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A Vow of Celibacy is a vow to not get married. A Vow of Chastity is a vow to not engage in sexual relations. Priests don't take a vow of chastity.

It's a critical distinction that seems to be lost on everyone, including the priests.

Posted by TacomaRoma | May 23, 2007 12:27 PM


Posted by JC | May 23, 2007 12:32 PM

If the church considers sexual relations without marriage a sin, then isn't a vow of celibacy essentially a vow of chastity?

Posted by Gloria | May 23, 2007 12:36 PM

Is there a place there that manufactures bar seating? You know, like, a stool factory in Feakle Parish?

Posted by monkey | May 23, 2007 12:38 PM

TacomaRoma, is a FREE and very available website that will teach you the multiple meanings of a multitude of words. Here are some I just found. Please enjoy.

Main Entry: cel·i·ba·cy

Pronunciation: 'se-l&-b&-sE

Function: noun

1 : the state of not being married

2 a : abstention from sexual intercourse b : abstention by vow from marriage

Main Entry: chas·ti·ty

Pronunciation: 'chas-t&-tE

Function: noun

1 : the quality or state of being chaste : as a : abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse b : abstention from all sexual intercourse c : purity in conduct and intention d : restraint and simplicity in design or expression

2 : personal integrity

Posted by Carollani | May 23, 2007 12:56 PM


Priests don't vow not to sin. They vow not to get married. Sex outside of marriage may be a sin, but they don't vow not to do it.

Since the church assumes we're all born in sin, you can't prevent someone from sinning and you can't vow not to sin -- the damage has been done. The vow would be impossible to fulfill. Merely stating that you haven't sinned is a sin because you'd be lying.

Nuns do take a vow of Chastity, as I understand it. In my mind this is blatant sexism, but hey...what do you want from an 800-year old superstious cult of patriarchal authoritarian freaks? Logic? Reason? Understanding?

Well, you'll get none of it! And you'll like it all the same!

Good luck in your spiritual journey.


"I don't want no commies in my car! And no Christians, neither!" Bud, Repo Man, Harry Dean Stanton

Posted by TacomaRoma | May 23, 2007 12:57 PM


You are right to post modern dictionary definitions of these words to clear up confusion about their definitions. But, in this context, I think it's more important to understand the church's definitions of the words Celibacy and Chastity rather than our more modern usages. After all, the people who take these vows are very clear on their meanings -- at least I hope they are.

Over the years Celibacy and Chastity have come to mean very similiar if not the same things. This is not because the church changed their definitions, but rather because the words have been confused with one another by us, the users of the English language.

As Gloria said, "If the church considers sexual relations without marriage a sin, then isn't a vow of celibacy essentially a vow of chastity?" In a logical mind, of course these things would be the same, or at least similar enough that the distinction would be minor.

However, we're not dealing with logic. We're dealing with the church, and to the church, the difference between vowing not to get married and vowing not to have sex are two different things.

Posted by TacomaRoma | May 23, 2007 1:10 PM

Actually, we're dealing with pushing up a stool in the Feakle parish pub!

Dan, your updates are getting better every time... I can't wait to see Father Hogan!

Posted by Carollani | May 23, 2007 1:30 PM

How many stories did Dickens set in Ireland, anyways?

Posted by Fnarf | May 23, 2007 2:07 PM

Mad props to JC for the "Father Ted" reference!

Posted by KatieDewi | May 23, 2007 3:33 PM

har dee har har

Posted by brandon H | May 23, 2007 3:51 PM

so funny...
Love your use of “Feakle parish” in a sentence. Charles Dickens too... You have way too much fun surfing for this stuff! :D

Posted by Jamey | May 23, 2007 9:37 PM

Not to be a bitch (even though I am, clearly), but the punch line to the joke is "may I push in your stool." But I know you had to do what you had to do . . .

Posted by Punch Line | May 23, 2007 9:38 PM

What were you doing with your eye to get it caught on an Irish newspaper headline anyway?

Posted by firbolg | May 23, 2007 10:11 PM

i'm pretty sure it was "the irish sun" who published it. it's the irish version of "the sun", a tabloid from the uk. apparently, the pics are of him standing in nothing but boxers and a crucifix (yuck).

Posted by marg | May 24, 2007 1:30 AM

If Dickens were casting his Gay Porn set in Feakle, Ireland, he could pull from a Very Long List of Dickensian characters with porn-ready names (though few can stand up to "Dick Swiveller," my all-time favorite Dickens Name). I mean come on, with rough boys like Wackford Squeers, Canon Crisparkle, John Peerybingle, Seth Pecksniff, Nathaniel Winkle and Prince Turveydrop, you're sort of hard-pressed to not find a gay-sounding character in Dickens.

Not to mention "Oliver Twist," for heaven's sake! And there's just something vaguely rude about "Martin Chuzzlewit," too...

Posted by Wender J. Crinklebank | May 24, 2007 8:15 AM


are you catholic? for catholics (the group in question here), 'celibacy' is no sexual acts ever (including masturbation). marriage is obviously assumed to be included here, as that is the only place (technically speaking) where sexual gratification is not a sin.

whereas 'chastity' is no sex/marriage with others. the jesuits who educated me (who are not also priests) pointed out that they take a vow of "poverty, chastity and obedience" (...and *not* celibacy, a key differentiator here, as it gives them the green light to beat off. which struck me as odd, given the bible says no-wanky -- but the jesuits are more progressive thinkers than many catholics/xtians). jesuit brothers don't marry or have gf/bf and live together in a dorm-style residence usually, where they drink lots of beer and no doubt hide lots of porn under their bunks.

Posted by ex-catholic | May 25, 2007 9:00 AM

I have the paper here in front of me. He looks great.

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