Theology of the Body

Archive for the ‘Chastity’ Category

Yes, there is a difference.


A column from Fr. James Farfaglia at Catholic Exchange:

Because of original sin our darkened intellects, weakened wills, and inflamed passions will always move us in the wrong direction. Continual effort is necessary to control the inner movement of our ego and allow the presence of grace to take control of our thoughts, desires and actions.

The battle of the spiritual life might be compared to walking in a river against the current. If we do not continue walking or reaching out toward a rock for support, then the current will most assuredly carry us in the opposite direction.

Any serious discussion about the charism of celibacy or the sacrament of matrimony must take into consideration the seriousness of concupiscence and John Paul II, in his monumental work “The Theology of the Body,” delves into this reality with profound insights for our considerations.

Priests who live out their vocation with fidelity, enthusiasm, and joy should not be surprised that the charism of celibacy does come accompanied by a continual struggle. This struggle is rooted in the human condition.

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The following came in an email from the Theology of the Body Institute:

    Many people when they first hear theology of the body ask: “I’m not married, what does the TOB have to do with me?” The theology of the body applies, quite literally, to every-body.”[1] Married couples and consecrated celibates have found new meaning and beauty in their vocations through Theology of the Body. This teaching has been used to revolutionize marriage preparation programs, youth ministry, chastity and pro-life programs around the country. However, many single people in our Church sometimes find it difficult to see its relevance and application into their lives. Many single people (by choice or by circumstance) have found extraordinary meaning in serving God in and through their bodies and non-marital relationships. John Paul II calls this the spousal meaning of the body.

    He says, “The human body, with its sex, and its masculinity and femininity seen in the very mystery of creation… includes right from the beginning the spousal attribute, that is, the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift and-by means of this gift-fulfills the meaning of his being and existence. Let us recall … that man “can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself”[2]”[3] This gift of self is what it means to say that “the body has a “spousal meaning” because it reveals man and woman’s call to become a gift for one another…The body also has a “generative meaning,””[4]

    TOB Institute supporter Dave Sloan understands very well this call within the human person to be both spousal and generative: a sincere gift. As the founder of the new non-profit “Singles Serving Orphans” ( he aims to connect vibrant singles’ sincere gift of self to orphans who are in need of love and strong faith filled examples. Dave explains, “From the great Pope of Love’s Theology of the Body and the example of Mother Teresa, we derive a simple teaching on the combined power of charity and chastity… distilled to this: Charity is the grace from God which allows us to give what we have; chastity is the freedom which allows us to give what we are.”

    “In every way that single men and women give and receive the ‘sincere gift of self’-through prayer work, leisure, service of friends, families, neighbors, the poor, etc.-they are living the truth of the spousal meaning of their bodies. The ultimate fulfillment of the spousal meaning of the body for everyone is to be found, not in any earthly vocation, but in the heavenly marriage of Christ and the Church” (TOB explained p 290-291)

    For more volunteer opportunities check out the Catholic Network for Volunteer Opportunities. (

    [1] West, Christopher. Body Language “The Theology of the Body is for Every-body!” (September 28, 2007)
    [2] Gaudiem Et Spes, 24.
    [3] Pope John Paul II “The Man-Person Becomes a Gift in the Freedom of Love”General Audience January 16, 1980.
    [4] Christopher West. “John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.” Lay Witness (June, 2001).

The New View on Sex has an interesting post up on the connection between chastity and sports:

“Run so as to win . . .” 1 Corinthians 9:24

When you hear the word “Chastity,” the next word that comes into your mind is probably not likely to be “sports.” But when I sat down to think about it, I found that Chastity and athleticism really go hand in hand, and that the two have much more in common than I initially thought.

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I wasn’t aware when I posted it the other day, but this article is actually an excerpt from a larger article from David MacDonald on the Church and gay sex. A wonderful, frank discussion – a must read:

This is one of a series of articles. The same sex issue is incredibly complex. I’m not going to try to whitewash it with platitudes, or kneejerk judgement.

Here I’ll discusses the church’s historically poor treatment of people with same sex attraction and perhaps lay out a new way forward. If you are gay, God loves you, just as much as he loves anyone else. He loved me so much that he has helped me stay out of sex for 20 years. It’s been a great journey. I pray that you are given the freedom to make the journey into chastity.

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Robert Colquhoun of Love Undefiled has a post on the meaning of chastity:

What does the word chastity mean? According to the Catechism, “Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of a human being in his or her bodily and spiritual being.” (2337). Chastity is the virtue of love in the area of sexuality. Chastity is not just the abstention from sexual sins, but is a positive gift of purity and passion.

A person who has acquired the virtue of chastity is a person who is totally free.

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Column from Emily Bissonnette at Catholic Exchange:

During my two years as the coordinator of a chastity education program in Cincinnati, it was entertaining to experience various reactions when asked my occupation. Although facial expressions, comments and approval or lack thereof varied, I was more often than not confronted with a comment regarding how difficult such a job must be. The rationale appeared to be that teenagers and chastity do not willingly go together. It was as if I were selling spinach to children – something one knows is good and healthy, but which is typically received with a grimace.

How refreshing it was to spend three weeks in a foreign country on a mission trip with some inspiring young adults from Italy. The moment one of their leaders learned of my chastity education experience, the entire Italian component was notified (in Italiano, and quite animatedly, of course). Their reaction? Applause. Smiles. Encouraging nods.

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