The origins of this celibate American religious movement can be traced to Sayville, Long Island, New York, where Father Divine came to public attention in the 1920s.
And it includes persons who were celibate and still champions of marriage, such as Paul and our Lord.
A wholly celibate marriage is thus in principle quite conceivable, as is some variation of marriage between those more at home physically with those of their own gender.
Last night, in an address to bishops in Nigeria, Pope John Paul II insisted that priests must live celibate lives and avoid scandalous behaviour.
This may stem from the Roman Catholic view, where intimacy, even within the context of marriage, is considered a concession to base instincts, while sacred priests and nuns are celibate .
But they dismissed questions about whether married priests were an option, saying a celibate priesthood was not the reason for the shortage.
This example is to be contrasted with that of the celibate who decides that the most fulfilling life for him will be one of abstinence.
Mitropoulos, who appears to have led a largely celibate lifestyle, nevertheless seems to have known enough about love and lust to portray them unforgettably in music.
Single rats have been known to lead celibate lives in the comfort of domestic house attics for several months while the house occupants are unaware of their existence.
He astonished his friends and family by attempting to become a celibate priest but two years of seminary studies persuaded him he lacked a vocation.