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Celibacy of the Clergy
(2,010 words)

1. History

The word “celibacy” derives from the Lat. caelibatus, which, as used by Cicero, Seneca, Suetonius, and others, refers to the unmarried state of both men and women. Its historical appropriation by theology and the church, however, has been largely unexplored. The word had no great currency even as late as the Middle Ages. According to the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983, it denotes the duty of clergy “to observe perfect and perpetual continence [from sex…

Cite this page
Pfürtner, Stephan H., “Celibacy of the Clergy”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 01 October 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_C309>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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