Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Are Nuns Celibate?

According to Wikipedia, a nun is defined as a woman who has made a vow to dedicate her life to God.

She not only lives under vows of poverty and obedience but also remains celibate (the vow of chastity) as long as she is in the service of God.

Most nuns are found in the Christian Catholic Church but other religions and denominations such as Buddhism, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican have them as well.

A nun is not to be confused with a religious sister who carries out charitable works and dedicates her life to prayer.

Sisters take simple vows while nuns take solemn vows.

Nuns typically live in the convent or monastery serving the church and the community.

They stay unmarried, childless, and have no property to their name.

Ever wondered how nuns remain celibate through the years?

How do they deal with sexual urges? Are they even celibate?

We will answer all these questions in this guide.

Let’s jump right in…

Are Nuns Really Celibate?

By taking the vow of celibacy, a nun agrees to disengage from marriage and sexual acts of any form.

The vow frees her from exclusive human relationships. That way, she can give herself wholly to the Lord and the ministry.

The vow of chastity portrays a nun as one whose life isn’t about sex. With no spouse and children, she can be free to serve God in many capacities and places.

All nuns are expected to be celibate by the church as long as they are still in service.

However, the story is sometimes very different. There are countless reports of sexual activities inside the church.

Some take place between the nuns themselves and others are between nuns and priests.

Take the story of two Italian that fell in love with each other. Sisters Isabella and Frederica discovered they had romantic feelings toward each other when they were serving in the same order in northern Italy.

 In one African mission, they locked their lips. When the mission was over, the nuns denounced their vows, left the church, and got married to each other in 2016.

The women claim that sex among women and with priests or parishioners is pretty common.

Sister Frederica spoke to Daily Beast and made the following statement:

“We are restricted by the vow of chastity but we are also directed by human nature. Sex is a strong urge for women as well.”

Sister Jesme, a former Indian nun also exposed the evil going on in the Catholic Church. 

Once she became a nun, she was shocked to discover that priests were forcing novice nuns to engage in sexual relationships.

She also claimed that homosexual relationships among nuns were pretty normal. The nun was once forced into such a relationship.

A few years ago, Pope Francis himself came out to address the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. This was after many reports had surfaced about the topic.

He confirmed that priests and bishops were indeed abusing nuns in convents. They rape manipulate nuns for sex, and harass them on repeat.

Therefore, not all nuns are celibate. Some take the vow of celibacy but cannot uphold the vows for a lifetime.

When the body’s urges are difficult to control, they give themselves to the desires.

This is not to say that all nuns break their vows. There are many more that keep their vows to the end.

You may also want to read: What Happens To Pregnant Nuns?

Are There Any Exceptions To The Vow Of Celibacy For Nuns?

Not really. All nuns are required to be celibate. This goes for all religions.

Sometimes there are exceptions for Latin Church priests when Protestant priests convert to Catholicism.

However, the story is different for nuns. All must abide by the vow of chastity.

Are There Any Instances Where Nuns May Break Celibacy Vow?

Yes. Before nuns take their solemn vows, they often take temporary vows.

During this period, the nun undergoes training and gets acquainted with the task ahead.

She is exposed to the daily life of a nun, what taking solemn vows means, and generally what being a nun entails.

If she breaks her temporary vow of chastity during this period, she will be allowed to drop out of her order.

There are technically no repercussions at this stage.

Is Celibacy For Nuns A Lifelong Commitment, Or Can They Change Their Minds And Leave The Religious Life?

Nuns can technically break their vows of chastity or leave the service if they deem fit.

However, once a nun is confirmed and takes her solemn vow publicly, she should honor her vows.

If she doesn’t, she will be stripped of her right to be a nun and will be encouraged to leave her order and community.

It is common for nuns to leave the cloister and get married or become regular citizens.

Some decide to have families and others can’t keep up with the strict convent life. In such a case, they can drop out.

How Do Nuns Navigate Feelings Of Attraction Or Romantic Inclinations While Maintaining Their Commitment To Celibacy?

Nuns understand that sex signifies love and union.

As such, they express it in many ways including community life, ministry work, and platonic relationships.

When the urges come, they recognize them and find distractions such as taking a cold shower, praying, and talking to a friend.

Being a part of a community helps greatly.

Wrap Up

Nuns have the same anatomy as other females. As such, they have sexual urges.

This complicates things as the women are bound by the vow of celibacy.

Some stand the test of time while others fail terribly. The latter group engage in sexual relations while serving God or drop out of the service completely.

 The good news is that many of them come out victorious.

Also check: What Do Priests Do When They Break Celibacy?

Faith Zion

Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.

Faith Zion
Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.
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