The integrity of the person
The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of
life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the
person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It
tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.
Chastity includes an
apprenticeship in self-mastery
a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man
governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be domi
nated by them and becomes unhappy.
“Man’s dignity therefore
requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and
drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses
in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity
when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses
forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his
diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited
to this end.”
Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal prom
ises and resist temptations will want to adopt the
so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations
that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of
the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. “Indeed it is through
chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity
from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.”
The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of
which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of
the senses with reason.
Self-mastery is a
long and exacting work.
One can never
consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort
at all stages of life.
The effort required can be more intense in
certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed
during childhood and adolescence.
128 St. Augustine,
10, 29, 40: PL 32, 796.