College students at various universities across the country are spreading the message of chastity on their campuses, in response to the common “hook-up” culture and lack of sexual integrity in society.
Students associated with organizations from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Pa., Southeastern Louisiana University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and Georgetown University explained their evangelization efforts in regards to chastity and how these efforts affect their campuses.
Maria Capato, who was a junior at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford this past semester, received donations last fall from Jason and Crystalina Evert’s Chastity Project (ChastityProject.com). The Chastity Project provided Pure Love books and CDs for her Christian-based student organization “Christ in Action,” allowing the group to better promote chastity at a campus-wide event entitled “Safer Sex Olympics.” The contraceptive-centered event hosted many tables, including the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT)” table. Capato said that a chastity table was an unexpected addition to the event. The theme of their table was “Plan C,” with the “C” standing for chastity.
Capato said that “the beginning of the event started with many nerves and prayers.” However, the group became more comfortable as time went on and were able to reach many students.
“Many of the conversations we had were very enlightening and powerful,” said Capato. “The majority of the students were very receptive to the topic and seemed to grasp the meaning of chastity.”
Capato said that many students completed evaluation forms after the event, saying that chastity was the topic they learned about most.
“This was a major blessing,” she said. “I believe that our booth provided another outlet for these students, and I pray that the materials used from the Chastity Project will be a resource for the students here at Pitt-Bradford.”
Capato continued to spread the chastity message throughout the 2015 spring semester. Her sister, Kate, who is a missionary with The Culture Project (RestoreCulture.com), planned to speak at the Pitt-Bradford campus to promote the mission of “restoring culture through the experience of virtue.” Additionally, Maria Capato will continue to distribute the Pure Love books and CDs to her peers throughout campus.
“Through example to my peers, I pray that I can help others understand that chastity is very attainable, even in our hook-up culture,” said Maria Capato. “I know that the sacrifice of remaining chaste in the present moment is nothing compared to the glory that will come in the sacrament of a fruitful marriage.”
Kate Capato said her organization speaks to students as young as seventh grade about human dignity and sexual integrity.
She advised her sister about her outreach: “I guided her to reach out to the Chastity Project and see what God would provide. When we say Yes to doing his work, he gives us what we need. He gives us the words and materials. You may feel like you have nothing in regards to supplies or knowledge, but if God wants to use you, it’ll be amazing; and he just needs you to take the first steps.”
“God has amazing things in store for those who say Yes to him,” she added. “I encourage those who feel the tug in their hearts — the tug to speak up, to guide a friend to truth, or even to turn away from the counterfeits in your own life. Move! God wants you and everyone to know real love. He’ll give us what we need to get there. What the world offers us will never satisfy your heart; when you recognize this, do all that you can to run to Jesus, to truth, to authentic love — and bring others with you. Love wills the good of another: If we aren’t speaking up about real love, we are not loving our neighbors.”
The Catholic Student Association at Southeastern Louisiana University also received donations from the Chastity Project. The association received hundreds of copies of How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, Pure Womanhood and Pure Manhood books. The student organization launched its chastity promotion this 2015 spring semester by setting up tables on campus. They also plan to create a promotional video that will uniquely present the idea of chastity to college students.
Derrick Faucheux, a junior this last semester and the student organization’s president, said his fellow student officers wanted to reach out to students on campus, so they decided to utilize resources offered by the Chastity Project. He expects a “curious response” from the students of his campus.
“We plan to create a new idea on campus that will stir the hearts of many students,” explained Faucheux. “We hope that people will turn to the idea of chastity and that it will create a new way of thinking on campus.”
Supporting One Another
Another student organization raising chastity awareness is the Anscombe Society at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Franciscan’s Anscombe Society is one of several in the United States and is an affiliated member of the Love and Fidelity Network (LoveandFidelity.org). The university’s website (Franciscan.edu/studentlife) states that the group’s goal is to help students understand the Church’s teaching on the true meaning of sexual integrity, marriage and family, formulating debates on these topics, which ready individuals for the time when they do need to defend the Church’s position.
The group’s president, outgoing freshman Pablo Boteyo, said that since he attends a Catholic university that is loyal to the magisterium, it is uncommon to see students who disagree with the Church’s teachings on sexual integrity, marriage and family. However, even though Franciscan students may agree with Church teaching, he believes there are some who struggle with chastity from time to time.
“As a community, Franciscan is very welcoming and very loving. If a friend or I met someone struggling, I am certain we would handle it with care, privacy and the utmost support,” said Boteyo. “If you want to help someone be chaste, you have to be chaste and supportive with them.”
Changing the Culture
The University of California at Santa Cruz has an annual conference about living a chaste life in modern college environments. Paul Kim is a notable speaker who returns every year. Other speakers include chastity speakers/musicians Emily Wilson and Jackie Francois Angel.
Love Saxa, a group at Georgetown University (Facebook.com/pages/LoveSaxa/441807815871788), is also affiliated with the Love and Fidelity Network. The group promotes sexual integrity on campus with the financial help of its parent network, even though it is not an official Georgetown student organization as of yet.
The group’s president, outgoing Georgetown senior Kelly Thomas, said the group invites speakers to come a few times every semester to focus on topics such as dating, the hook-up culture, pornography, abstinence before marriage and marriage between one man and one woman.
Past speakers include Bill Mattison, a professor and associate dean from The Catholic University of America, Octavia Ratiu, a psychologist who focuses on the damaging effects of pornography and Ryan Anderson, co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.
Plans for the 2015 spring semester included hosting Kerry Cronin of Boston College, about “the lost social script of dating on college campuses.” Cronin is well known for addressing the pitfalls of the “hook-up culture.”
Thomas said the topic of traditional marriage tends to stir controversy, but, overall, students are respectful. She added that the primary focus of the group is to reach lower classmen who become “swept up in the hook-up culture and suffer tremendous emotional, mental and physical damage because of it.”
Thomas also explained that future goals for the group include concentrating on a connection between sexual assault and the hook-up culture.
“When you strip sex from its unitive and procreative purposes, and it becomes a physical act done for pleasure and instant gratification, you’re going to see the other person as a tool to provide pleasure,” Thomas said. “Combine that mentality with a highly sexualized culture and fuel it with alcohol: It is no wonder why sexual violence is increasing. However, no one has that conversation, so I’d really like to bring some speakers to Georgetown in the future to talk about that.”
This initiative would complement that of Made in His Image (MadeinHisImage.org), which educates women about their inherent dignity and offers healing for women suffering from eating disorders and physical and/or sexual abuse.
Thomas said her group’s current focus is to change the cultural mindset. She said many students are miserable because they’ve delved into the deception that “everyone is doing it,” in terms of sexual activity.
“We’re working on establishing the conversation and getting people thinking about dating again,” said Thomas. “Hopefully, from there, we can change the culture on campuses, bit by bit.”
Jacqueline Burkepile is a campus minister at St. John Paul II University Parish and
Campus Ministry in Denton, Texas, which serves the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.