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The Secular Clergy in England, 1066–1216$
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Hugh M. Thomas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702566.001.0001

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Clerical Marriage and Clerical Celibacy

Clerical Marriage and Clerical Celibacy

(p.154) 7 Clerical Marriage and Clerical Celibacy
The Secular Clergy in England, 1066–1216

Hugh M. Thomas

Oxford University Press

Though demands for clerical celibacy in Western Europe dated back to the late Roman period, clerical marriage was common before 1066 both in England and Normandy. Starting with the Gregorian reform, the papacy strove to eliminate clerical marriage throughout Europe. Archbishops Lanfranc and Anselm brought the fight to England, and by the early thirteenth century, clerical marriage had been abolished, though concubinage remained fairly common. In England as elsewhere, the drive for clerical celibacy met fierce opposition. Church authority stifled open debate relatively quickly, but practical opposition remained strong, and clerical families, including concubines, could occasionally be depicted in surprisingly positive terms. Ultimately, the drive for celibacy had a fair amount of success, but only at the cost of increasing misogyny. The chapter also briefly discusses same-sex relations among the clergy.

Keywords:   secular clergy, celibacy, marriage, reform, misogyny, sexuality, homosexuality, ritual purity

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