Catholics/chastity and faith

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Question
QUESTION: Peace!
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: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11604a.htm
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?

Answer
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

Expertise

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].

Experience

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

Organizations
Catholic Biblical Association

Publications
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Bible Today.

Education/Credentials
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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