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
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