Chastity - the state of being chaste.Brilliant. Now, according to The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth:
Chastity - the virtue by which people are able successfully and healthfully to integrate their sexuality into their total person; recognized as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.That's more like it. But, what does New Advent, your friendly neighborhood Catholic encyclopedia, have to say:
Chastity - the virtue which excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite . It is a form of the virtue of temperance which controls according to right reason the desire for and use of those things which afford the greatest sensual pleasures.We are seriously cooking now! The bottom line - CHASTITY IS ABOUT FREEDOM! Sadly, images of chains and shackles appear in our minds when we hear the word "chastity". Yet, there is nothing binding about chastity! In fact, chastity is a grace given to us by God to unbind us from the urges and desires of our body. Now, those urges and desires are NOT BAD. But sin is, and can twist the yearning in our hearts for love, into a yearning for pleasure.
If you cannot control this yearning, my friend, you are not free. Chastity is about being in control of your body and not allowing the body to control you. And it's a virtue, a gift, that we need throughout life, in any state of life - celibate or married. Chastity considers the value of self, as well as the value of others. Living chastely is not just abstaining from sex. It is mastering the power of your body, and seeking to use it in it's proper place, fulfilling it's greatest potential - growing closer to the Lord in the process.