Valentine's Day and Celibacy


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

From what I have read, I think I am supposed to be depressed today. After all, I am a (adult) heterosexual male without a wife/betrothed/girlfriend. But it doesn't seem to have happened. Today seems about the same as any other except that I have to pull linoleum off the floor.

I have noticed that Christianity has really jumped under the romance bandwagon these days. The Catholic Church used to hold the line that celibacy was a superior way of life to marriage (although not for everyone) pretty strictly, but they have mostly kept quiet on the issue since Vatican II (although the law is still on the books). The Bible never takes it that quite far, but both Jesus (Matthew 19:9-12) and Paul (1 Corinthians 7:1-7) do speak approvingly of celibacy. Judaism disagrees her, so the best I can do for an Old Testament quotation is Isaiah 56:3b-5.

These days that sort of thing gets forgotten. Instead, we have respectable Christian leaders saying that people need to marry and raise a family in order to become complete people (I forget who it was and Google isn't helping -- some big name from the south US). On the other hand, maybe this isn't new. I understand the puritans were saying the same thing hundreds of years ago.

I think there's something unexpected we lost with the disappearance of monk and nuns from everyday life. People no longer grow up knowing that there are ways of being an adult other than being parents. The modern world is trying, but all they have come up with is a) contraception/abortion and b) working so hard that you don't have time for children. It's not nearly as big a difference. I think the world has lost something.

Note: The reason that I find the "modern" alternatives weak is that they are just the standard life plan with things removed. There is nothing new.

Note: The historical Saint Valentine (who might have been 2 people) probably didn't have anything to do with romance. However, significantly later sources do have him performing secret (and illegal) weddings. Wikipedia suggests that the association is from the Middle Ages when birds were assumed to choose their mates in mid-February, which was when St. Valentine's feast day was. The connection to humans choosing mates the followed in a pretty obvious manner.


I got the following useful response:
I understand that tomorrow, Feb 15, is now the day to celebrate those who are NOT in a significant relationship. So -- Happy Valentine's Day to you today, and for tomorrow, Happy Singles Day!

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