How important is chastity to a man


chastity (Latin: castitas - moral purity[1]) represents the "successful integration of sexuality in the person and consequently the inner unity of man in his physical and spiritual being" (KKK-2337) and is thus a main virtue of Christianity. It is committed to all Christians. Chastity is not the same as abstinence. One should live chaste both as a celibate (in the priestly or religious status) and as a spouse.


The German word “keusch” is derived from the Latin “conscius”, which means conscious. It thus points to the definition given in the catechism. Chastity is also known as sacred purity. Chastity is the learning of voluntary self-control or abstinence in the sexual area, which is an education for human freedom.

Human sexuality existed even before the fall of man and was described as “very good!”. ("And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Gen. 1:31)

Chastity is an aid to holiness: chastity is a positive affirmation of a pure life. "Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God". Holy purity, chaste life is a grace to be asked of God. There is a habit of actively praying for celibacy, e.g. in the evening before going to bed, praying three Ave Maria for purity and chastity.

From the spirit of purity

"As far as chastity is concerned, I mean the spirit of chastity, you have to make the world understand that it is not a secondary force, on the edge, necessary only for certain conditions of life and which the majority of people can leave aside Spirit about the flesh is not a specialty of those who, because of a greater love, have renounced the use of the flesh: this mastery is indispensable for human dignity, it belongs to the virtue that the ancients have tempérance called the moderation. That is the self-control. I dare to say that chastity achieves what the moderns rightly urge very strongly: availability, self-determination, freedom. Let us not be afraid to speak very high of what most people think very low about: there is no true freedom without the spirit of chastity. And I would also say that chastity, especially conjugal chastity, is associated with faith and love. Wherever the spirit of chastity disappears in the conscience, one sees also the ability to hear the word of God within oneself, the desire for eternal life, the thirst for a conversation with God. All in all: The whole spirit of the Beatitudes can be summed up in the Beatitudes: Bienheureux ceux qui ont le coeur pur parce qu'ils verront Dieu! Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. (...) A sentence by Manzoni comes to mind. That is, I think, towards the end of the Promessi sposi, translated by you with les Fiancés (The engaged): Les difficultés de la vie lorsqu'elles se présentent, par suite de nos fautes, ou même sans qui'il y ait de nos fautes: la confiance en Dieu les adoucit et les rend utiles pour une vie meilleure. "(The difficulties of life, wherever they arise, whether they are due to our sins or even without our sins: trust in God sweetens them and makes them useful for a better life.)[2]

Chastity in the Ten Commandments

The virtue of chastity is derived from the 6th and 9th commandments.

VI. Commandment: "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex 20:14; Dtn 5:18)

IX. Commandment: "[...] You shall not long for the wife of your neighbor." "[...] Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." 28)

Chastity violations

Unchastity is disordered enjoyment or disordered desire for sexual pleasure, especially:

  1. pornography
  2. Masturbation
  3. Fornication ("wild marriage")
  4. homosexuality
  5. Adultery
  6. prostitution
  7. rape
  8. bestiality

Called to chastity

“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality into the person and consequently the inner unity of the person in his physical and spiritual being. Sexuality, which shows that man also belongs to the physical and biological world, becomes personally and truly human when it is incorporated into the relationship from person to person, into the complete and temporally unlimited mutual devotion of man and woman. "

- KKK: 2237

The virtue of chastity thus simultaneously preserves the integrity of the person and the wholeness of devotion. St. Joseph is also a model for lived chastity: "Teach us how to deal properly with God."

Many saints died "in castitate defensione" in defense of their chastity. The Church understands chastity to be faithful to the chosen way of life and knows St. Ambrose for the chastity of the married, widowed and celibate.

Chastity in marriage

Marital chastity is a concept that is only slowly gaining acceptance in the tradition of the Church. It is not to be equated with abstinence and requires a responsible approach to gender. This includes respecting the dignity and boundaries of the partner as well as the fertility character of the conjugal act.

Sexuality as language

The marital union of man and woman is a particularly intense expression of mutual love. The body has its own language, which must not be falsified. When man and woman give each other sexually, this means in the language of the body: I ​​belong to you forever and completely; I bind myself to you in love and loyalty!

But that means: the marriage ceremony is a prerequisite for the sincerity of sexual devotion. Those who cannot / do not want to say yes and still seek sexual community are lying to themselves and their partners by expressing something with their bodies that they do with their hearts ( still) does not mean at all.

Chastity in the evangelical councils

In the tradition of the Church one can take special vows. One of them are the evangelical counsels, in which one commits oneself to poverty, chastity in celibacy and obedience.

The celibacy "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19:12), to which the religious undertake, should be viewed by them as an extremely high gift of grace. It makes the human heart free in a unique way for a greater love for God and for all people (cf. 1 Cor 7: 32-35). It is therefore a special sign of heavenly goods and an excellent means for religious to devote themselves zealously to divine service and the works of the apostolate. In this way they remind all believers in Christ that marvelous marriage covenant which God established and which will only be fully revealed in the world to come, the marriage covenant of the Church with Christ, her only Bridegroom.
Religious should therefore stand true to their vow, believe the words of the Lord, trust in God's help and not rely on their own strength, practice mortification and control the senses. You should also not ignore the natural aids that serve mental and physical health. In this way they are not impressed by erroneous opinions that total abstinence is impossible or that it is opposed to human development, and they will instinctively reject everything that endangers chastity. In addition, everyone, especially the superiors, should bear in mind that chastity is more securely preserved when true love reigns in the community and connects everyone with one another.
The observation of complete abstinence touches very directly on deeper inclinations in human nature. That is why candidates may only enter and be admitted to the pledge of chastity after a really sufficient examination and after having attained the necessary psychological and affective maturity. They should not only be made aware of the dangers to chastity, but they should be instructed to inwardly accept the divine celibacy for the good of the whole person.[3]


  • "In following Christ, who is the model of chastity, all are called to lead a chaste life according to their respective state of life: some in virginity or in consecrated celibacy, which is an excellent way, more easily with an undivided heart to God the others who are married by living conjugal chastity; and the unmarried by living celibacy. " (from: Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
  • "Faithfulness is expressed in the fact that the given word is always kept. God is faithful. The sacrament of marriage takes man and woman into Christ's fidelity to his Church. Through conjugal chastity they bear witness to this mystery before the world . " (from: Catechism of the Catholic Church)
  • "See, those who are rotten with lustful sensuality cannot advance in the spiritual life. Incapable of any good work, they are like a cripple who cannot get up from the ground. Have you not seen the sick with progressive bone loss, the whole." Sometimes they don't even move their heads. The same thing happens in the supernatural to those who despise humility, have surrendered to fornication out of cowardice. They see nothing, they hear nothing, they understand nothing. They are paralyzed and Here each one of us must turn to the Lord and to the Mother of God with the request that they give us the humility and the necessary determination to take pious refuge in the divine remedy of confession A pus forms in your heart, however small it is. Speak up. Running water is clean, but when it stands it becomes a repulsive, muddy puddle and a T Ummelplatz for vermin. " (cf. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer; in "Friends of God", p. ??)
  • "With regard to conjugal chastity, I say to the married couple that they should not be afraid to express their affection, on the contrary, this affection is the very foundation of their family. What the Lord expects of them is that they are Respect each other, are loyal in dealings with one another, sensitive, natural and considerate. And I add that the conjugal encounter is real when it is a sign of real love and therefore remains open to the will of the child. The sources of life dry up is a crime against the gifts that God has entrusted to mankind and an indication that one is guided by egoism and not by love. " (St. Josemaría Escriva (see above), homily for Christmas 1970)
  • "Anything that contributes to the weakening of the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, what directly or indirectly paralyzes the readiness of the family to accept a new life responsibly, what its right to be first responsible for the upbringing of children being, thwarting, is an objective obstacle on the path to peace. " (Pope Benedict XVI. In the message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008.)


Pius XII.


Paul VI


  • Martin Ramm, What is chastity ?, Help for building a conscience in the 6th commandment, Thalwil 2009
  • Katharina Westerhorstmann: Ordered sexuality. About the virtue of chastity. In: Imago hominis. Quarterly journal for medical anthropology and bioethics. Volume 17. Issue 4. 2010, 315-329.
  • Joseph Ries: Church and Chastity - The sexual purity and the services of the Church to it. Bonifatius Druckerei Paderborn 1931 (3rd edition).

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  1. ↑ Der Kleine Stowasser, Latin-German school dictionary, Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky Vienna 1980, castitas, -atis f. (Castus)
  2. ↑ By Paul VI., In: Jean Guitton, Dialogues with Paul VI, Paris 1967, p. 333 f.
  3. ↑ Second Vatican Council, in Perfectae caritatis on the chastity of religious in no.12