What is Chastity? Many view this virtue as interchangeable with the term “abstinence,” but chastity is something more beautiful, fulfilling, and joyous. Where abstinence concentrates on “not doing something” or withholding sexual intercourse until marriage, chastity focuses on the positive choice of living sexuality as God intended. It is a “virtue” not a “value.”
Chastity, put simply, is twofold in its essence. Yes, it entails sexual self-control and saving sexually intimate acts until marriage, but it is also, and more importantly, purity in one’s thoughts, words, and actions. This makes chastity a lifelong pursuit, applicable to everyone in every stage of life, whether married, single, or religious.
When the gift of chastity is embraced a new freedom is discovered and a clarity attained. This freedom is unfortunately seldom felt in today’s sexually saturated world, but is always available if one chooses to pursue it. Teenagers who live a chaste life no longer complicate their formative years with the possible consequences of sexual behavior and married couples are able to more fully give themselves to each other emotionally and within the marital embrace.
Joy is always a byproduct of following God’s plan for our lives. He has given us the amazing gift of sexuality that can both; bond two people in a lifelong relationship of love AND co-create a new human being that will outlive all the stars in the universe. Living a chaste life will bring joy in God’s love, as it allows us to utilize our sexuality according to His glorious plan.
Below you will find links to various sites that promote chastity. There are links for teenagers, parents, and married couples. It is hoped that the information found here will help answer your questions, however if you are in need of further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact the Diocese.
Interim Director of Youth and Youth Adult Outreach
Diocese of Venice in Florida
Resources for Parents, teens and parishes:
- Chastity program for teens: Theology of the Body for Teens Parents Guide
- Chastity program for middle school: Theology of the Body for middle school Parents Guide
The destructive impact of pornography on our children and families is difficult to hear but cannot be ignored. The average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11 years of age. Eighty percent of 15-17 year olds have had multiple hard-core exposures to these sights. Ninety percent of 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography online usually while doing homework. The porn industry knows to target our children and they do this by setting up websites that have names of cartoons that are often misspelled. This automatically takes the child to a website that has very graphic images.
Pornography is a chemical addiction. When a man’s eyes lock on to a graphic image of this nature dopamine is released. When dopamine mixes with testosterone it results in an adrenaline rush, similar to a drug addict’s high. Norepinephrine sends a message to the nervous system, the spinal cord and reproductive organs. All of this leads to anxiety and excitement that can only be released in a way that is harmful to the person and contrary to our Faith. If this happens than oxytocin is released connecting the person to the object giving pleasure. Properly used, this reaction is a gift for a man and woman to connect in the marital act as they renew the Sacrament of marriage, but pornography trades this beauty for a lie.
Through programs that understand both the scientific, psychological and spiritual aspects of recovery there is hope and help for entire families. Please look at the websites below for help and remember the power and grace of the Sacrament of Confession.
Websites for helping people deal with addictions to pornography:
Same Sex Attraction
Programs for people dealing with same sex attraction: http://couragerc.net.
Program for parents of children with same sex attraction: https://couragerc.org/encourage/about/
A powerful video on the Catholic Church and homosexuality: