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Celibacy

(1,790 words)

Author(s): Tepper, Leo
1. In Western society, sexuality is considered an important component of being human. In most cultures, one's own procreation in one's children is fully as basic a need as a perspective on one's life. When the Catholic Church demands of its priests the unmarried state as a charisma specific to their office, it stands in stark contrast to the values of modernity. The Catholic Church theologically grounds a compelled renunciation of sexuality and family in the unmarried state of Jesus himself. W…

Family/Kinship/Genealogy

(3,584 words)

Author(s): Tepper, Leo
Christian Model of the Family 1. a) The traditional model of the family is in the process of dissolution. The churches, and religious traditions, were once transmitted through the celebration of the feasts of the course of life; both are now crumbling away. The family model of European history of religion, however, is not ‘normal,’ but formed by the Christian religion. In late antiquity, as Christianity became the prevailing religion, basic changes occurred as to who might found a family with whom. On the one side, the Church forbade its officials to found families themselves (celibacy); on the other, it limited the concentration of possession and fortune to one family. Members of the same family were prohibited from marrying (exogamy), and the opportunity for a childless couple to will the family fortune to an adopted child, or to procreate a legatee by another woman, was excluded. In this fashion, the Church as an institution inherited and amassed enormous fortunes, but prevented the concentration of power, either within the Church through episcopal dynasties, or outside in f…

House/Home

(1,347 words)

Author(s): Tepper, Leo
Private Domain 1. a) Doubtless there is no society, however simple it be, without some kind of ‘housing.’ The form of the house is dependent on such factors as climate, environment, societal form (nomadic or sedentary), and social position. In Western societies, the house is the place at which many spend most of the day. The house is the territory of the individual's or family's private sphere. Other rules can prevail there than in public. The erection of the house is a copy of one's own self, and any changes or additions will …

Family Cult (Greek and Roman)

(311 words)

Author(s): Tepper, Leo
A family cult stands in a special relationship with a unit of kinship (Lat., gens). In practicing the cult, the kinship group presents itself as a unit, both to those within and those without. The concept comes from early Roman religion, where it stood for two kinds of cult: (1) a family can be responsible for the maintenance of a particular cult of general interest ( sacra publica; Lat., ‘popular rite’). Thus, in Rome, the cult of the Sol (sun) was in the hands of the gens Aurelia. When this gens died out, the state took responsibility for the cult. Later, almost all such family cul…

Son/Daughter

(943 words)

Author(s): Tepper, Leo
A Piece of Me 1. Unlike that of ‘child,’ the concepts ‘son’ and ‘daughter’ have a special value in terms of parents' feelings. They are a piece of th…