Celibacy: Means of Control or Mandate of the Heart?
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Celibacy: Means of Control or Mandate of the Heart?

by Michael H. Crosby

In this courageous work Michael Crosby offers a trenchant analysis of the state of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church. Crosby convincingly asserts that:

  • To argue that the present discipline of mandatory celibacy is based on the New Testament is a misuse of scripture.
  • Imposed celibacy has in the past and is today used as a means of maintaining control through fear and intimidation.
  • The theology and practice of compulsory celibacy is replete with internal contradictions.
  • An enforced celibacy has led to a variety of dysfunctional and sometimes destructive behaviors by those who are required to live it.

Integrating his own personal experience of celibacy with biblical exegesis, historical study, and behavioral sciences, Crosby offers a convincing and at times compelling case that the only way celibacy can be lived authentically is as:

  • A free choice arising from the force of God's reign in one's life.
  • A path to an authentic and distinctive form of intimacy with others and with God.
  • A form of fasting - not only from genital intimacy, but for the sake of the gospel and with others who are likewise committed.
  • An expression of both contemplation and compassion within a community of trust.

Crosby dismantles the present institutional form of celibacy and proposes an authentic, life-giving vision. In doing so, he points the way to a healthier, holier, and more honest church, and helps celibates live healthier, holier, and more intimate lives.

© copyright 2004 Michael Crosby OFMCap.