Many people confuse Chastity with celibacy, when they are two different things. Celibacy is the total abstention from sexual activity, whereas Chastity is living true to your vocation. By vocation, I do not mean “career.” In this sense, “vocation” means living in accordance with one’s calling from God. We have three vocational possibilities: Single, Married, or Religious (Ordained priests and deacons, as well as religious brothers and sisters). So, Religious and single people remain chaste by abstaining from sexual activity. However, married people remain chaste by engaging in sexual activity only with one’s spouse. Therefore, Chastity pertains to everyone.
Why Chastity is Important
So, now that we understand that Chastity pertains to everyone, let’s consider why it is so important, to God, that we all remain chaste in accordance with our respective vocations. It boils down to why God created sex, and why He deemed for it to occur within the sacred bonds of matrimony only. Sex and marriage have two purposes: 1) the complete self-giving of one spouse to another in an expression of love, and 2) for the procreation of humans. Let’s look at each purpose in more detail, tying the purposes to Scripture.
When we fully self-give, one to another, that means holding nothing back. We live up to God’s command that “a man shall leave his father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gen 2:24). The literal act of sexual relations between husband and wife makes this biblical passage a reality.
Procreation of Humans
When husband and wife, through the self-giving expression of their love assist God in the creation of new life, then they live up to God’s command to “be fertile and multiply” (Gen 1:28).
How Chastity Pertains to Everyone
So, if you are single, or ordained, or have taken religious vows, then, in God’s eyes, He expects you to abstain from all sexual activity. For, any sexual activity outside of marriage is considered a sin; that includes fornication, adultery, masturbation, and sodomy. These sins diminish the dignity of the human person, as they are a result of carnal pleasure only. If you are married, then you remain chaste by engaging in sex only with your spouse.
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