Book: Celibacy: Means of Control or Mandate of the Heart?
Author: Michael H. Crosby
Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN, pp.242
Excerpt from Introduction:
I have always been a virgin, but I have not always been a celibate. The more I know about the two notions, the more I believe they can differ greatly, especially as far as men are concerned. And that's the perspective from which I write this book. To me, virginity is a biological condition: a virgin is simply one who has not had genital intercourse. Celibacy, while having a biological dimension involving abstinence from genital intercourse represents something more. That "something more" about celibacy involves a stance that goes far beyond a dictionary definition as a "state of not being married," or "abstention from sexual intercourse," or even "abstention by vow from marriage."
Above all, celibacy represents an attitude. Celibacy characterizes the way people choose to live as virgins. Or, even if some may no longer be virgins in the biological sense, their chosen celibacy represents a way of fidelity they choose to live . . . .
Excerpt from book:
When one makes the choice for celibacy, for the sake of the reign of God, all one can simply say, in resignation as well as gratitude, is this is who I am. Celibacy represents my best self. I am a celibate; I am a celibate. To be otherwise would be to violate my best self. This is the best kind of human being whom I can be. The final choice for celibacy must represent a choice to make oneself so for the sake of God's reign in oneself, one's relationships, and one's world. The free celibate says: "Not only is this who I am; this is how I am going to be; this is the way I will relate." . . . . In the last analysis, even allowing for outside forces or dynamics that close doors or shutter windows for us, tomorrow's celibates will be the ones who don't try to open them again. These celibates will be able to live with that part of their house — and their heart — closed. Following John of the Cross, these celibates will be the ones whose house can be at rest. And why? Because they have found ways to be warm and intimate with others. They will be the ones who have found a place in their heart only for God.
Table of Contents:
1. The Scriptures and Celibacy
2. The (Ab) Use of Celibacy by the Institutional Church
3. The Internal Contradictions Resulting from Imposed Celibacy
4. Buzzards in the Sanctuary
5. Celibacy and the Crisis of Meaning in the Church
6. More Unhealthy Ways of Coping with the Celibate "Option"
7. Intimacy: The Only Healthy Way to Live Celibacy
8. Celibacy as Fasting: From, For, and With
9. Celibacy, Contemplation, and Compassion
10. Celibacy and the Need for Communities of Trust
Definitions of Terms Used in the Book