Choosing Celibacy

Marcy Hintz has an article in Christianity Today (Sept 08) titled “Choosing Celibacy.” She argues for a move away from the language of singleness to the language of celibacy, a word that reflects a vocational narrative, something intentional that reflects a commitment to the church as “first family” as Rodney Clapp would say. Toward the end of the article Hintz discusses the monastics and early church fathers and mothers who played important roles in church history. Here is her conclusion:

“Single” does not do justice to the vital intelligence that spurred these saints to wed their affection to the forward-moving family of the church. “Celibate,” on the other hand, is a word that tells me they knew exactly what they were doing. Theirs was a way of life purposely chosen with their community wholly in mind.

… In restoring the language of celibacy to the lexicon of the church, we’ll also restore a traditoin that has historically produced much life. More imprtantly, we’ll restore a Christological story of family, in which celibacy is a viable choice, a worthy commitment, and a sacred relationship. [p. 49]

1 Comment

  1. I like the idea of restoring the concept of celibacy to areas of Christianity. When I think about the word and what it implies, particular after reading the meaning Hintz says the word is imbued with, it seems as though it would give a more positive meaning to “singleness”. My concern is that many people may be afraid of the term due to its connection with Catholicism and the backlash against Catholicism that is still alive within the Church.

    I have been intrigued with monastic life for some time and our Spiritual Direction class with Corne only increased my interest. I am currently reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Her writings are beginning to speak to the deep meaning this life of celibacy held for her in terms of her relationship with Christ and his Church.

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