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Monasteries of women were generally situated at a distance from those of men; St. Justinian abolished these double houses in the East, placed an old man to look after the temporal affairs of the convent, and appointed a priest and a deacon who were to perform their duties, but not to hold any other communication with the nuns.
They were sometimes admitted among the deaconesses for the baptism of adult women and to exercise the functions which St. When the persecutions of the third century drove many into the desert, the solitary life produced many heroines; and when the monks began to live in monasteries, there were also communities of women. Pachomius (292-346) built a convent in which a number of religious women lived with his sister. The nuns of Egypt and Syria cut their hair, a practice not introduced until later into the West. There were, however, common houses, one wing being set apart for women and the other for men, more frequently adjoining houses for the two sexes.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae 14).
Continence and a certain religious profession were required of married women whose husbands were in Sacred Orders, or even received episcopal consecration.
Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board.The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection, dates from the first ages of the Church, and women may claim with a certain pride that they were the first to embrace the religious state for its own sake, without regard to missionary work and ecclesiastical functions proper to men. Paul speaks of widows, who were called to certain kinds of church work (1 Timothy 5:9), and of virgins (1 Corinthians 7), whom he praises for their continence and their devotion to the things of the Lord. Other monasteries allowed the nuns to go in and out.The virgins were remarkable for their perfect and perpetual chastity which the Catholic Apologists have extolled as a contrast to pagan corruption (St. In Gaul and Spain the novitiate lasted one year for the cloistered nuns and three years for the others.It is only a help; a disposition; a means though a fitting one, for the attainment oftrue perfection. Jerome, is an effort to attain true perfection, penance being only an auxiliary virtue thereto.It should be noted also that the expression " fasting and abstinence " is commonly used in Scripture and by ascetic writers as a generic term for all sorts of penance.