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Ear-of-Terror

Celibacy in 40k

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I just started to think about a Cleric character/protagonist and the diversity of imperial creed and then I came to this.

Who and why has to be celibate?

Sororitas because they are nuns and 'married' to the Emperor?

AdMech because flesh is weak and they remove the proper parts first?

Astartes because the are so rebuid and conditioned that they lack any sex-drive?

All clerics?

Some clerics?

Does it depend on the rank they aim for, the certain one of the sub-cult they are part of?

Is it a vow they can take on by choice?

 

 

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Ear-of-Terror said:

I just started to think about a Cleric character/protagonist and the diversity of imperial creed and then I came to this.

Who and why has to be celibate?

Sororitas because they are nuns and 'married' to the Emperor?

AdMech because flesh is weak and they remove the proper parts first?

Astartes because the are so rebuid and conditioned that they lack any sex-drive?

All clerics?

Some clerics?

Does it depend on the rank they aim for, the certain one of the sub-cult they are part of?

Is it a vow they can take on by choice? 

This is just my experience/opinion/something I read in a Black Library novel once/etc so it may not be entirely accurate.  In order of your questions:

No idea.

Sisters don't actually take a vow of celibacy, according to one of Inquisitor Vail's footnotes in Cain's Last Stand.

The Mechanicus... I don't know.  On the one hand, they replace that much of the body with augmetics as part of their philosophy that the 'necessary equipment' must be removed at some point, and their whole "The Flesh Is Weak" outlook could also be an argument for them to just not do it.  On the other hand, they must realise that the only way to create other intelligent beings without resorting to AI is through reproduction.  Unless they plan to outsource that to cloning vats.

Astartes lose their sex-drive from the hormonal changes in their implants as well as the psycho-indoctrination.

Probably depend on how the Imperial Creed survived on the world before the Ecclesiarchy brought them back into the fold.  I remember one book saying that it was easier to alter existing religions to correctly venerate the Emperor rather than replace them wholesale.

As above.

Rank and sub-cult may factor into it based on where in the Imperium they are, as my answer to the last two questions explained.

Again, probably depend on where in the Imperium you are.

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Ear-of-Terror said:

I just started to think about a Cleric character/protagonist and the diversity of imperial creed and then I came to this.

Who and why has to be celibate?

Sororitas because they are nuns and 'married' to the Emperor?

AdMech because flesh is weak and they remove the proper parts first?

Astartes because the are so rebuid and conditioned that they lack any sex-drive?

All clerics?

Some clerics?

Does it depend on the rank they aim for, the certain one of the sub-cult they are part of?

Is it a vow they can take on by choice?

 

 

 

Sororitas and celibacy is a debated topic since everyone seem to view them differently. If you want them to be pure fanatics married to the Emperor I would say make them celibate. If you see them as more political schemers everything goes. Personally I would not say that a sororita who cheats on her husband (the Emperor) is worth the robes the wears. But that´s just my take on it.

I think that AdMech would see "normal" reproduction as ineffective and wasteful. Why occupy a valuable worker with a child when you can just grow another human? And emotions is something to avoid, meaning that they would never have sex because they feel like it. Mechanicus are coldly logical.

Astartes are, in my view, both sterile and totally not interested. I would not even allow them to be aroused by such trivialites. They are the emperors chosen and are far above such behaviour.

With clerics it would depend. Some orders most definatly demand that a cleric be celibate. Others would not care in the slightest how depraved their clerics become. I have a hard time believing that a cleric of Maccabeus and one from Sinophia would view the question of celibacy in the same way.

It would very much depend on what order the character is a part of. To some extent rules would differ between ranks, but seeing as celibacy is something touching the very core of being human I do not think that higher rank let´s you break that vow. If anything the rules would be even more strict the higher rank you become since it is expected that you are "better" then mere initiates.

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Storhamster said:

 Personally I would not say that a sororita who cheats on her husband (the Emperor) is worth the robes the wears. But that´s just my take on it.

 

It's worth noting that the "Brides of the Emperor" title is an archaic term that dates back to the reign of blood, and after the death of Goge Vandire, their title returned to its original, the "Daughters of the Emperor". (I personally take the view that while the sisterhood does not forbid sexual activities, it is a right very few choose to indulge in, for emotional or practical reasons.)

 

The Sororitas issue, as mentioned, has been extensively discussed here, I believe...

 

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 As with most things in the Imperium the answer is, it runs the gamut.

As far as the Imperial Cult goes any order you can imagine exists somewhere. Celibates and polygomists.

The Sisters of Battle are also not a single unified order, so there could be celibate orders and non.

The Astartes are generally accepted to be celibate, though the reasons for this have not been confirmed. Celibacy, sterility, castration, implants messing with their hormones, indoctrination, a simple result of their lifestyle; all of these have been proposed.

For the ad-mech it depends on the world and the cult. Some produce children factory style in vats, others treat it as a spiritual/romantic project with couples taking great care and interest in guiding the developing embryo. Still others are monastic orders that only take recruits. There are even orders that focus on  biological enhancements (often in creepy and invasive ways) which consider living tissue to be the 'ultimate machine' and may venerate biological reproduction.

When it comes to the Imperium of Man almost any ideology you can imagine exists somewhere within its bounds.

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this is one of those case by case issues in my opinon, becuase for every pure and celibate sister of battle, there is least one corrupted deamon worshiper who hides from her comrades and preforms dark rituals, and then theres the witches, I would say that you should look at the world of origin as imperial shrine worlders may have different view than pleasure worlders on this topic...and then look at corruption points. and if this is a player character we are talking about then it's there decision

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Fluff vs reality.  Is there a need to be celebate in order to be a Sororita? Or Cleric of the Emperor?  Can they marry, have children and still perform their office duties?

For the Sororitas I think it maybe illogical as after having a child, they may devote more time to their families.  For the Clerics I see no reason why they can't.

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Darkmittens said:

this is one of those case by case issues in my opinon, becuase for every pure and celibate sister of battle, there is least one corrupted deamon worshiper who hides from her comrades and preforms dark rituals, and then theres the witches, I would say that you should look at the world of origin as imperial shrine worlders may have different view than pleasure worlders on this topic...and then look at corruption points. and if this is a player character we are talking about then it's there decision

This is obviously false, for several reasons. First of all, the Adepta Sororitas are the second most incorruptible faction in the Imperium, behind only yhe Grey Knights. Second, if that were true, they would have destroyed themselves in a civil war. Any sisters that remained would have ceased to be a viable fighting force long before M41. The sisters still exist. 

Exaggeration is entertaining, but this goes far beyond.

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I for one see it as dependent on the the sister and the order. As for rearing of the child of a soritas I imagine the child either goes to its father or given over to the Schola Progenium.

Ad-mechs: I can only see low level taking part in emotional and random procreation outside of necessity. Biogis on the other hand I can see doiing it out of research. Which reminds me of a real life occurance where one doctor proposed to another that they should get married and have children as an experiment. Which incidentally produced three female chess grandmasters.

Astartes: By in large are physically incapable and don't have the drive. But there are exceptions out there  primarily do gene-seed mutations. If I recall correctly both the White scars(mongols in space) and Space Wolves(space Vikings) still have the drive, even going as far as **** and pillaging.(go figure)

Clerics: Depends on the planet and sector. The Imperial cult as a whole, I really do not see it being an issue.

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Ear-of-Terror said:

I just started to think about a Cleric character/protagonist and the diversity of imperial creed and then I came to this.

Who and why has to be celibate?

Sororitas because they are nuns and 'married' to the Emperor?

AdMech because flesh is weak and they remove the proper parts first?

Astartes because the are so rebuid and conditioned that they lack any sex-drive?

All clerics?

Some clerics?

Does it depend on the rank they aim for, the certain one of the sub-cult they are part of?

Is it a vow they can take on by choice?

Sororitas - quite possibly, but afaik no proof exists. Certainly, a "cleave only unto the Emperor" decree may be the rule for most, if not all, orders.

AdMech - high ranking ones will likely be expected to be beyond such things as temptations of the flesh; it would probably depend on the forgeworld/order. I certainly would imagine that for anyone not on the lowest steps of the hierarchy it would be scandalous. Plus, as noted above, the high-ranking ones will not have enough fleshy parts - not just the genitalia but also all the hormonal glands and so on.

Astartes - yes, they are heavily genetically modified; sex drive and capabilities are afaik removed.

All clerics - Emperor, no. There are innumerable orders and sub-divisions in the cult, it's hard enough to get them to agree on anything. Some - certainly, there are bound to be some orders that consider giving yourself unto another to be a sin when you must devote yourself wholly to the Emperor.

As for rank etc, I imagine that the higher up you are in the more dogmatic adepta, the higher the pressure is to act like you should. Whether that would really discourage a hot-blooded and strong-willed human being from falling in love, having an affair, or just plain getting laid is another story.

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 I think that there may be a general disdain for contraception in the Imperium as the Emperor needs warm bodies to fight his wars and reconquer the known universe.  Certainly on overpopulated Hive-worlds that disdain might be a little relaxed, something for puritans to bible thump against, but is too practical to outright ban.  Among the Ecclesiarchy and Sororitas sex is probably shameful as breeding distracts from your job of leading people, and it could be an avenue of corruption.  It doesn't mean you will be excommunicated, but it probably means time in a confessional.  An overly sexed priest or sister will probably be looked on as a radicle, in time.  Certainly as irresponsible if they keep dumping infants on the Schola Progenium.  The Imperial Creed is play on dark ages christianity, so have fun with the inherent contradictions that lie there-in.

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Well, isn't the general theme of the Ecclisarchy that it varies from system to system, ever so slightly.

It is quite easily a matter of location. Also, even among the Sororitas, I imagine it is a matter of Order/Convent. At least, thats how I would handle it in my games. It gives me the leeway to have both, and even allow it to be a matter of debate within the organization, without causing a notion either way to be "heretical."

Also, much of this could be tied to the Temple Tendancy heresy, the remnants of Vandire's followers. Such a debate/belief could be stemmed from that. It would be interesting to see this topic come up as a minor subpoint of hunting down the Temple Tendancy.

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 I'm in agreeance that for the ecclesiarchy, the sororatis, and the mechanicus it is mostly about location. the order they belong to in the sororitas and the mechanicus will further influence this, as stated by others.

for many orders i would think it to be a practical problem. when would a sister of battle (warrior sororatis, not one of the political or scholarly orders) find the time? or a man?  i think joining the sisters is a lifelong thing, so children would either go into the order or the progenum in all likelyhood.

would a tech-priest with all his implants be able to get down? would he be able to disrobe? it is heresy to show a layman their cyber-mantle so there is another problem, both socially and practically. would someone get turned off by their implants? would they be able to partake without injuring their partner? i can't imagine cuddling with mechendendrites to be very successful.

as for the astartes, even with all their training i can't imagine it being terribly safe to bump uglies with one of them (this applies even moreso for chaos marines) twice your size and a dozen times stronger? i hope he doesn't like to bite. this is probably one of the reasons why they have psycho-indoctrination to kill that drive. as far as i know the conversion process kinda freezes the organs needed in a pubescent state, but i can't picture that being permanent.

what i imagine to be the absolute deciding factor is, what setting are you mucking about in? follow the precedents set to the logical conclusion. the imperium is more varied than we can imagine on our own.

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I find it valuable in this discussion to consider the diffences between loving relationships, legal relationships, recreational sex and reproductive sex.

I imagine legal relationships are quite frowned upon in the versions of the church where the priests/sisters/etc are not allowed ownership of things, since it creates the problem of inheritance (among other). This was very much the case in europe during the middle ages, and probably one reason why the catholic church demanded priests to be unmarried, so that no son would need to be provided for by the church. Amusing sidenote: Sweden got a lot of heat from the pope at that time because it had laws to govern how the sons of, assumed celibate, priests should inherit.

Loving relationships with outsiders are a threat to the influence of the church over its "employees" since they draw priotity and focus away from the church towards the object(s) of your love. Same goes of course for children, you tned to care for them more than you do for your organisation... Love between members of the organisation can on the other hand be quite a powerful tool. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Band_of_Thebes for a historical example. Feel free to apply on your local spacemarines or sisters as you fancy ;-)

Reproductive sex can cause the problem of children of course, and there are numerous historical solutions to the problem that religious people sometimes have reproductive sex, despite the wishes of the church. For the Imperium I'd say schola progenium, adoption or abortions are a few of the viable options. This of course causes interesting conflicts with the churchs message to the general population "be reproductive", as the imperium always needs more people to fight their wars.

Recreative sex (as in, any version of sex that has a very low/zero probablility to cause pregnancy) is only really a problem when it overlaps with any of the above. But the Imperium is full of bigotry and control mechanisms, so I find it quite reasonable that many parts of the church would forbid recreative sex as well.

 

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 And then there is always the availability of chem-gelding, to consider.  I started playing in a campaign recently and rolled a psyker who was Throne-wed, and it occurred to me that recreational sex for a psyker could be dangerous, possibly causing their minds to open in throws of ecstasy as they let their normal guard down (not to mention if they become possessed by a daemon of Slaneesh in the process).  Chem-gelding is really the 40k way of being celibate, using technology to alter the body so that you can practice your vocation better.

Well, ironically,  the Ecclesiarchy and Sororitas both do not have chem-geld in their advancement schemes.  Elite advances and perhaps special background options need to be used, if you want to represent sexually repressive orders.  I don't have Blood of the Martyrs, so they may address it there.

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I have read in either blood of matyrs or the Inquisitor's handbook that a Sororita may progress and transfer to become an inquisitor herself.  And since Inquisitor themselves do sire children, I think it is possible that celibacy is not an necessity. 

By then I think she may be able too old and may undergo "chem geld"ing.  Although the credo of the sororitas to give everything to the emperor, seems to run contradictory to my assumption.

It is easier for a preacher to tend to a new flock and then later be relocated to another planet if he/she is celibate rather than packing up and bring the family along.  With a family, it is likely that their families may come first rather than their office.  Therefore I see celibacy as preferable for a character to carry out his/her office, rather than as necessity for devotion to the emperor.

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