This post is part 2 in a sex and love series based on what I learned from my favorite parts of the brilliant book Love and Responsibility by Blessed Pope John Paul II. All quotes, unless otherwise noted or used for emphasis, come from the book.
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I used to have a big yellow bumper sticker stuck to the Spence-Mobile’s* rear windshield. In red letters, it said CHASTITY IS FOR LOVERS.
I’m fairly certain our culture begs to differ, as evidenced by various statistics (88 percent of unmarried people between the ages 18 and 29 are sexually active**) and by the reader who posited in a letter to the paper’s editor that I am a virgin not because I’m chaste, but because I’m “probably not a hot babe.”
Resistance to chastity, according to Blessed Pope John Paul II in Love and Responsibility, is a result of resentment.
The reason people don’t practice chastity is because they resent it.
“Resentment arises from an erroneous and distorted sense of values,” wrote JP2 in a chapter called The Rehabilitation of Chastity. “It is a lack of objectivity in judgment and evaluation, and has its origin in weakness of the will. The fact is that attaining or realizing a higher value demands a greater effort of will. So in order to spare ourselves the effort, to excuse our failure to obtain this value, we minimize its significance, deny it the respect it deserves, even see it as in some way evil …“
But this resentment backfires. It uncovers what people who hate chastity might not realize themselves:
They totally secretly like it.
JP2 connects resentment to the cardinal sin called sloth. “St. Thomas defines sloth (acedia) as ‘a sadness arising from the fact that the good is difficult.’ This sadness, far from denying the good, indirectly helps to keep respect for it alive in the soul.”
People don’t resent chastity because they don’t want to be chaste. They resent it because it’s hard to be chaste.
“Resentment,” wrote JP2, “does not stop at this: it not only distorts the features of the good but devalues that which rightly deserves respect, so that man need not struggle to raise himself to the level of the true good, but can ‘light-heartedly’ recognize as good only what suits him, what is convenient and comfortable for him. Resentment is a feature of the subjective mentality: pleasure takes the place of superior values.”
Our culture buys into this subjective mentality; it tells us that ‘hard’ negates ‘good.’
Thank God that in truth, it doesn’t.
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Click here to read all the posts in this series.
*Just one of my car’s two names. The other is the Motha Ship. Long story.
**According to the The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.