Talking about Sexuality within Catholic Consecrated Communities in Poland
Keywords:religious life, sexuality, Poland, Catholicism
Currently, the topic of sexuality in the context of Catholic consecrated life is studied predominantly from the perspective of sexual abuse. In our study we sought to unveil how sexuality is lived out by sisters and brothers in Catholic monasteries in Poland, very specific groups that construct their identity and everyday practices by suppressing sexuality, resulting from the vow of chastity. In order to reach out to the attitudes and experiences of this group, we employed the mixed methods logic combining it with the world café method (n = 92) with a representative survey (n = 1583). This article takes the form of a reflective narrative in which the authors discuss the linguistic and practical issues of the research, focusing on its qualitative stage. We present a methodological approach to elaborate suitable language to study and discuss sexuality within the context of religious life, which touched upon the challenge of fine-tuning the relationship between the theological content of “chastity” and the popular term “sexuality” taking into account both the Catholic institutional and Polish cultural contexts. We uncover the process of our study and attitudes and experiences of the chaste religious, shed light on the methodological issues related to the studies of sexuality among the religious, and methodologically contribute to other topics taken into account when discussing sexuality and Catholicism.
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