"as if priestly celibacy were one of his articles of church discipline"
A Eunuch dreaming of tantalizing female forms (1874)
Public DomainA Eunuch dreaming of tantalizing female forms (1874) - Credit: Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ

The idea that sexual relationships, whilst a natural part of the married state, are social ties which detract from the individual’s relationship with God is found in numerous biblical passages. Many religions insist that their higher clerics live a lie of absolute celibacy so as to transcend the limitations of the flesh. Though Puritanism is often thought of as antagonistic to all things bodily, it actively rejected these suppositions. In contrast to their great adversaries the Catholics, Puritans preferred their priests to be married family men and to exercise their faith within the community rather than from a remote high ground.