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Chapter 30. Sixth Commandment: Marital Fidelity • 405

body and sex as good. Hence, we do not approach sexuality with fear or

with hostility to the flesh. It is a gift of God by which men and women

participate in his saving plan and respond to his call to grow in holiness.



states that sexuality involves the whole person.


affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his

body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and

to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds

of communion with others” (CCC, no. 2332).

The Sixth Commandment summons spouses to practice permanent

and exclusive fidelity to one another. Emotional and sexual fidelity are

essential to the commitment made in the marriage covenant. God estab-

lished marriage as a reflection of his fidelity to us. The vows made by

the spouses at their wedding to be faithful to one another forever should

witness the very covenant God has made with us.


All people—married, single, religious, and ordained—need to acquire

the virtue of chastity. “Chastity means the successful integration of sexu-

ality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and

spiritual being” (CCC, no. 2337). Chastity unites our sexuality with our

entire human nature. It approaches sexuality as related to our spiritual

natures so that sex is seen as more than a physical act. Sexuality affects

the whole person because of the unity of body and soul. Jesus is the

model of chastity. “Chastity includes an

apprenticeship in self-mastery

which is a training in human freedom” (CCC, no. 2339). The acquisition

of chastity depends on self-discipline and leads to an internal freedom,

which enables human beings to temper sexual desires according to God’s

plan for the appropriate expression of love in the marital relationship of

a man and a woman.



describes the acquisition of chastity in the

following way:

Self-mastery is a

long and exacting work

. One can never con-

sider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort

at all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in