Christian celibacy

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The status of celibacy or virginity “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” in Christianity is the imitation of the way of life of Jesus Christ in the consciously lived, voluntary and permanent renunciation of marriage and partnership in order to be free in a special way for the service of God and the Church (cf. . 1 Cor 7.32 to 35  EU , Mt 19,12  EU ).

Religious , members of secular institutes and hermits commit themselves in a public vow to a life according to the evangelical counsels in following Christ . Consecrated virgins also publicly vow a life of virginity or perfect chastity in the hands of the diocesan bishop . This vow implicitly includes observance of the other two evangelical counsels. The celibacy of the clergy represents a special form of the promise of celibacy .

The private vow of celibate chastity is also possible, from which a priest can dispense - in contrast to the aforementioned classes of the Church .


Singleness is not a commandment, but a gift from God, a charisma (χάρισμα) ( 1 Cor 7:25  EU ).

“Jesus said to them: Not everyone can grasp this word, only those to whom it has been given. Because it is like this: Some are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made for this by people and some have made themselves for it - for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can grasp this, grasp it. "

- Matthew 19.11f  EU

Saint Paul in some ways prefers the celibate life because, in his view, it is total surrender to "the Lord's cause". The married man is divided; The concern of those who are celibate is for the Lord's cause, they are wholly consecrated to Christ:

"I wish everyone was unmarried like me."

- Paul : 1 Cor 7,7  EU

Whoever lives the sacred bond of chastity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven gives testimony to the future world expected in faith.

The word of Jesus Christ about celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven gives celibacy the eschatological dimension. Those who live celibate for the sake of the kingdom of heaven are like wise virgins in that they constantly await the bridegroom and the kingdom of heaven. Her life also symbolizes an anticipation of the state of resurrection. With unreserved readiness “they follow the Lamb wherever they go” ( Rev 14.4  EU ).

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: celibacy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Can. 599 CIC : "The evangelical counsel of chastity adopted for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, which is a sign of the world to come and a source of richer fertility of an undivided heart, brings with it the obligation to complete abstinence in celibacy."
  2. Marianne Schlosser: Christ pressius sequendi - The evangelical counsels in the life of the consecrated virgin , p 47
  3. Can. 277 CIC : “The clergy are required to maintain complete and eternal abstinence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; therefore they are obliged to celibacy, which is a special gift of God, through which the spiritual ministers can more easily cling to Christ with an undivided heart and devote themselves more freely to the service of God and man. "
  4. ^ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata , 1996, 12.25 EU