Chastity August 31
But if the offense is detected and he is found guilty, he must be more severely chastised according to the judgment of the priest or superior (Rule of St. Augustine 29).
The great masters of moral theology have taught that sexual morality admits of no light matter. The least fall is already a grave sin. But if that is true, then the sexual struggle in life merits a tremendous compassion. We have a tendency to easily excuse other weaknesses, but when it come to sexual weakness, we quickly become hard in judgment and severe in sanction. We easily leave room for moral evolution with regard to other sins, but a person's sexual sins receive an immediate and complete condemnation. Certainly we cannot weaken the demands of chastity in the name of some false psychology. But ministry toward those who fall needs to take into account all the dimensions of the personality that can play a role in sin. Is it always just a question of bad will? Perhaps there was some significant crisis or heavy stress, perhaps an unfortunate imprudence or a psychological vulnerability, perhaps seduction or fatigue. We do not propose these as excuses, but only as aspects that can the affect the freedom of the individual and influence decisions. Aren’t compassion and patience as appropriate in these cases as in others? Surely in writing his Rule, Augustine did not forget the sexual chaos of his entire life as a youth!
The child doesn’t become an adult in a single day. (Mongo)