Priestly Celibacy

May 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues

 

Hello!
First of all, I would like to say that you are very brave to have made this page. God has truly gifted you with great courage and wisdom to do such a thing.
Secondly, I have a question. Some of my friends are questioning me on the fact that priests and consecrated women are not to be married. They tell me that man and woman were created for each other and were created for marriage. How would I respond to this? I know all people are created to be holy and each person has a call to live out that holiness either through consecration/ordination or through the sacrament of holy matrimony. I’m just stumped on why this is so.

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  • 3 people like this.
  • Kathleen Rose Marble I am going to wait for New Apologetics answer. Thank you for your input.
  • Kathleen Rose Marble I am still going to wait for New Apologetics. Thanks, again, for the input. No offenses or arguments please.
  • New Apologetics Kathleen Rose Marble Thank you for your question and for your patience in awaiting our response. To start, we’d like to say that celibacy is not the rule for all Catholic priests. Married priests are the norm in the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, priestly celibacy is not a doctrine or dogma, but is a discipline. It can possibly be changed without any implications for undermining the truths of the faith.

    The choice to embrace celibacy has nothing to do with a negative view of the goods of marriage. There is nothing inherently ungodly in the full enjoyment of sexuality in the context of unity between spouses and openness to new life. 

    In order to understand celibacy, one must start with a proper understanding of the term “chastity.” The charism of celibacy is a special mode of the chastity to which all people are called. Chastity is not the mere abstinence from sexual sin as is often thought. Instead of being a self withholding to avoid the sins of the flesh, chastity is a radical, unconditional gift of offering oneself to others according to one’s state in life. Only through this total offering of self to another can we be chaste in the true sense. In the married state, the spouses are to offer themselves to one another unconditionally and without any degree of self-withholding regardless of the worry of how they may suffer in doing so. The charism of celibacy is the offering of oneself for *all* people in a way which allows the individual to be entirely given to the service of the whole human race without any preferential love or attachments. It is the essence of “leaving all to follow Christ.” Celibacy is the freedom from all encumberances which would potentially interfere with the perfect outpouring of oneself to everyone else unconditionally. It is a very beautiful state, but it is a charism. A person must be called to that state in life by God, otherwise it will be mere self-withholding (and a time bomb) rather than a radical outpouring of one’s life as a gift to the whole world.
  • Kathleen Rose Marble Thank you for the response. Now I have a better way of explaining to others my discernment to the consecrated life. God bless you always.