The role and importance of celibacy

Celibacy means to remain unmarried and without sexual relationships for religious reasons. An unmarried person without a sexual partner may be able to give more time to God’s work.

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Sometimes a Christian may choose celibacy for themselves, even though their Church may not demand it. For example, if a person wishes to devote their life to missionary work they may feel that not having a partner or family would be best.

Some denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Church, make celibacy an essential requirement of being a priest or a member of a religious order.

Over recent years the issue of celibacy has become very controversial. Many people – including those within the Roman Catholic Church – feel that the idea of celibacy is now outdated. Priests ought to be free to marry and have a family if they choose to do so.

The Roman Catholic Church is facing problems as fewer and fewer young men are choosing to become priests.

Despite the controversy, successive Popes have ruled that celibacy among priests must remain. They argue that celibacy allows a priest to dedicate himself entirely to his ministry. They believe that celibacy:

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enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner.Catholic document, Persona Humana