Love without a name: celibates and friendship

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theological Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Jana M. Bennett


This research paper seeks to examine/investigate the role of friendship among men and women who took the vow of consecrated chastity. Despite their close connection with God, priests and nuns are human. They crave for intimacy and more often fall in love. This becomes complicated and sometimes devastating. The dual challenge faced by these celibates is to grow in communion with God and develop good relationships with people. This thesis attempts to meet that challenge by showing that human friendship enhances our understanding of friendship with God. Celibate life is not a solitary enterprise, but is what happens to us in relationship to others in friendship. Through biblical and theological reflection and a close analysis of the vow of chastity, I wish to show that it is possible to live great friendships in celibacy without the relationship being transformed into a marital romance. Chaste celibacy is a renunciation of what is beautiful in a human person for the sake of the Kingdom. It is a commitment of love. By living their vows faithfully and cultivating friendships, celibates become true signs and witnesses to the love and Kingdom of God.


Platonic love, Monastic and religious life, God Love, Chastity, Vow of, Celibacy Catholic Church

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