Over 400 students gather to hear chastity speaker Jason Evert at Right to Life event
Jason Evert, co-founder of the Chastity Project, spoke to a packed auditorium of over 400 Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College students on February 12. Evert and his wife Crystalina have spoken to over one million people across 6 continents about practicing chastity. Evert kept the crowd of over 400 students laughing and challenged them to seek and deliver more in their relationships.
“Jason has the extraordinarily unique and challenging job of telling the people most in tune to the culture, young adults, that their culture is wrong on a very serious matter,” Emmett Wilmes, a sophomore mechanical engineer, told the Rover.
The Rover also spoke with Megan Ferowich, coordinator of lectures and speakers for Notre Dame’s Right to Life Club. “Sometimes people feel that the truth needs to be watered down in order for people to accept it, but this is entirely false,” she said.
“Especially for college students, we want the challenge. We don’t want to be told lies, we don’t want false realities—we want the truth, which is exactly what Jason Evert tells us and challenges us to live up to,” Ferowich continued.
Evert explained in his talk that chastity “allows us to experience authentic sexual attraction to the entire person, not just the values of the body or pleasure.” He illustrated this point with an article from The Economist, “Chastity Before Marriage May Have Its Uses After All,” in which researchers found that couples who waited to have sex were more satisfied with their communication and sex in marriage, and tended to have more stable relationships.
Evert outlined five steps for students to help them find and keep lasting love. First, he argued that young people should enjoy the “season of singleness.” Evert encouraged the audience to use this time as “active preparation” by practicing healthy friendships.
“Jason argued that the most meaningful romantic relationships are those born of meaningful friendships, which is an idea I find true myself,” Phil Gilroy, a sophomore theology and pre-med major, told the Rover. “Unfortunately, a solely hook-up-generated relationship is prone to bypassing the friendship stage. So, it seems important to reflect on our intentions and goals in the beginnings of a relationship in order to save some unnecessary heartache, for both parties, later on.”
Next, Evert said that students should “root out stuff in [their] own [lives] to be ready to give and receive love” needed for a healthy and lasting marriage. For example, a young man who looks at pornography will not be prepared to love his wife in marriage because he is conditioned to lust.
Evert also emphasized the distinction between lust and healthy sexual desire.
“He explained that sexual desire isn’t immoral in any way, but what we do with that desire is key,” freshman Matthew Krach told the Rover. “If we find someone attractive, maybe a date or even someone we don’t know, we are called to act upon them with love. Instead of using them physically, or entertaining thoughts about them, we should instead thank God for the beautiful gift that he created. In that way, we can be more prepared to respect them, and our future spouse.”
Women, Evert said, often present their own bodies as an “invitation to lust,” and he called the women in the audience to be “possessors of a radiant purity that makes men want to be deserving of you.”
One female student told the Rover that she threw away her leggings after hearing Jason. “I hadn’t realized that I was looking for approval in what I was wearing,” she said.
Evert also urged attendees to face their fears and go on dates in order to pursue authentic relationships.
Senior Sean Driscoll echoed Jason’s warning against the two extremes often witnessed at college campuses. “[W]hat we end up with is a polarization—on the one hand we have many who have embraced the hook-up culture because they believe it will bring them all the pleasure without the attachment, on the other we have idealists who believe that the first time they encounter mutual attraction with another person they have found their respective soulmate,” he told the Rover.
Evert also noted that young adults need to heal their own personal issues and seek counseling, if necessary. Women especially, Evert explained, are “masters at stuffing their stuff.”
Finally, Evert discussed the importance of defining relationships to avoid unclear statuses between young men and women.
“One of my favorite lines from his talk … was ‘Discern with sincerity. Pursue with clarity,’” Driscoll said. “Jason stressed that we should not be afraid to enter into a deep, personal relationship with another person, but we also must be able to accept when two people are called to pure, authentic friendship, and to recognize the real beauty in that.”
“Students just recognize the authenticity of Jason and the genuineness of what he has to say, and so they trust him with some of their most private relationship problems,” Ferowich added.
Danny Cohen, a freshman in Duncan Hall, told the Rover, “I hope that our campus continues to have discussions about how to shift away from the superficial hook-up culture, and towards more meaningful relationships. So many people complain about the tensions between genders on campus, but do little to change it, as they continue to treat the other gender as simply a source of pleasure or self-worth.”
ND Right to Life still has free Jason Evert CDs and brochures available. Please contact Megan Ferowich at email@example.com for more information.
Freya Martinson is a sophomore at St. Mary’s College and likes warm hugs. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please?