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I look at my life and it is as though Marianne Faithfull were transmogrified into Mary Whitehouse. What happened? I promptly purchased a copy, figuring it would help me chat up the musician when he came to town. At the time I read those words I was trapped in a vicious cycle. Chesterton forced me to recognise what I had been trying to suppress: how deeply I longed to experience healing, to have my life ordered from the top down, to know the poetry of not being sick.

With time and more Chesterton , I began to experience the white grace of conversion. But reluctant to put myself under the authority of any particular denomination, I tried to walk the Christian walk on my own. It was clear that all the desires I had ever indulged had failed to bring me closer to the love I sought. And it was likewise clear that the only way I would ever receive such love was if I learnt how to give it properly.

But how was I to learn? A Catholic friend who saw I was struggling gave me a book that quoted liberally from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There I found my answer: developing the virtue of chastity would show me how to love others as God loves me CCC Chastity was not about shutting human love out, but rather about letting divine love in. It meant letting God reshape my desires to align them with his will for my happiness. Admittedly, chastity is not the in thing. But in a society that has ceased to be Christian, that is what makes it so very interesting. Here in the West, Christianity had a good, long run as the prevailing culture and is now once again the counterculture.

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Pope Francis gets this. That is why, when he speaks about chastity, he uses the language of rebellion. But they need our help. Chastity is not an inconvenient footnote to the Good News. It is the Good News, showing that the arms of Venus are no match for the heart of Jesus. Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste, says chastity is not abstinence, but a virtue that can help us all love more fully.

But the whisper of conscience kept suggesting that I go to Mass.

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Comment Comment and Features. Nowadays, chastity is the ultimate rebellion. Dawn Eden Goldstein. But I have to say, even though I still have to undo some of the angry aspects of my rebelliousness, I do find that if people are annoyed by my chastity, part of me just thinks: "Well, kiss my tuchis," as my mother would say. What do you think about our culture? We've now had 40 years of the sexual revolution.

In the s, chastity was kind of the universal norm. Now we have a completely different kind of culture where young people seem to spend their 20s experimenting with each other, and different kinds of sex and arrangements that aren't going to last. Do you think it's possible to change the culture at this point?

As a Christian, I have to believe in hope for salting the culture. We are called to be salt and light. I don't believe that all the sexual revolution [is] going to disappear.

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With every "yes" that they are saying to casual sex, to contraceptive sex, they are saying "no" to the blessings of sex within a loving, committed, lifetime marriage, where you experience sex in all its fullness, and in all its potential for fertility. Do you think that that is the worst thing about casual sex? That it shuts it off to the goodness of that experience?


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Oh, completely. It jades you. It hardens you. One thing that I found very interesting about the television show Sex and the City is that it's surprisingly honest, in the sense that the characters are all so superficial. And they have this hard shell. Sarah Jessica Parker's character, for all her seemingly openness in her body, and in her willingness to physically let a man in, her face is pinched.

And tense. And you can just see the fear, even in those characters' eyes, of really allowing a man inside. A friend of mine who has two daughters who are in their late 20s, and they are committed to chastity. They're all very good Catholics. And they're having a terrible time finding men.

Dawn Eden Goldstein - "Chastity and Care for the Other"

Men will go out with them and then decide that, well, they're not going to have sex with them, there's no point pursuing this relationship. My friend is in despair about her daughters. She feels that they might never get married. If you're a religious person, if you're a Christian, then you have to believe that God is the matchmaker. Having faith means that you ask God to let you exhibit all the graces that you've been given as a woman.


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When you do that, not only will you enjoy life more, but you will be attractive in a way that you couldn't have imagined before. Yes, it is very hard to find men who will wait.

But I know for a fact that they are out there. And the more that you despair, the more that you are not trusting God to set you up. That said, you do have to put yourself in places where you will meet men. Doing the positive things, taking advantage of the opportunities that God sends. But if you're taking advantage of all those opportunities, and you haven't met someone, that simply means that the one person God has chosen for you hasn't come yet. What do you think about the fact that virginity, which used to be idealized, now seems to be regarded as a burden?

It's something that young girls want to get rid of as soon as they can. I absolutely thought that my virginity was a burden. I thought of it as an albatross around my neck. I remember when I was about 20 years old, having a makeout session with a man. At this time, I was trying to save my virginity for my true love. I knew that I tended towards depression, [and] I was afraid that if I lost my virginity to someone who wouldn't stay around, it would be shattering to me--which was rather prophetic on my part.

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So I remember making out with a man, and telling him, "There's something I should tell you. I'm a virgin. So if you're not a virgin, you have to pretend to be one in order to be chaste. Not all of us can be virgins. For some of us, that train has already left the station. But we all can be chaste. Guys can tell pretty easily when a woman wants to, you know, put out that she's willing to put out.