state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both
Celibacy is the avoidance of all forms of sexual intimacy, often for religious reasons.
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- Celibacy is not merely unknown to Islam, it is unintelligible.
- ...virginity is better than marriage, however good.... Celibacy is...an imitation of the angels. Therefore, virginity is as much more honorable than marriage, as the angel is higher than man. But why do I say angel? Christ, Himself, is the glory of virginity
- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 19 on First Corinthians, NPNF, s. 1, v. 12, pp. 248–262.
- ...the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony...
- For now the discipline of celibacy remains firm. Some say, with a certain pragmatism, we're losing manpower. If, hypothetically, Western Catholicism revises the issue of celibacy, I think it would be for cultural reasons (as in the East), not as a universal option. For the moment, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with the pros and cons it has, because there are 10 centuries of good experiences rather than failures....
- What happens is that the scandals have an immediate impact. Tradition has weight and validity. Catholic ministers chose celibacy little by little. Up until 1100, some chose it and some did not. After, the East followed the tradition of non-celibacy as personal choice, while the West went the opposite way. It is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change.
- The long period of the dark ages... is due... in a very considerable degree, to the celebacy enjoined by religious orders on their votaries. Whenever a man or woman was possessed of a gentle nature that fitted... deeds of charity, to meditation, to literature, or to art... they had no refuge elsewhere than in the bosom of the Church. But the Church chose to preach and exact celibacy. The consequence was that these gentle natures had no continuance, and thus, by a policy so singularly unwise and suicidal that I am hardly able to speak of it without impatience, the Church brutalized the breed of our forefathers. She acted precisely as if she had aimed at selecting the rudest portion of the community to be alone the parents of future generations. She practised the arts which breeders would use, who aimed at creating ferocious, currish, and stupid natures. ...
...[T]he Church, having first captured all the gentle natures and condemned them to celibacy, made another sweep of her huge nets ...to catch those who were the most fearless, truth-seeking, and intelligent ...and therefore the most suitable parents of a high civilization, and put a strong check, if not a direct stop, to their progeny. Those she reserved... to breed the generations of the future, were the servile, the indifferent, and again, the stupid. Thus, as she... brutalized human nature by her system of celibacy applied to the gentle, she demoralised it by her system of persecution of the intelligent, the sincere, and the free.
- Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.
- Everyone agrees the celibacy rule is just a Church law dating from the 11th century, not a divine command.
- Hans Kung, Newsweek interview, (July 8, 1991).
- According to Islamic tradition (sunnah), marriage has been deemed to be an essential requirement. Celibacy has been regarded as a malevolent condition fraught with evils.
- Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
- All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."
- Marriage may often be a stormy lake, but celibacy is almost always a muddy horsepond.
- Thomas Love Peacock, Melincourt (1817), ch. 7