Classroom Tool

Catholic Schools – Recommended for 8th – 12th grade and college
Teacher’s Guide Information

A Case for Chastity in One High School Classroom…

In the spring of 2004, a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of St. Louis piloted the use of A Case for Chastity as a teaching tool in a Faith Perspectives class, for juniors. All students were required to read the book. Although the class discussion was lively and sometimes negative, the students gave an overwhelmingly positive review of the book in their reflection papers.

In their reflection papers, they were asked to give their honest opinions of the book as well as if they’d recommend that future classes use the book. Thirty of the thirty-one juniors recommended that other teens should read the book. Here are some of the other comments they had about the book…

From the Teacher

I used A Case for Chastity with my high school juniors and they really enjoyed a new perspective that’s contrary to our culture. They read the book and then we had many lively class discussions about chastity. It helped all of them to reconsider what it means to love love someone. Many of them seriously considered chastity for the first time. Others said it confirmed their decision to live chastely. Almost every students said they would recommend it to a peer. I would definitely recommend this book for teachers to use in the classroom, or for any teenager.
—Jennifer, High School Teacher in North Carolina

From the Junior Men (only 8 in the class)

  • I would recommend the book to people who do not understand the Church’s teaching and those who think chastity is a joke.

  • This book does a great job of relating the Church’s teaching on sex and chastity. I think their approach is appealing because they show you how chastity can help you. I really liked this book a lot. I think it really helped to change my view on chastity and what chastity can do for me in my life. I think it is the best teaching on chastity I have ever heard. Thank you for having us read this book; I really think it will help me to live a better life.

  • I have rarely seen psychological consequences; it is more common to see physical scare tactics used to prevent teens from having sex. I like the authors’ approach of using ideas of respect and reason to prove their point. I would probably recommend this book to individuals but I think it would be most effective when read as a class. Discussion helps everyone to see exactly what the authors were trying to say.

  • It shows us that we have to think about the things that we do because it could hurt other people that we did not mean to hurt.

  • Overall, I feel “A Case for Chastity” was very well written and laid out. I especially appreciate how it didn’t try to blame anyone in particular or condemn anyone for participating in any of the immoral acts. Even though living a chaste life is an ongoing struggle with horrible influences coming from all directions, it is good to know it is possible and that it is worth striving for.

  • I feel that this book left a positive influence on me. I would recommend it for others to read, as class work. In a classroom setting, the teacher will be able to guide the readers. It shows the benefits, and even the struggles that people go through to live chastely. Because of this book, I am more likely to live chastely than I was before. I had not even considered it previously.

From the Junior Women

  • I found this book to be the most influential and useful book I have ever read in school. I encourage Ms. Sallwasser to continue to share this book with her students. I really enjoyed reading this book and am totally glad I actually read it.

  • In class discussions it was evident that the book, especially the analogies, made students at least think about their behavior. The book did a good job of reaching out to both males and females. The sections on pornography and masturbation were even written in a way that women would be interested.

  • I was surprised to find that I enjoyed reading the book, and it wasn’t hard at all. It made it even more appealing to me that they broke up all the information with real life stories, no matter how cheesy they sounded, every could relate on some level. I would definitely recommend this book to other religion classes.

  • By living chastely, one can grow closer to one’s boyfriend or girlfriend, learn to love them for who they are, and cultivate a general respect for the opposite sex. I think that the strong parts of the book are the stories that relate to each section, and the way the book explains real love and freedom. I would recommend the book to any teen, because it presents a viewpoint contrary to that which we are constantly bombarded with by our culture.

  • Gallagher and Vlahutin present a convincing case that chastity is the best way to live. I think that the approach (of the book) is appealing because of the concrete examples.

  • It gave me the self-confidence to know that I am worth the wait and that there are other teens out there choosing to do the same thing.

  • Since the book does not use the approach that “sex is evil” and does not try to frighten readers into abstinence, I think that its message is much more effective. The chapters on how both men and women can live chastely are also a good touch and make the book more practical. If someone was trying to decide for him or herself the issue of sex, I think that I would recommend the book just to give them a second perspective that is different from society’s.

  • The authors of the book produce realistic views on sex before marriage and alternative ways to cope with the pressures of premarital sex.

  • The authors’ approach is appealing because they tell some consequences, but they also tend to focus on the affirmative side of living a chaste life. I took pleasure in reading this book instead of the textbook.

  • This book helped me better understand what the Church feels about chastity, and why they feel it.

  • The entire book was full of analogies and stories that not only helped to explain the concept of chastity, but also helped to relate the book to almost everyone.

  • My general reaction to the book is very positive. I think that overall the authors gave the reader a lot of uncommon knowledge that is actually useful.

  • I enjoyed having the Church’s teaching clarified so that I could understand why we are all called to chastity. The authors focused on teenagers and what we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Even though the book was written for teenagers it still approached teenagers as young adults, fully capable of understanding the responsibility of our actions. This promoted the self-respect that the authors spoke about while advocating chastity.

  • I think that the book is a good source to use in a Catholic school.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter on cohabitation. Before I read the chapter, I never understood why it was looked down upon in the Church. I enjoyed reading many of the activities one can do instead of having sex which was listed in the back of the book (Appendix B). I disagreed with a few points in the book, but still thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • The authors of A Case for Chastity have very convincing arguments and make you want to live chastely. They explain every aspect of chastity very thoroughly and make it easily understood. The authors explain all of the freedoms that come with chastity, and how it will make your relationships so much better. I would definitely recommend this book to teens and parents. It will help parents and adults explain to their children why chastity is so important and how it will make their relationships more special.

  • I would recommend this book as a teaching aid for other religion classes.

  • Overall, I enjoyed this book because it wasn’t boring and it was enlightening. The ideas were very convincing in favor of chastity. I enjoyed this book because it was easy to read and very positive.

  • I liked all the corny stories. It made me want to feel (experience) all of those corny stories. I think that (reading this book) was the best way to try to get across to teens on all of these issues. I did get a lot from it. I believe so did the rest of the class. I heard the book being discussed even out of class so I know it affected others in a positive way. I think more than anything the idea for the class discussions was awesome. It made me think about everything and understand what the book was saying even more.

  • “Chastity isn’t about the past. It’s about the present and future.” This is probably my favorite point from the book, or about chastity at all. I may not agree with the whole book, but it was good to get that point of view. The stories were fun. I would recommend this book.

  • The authors do a good job in pointing out the consequences of these premature sexual relationships. The list was thorough and very accurate. I have seen the effect of those consequences either in close friends and relatives or in acquaintances. This book is good for group discussions like we had in class.

  • When they put life scenarios into the writing, it just made me realize that teens are facing the same problems as me and it made me put myself into their shoes. My first initial reaction when our teacher said we were reading a book on chastity was, “Oh great! Another boring assignment to read a book of stats and someone just rambling on about boring stuff.” Boy was I wrong. After reading the first few chapters I really did not want to put it down. To actually take the time to read this book was just an inspiring and informational experience that I would gladly do again. I’m glad this assignment was given to us. For me being a Catholic and given the opportunity to read this book, because to tell the truth I may not have read this book if I saw it on the bookshelf, was wonderful. They (the authors) have made just a major impact on my life. All my questions on sex in general and how great sex can be if you save it were answered. I would also like to recommend this book to other high schools.

*In light of the success found using A Case for Chastity in the classroom, the authors have decided to compile a Teacher’s Guide. It will include logical chapter clusters, discussion questions, Bible and Catechism references, and activities. It will not be complete until the spring or summer of 2005. If you would like to know about the release of the Teacher’s Guide, please email Heather Gallagher.

**St. Louis University High School and Chaminade College Preporatory School have already added the book to their required reading list and use it as a text in the sophomore theology curriculum. Other individual teachers in St. Louis, around the country and in Canada are using the book in the classroom as well.