Catholics/chastity and faith


Can one be chaste (practice chastity) without faith or have faith without chastity according to Catholic theology?

ANSWER: Hank, your question presents the top of a mountain for which there is so much underlying information and explanation.  Ttwo major levels are beneath your question about chastity and faith:
1 -- as a theoretical issue:  A person is able through natural reasoning to know that some things are morally right or wrong.  Some refer to this ability as the natural law [of right and wrong].  For example, to directly kill an innocent person is morally wrong; an analysis of the purpose of sexual action can lead to a knowledge of its use being restricted to a stable relationship [between a man and a woman] providing for the care and the nurture of offspring.  So, faith in God is not strictly necessary [but a great help] for human knowledge of some truths about moral truths.
2 -- as a practical issue:  A person may be able to avoid unchastity by human effort sometimes.  However, to avoid moral failure consistently, a person needs God's help.  This issue arose in Catholic thought during the fifth century.  Pelagius taught that a person was able to avoid sin by his or her own power without God; the Church responded that God's help [grace] was needed.  Should you be interested, a summary of the controversy can be found on line at:
Remember: God our Savior wills that all persons be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth [1 Tim 2:3-4].

I hope that these thoughts are helpful. Please feel free to write again for clarification or further explanation.  

Fred vara med du. Min moder fader och min moder moder var född i sydost Sverige.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Frid vara med dig!
I understand that you are not required to have faith in order to be chaste (although faith may be a good help). But can you have faith without being chaste or is this impossible?

Dogmatically speaking, unchastity is not necessarily a sin against faith.
I do not do pastoral counseling.  If you should have any concerns about your personal life, I would recommend your contacting a local Catholic priest or the office of the bishop.
In 1953, I visited Stockholm and happened to meet the bishop, Ansgar Nelson, who was born in USA.
If you wish to follow-up on my response, please write again.

Fred vara med du.  


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Edward Bode


Catholic dogma, especially as related to Scripture. I have a doctorate in biblical theology [University of St. Thomas, Rome]. I do not answer questions concerning personal moral situations -- ones dealing with right and wrong [sin].


I have taught Catholic thought in grade and high schools, and in college and universities.

Catholic Biblical Association

Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Bible Today.

Graduate degrees in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, in scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas; all in Rome

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