Chastity speaker Pam Stenzel reminds teens to practice sexual integrity
By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
With statements like “No one has sinned so much that they are beyond the grace of God,” and “Don't ever let anyone tell you that because you have had sex in the past that you have to keep doing it,” chastity speaker Pam Stenzel held the rapt attention of a gymnasium filled with Red Bank Catholic High School students March 9.
Stenzel, an acclaimed author and abstinence educator, spoke frankly about the emotional and physical repercussions of sexual activity among teens in a series of talks March 8-10 delivered to Catholic school and religious education students, parents and administrators throughout the Diocese of Trenton.
During the three-day visit, more than a thousand heard her message in St. Veronica School, Howell; Mater Dei High School, Middletown; St. Gregory the Great Church, Hamilton Square; St. Joseph School, Toms River; Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, and St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, which had a Spanish track.
“Sex with no boundaries is a violation of everything you are, and an amazing gift in the proper context of who you are,” Stenzel said during her presentation in Red Bank.
Stenzel, who was born after her mother was sexually assaulted, reminded the youth that sexual activity should be reserved for marriage.
She explained how she and her husband had raised their sons to respect women and their daughter to remain a virgin until married. Lowering her voice to a dramatic whisper, she advised the Catholic teens how to recognize a potential spouse who would remain faithful and to nurture love grown in a sacred union.
“Love isn’t pressure, damage or hurt. Love will never ask you to do something that will damage you the rest of your life,” she said. “Sexual integrity you will practice, or not, for the rest of your life. This is a forever discipline.
“If you cannot be respectful today, what makes you think a wedding ring will be different?” she asked. “This matters: the choice you will make today as juniors in high school will determine what that wedding day looks like.”
Co-sponsored by the diocesan departments of Evangelization and Family Life and Youth and Young Adult Ministries, the presentation evoked a few gasps, some nodding and even some tears among the captivated student audiences.
Stenzel shared sobering statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reflected a grim fact: youth are especially susceptible to venereal diseases.
“One out of four of you may be infected,” she said. “There’s a student sitting out here who’s had sex, and you think if you get up in the morning and you don’t have ‘herpes’ tattooed on your forehead, you don’t have it.”
She also stressed the importance of knowing about the human papilloma virus, or HPV, a virus for which there is no cure. Stenzel revealed that the top vaccine on the market for HPV only treats four of the 100 strains of the virus; the resultant cervical cancer can damage a girl’s internal organs, and in some cases, lead to death. Though not fatal to boys, it is highly contagious.
Stenzel advised those who may have already become sexually active to see a doctor for testing, a priest for absolution and to recommit themselves to purity.
“You can begin to build integrity, discipline, trust,” she said. “My Bible said that if you confess your sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive you. With the Sacrament of Penance, there is a 180-degree turn from sin to righteousness.
“You can go out of here and keep sinning,” Stenzel concluded. “There’s a lot of pain at the end of that road, or today you can say ‘no more.’ The choice is yours.”[[In-content Ad]]