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The meaning of abstinence.


Everything that has been said is based not only upon Christian teaching, but also on modern knowledge about man and on the facts of psychopathology. Christianity has not only established the principle of monogamy, resolutely condemning polygamy. It has not just made the man-woman relationship more human and ennobled it. It has also highly elevated the idea of voluntary celibacy. Jesus Christ said the following about it: "For there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake"; and added: "He who is able to accept it, let him accept it!" that is, whoever can raise himself to the idea of celibacy for the sake of virtue, let him follow this path (Matt. 19:12). In the same time, from its very beginning Christianity condemned any disrespect towards marriage and sanctified matrimony (the miracle in Cana of Galilee, John 2:1-11) in the sacrament of marriage. Therefore the principle of celibacy in Christianity is not opposed to marriage, but is a parallel way of ascending towards God. Through married life as well as through celibacy man can come to God. Physical purity — whether in a healthy Christian marriage or in celibacy — is a necessary condition for moral growth as well as a source of spiritual strength.

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