Monday, December 15, 2014

Chastity and celibacy may express rich sexuality

The Scottish Catholic Observer publishes "We can draw spirituality from chastity" by Fr Ronald Rolhesier, priest, member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.

Writing about the Greek goddess Artemis, Rolhesier quotes Thomas Moore's admiring descriptions of her.  According to Rolhesier, Moore writes: “Although she is the most virginal of the goddesses, Artemis is not asexual. She embodies a special kind of sexuality where the accent is on individuality, integrity, and solitude." [No source]

The article continues:
"Artemis shows us that chastity need not render one anti-sexual and sterile. Rather she shows that sexuality is wider than sex and that sex itself will be richer and more meaningful if it is also connected to chastity. Artemis declares that claiming your solitude and experiencing friendship and other forms of intimacy are not a substitute for sex but one of the rich modalities of sex itself."
Rolhesier suggests:
"What’s taught by this mythical goddess is a much-needed lesson for our world today. Our age has turned sex into a soteriology, namely, for us, sex isn’t perceived as a means towards Heaven, it is identified with Heaven itself. It’s what we’re supposed to be living for.

One of the consequences of this is that we can no longer blend our adult awareness with chastity, nor with the genuine complexity and richness of sex. Rather, for many of us, chastity and celibacy are seen as a fearful self- protection, which leave one dry, sterile, moralistic, anti-erotic, sexually-uptight, and on the periphery of life’s joys.

Tied to this too is the notion that all those rich realities so positively highlighted by Artemis (above)—as well as by the classical Christian notion of chastity—namely, friendship, non-sexual forms of intimacy, non-sexual pleasures, and the need for integrity and fidelity within sex, are seen as a substitute for sex, and a second-best one at that, rather than as rich modality of sex itself."
 The author then suggests looking for Christian models that embody the same qualities.