TORONTO (RNS/ENInews) Decrying the “sex-saturated world of contemporary Western culture,” Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops are urging church members—married and single—to live chastely.
In an eight-page pastoral letter released last month, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops urged young Canadians to dress modestly, to choose uplifting entertainment and to seek the Sacrament of Confession regularly.
Catholics who commit sins of impurity, “alone or with another person,” can receive forgiveness through confession, the bishops said. Failure to live chastely, they continued, “leads to a self-centered existence that blinds us to the needs, the joys and the beauty of the world around us.”
Chastity means purity of mind and body but is more than the absence of sexual relations, the letter said. For unmarried Catholics, the bishops explained, chastity entails abstinence, “because God’s design is that sex belongs in marriage.”
The guidelines also advised married couples not to get too focused on sexual acts other than intercourse, calling them a potential “misuse of sex.”
The bishops said the sexual act “has to be unitive and procreative and (this is) why some kinds of sexual activity are not chaste. Though pleasure may be present, some acts are a misuse of sex when they fall short of what God intends.”