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Sexual Politics in the Church of England, 1857-1957$
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Timothy Willem Jones

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655106

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655106.001.0001

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Celibacy and Homosexuality

Celibacy and Homosexuality

(p.162) 6 Celibacy and Homosexuality
Sexual Politics in the Church of England, 1857-1957

Timothy Willem Jones

Oxford University Press

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

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