Mandeville, LA – The Catholic religion’s stance on chastity is a very conservative one. Church doctrine was, and still is, very stern when it comes to sex. Sex is strictly reserved for marriage and any expression of sexuality outside of it is seen as a sin. During the Renaissance as well as today, this is not the case. Many individual cases of sexual promiscuity happened during those times and happen today on a daily basis. Even Renaissance priests joined in on the sin as they often times had affairs with laywomen or even with nuns. The profession of prostitution was and still is a lifestyle dedicated to being unchaste. While the Church’s viewpoint on chastity is strict, its punishment for it for it was not as extreme as the punishment mandated by the code of honor. The Catholic religion is against the taking of another person’s life. Murder is most definitely a greater offense to God than being unchaste. Nevertheless, since the notion of honor was more important than the notion of religious doctrine, the punishment for being unchaste came to be dictated by the code of honor. The treatment and punishment for being unchaste during this time heavily contrasts with its modern counterpart.
The culture of honor is now far past us. In its place, particularly in the United States and other first world countries, a culture of recklessness and irresponsibility has appeared. Like in Renaissance times, religion is the major opponent to this culture, and like in the Renaissance, religion loses. Engaging in sexual activities before marriage is the cultural norm. Along with this new social reality problems such as teenage pregnancy, the pro-life-pro-choice debate, and marital infidelity arise. The Catholic Church is a major opponent of these social developments, yet every day more and more people leave their religious roots, go against church doctrine, and engage in dangerous social activity. It may be the case that this could have developed because of the death of the concept of honor. More and more, being unchaste is seen as “cool” and “hip.” Celebrities who in Renaissance times would have been considered public disgrace are now celebrated. Our society lacks the concept of honor and for this reason core values are being abandoned and replaced with the celebration of vice. – Nicolas Ruiz, Chastity in Renaissance Italy