After I saw last week’s Glee episode, i thought to myself, “No wonder tons of teens think it’s impossible to live a life of chastity.” When all we see are people on TV acting like sex-crazed animals, with no capacity for the virtue of self-control, how can we think that it’s possible to live otherwise? We need more examples in our culture (especially in Media) of people who are LIVING chastity in all relationships. Hopefully YOU who are reading this will use your gifts to build the Kingdom of God and a culture of LIFE-GIVING LOVE!
Here are my responses to the some of the scenes in the show:
MYTH: Chastity and Celibacy are the same thing
The writers of Glee are already showing their true colors when they call it a “CELIBACY CLUB” and not a “CHASTITY CLUB”: they have no idea what the difference is between the two C-words.
TRUTH: Everyone is called to be CHASTE, but not all are called to be CELIBATE.
Chastity is the “successful integration of sexuality within the person” (CCC 2337) and, thus, the integration of body and soul. We are called to live chastely in all relationships: friendships, dating relationships, and married relationships. While celibacy simply means “not having sex,” chastity is a virtue that is lived out differently depending on our state of life (single, married, or consecrated). For instance, chastity for a single person (like myself) includes not having sex (or anything that arouses one to sex), while the married couple is not celibate, but is still chaste (e.g., staying faithful to each other, not viewing pornography, etc). Priests, religious (brothers and sisters), and consecrated men and women take a vow of celibacy, which is, therefore, one way chastity is lived out in their vocation. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) for more on this topic (especially #2331-2356).
MYTH: Chastity is a repression of sexual desires
Emma Pillsbury (Teacher and Celibacy Club Leader): “I am very inspired how both of you are showing how celibacy is a viable option for teens who simply aren’t ready for intimacy…and for those who are older and terrified of the hose monster.”
TRUTH: Chastity is not a REPRESSION nor an INDULGENCE of SEXUAL DESIRES, but a FULFILLMENT of them
I love food, and so my favorite analogy about our sexual desires is Christopher West’s: The STARVATION Gospel says, “Repress! Starve yourself. Shove those desires back down because they are bad!” The FAST-FOOD Gospel says, “Indulge in your desires and don’t worry about the consequences.” Fortunately there is another way. The WEDDING BANQUET Gospel (which is the real Gospel message) says, “Your desires are good, but need to be untwisted and redeemed.” It IS possible to be transformed in our sexual desires and not just give in to every temptation we encounter. When we do this, we will be more healthy with the virtues of peace, joy, love, etc., than when we turn to the fast-food and get sick with lust.
MYTH: Chastity is stupid and only for dull/boring people
Holly Holiday (Sex-Ed Substitute): “[Celibacy] sounds pretty lame.”
TRUTH: Giving into peer pressure and the “everybody is doing it” mentality is lame
I can say that the most joyful, peaceful people I have ever met are people who live a life of chastity and know that God alone satisfies all our desires–not another person, and not any thing. Personally, living a chaste life has NEVER been boring or dull.
MYTH: We are just animals with fiery instincts/passions and no self-control
Emma: “So I’m curious as to why you don’t think celibacy is a valid choice for teenagers.”
Holly: “Well, I do, I think it’s a valid choice, I just don’t think it’s that realistic. It’s like saying vegetarianism is an option for lions.”
TRUTH: We are human beings who have the choice to love people as children of God or USE people as objects
Pope John Paul said in his “Love and Responsibility” that the opposite of love is not “hate,” but “use.” Sexual love is a gift of self and demands tremendous humility and self-lessness. Lust and use, on the other hand, are all about “me” and what I can get from someone by way of pleasure. I can’t stand when people say, “Teens are going to do it anyway, so you should just give them condoms.” I say in response, “Actually, I’m 27 years-old and I’m a virgin, not because of circumstance, but because of choice.” We are not animals, but human beings who are called to life-giving love.
MYTH: Catholics are stupid, frigid, and naive about sex
Holly: “We’ve got to educate these kids.”
Emma: “I strongly disagree. I don’t think that we should barrage these kids with graphic information: they’re kids. I don’t want to steal their innocence.”
Holly: “Are you, like, some crazy Pope lady?”
Rachel Berry: “What about those of us who choose to remain celibate?”
Holly: “Oh, well, I admire you. Although I think you are naive and possibly frigid, I do admire your choice.”
TRUTH: The Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth based on Christ’s teachings and 2000 years of Tradition and knows the GOOD NEWS about SEX and MARRIAGE
God created sex to be GOOD, and the Church is a steward of handing on this Truth. However, sex is like fire (to use Pam Stenzel’s analogy). Fire within a fireplace is beautiful, cozy and can warm the house. Fire on the living room floor, on the other hand, is destructive. Sex is similar. Within the bounds of marriage between a husband and wife, sex can and should be beautiful and life-giving. Sex outside of marriage, however, can be very destructive (as we’ve seen with STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, etc.)
MYTH: Sex is only about pleasure and what we can get out of it
Brittany (Glee member): “When Artie and I are together we talk about stuff like feelings.”
Santana (Glee member): “Why?”
Brittany: “Because with feelings it’s better.”
Santana: “[Sex] is better when it doesn’t involve feelings. It’s better when it doesn’t involve eye contact.”
TRUTH: Sex is a GIFT of self and its two purposes are 1. PROCREATION and 2. BONDING of a HUSBAND and WIFE
Our culture forgets about the whole “PROCREATION” biological purpose of sex, and just wants the pleasure. The truth is, sex is for having babies, so if you’re not ready to be a parent, you’re not ready to have sex.
MYTH: Only experienced people know how to have good sex
Will Scheuster (Glee Teacher): “Go out with me.”
Holly: “You don’t want any of this. I’m damaged goods. Yes, it makes me terrific in bed, but, it also means I tend to break nice guys like you into wasa crackers.”
TRUTH: Good sex is less about experience, and more about the selfless, sacrificial love between the husband and wife
There is a bodily chemical called oxytocin that is released in both a man and a woman during sex. This chemical BONDS the two together emotionally. The more people you have sex with, the more people you are bonded with. Is sex really better with someone who’s bonded to a whole bunch of other people? I think not. (In fact, the only truth presented by Glee was this:
Holly: “So just remember whenever you have sex with someone, you’re having sex with everyone they’ve had sex with.”)
Also, if you HAVE had sex with a bunch of people, you are NOT damaged goods. God’s healing power and mercy are greater than any sin we have committed. Frequent the Sacraments (Reconciliation and the Eucharist, especially), and know that you are worth more than your sin.
I wish I could’ve written more about contraception as well, but this was a very quick response. Go to www.chastity.com for more information and resources.