With all the talk about consent, can’t we just live chastely?

I’ve been a Loras student for almost two years now, and one thing that I see talked about all around campus, and is something that was heavily emphasized in my first semester, is sexual consent. I’m sure you’ve been through the same thing: talks and personal stories, mandatory videos and internet slideshows for education, posters in the dorm buildings, etc. Instead of this, I propose we all live chastely.

Loras is a Catholic diocesan college. As such, it should do its best to promote Catholic morals and values and place such things as a high priority. In the category of sexual morality, the Church is very clear that God designed sex as a loving, procreative union between a married man and woman. Therefore, any sexual encounters the typical Loras student experiences, most of whom aren’t married, go against Church teaching anyway. Instead of obsessing over all the technicalities of consent, like those involving alcohol, for example, it would be far simpler to just discourage non-marital intercourse in the first place.

Some might protest to these ideas, pointing out that not everyone who attends Loras is Catholic and therefore shouldn’t have to be restrained by such rules, or that it’s oppressive to people’s “sexual expression.” These arguments ignore the fact that the identity of the college is Catholic, and that any non-Catholics who attend it do so knowing this and choose to attend anyway. If I were to attend a college of a different faith, one with a Jewish or Muslim identity, for example, I would be expected to live according to their morals and ideals. If I were to protest, the justified response would be, “You knew what you were getting into when you came. If you don’t like it, you can go somewhere else.” Such should be the case for a Catholic college.

While the technical implantation of such policies might be easier said than done, I call for at least a consideration for the sake of better embracing Loras’s Catholic identity. It’s said that the devil is in the details, and with all the little details involving consent without calling for chastity, the devil is sure to find ways around them to cause harm. Live a chaste life and look for marriage. God says you’ll be the happier for it, and He should know.

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