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406 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed

during childhood and adolescence. (CCC, no. 2342; cf. Ti 2:1-6)

Chastity has

laws of growth

which progress through stages

marked by imperfection and too often by sin. (CCC, no. 2343)

Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in par-

ticular the right to receive information and an education that

respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life. (CCC,

no. 2344)

Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a


, a

fruit of spiritual effort. The Holy Spirit enables one whom the

water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.

(CCC, no. 2345; cf. Gal 5:22, 1 Jn 3:3)

The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. . . . Chastity is

expressed notably in

friendship with one’s neighbor

. Whether

it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friend-

ship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual commu-

nion. (CCC, no. 2347)

There are a number of acts that are sins against chastity:


is a “disordered desire for or an inordinate enjoyment of sexual

pleasure,” especially when sought for itself (CCC, no. 2351).


is sinful because it misuses the gift of sexuality in an

inherently selfish act, devoid of love. It is a problem for which a

counselor, spiritual director, or a confessor can be of considerable

help. A person often needs assistance to understand the causes of

this behavior, which are often habitual or in response to emotional

stress or unexamined underlying attitudes.


(sexual intercourse between unmarried persons) is sinful

because it violates the dignity of persons and the nuptial meaning

and purpose of sexuality, which is ordered only to the unitive and

procreative goals of married people.