A breath of fresh air! That is how I felt reading the recent statement by the Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Tex.
The relief starts with the title: Glorious Chastity—One Bishop’s Reflection.1 In elevated, simple and concise language that reflects the brilliance of truth, the document goes to the bottom of the ongoing sex scandal crisis: “In the year 2019, we live in a world that’s off-kilter. One of the deepest roots of the present chaos is the lack of willingness to embrace Glorious Chastity.”
This is indeed a forgotten truth. Without it, though, any debate on the subject will be barren.
With no human respect, Bishop Strickland uttered a word that seems to be forbidden in today’s ecclesiastic vocabulary. He not only recalls the value of the angelic virtue but proclaims it “glorious”: Glorious Chastity!
This adjective was not chosen at random: “I specifically use the word ‘glorious’ because I believe it is God’s plan that obedience to His will with regard to this virtue is a key that will unlock God’s wondrous plan for every individual person and for all of humanity.”
Indeed, chastity moderates the carnal impulse by keeping it submissive to the dictates of reason, which shows us the ultimate purpose of our acts, determined by the supreme wisdom of God: “God’s plan is for Glorious Chastity to always guide sexual desires along a path of accompaniment with His Divine Plan and the wondrous gift of participating in His creation. He has created us in His image.”
Procreation is the primary, albeit not the sole purpose of the sexual act, “The glorious beauty of God’s plan allows a man and woman, committed to each other in the marital bond, to be open to God’s creativity and to the possibility of begetting children as they express their love in profound intimacy.”
Consequences of “Devastating Sex”
Conversely, when sexual pleasure is sought for its own sake regardless of its primary purpose, it becomes devastating, and the entire society suffers the consequences: “Rather than Glorious Chastity, the prevailing reality in today’s world is Devastating Sex. Once again, I specifically use a word as strong as ‘devastating’ because it describes what has happened to this very human faculty which has been dehumanized in so many ways.”
In a hard-hitting paragraph, the Bishop of Tyler summarizes:
- “Devastating Sex can be defined as any sexual expression, whether alone or with another person, that does not follow the narrow path laid out by God…
- Devastating Sex happens when a married couple interferes with the fertility of their love through contraception…
- Devastating Sex happens when a man and a woman engage in sexual activity outside the bond of marriage…
- Moreover, it happens when persons of the same sex engage in sexual activity…
- All these aberrations go to the heart of why God has created us male and female. He created us with real physical differences that complement each other when they are lived in the commitment of marriage.”
I thank Bishop Strickland for his lucid and timely words, and recommend everyone to read Glorious Chastity—One Bishop’s Reflection, in its entirety, here.
1. Bishop Joseph Strickland, “Glorious Chastity—One Bishop’s Reflection,” https://bishopstrickland.com/blog/post/glorious-chastity-one-bishops-reflection.