sex outside marriage.  It’s just common sense because all words and actions would not be carried out unless conceptualized first in the mind.  If the mind is pure then the words and actions will consequently be pure.

The battle is therefore in the mind.  But the environment we are in nowadays just makes it so tough, if not, impossible to practice this virtue.  How true?  Lust used to come only from our fallen human nature but since the dawn of sexual revolution in the 1960’s with the propagation of pornography, society’s media is adding fuel to the fire and even promoting it.

It reminds me of an internet article, that said, if we ban children not to smoke and drink alcohol under the age of sixteen because we want to shield them from the harmful effects of these, then why are we not supervising them in their use of internet or smartphones from the harmful effects of pornography?  But strictly speaking or to be fully exact about it, pornography should not only be banned for young people below the age of 16, it should be banned to anyone regardless of gender and age.  It’s like poison.  Or the dreaded covid-19 virus.  Harmful for everyone.  More on this virtue in the next article.