Many thanks to Sean Gallagher of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis' Criterion for his great story on my recent appearance at Holy Name of Jesus Church.
As Eden grew in her faith, her eyes were opened to how rebellious chastity truly is in a culture where freedom is understood as “freedom from responsibility,” and where “there [is] nothing sacred about marriage and nothing sacred about sex.”Read the whole thing. You can also listen to the talk I gave at Holy Name via the church's Web site — click on the "Dawn Eden" link in the upper-right hand corner of the page.
She learned that chastity, as a lifestyle, applies to a person’s wholeness—to body, mind and soul. It is relevant for all people—to those who are single, married or living lives of consecrated celibacy.
“We’re not talking about a ‘one size fits all,’ ‘Just do it’ or ‘Just don’t do it’ kind of philosophy,” Eden said. “Being chaste is a requirement for growing in your relationship with God.”
She also came to learn that living a chaste lifestyle is the groundwork upon which strong relationships with other people are built. This was the exact opposite of her previous assumption that having sex would bring her closer to the man she might want to marry later.
“I realized for the first time that all the sex I ever had, far from bringing me closer to marriage, had actually taken me further away from even being able to sustain a relationship that would lead to marriage.”
Eden said that this was the case because “you can’t seek permanence through impermanence.”
She said her sexual relationships had no ultimate commitment and, beyond that, involved her and her partners using each other for their own ends.
They were not relationships based on the fundamental principle of chastity: that sexual choices should be based on the belief that every person is created in the image of God.
“The sexual revolutionaries of the 1960s and their ideological children tout the supposed joys of sexual ‘freedom,’ ” Eden said. “But how does the freedom to use or be used, to separate emotions from sex and sex from commitment, make one truly free?
“True sexual freedom, like all freedom, can exist only when the dignity of the human person is recognized.”