442 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
exploiting the other. This attitude instills in us the patience and reserve
we need for avoiding unbecoming behavior. Modest relationships reflect
the connection between the marital state and sexual behavior. Modest
behavior respects the boundaries of intimacy that are imbedded in our
natures by the natural law and the principles of sexual behavior laid out
in Divine Revelation. Modesty ensures and supports purity of heart, a
gift that enables us to see God’s plan for personal relationships, sexual-
ity, and marriage.
Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.
It encourages patience and moderation in loving rela-
tionships. . . . It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps
silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy
curiosity. It is discreet.
—CCC, no. 2522
We need to maintain the concern for chaste living prayerfully in our
hearts. Faith is the proper foundation in the quest for a clean heart.
Growth in modesty requires loving support from family and friends as
well as wise counsel and the practice of virtues.
The attitude of modesty is difficult to maintain in a culture that
prizes sexual permissiveness. Countless appeals for erotic satisfaction
assail us daily from all the major forms of communication. This envi-
ronment of indecency challenges all men and women of faith to choose
and to witness to modesty as a way of life and as a method for healing
a culture that has strayed from God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.
Those who have accepted the approach of the permissive culture
have been persuaded that freedom is the right to do what we want to do,
not what we should do. At the beginning of Christianity, the Apostles
preached and witnessed Christ’s Gospel to the permissive cultures of
Greece and Rome, a fact well-illustrated in St. Paul’s Letters to the
Corinthians. Difficult as it was, the first preachers prevailed over the
allurements of the culture, won numerous converts, and encouraged the
virtue of modesty.