Monday, November 19, 2007

Chastity for the non-celibate

Ignorant Redneck (who, while quite possibly the latter, is certainly not the former) has a piercing insight on chastity for the non-celibate:

Chastity isn't just not sleeping around, or avoiding looking at people as tasty side dishes or whatever. It's about human respect. It's not a passive or negative virtue--it's not about what you don't do. Chastity, it turns out (or I could be really, really wrong about this!), is an active positive virtue, where we deal with people, see, or try to see, people as god would. As subjects of the highest love, Agape. Not as objects of exploitation or playthings. This is why Good Catholic couples can be Chaste while making and raising ten kids, as my parents-in-law did.
This is a subject of great confusion for many when they first start contemplating what it means to live a chaste life. It's also yet another case where we, for some reason, seem to have a plethora of word pairings which are similar but distinct and often cause confusion - in this case, chastity and celibacy. We could probably spend an entire class just on such issues.