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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.

Recovering Modesty

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.