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12. UNCHASTITY

1. Unchastity consists in thoughts, words, or deeds, which are destructive of innocence.

If the chaste resemble the lily, the unchaste resemble a thorn-bush, which tears one to pieces. It was in order to expiate sins of impurity that the Redeemer of the world suffered Himself to be cruelly scourged, and crowned with thorns.

Unchaste persons are like the brute beasts; they are unlike God and displeasing to Him, and are regarded with contempt by man.

Impurity degrades man to the level of the brute beast. The un chaste prefer the gratification of their lusts to the joys of paradise. To them the words of the Psalmist may be applied: “Man when he was in honor did not understand; he hath been compared to senseless beasts, and made like to them” (Ps. xlviii. 21). Pride is the sin of angels, avarice is the sin of man, and lasciviousness that of the brute. It is most degrading to humanity, which is brought so near to the Deity by the Incarnation of the Son of God, to be unduly subject to any dominion but that of God. By unchastity man loses his likeness to God. Through this sin man defiles the image of God in which he was created and commits a grievous offense against the Most High. It is because no other sin defiles a man as this does, that it is called by the name of impurity, or uncleanness. The unchaste are extremely displeasing to God. In primitive ages, when mankind fell into various sins, even that of idolatry, God bore with them patiently; but when they fell into impurity and sank even deeper in that vice, their wickedness was so abhorrent -to Him, that it repented Him that He had made man upon the earth (Gen. vi. 6). St. Philip Neri possessed the gift of discerning the chaste from the unchaste by the sense of smell; to the former a sweet odor attached, whereas the latter stunk in his nostrils. Those who violate their chastity are thus spoken of by the prophet Jeremias: “How is the gold become dim, the finest color is changed. The noble sons of Sion, they were clothed with the best gold, now they are esteemed as earthen vessels. They that were fed delicately have died in the streets” (Lam. iv. 1, 2, 5). The unchaste lose the esteem of their fellow-men; “they are trodden upon as dung in the way” (Ecclus. ix. 10).

2. Unchaste persons do not possess the sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, they are severely chastised by God in this life, and after death are condemned to eternal perdition.

The indulgence of evil lusts is a bait the devil throws out, and those w”ho swallow the alluring morsel are drawn by him to destruction. The end of this sin is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two- edged sword (Prov. v. 4). St. Jerome declares that the fruits of this sin are more bitter than gall. Since the unchaste are without the light of the Holy Spirit, their understanding is completely darkened. When man descends to the level of the beasts, he loses that intelligence which distinguishes him from the brute; he becomes like the horse arid mule, which have no understanding (Ps. xxxi. 9). “The sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. ii. 14). Through yielding to this sin, King Solomon lost his wisdom, and was so blinded by folly that he turned aside to follow the gods of the heathen (3 Kings xi.). The will is weakened by the sin of impurity; it creates a sort of paralysis in regard to good works, and thus amendment is rendered most difficult. The unchaste is a prisoner who has forged iron fetters for himself. Im purity is a snare of the devil, and those who are caught in this net can hardly escape ever from its meshes. It leads moreover into many other sins: Jealousy, hatred, murder, etc. The terrible consequences of this sin are seen in the case of Henry VIII.; it was the cause of his rupture with Rome, and the apostasy of the English people. Unchastity is severely punished in this life; peace of mind is lost, the bodily health is impaired. “Every sin that a man doth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. vi. 18). The voluptuary soon loses the bloom of youth, and becomes prematurely aged. Special chastisements, moreover, overtake those who violate chastity; the Deluge was sent on the earth on account of that sin (Gen. vi. 7), and the Lord rained down brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrha because the transgressions of the inhabitants in the same respect had become exceedingly grievous (Gen. xviii. 20). And if in the present day God does not visit impurity with the same condign punishment, it is because an infinitely fiercer fire, an infinitely more rigorous chastisement, is reserved for sinners of our own time. Fornicators, we are told, shall not possess the kingdom of God (1 Cor. vi. 9). “Neither fornicators nor unclean hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph. v. 5). Of the heavenly Jerusalem it is said there shall not enter into it anything defiled (Apoc. xxi. 27). The soul of the fornicator shall be taken away out of the number (Ecclus. xix. 3). If you live according to the flesh you shall die (Rom. viii. 13). The gratification is momentary, the penalty is eternal.

3. The best means of avoiding the sin of impurity is flight.

Remember how Joseph acted (Gen. xxxix.). There are other means of avoiding this sin, such as the reception of the sacraments, devotion to the Mother of God; yet the best of all is instant flight from temptation. The Apostle says that we ought to resist all temptations to sin, but from impurity he bids us flee fly fornication (1 Cor. vi. 18). In battling with sensual temptations cowards gain the victory; they seek safety in flight.


 


This article, 12. UNCHASTITY is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
https://bellarmineforum.org/bf_catechism/the-catechism-explained/part-ii-the-commandments-vice-and-virtue-perfection/b-good-works-virtue-sin-vice/viii-the-seven-principal-virtues-and-the-seven-principal-vices/12-unchastity/
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