Course Description: This course is based upon material published in the International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences and is available as an open access article.
Celibacy began in the early church as an ascetic discipline, rooted partly in a neo-Platonic contempt for the physical world that had nothing to do with the Gospel. The renunciation of sexual expression by men fit nicely with a patriarchal denigration of women. Non virginal women, typified by Eve as the temptress of Adam, were seen as a source of sin. In Scripture: Jesus said to the Pharisees, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Matthew 19:3-12).Jesus Advocates for optional celibacy. For nearly 2000 years the Catholic Church has proclaimed Church laws and doctrines intended to more clearly explain the teachings of Christ. But remarkably, while history reveals that Jesus selected only married men to serve as His apostles, the Church today forbids priestly marriage. Also, today the Catholic Church is the only Christian denomination experiencing worldwide condemnation from “scandalous” allegations of sex abuse committed against women and children by priests and bishops. Historically, scandals similar to these are known to have appeared only after mandatory celibacy laws were first instituted, centuries after Christ. Why were these changes made?
This course on celibacy is designed for social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, nurses, and substance abuse counselors, who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of mandatory celibacy among priests in the Catholic Church. The course material includes a brief literature review. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
The course is based on a journal article which includes research. It contains statistical analysis and data that some clinicians enjoy reading and others do not. A major benefit of reading research based articles for continuing education is they provide practitioners with the latest findings in their field.
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding celibacy. Specifically, a professional will:
Describe the justification for mandatory celibacy among priest today.
Identify the changes made regarding mandatory celibacy throughout history.
Recognize what the Jewish law and non-biblical writing have to say about celibacy to better understand the origins its origins.
Citation: Daniel, K., (2012). The Psychology Behind Celibacy. International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. DOI: 10.5923/j.ijpbs.20120204.03
Reviewed by TM DiDona, PhD 2018 and found to be current. Updated references include:
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- Tan, J. Y., Xu, L. J., Lopez, F. Y., Jia, J. L., Pho, M. T., Kim, K. E., & Chin, M. H. (2016). Shared decision making among clinicians and Asian American and Pacific Islander sexual and gender minorities: An intersectional approach to address a critical care gap. LGBT health, 3(5), 327-334.