Seeds of celibacy

Euan Bremner (Letters, 30 December) believes celibacy to be “unnatural”.

Celibacy is so offensive to many of today’s commentators because it so frontally challenges the culturally entrenched dogma that human fulfilment and authenticity are impossible without sexual intercourse of one kind or another.

The problem today is that celibacy is not seen as heroic but as “unnatural”. History provides many examples of people forgoing the goods of marriage and sex to pursue singlemindedly a mission of great purpose – not always a religious one.

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Dag Hammarskjöld, the second secretary-general of the United Nations, embraced celibacy to seek world peace. Mahatma Gandhi chose celibacy as part of his quest for freedom for his country.

George Frideric Handel remained celibate so as to focus on his musical composition.

In terms of the Church being against premarital sexual relations, this is because she would like to protect love. A person can give someone else no greater gift than himself/herself.

“I love you” means for both: “I want only you, I want all that you are, and I want to give myself to you forever.” Because that is so, we cannot, even with our bodies, really say “I love you” temporarily or on a trial basis.

Martin Conroy


East Lothian