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Procreation and Celibacy Quotes

Quotes about procreation and celibacy from throughout Christian History.

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Many of the the early churches seemed to take stance against sexuality even in marriage, suggesting that sex was only acceptable for the purpose of producing children. I am convinced that this position came from the strong influence of ascetic Greek philosophies in Roman society because it so clearly contradicts verses like Hebrews 13:4 and 1 Cor. 7:5. 1 Cor. 7:2 and 7:9 say that a solution to passion is to marry, not to attempt to remain celibate even while married!

Justin, c. A.D. 155

If we marry, it is only so that we may bring up children; or if we decline marriage, we live continently. (First Apology 29)

Jerome, c. A.D. 400

Does [Jovinianus] imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? As regards Moses, it is clear that he would have been in peril at the inn, if Sephora which is by interpretation a bird, had not circumcised her son, and cut off the foreskin of marriage with the knife which prefigured the Gospel. This is that Moses who when he saw a great vision and heard an angel, or the Lord speaking in the bush, could not by any means approach to him without first loosing the latchet of his shoe, that is, putting off the bonds of marriage.

     And we need not be surprised at this in the case of one who was a prophet, lawgiver, and the friend of God, seeing that all the people when about to draw nigh to Mount Sinai, and to hear the voice speaking to them, were commanded to sanctify themselves in three days, and keep themselves from their wives. I am out of order in violating historical sequence, but I may point out that the same thing was said by Ahimelech the priest to David when he fled to Nob: "If only the young men have kept themselves from women." And David answered, "of a truth about these three days." For the shew-bread, like the body of Christ, might not be eaten by those who rose from the marriage bed.

     And in passing we ought to consider the words "if only the young men have kept themselves from women." The truth is that, in view of the purity of the body of Christ, all sexual intercourse is unclean.

     In the law also it is enjoined that the high priest must not marry any but a virgin, nor must he take to wife a widow. If a virgin and a widow are on the same level, how is it that one is taken, the other rejected? And the widow of a priest is bidden abide in the house of her father, and not to contract a second marriage. If the sister of a priest dies in virginity, just as the priest is commanded to go to the funeral of his father and mother, so must he go to hers. But if she be married, she is despised as though she belonged not to him.

     He who has married a wife, and he who has planted a vineyard, an image of the propagation of children, is forbidden to go to the battle. For he who is the slave of his wife cannot be the Lord's soldier. (Against Jovinianus)

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