Why These Nuns Say The Vow Of Chastity Isn't Primarily About Sex

03/02/2015 05:44 pm ET | Updated Mar 02, 2015

Much is made of the vow of chastity that priests and nuns must take to join the cloth in the Catholic Church, but the focus on abstinence isn't exactly the point, at least for these sisters.

HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd spoke with two nuns and author Jo Piazza on Monday about Piazza's new book If Nuns Ruled The World, and the conversation turned to what the chastity vow really means. Though Piazza said it's one of the top questions people ask about nuns, she found in her reporting that nuns themselves don't think much about the absence of sex in their lives, and Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun On The Bus, agreed.

"The whole experience of chastity for me is not about the prohibition for a single sexual relationship with an individual person. For me, chastity is the total freedom to have my heart open to everyone, to welcome everyone into my life and to make sure that I don't exclude anyone," Campbell said. "The challenge of chastity is not about sexual relationships. It's about having a heart for the hold, and that is a rewarding, graced gift that is beyond measure."

Sister Maureen Fiedler, who hosts NPR's "Interfaith Voices," added that the openheartedness that comes with chastity is vital in uniting people of all faiths.

"It's an extension of love to people of many faith traditions across the globe, because I'm trying to promote a real understanding of all those faith traditions and all those people with each other. And in the long run, I'm hoping that this will cut down on the use of religion to promote violence in the world," Fiedler said.

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