I hear it a lot from Catholic speakers: “God wants you to be pure.” Especially in youth contexts, this idea of purity tends to run supreme, the highest goal of one’s life.
I’m not so sure.
For one, a focus on purity tends to be about one thing, sexuality. No one ever talks about purity in relation to charity or justice; there is no insistence on purity as it relates to the corporal works of mercy. If someone is talking about purity, especially to youth, it has everything to do with sex, promiscuity, and immoral thoughts. It is a rather small world of morality.
Of course, the greater point in this is how these positions are articulated, as a focus on purity forces us to emphasize a goal that is just a negation, a life defined by what we don’t do. It’s about not having sex, not dressing promiscuously, not giving in to tempting thoughts or actions. Because, truly, isn’t that what purity is? The absence of the stain of sin.
Taken to it’s logical end, as I do in this video, we can see that this is not a life we want to focus on. Rather, of focus should be on “holiness,” an entirely different concept.