I understand that the Dominicans follow the Evangelical Counsels. Could you discuss the reason for the vow of chastity?
The counsel of chastity has a twofold purpose in consecrated life. The first is about our communal life. As Dominicans, we live our entire lives in a community that is dedicated solely to prayer and preaching. Life in community, often marked by a particular rhythm of prayer and silence, would not be possible if the friars were also married with children. Our Christian community acts as our family. In this sense, our life of chastity allows us to be truly brothers to one another.
The second purpose of chastity concerns service. All priests and religious are called to a complete dedication to the work of the Church. Unlike a married couple, who are committed first and foremost to one another, we are committed to serving the people of God through prayer, preaching, teaching, and the countless other ministries of the Church. In this way, the dedication to a chaste life allows a friar to fully give himself over to the works of God.
This should in no way be seen as a negative judgment on marriage, sexuality, or having children. On the contrary, these are all beautiful and necessary things, as they are gifted to us from God. The Lord calls each person to holiness, but how that call is visualized can vary. In marriage, a person desires to seek a closer relationship with Christ through his or her spouse, and their marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship with the Church. Those in consecrated life answer the call to a more intimate relationship with, and dedication to, God. (cf. CCC 916)