mature theme; adults only please
I am trying to understand the traditional Catholic teachings on this topic and I’d be grateful for any help with this. (since younger people might see this, I’m going to try and phrase things very carefully, using moral theology terms only…)
I’ll separate my question into several parts so it’s more easy to understand:
- St Thomas Aquinas defines the term in the Summa Theologica
It seems that virginity is lost through any complete and willful experience of venereal pleasure (according to St Thomas). But isn’t it lost through any willful sexual act even if this venereal pleasure is not experienced by both parties?
- Fr John Hardon’s dictionary defines Virginity as:
VIRGINITY. The state of bodily integrity in either sex. This integrity may be physical or moral, and either factual or intentional. Physical virginity is sometimes defined as the absence of any sinfully experienced lustful sensation. But, strictly speaking, a person is physically a virgin unless he or she has had sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. Moral virginity means the absence of any willful consent to venereal pleasure; again, strictly speaking, with a person of the opposite sex. Virginity is factual when, de facto, a person has not in the past sought or indulged in sexual pleasure; it is intentional when a person intends never to experience such pleasure, according to the previous distinctions made. (Etym. Latin virgo , maiden, virgin.)
This definition seems to restrict it more to intercourse with the opposite sex, but isn’t this different from the previous definition, which could relate to any sexual act, including solitary impure acts?
Also, typically someone would not be considered a virgin in certain cases though they did not have the marital act properly speaking ?
- VIRGINITY, VIRTUE OF. A virtue distinct from the virtue of chastity because of its special excellence. Chastity restrains the satisfaction of the sexual appetite, but virginity totally excludes it. (Fr John Hardon)
"Virtue can be recovered by penance as regards that which is formal in virtue, but not as to that which is material therein. For if a magnificent man has squandered all his wealth he does not recover his riches by repenting of his sin. On like manner a person who has lost virginity by sin, recovers by repenting, not the matter of virginity but the purpose of virginity.
Reply to Objection 4. Virginity as a virtue denotes the purpose, confirmed by vow, of observing perpetual integrity. For Augustine says (De Virgin. viii) that “by virginity, integrity of the flesh is vowed, consecrated and observed in honor of the Creator of both soul and flesh.” Hence virginity, as a virtue, is never lost without sin." (Summa)
Putting all this together, does this mean that the VIRTUE of virginity can be recovered? (if virtue is the purpose vowed to God, and the purpose can be recovered). For instance, if someone has sinned against chastity but later vows their chastity to God in their vocation.
I’m looking for the traditional Catholic understanding, not personal opinions on this… thank you!