Sometimes insights about life come from the most unexpected sources, and thus, surprisingly, Nigel Farage has illuminated a point about priestly celibacy.

In speaking on television to Piers Morgan about his life, Mr Farage has suggested that his marriages have failed essentially because he was continually obsessed with politics and with advancing the cause of Ukip.

This “calling”, as he describes it, to serve his political vocation dominated his life, and made him “difficult” as a husband. He is currently living apart from his second wife, the German-born Kirsten Mehr, and sharing a house (in what he describes as a “working relationship”) with a young Frenchwoman, Laure Ferrari, who runs a political think tank, Direct Democracy for Europe.

Ukip is credited with having brought about the Brexit referendum, so whatever happens to it as a political party, it will have its place in history – admired by some, disparaged by others.

But, says Mr Farage, “a lot of people around me have paid the price” for his driven dedication to his calling.

And that is precisely the practical argument – there are other, spiritual ones –for the celibacy of the priesthood. A man consecrated to a vocation may not be in the best position to be a husband and father. If he is fully committed, necessarily, a spouse will take second place. Vocations of any kind can sit uneasily with marriage, which demands compromise and attention.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection