Celibacy and Homosexuality

Timothy Willem Jones

in Sexual Politics in the Church of England, 1857-1957

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655106
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744952 | DOI:
Celibacy and Homosexuality

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This chapter explores the changing relationship between celibacy and homosexuality in the early twentieth century. Through fragmentary correspondence in episcopal archives it traces the sexualization of the category ‘celibacy’. It then examines the first public discussions about homosexuality in the Church of England, highlighting the impact of new social and scientific understandings of sexuality. Finally, it reveals how these discussions enabled the Church to come out in favour of the decriminalization of sex between men in the lead-up to the Wolfenden Committee’s investigation into homosexuality and prostitution.

Keywords: celibacy; priesthood; homosexuality; Wolfenden Committee; decriminalization; gay law reform

Chapter.  8257 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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