Lust and Chastity
The answers to the questions are prepared by the theologian Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno, Central Assistant of the Apostolic Movement.
I speak to you of chastity so you understand what lust is. The virtue is always opposed to a vice. When God created man, he saw him alone and said: “I want to make him a corresponding help”. And he created him the woman. He recognized her. “Now that is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken from me.” And then the sacred text begins with these words: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” As you can understand, the purpose of man and the purpose of the woman is to form one flesh, with only one man, with only one woman, in the institution we call marriage. So that outside of marriage there is not one flesh, and if there is not one flesh, one flesh cannot be made. This is the principle of chastity. Chastity is fidelity to the natural essence of man and woman. Natural essence that is in the very act of its creation. So much so that if you read the first story of creation; God made man male and female: “Let us make man in our image and likeness”; and then it is written that God made man “male and female”. And it is the man, male and female, that make up this wonderful unity that is humanity. Man in the image of God is this admirable unity of male body and female body, of male spirit and female spirit, of male soul and female soul. Man and woman are different but complementary: that is made for one another.
What is lust and what is chastity? Chastity is living the marital relationship within marriage and only in it. So that also after wedding, after one is married he cannot get access to other bodies, because the body is one. One body corresponds to the corresponding one and that is it. So neither man can go to a different female body, nor the woman can go to a different male body. If he were to have access he would incur into a sin against the sixth commandment, which is adultery; but he would commit an act of lust, an act which is not due.
So why is it called vice? Lust is a vice because it is a habit of using the personal body outside marriage: either alone or with other people. So that the body cannot be used outside of marriage. This is a universal law, the law of the creature, a divine law: it is the law of human nature. Chastity is keeping the personal body in its truth. Lust is taking it out of its truth concerning the conjugal acts that must be performed in order to constitute this unity between a man and a woman, which then leads also to the gift of life. The human act in marriage always results in life.
Q. Compared with the past, today one gets married much later in time. By now, almost when the desire is on the wane. In the past they got married when the desire was in a growing phase. How must one live chastity today?
A. The fact that one postpones marriage is not good in itself. Marriage is before anything else, not after. It is not the after of a man. It is the before of a man, because marriage belongs to the very essence of your being created missing, in need of the being that is your correspondent. There is a moment in which you have to celebrate marriage, you have to carry it out, because it is the step of your life. This is important! Why do you postpone a wedding today? Because before you cohabit! So that you no longer even have the need to do the wedding. If you already cohabit at fourteen! Who tells you that you need to do a wedding? You are already husband and wife at fourteen years. At fifteen you have already changed “husband” and “wife.” And therefore there is no urgent need to do the wedding. While in chastity, you know that the wedding must be done. In lust you are no longer interested in marriage. It may also be the last of your things. Anyway, as much as you are concerned, every day you have the opportunity to perform the conjugal act with this or with that other woman. It is not a matter that you have a problem of continence or chastity. Because, today, you know that there is this abundance of freedom, so that everyone lives as he likes. This is the problem! Determining whether marriage is part of the primary essence of the human person, or is it the last thing? Now, marriage cannot be the last thing because it is the very essence of a man. Both in the former case, the first narration of man’s creation, and in the latter case, the second narration of creation, in Genesis, marriage is placed by God at the beginning of everything; and it is to men and woman that God gives to rule the world. It is to men and woman that God gives the power to conceive, to procreate and to make humanity go on. It is to man and woman that all of God ‘s commands are given. So that marriage is not an accessory fact, it is an essential fact, it is the fact of life. But, here, it is necessary that we reformed our society that by now lives of vices and few virtues. And here a serious examination of conscience is needed and that we said, “but what do we need to change in”? For the Gospel forces you to a change. This is the truth.
Q. How do you live chastity in an engagement?
A. Chastity is lived not doing with the other one body; because you are not one body with the other. You are one body at the time when you, before God and before man, for us Christians before the Church; you solemnly commit yourself to accept the other as your wife and the other agrees to accept you as her spouse for the entire life in a unique, irreversible, faithful and forever bond. If one of these conditions is lacking there is no marriage. Once you are married before God and before the Church, you have become one body and one flesh, and nobody can separate it any more. Not even God can separate you from this unity anymore, he cannot dissolve your marriage, because you are always in a unity of soul, body and spirit, because it is the whole man that hands himself over, not a body. It is the whole person that gives himself, not the spirit or the soul. So, in this case, you can become with each other, even physically, one body. But after the “yes,” not before the “yes.” Because before you are not a single body. Then, this act cannot be put into being because you are not! It would be a lying act, a deceitful act, because you are one body and you are making one body.
Q. In CCC friendship and chastity are linked. Could you explain in what way?
A. What is chastity? First of all, it is respect. Respect of whom? Of you and the other. Chastity is respect for your truth: who are you? You are created for a hundred men or for one man? You have to start from this. If you are created for one hundred men, then you can take them, either all of them at once or one after the other; but this is not your truth. Your truth is of having been created for one man: this is your being, your ontological constitution. So that, you having been created for a single man, you must have the other respect you in this your identity. What is friendship? Friendship is a relationship with the other, even intimate, a beautiful relationship, of heart to heart, of soul to soul; however, without there being in friendship a relationship of body to body, in the sense of a marital union. In friendship there is something truly amazing. I do not know if you are acquainted with the friendship between Jonathan and David. You should read the first book of Samuel from Chapter 17 and on, and then you should read the second book of Samuel, chapter 1. Where you find the singing of the friend for the dead friend, where David said that Jonathan to him was worth, in friendship, more than the love of a woman. He had this great friendly love for Jonathan; he considered him as a brother, as a part of himself. However, a friendship in the spirit, but not in the body; for the body needs to stay away, because you can give the body neither to a man nor to a woman. This is important: knowing what your truth is. For in friendship there are so many things that you cannot do, that you cannot give, because there is a limit to your truth. What is your truth? You are created for one man. Then, before you cannot see one another? You can see one another, you can even fall in love, you may also know each other; however, you must always remain in the one truth that the one body takes place always after the “yes” and not before. This is the error of today. You get engaged, you make one body, then you leave each other and one does not know who he belongs to, who he does not belong to, whose this man / woman is, whose he was, who he will belong to. There is a promiscuity that is wrong, because it is not Christian. The Christian has another use and another meaning that he must give to his body.
Q. What is the gravity of the sin of lust? Can you go to hell for this sin?
A. You know that it takes three requirements to sin: you need full awareness, you need deliberate consent and you need the grave matter. Grave matter, when the union between the two bodies takes place; it is there; you cannot believe that there is not. But then, there must be deliberate consent and full awareness, that is that you must know and want what you do. But many times in our environment one knows neither what he does nor what he does not do; you do things because they are done, but we lack the Christian conscience of the truth, of sin, of the grace, of holiness and of the vocation . Then we must educate, we must form, for many things are done out of ignorance. I distinguish the error from sin. I affirm you that this is intrinsically an error, something against your truth; but then for sin, we enter in the conscience. Because sin is determined by conscience and not by the external act. But who deliberately allows himself to impurity, does not pray, does not ask for the Lord’s help, in this case he is not true to himself, and if he is not true to himself, he cannot be true with the brothers. So there is a falsehood that we have to correct. If one goes to heaven or hell, this is not for us to judge, because this is a judgment that belongs only to the Lord. It is up to us to say: “See brother, you are in the falsehood of your being, take action, enter into your truth and get sanctified, because the Christian is called to great holiness.”The Christian must be a model. When you hear the Inspirer talk in this church, what does she always recommend you? Being exemplary in all, not giving your body to the first comer, not asking for the body to the first person you meet, because there is a holy journey that needs to be done. You are told these things, you are trained on these things; but then the problems remain, because it is necessary that there is all that good will of respecting the truth of the personal being. One’s being is respected only if we preserve it in truth.
Q. What is the difference between abomination and perversion?
A. Abomination is whatever is grievous sin before God. Here are some cases taken from O.T.: you hold for yourself what it is for the poor. It is not due to you, it is the poor’s: so you commit an abomination before the Lord. Or, you mistreat a stranger; you commit an abomination before the Lord. Why? Because the stranger is the object of care of God. God takes care of the stranger, he loves him, and if you ill-treat him you commit a sin of abomination, a grave sin, a sin that excludes you from the blessing of God. However, perversion is when your nature changes itself. Perversion, in the scripture, is when a man changes nature and from a nature that seeks the woman becomes a nature that seeks man. Then, that is a perversion. You have changed the statute, the essence of your nature, which needs a being that is correspondent to it and not equal. Here is why the Church does not conceive homosexuality as a stable, conjugal relationship between a man and a man. In this case, a perversion of your nature takes place. Your nature which must tend toward the woman tends instead toward man. Then there is wickedness, which is something that surpasses perversion and occurs when there is a coupling with animals: with a dog, with a cat, with a goat. Even this can happen. But here we get right to the lowest of what it is not even natural, no longer justifiable anymore. There is something that has gone even beyond the limit, because man must always have the government of his sexuality, of his body and of his life. Man is called to this.
Q. If there are already provisions in scripture, referable to the authority of God, why is there need of the canon law? It seems to me that the figure of the woman is always seen as a symbol of seduction and deception, as if man had always to be protected from. Would you explain this to me?
A. In scripture there is not this dimension of man that must protect himself from the woman. In scripture, there is a real conception of man and woman. If you read Leviticus where there are all those provisions, what will you find? You will find that there are precepts that concern both man and woman. There is not a precept toward man which is not a precept toward the woman. Man and woman are treated the same way in scripture. This is truth. Then, scripture many times has a strong thought towards those women that go to lure men. This is something that cannot be tolerated, and that is, that you woman, go to lure the husband of another woman. You cannot do this. Scripture uses some strong word because there are some women who go to lure, who are seducers, and this is not tolerated by scripture. If you read the New Testament there is never a discrimination between the consideration of man and woman. The New Testament speaks of sin as a sin of the person, not of a man or a woman. If you go to read S. Paul, he has it in more with men than with women. Paul wants man to be always the one to be the master of his body so that the woman can also be. If you read 1 Corinthians, you realize that Paul has it in against men; he has not it in with women; he speaks little of women, while of men he talk a lot because they do things they should not do. Remember that prostitution is, yes, a female art, but it is used by men. It is man the one who must stop evil at the source, because it is always man who must be the first guarantor of the law of the Lord, because the Lord entrusted him with the first law. He who the one that let himself be tempted; he is the one who let himself be seduced. He has a great responsibility in the front of seduction. But the woman, on her part, must not tempt and must not seduce him. How many marriages today fail for the seduction of a woman? Many are the marriages that fail. This will not do! But in scripture there is not the woman who is treated with less dignity with regard to man. For even the woman in scripture has a very high dignity. Think about Jesus’ relationship with women; what a very high dignity he gave to them.
Q. From the point of view of vocation, how must one consider the life of a person that lives neither the ordained priesthood and nor marriage, the so-called single?
A. If you get married you have to live conjugal chastity, if you do not get married you have to live the chastity of the individual. You can neither choose a man nor a woman as a casual partner: you have to live permanent chastity. As the priest who chose to be a priest, and must live in the permanent chastity. The marital relationship between man and woman can only take place in the marriage sanctified by God and witnessed by the Church. Besides this statute there is no possibility of union either inside and or outside marriage, either during or after. Only in this statute, where you constitute one flesh you can perform the conjugal or sexual acts. This is the holy principle of the Church. If you wish to stay single, nobody forces you to get married. You need freedom to get married. Without freedom there is no marriage. One of the cases of nullity of marriage is being forced to marry. When we make a matrimonial process, the first question we ask is: “Are you getting married freely or are you forced by someone to get married?”. If you are not free you cannot get married. But whether you get married or you do not get married, you have to stay in the truth of your body. So that it is false even the discourse of the justification of the homosexual act. One might say: “but I feel the tendency towards …”. You are required to remain in the truth of your body. The single can also feel the tendency towards a woman and does not want to get married, but he must remain in the truth of his body. This is the principle. There are not any others. There are no other justifiable principles from the point of view of revelation. Other relations are not justifiable from the moral point of view. Neither for me who am a priest, nor for the one who is a single, nor for him who is married, nor for those who are not married and do not want to get married! The truth of your body is this: one person, in one indissoluble unity can be the help corresponding to you.
Q. How do you strengthen to live chastity?
A. When the Pharisees asked Jesus why Moses had given the bill of divorce, Jesus replied: “For the un-circumcision of your heart, because your heart was hard, and was not able to live the law of conjugal fidelity. At the beginning it was not so, because God created man male and female, the two become one flesh. Let not man separate what God joined together.” Can we live this law? Married people have a particular grace which is the grace of the sacrament. When two come to Church to get married marriage is celebrated, but the Sacrament is also celebrated; that is, the Lord gives them a special grace so that they can live fidelity, conjugal chastity until the end. But this grace must be drawn every day. How do those who are not married go about living chastity? Asking the Lord daily in prayer for the grace of transformation of their feelings, their impetus, their attraction, so that they can remain in the fortitude of the Holy Spirit. It is by grace that one does not sin and not by good will! If it were just by good will there would be no need for Christ. Instead it is by grace. If I do not sin it is by grace, and if I did not have the grace of God, I would commit many sins. Not necessarily against the sixth, but against the seventh, ninth, tenth, fifth, fourth, third, second and first. But the grace of God helps us to observe the Law. But what is the grace? It is not an outside help; it is the change of heart. The Lord gives you a pure heart, a free spirit and a sanctified body. The Lord gives it to you! Does it to you! It is so much so that what is the difference between the Old and the New Testament which is it? In the Old Testament man lived with a heart of stone and therefore he was inclined to sin. In the New Testament, man lives with a heart of flesh, able not to sin and able to love. But I am able not to sin, because the Holy Spirit gives me fortitude, wisdom, intellect, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord, and assumes me, assumes you, and brings us on a path of good . Now, we some times neglect this grace, we do not ask for it and we do not care about it. There is something that does not work because Christianity does not live only of truth! It lives of grace! It lives of grace in order to live of truth! “He who eats me will live because of me.” If you celebrate the S. Mass well, you pray the Holy Rosary well, you do works of charity, you will be able to observe the commandments well. The Lord comes inside you and becomes your strength, becomes your joy, becomes your peace, becomes your harmony and you have got the government of your body. Remember that in ancient times most of the martyrs are fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen year old females. Why martyrs? For chastity! Because they did not want to consent to the despot, the tyrant or the tempter. You have Saint Mary Goretti, who is of the last century. Who is Saint Mary Goretti? She is a woman, a girl, a twelve year old, who said no to Alexander that wanted to rape her. “No! I am sorry. It is a sin.” She did not consent and she become a martyr. By the grace of God.
Q. If the union between man and woman is a natural fact, then for what concerns the consecrated to God who take vows of chastity?
A. The union between a man and a woman is a natural fact; a vocation; it is the primary vocation of a man and a woman. However, is there a superior reason not to carry out this vocation? There must be a greater vocation, a vocation which is above all vocations. And what is this vocation? The vocation to give yourself completely to God’s kingdom, for its dissemination, for its growth and for the salvation of a soul. So you, for the salvation of a soul, which is the highest of possible charities; can you offer to the Lord the sacrifice of your renunciation. And however, it is a sacrifice for a higher purpose. So much so that St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians, wished that this were the primary goal of every man. In 1 Corinthians, it is as if St. Paul moved the end. From a primary end, marriage, switches to a secondary end. The vocation to the kingdom, to be missionaries of truth and grace, of justice and peace, to Paul becomes the first vocation. And then all the other vocations come, including that of marriage. St. Paul wishes everyone were like him, that is, all available for the kingdom, all missionaries of peace, all operators of the gospel. But the vocation to marriage and the kingdom are true vocations and it is necessary to respect them. The vocation to marriage is also primary and not secondary. As a vocation to the kingdom is a primary and not a secondary vocation. We must respect and encourage those who marry; respect and encourage those who consecrate themselves to the kingdom, because they are two vocations that deserve the respect of the entire community. Indeed we need to encourage both the one and the other, we must help so that these two vocations find an almost equal confirmation in the community, without marriage having the upper hand on the other, nor the other on marriage. Both as vocations to be followed, for both a men’s and a women’s status.
Q. What does the youth of today need to avoid falling into these sins. St. Paul was very explicit, but his language today would not be too understood.
A. We have to make a Christian reasoning! A reasoning that begins with baptism and ends with the anointing of the sick, going through all the other sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. If you do not live these first three sacraments how do you manage to make a reasoning of chastity. This evening I announced the truth about your essence as a woman and man. But I know that if you do not live Baptism, you do not live Confirmation and do not live the Eucharist; my reasoning is done to the wind. Today, the problem of the Christian is that he needs grace and truth. Baptism is not an accident and the same Confirmation. The Eucharist is not a time filler in the celebrations that are held. The Holy Mass is celebrated; and we receive communion. It is a problem of drawing the grace that transforms the heart. If we do not pass through the way of grace, the way of truth remains sterile. I give you an example. If you make me a preparation for Confirmation basing yourself only on the catechism and it is not rather a preparation that leads you to live all the Eucharist, all the charity, all the mystery of Christ, you can also receive Confirmation but it will not produce effect and substance , because it lacked the real preparation which is the immersion of man in God’s grace. The grace of the Eucharist, the grace of Confirmation, the grace of Baptism must walk together. This is missing to us today. We announce a principle. But to whom? I will give you another example. Can you tell a monkey to behave like a man? You can also talk to it of humanity, however, it will always remain a monkey. Why? Because it is not transformed into a man. Transforming a monkey into a man, and this can only happen by grace, and you will see that it will live as a men and think as a man. Now, without this grace of God that transforms us who were born in sin, with the uncircumcised heart, with increased lust, how do you manage to be able to live this law of your truth? Jesus says it in the Gospel: “Without me you can do nothing.” Christ is grace and truth. The split between grace and truth produced all the evils that are in the world and in the church today. For today the church is also responsible for a proclamation, a truth, however, without passing through the grace. Grace is essential. I can even shout a truth; but whom do I cry it to? Do you know what my principle is? Marriage is a sacrament between two Christians, but where are the Christians that get married? On what do you plant this sacrament, if before you, you have two pagans, who often do not know who God is. Can you hope for the success of this marriage? How do you manage to hope? You know that many already come to get married with a spare boyfriend or girlfriend. This Christian formation is missing. What does the Apostolic Movement do? It tries to form some Christians. But the Christian formation implies this immersion in the grace and truth of Christ; this transformation of the heart through the help of God. Then yes, you can start talking about Christianity. Read the gospel and you will realize one fact: how much did Jesus Christ speak to Peter? How much did he speak to the apostles? For three years. What were the apostles arguing in the Upper Room? They argued about who among them was the greater; who was the prime minister, who the second and who the third. Who should have this ministry, who should have the other one. They did not understand anything! Then what did Jesus do? On the day of Pentecost Christ gave the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit changed their hearts. In a moment Peter changed his life, and he changed the life of the world, as soon as the power of the Holy Spirit lighted on him. Now, if the Church does not walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, she walks only with some principles of truth that we announce. But you cannot create Christians, because the Spirit of the Lord creates true Christians, the sanctifying grace creates them and the prayer creates them. That is how you create Christians.
Q. Can there be lust between husband and wife? And does lust concern only the sexual sphere?
A. Lust is when you are looking for something outside of what is allowed. There are relations that cannot be lived. If you ask your husband or the husband asks his wife things that go beyond the legal maximum, then in this case, one can speak of lust. What is lust? Lust is the non government of your acts, the non government of your body and the non government of your thoughts. Because man must submit everything he does to his truth. He cannot live for the body only! The body is subject to the spirit and the spirit to the soul. If this does not happen in marriage, you are lustful. Because you look for something just for the body. And this is wrong. It is necessary that one respects the other. Many women are suffering by the non respect, because the husband asks for things that are not permitted and that even animals do not do. So, you have to have respect for man and woman because this is a holy thing, and we must be holy because our body is holy. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This theme is treated for non-Christians, that is, for those who are baptized but are not Christians. For a baptized and confirmed Christian, that feeds on the Eucharist knows that his body is holy. Being his body holy he must always live in holiness. He cannot have a relationship that is not holy, with anything. Holiness is the right relationship with everything. Even with food, with the dress, with time, with things and with objects. Everything has to be sanctified by the Christian. The Christian cannot do something that is not perfectly holy, just and true.
Q. Many times the perversion of man can fall into offences, for example sexual ones. In these cases, there are many assumptions and among these chemical castration. I want to know: are these Christian hypotheses?
A. The church tells you that diseases if they are diseases must be cured, for the disease must be cured. Who establishes the cure? It is not the church that establishes it, the doctor is the one who establishes it. However, the impairments are not for man, because today there are so many treatments that may very well leave your sexuality integral. You can never have recourse to a superior cure when the inferior cure is already sufficient. But even in this case, are many of these things acquired or are they natural? Many times they are acquired. And this happens in the environment, in the family. Education is also collective, it is also social and it is also familiar. I always say that in Sodom they were all Sodomites, not because they were born like that, but because there was a culture of this kind. And today there is a culture of this kind. We must not forget that. There is a culture of transgression, there is a culture to no longer consider your natural truth, there is a culture to think yourself without God. The Christian strength is right to undermine the foundations of this culture of sin, error and falsehood in men. Let us consider that the world needs to be renewed from the foundations. And here we have to put everyone a little bit of soul and a little bit of heart. It is important that we realize now that Christianity by now is disappearing as a driving force of man, as the truth of men, because we Christians are reclining on the falsehood of man. Tonight, if we become aware that we have to undermine this culture of death and put a culture of life; undermining this culture of deceit and putting a culture of truth; then you understand that things might change and they will change. I think that this is the end for which the Lord called us. Remember that when the Virgin Mary appeared to the Inspirer she said a very simple word: “The world has forgotten the word of my Son”! The world has forgotten these truths. The world is everything and everyone. Today there is a culture, even in the midst of us, that is not an evangelical culture, it is a culture of falsehood, of error and anti evangelical. We must have the strength, the courage to say that this culture goes undermined from the foundations and put the new culture which is the culture of Christ, in its place. I work for this every day. And for this I toil, and for that I lose sleep. Because I desire to have a profound effect in the transformation of man.
Directions for the preparation of the meeting given by Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno:
– Leviticus chapters 18:19:20
– Proverbs chapter 7
– Sirach chapters 23/09/26
– Gospel of Matthew chapter 5
– First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5.6.7.