about caryana.org

Commentaries on the News

A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana


 
 
 

 

 


THE CELIBACY
OF THE CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD


 

by:

 

Dom Basilio Magno



I. Celibacy Does Not Belong to the Nature of the Priesthood: It Belongs to the Essence of     Christianity

The main argument of those who wish to remove celibacy is that it does not belong to the nature of the priesthood. And they are right. I think it is a tragedy, a misfortune as what happens to spinsters, to be celibates. And to non-Christian religions that practice this, it is a waste.

Celibacy is of the essence of Catholicism. Remove celibacy and there goes the Church of Christ. St. Paul stated: "I would that all men were even as myself. To the unmarried and the widow, to continue as I am. For he that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to God, how he may please Him. But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife …" and probably other wives, too.

"But the unmarried… thinks of the things of God, how to be holy, body and soul." "In this life, it is better not to marry," continues St. Paul.

In effect, St. Paul advised the single to remain single and he encouraged the married to behave as if they are not married. He is, therefore, urging the single to practice celibacy so that they may also attain towards purity. In Catholicism, celibacy is the aim of both the single and the married. The aim of their mediator with God, the priest, must also be celibacy.

Clearly, Christian perfection requires continence. Perfection requires the removal of whatever hinders man from devoting himself entirely to God's service. And marriage hinders the mind to totally serve God, firstly, because of its vehement delectation, which by frequent repetition increases concupiscence; and one's solicitude for his wife and children.

 Continence has its origins from Christ: "These are eunuchs who made themselves such for the kingdom of heaven." And Christ invited also the married to be Eunuchs. So while Christ called Peter, a married man, to perfection by becoming a Eunuch, He commanded John, a single man, to remain single.

Yes, married couples must also observe chastity, but the chastity of celibacy is more pleasing to God than the chastity of marriage. And since the following of Christ requires that we do not turn back, celibacy for those desirous to become priests ought to be confirmed by a vow: "No man, putting his hand on the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

John Chrysostom states, the end of marriage is love and unity. At the beginning marriage is carnal; but it must progress and become spiritual. Virginity and a celibate life is the natural improvement of marriage. And most married saints of the Catholic church did this; St. Bridget of Sweden, a noble married to another noble, practiced continence during the first two years of their married life. They had several children; and when their children had grown, the two entered monasteries and lived as celibates.

This teaching was so clear and universally accepted by the early Church so that in the monastic movement, which was primarily a laymen's movement, celibacy was practiced by all. And today, monks, brothers and sisters and secular institutes and mere diocesan institutes observe celibacy.

 

  II. What is Celibacy?

There is celibacy, purity, chastity and continence. These are different ways of looking at the same thing. The slight difference is in the perspective.

 Chastity is when reason chastises concupiscence. Its object is the moderate use of bodily members according to reason for a spiritual end, which is supernatural faith. He who does not aim at supernatural faith will not observe chastity.

Purity is an expression of a circumstance of chastity. Purity and Chastity are used interchangeably.

Virginity is continence whereby integrity of the flesh is vowed, consecrated and observed in honor of God who made both body and soul. St. Ambrose used the words virginal chastity to describe integrity free of pollution the essence of which is abstaining from pleasure for the sake of holiness.

Martyrdom and monastic life, commonly called red and white martyrdom, are ways of life considered superior to mere physical virginity.

Evidently, celibacy is not a human invention. The reason for it is mystical, therefore, difficult to understand and acceptable to none. This is not a later-on idea imposed by the Church. It was practiced by Christ and the early Church.

Celibacy is an observance over and above human nature. As such celibacy is difficult, if not impossible, for one living a life of minimum prayer and maximum exposure to the world. But majority of priests have remained faithful in their belief and practice of celibacy, contrary to the false accusations of wholesale infidelity. In convents and monasteries the older foreign religious who had given up much are, in general, faithful to their vows of celibacy. It is the young local priests who have given up little that ended up married … fortunately though after the normal process of dispensations.

All priests like marriage but most believe they must not marry for the benefit of their own souls and for the benefit of the Church.

Marriage is inferior to virginal continence and holy widowhood. To say marriage and virginity area equal is the Jovinian heresy. Christ showed his preference for celibacy; He was a celibate. He further confirmed His choice by choosing a mother who was a celibate. Joseph, needless to say was a celibate. And isn't the Holy Family the model for all Christian families?

Celibacy is the renunciation of marriage for the more perfect observance of chastity. Its essence is the preservation of the innocence of baptism. Other sins ruin the soul but sins against purity ruin body and soul. So. Joseph Valokolamsk urged parents to see to it that their children are either married or monks at 15, otherwise they would lose their purity. And if this happens they are responsible before God.

Circumcision was a symbol of spiritual castration, i.e. the cutting off of all carnal pleasures, this celibacy was pre-figured in the Old Testament. Virginity in the New Testament, on the other hand, is the angelic life, nay a life above the angels because angels obtained their virginity by gift, man through combat.

Celibacy is witnessing that the perfection of the Gospel is livable. If one Catholic teaching is not livable, so it goes with the rest. So if a priest does not observe celibacy, neither does he observe humility, meekness, fortitude, charity, self-denial… etc. Pope Paul IV summarizes the purpose of celibacy … Celibacy makes one conform more to Christ, enables one to love God better and enables one to live a way of life over and above the demands of the flesh. That's why countless laymen embrace it. And priests want to throw it aside?

The lust of the flesh, more than all other disturbances of the soul, impedes spiritual growth. And so nothing makes a man freer to follow Christ than virginal chastity with the ornament of celibacy. Celibacy is not a gift: it is an effort. It is not given as a gift that comes with the priesthood; it is an effort a priest must exert to be worthy of his calling.

 

  III. The Vow of Celibacy

Vows are aids in the quest for holiness. The vow of celibacy is formalized during the sub-diaconate to remove the thought of marriage; and it does really take away such thoughts. And the violation of the vow is a sin of sacrilege. The sin is not in the marriage but in the violation of the vow. So don't make a vow? So don't be a priest! Vows are so important for the spiritual life that laymen make them. Vows make one more competent to do the work of the Church.

 The vow of celibacy is likened to a piece of wood. If unshaped and rotting and merely thrown aside, it is useless as the celibacy of spinsters. But if it is used to fence in a precious garden or used as a floating aid by a man at sea, then it is most precious. Remove such an instrument and the precious garden will be destroyed by rampaging pigs and the man at sea will surely drown.

 Proponents of a married priesthood often present the symbolism of the marriage of Christ and His Church as a justification for their desire. Unfortunately they miss the similitude; the marriage of Christ and the Church is the marriage of two virgin-celibates; He doesn't want anything less. Thus, we who wish to make up the Church must qualify for membership in that Church; and the requirement is that we be virgins … and this is more than being mere celibates.

 

  IV. Crisis in the Priesthood - An Analysis

The crisis in the priesthood is caused by one's refusal to deny oneself, take up his cross and follow Christ . . . it is as simple as that.

All men are born with a fallen human nature: i.e. there is a part in man that is fallen or corrupt. The so-called commandments of Christ were meant to cure this corruption. Spiritual writers enumerate the symptoms of this corruption into the 8 vices. If one obeys the commandments of Christ the vices are healed and are replaced by the virtues.

When a priest starts demanding that celibacy be removed, or that they be allowed to marry and remain priests, obviously this is a sign that they are not obeying the commandments of Christ, that their spiritual life is in complete disarray … and for certain they don't only have the vice of lust that makes them desire marriage but that they are probably great eaters, avaricious, often angry, restless and lonely, not to say vainglorious and proud.

Marriage will not cure their lust because to cure lust you must cure all the vices, specially vainglory and pride. And vices, by their very nature, become more vicious the more they are satisfied. Thus marriage will heighten their lust. Such people are a discredit to the priesthood and, nay, even to the Catholic Church.

 And since marriage is a holy state in the Catholic Church, it is preferred that they leave the priesthood and marry. It is a greater service to the Church to be a good husband than to be a bad priest.

 To blame the crisis in the priesthood to celibacy is like blaming all your headaches to your eyes. To be a priest and demand for a wife is like marrying and demanding celibacy. Priests leave for many reasons, celibacy is the mere excuse.

 No one, really, is against celibacy. The laymen prefer their priest to be celibates; and all priest, when they entered the seminary or convent knew celibacy was required and yet they aspired towards the celibate priesthood. Why? Because it made a lot of sense.

Celibacy is primarily meant to remove every obstacle to love of God and neighbor, it is meant to hasten one towards love of God and neighbor. Without celibacy, chastity and purity of heart that leads to love of God and neighbor becomes very difficult.

The reason celibacy is not working for some priest-complainants is because they forget celibacy is a part of a whole. To practice celibacy without living the rest of the commands of Christ is like trying to start a car just with the carburetor without the rest of the engine .. of course, it won't work.

When priests turn out immature, spiritually and psychologically, the blame can't be placed on celibacy. This is very bad diagnosis and bad psychology. It is the seminary training that is bad.

 Every priest, except for one or two, desire to marry; but a doctrinally upright priest knows he has to be a celibate. And the seminary training had failed to give him the skills to desire, maintain and perfect celibacy.

 The lack of a vocation can't be blamed on celibacy. In fact, celibacy is the most attractive ingredient of the priesthood-- more than intelligence, skill, proficiency in speech, personality or the religious order one belongs to. If there is a lack of a vocation, have you considered that God might just have stopped calling men to the priesthood?

 Shall we put it succinctly? A priest who begins to detest celibacy is one who has loved the world and the things in it, like higher social status, financial stability, etc. St. Paul described this great apostasy as caused by "love of money and love of self."

There is no universal clamor to remove celibacy. If you want to marry go ahead but cease in the meantime in exercising your priesthood. Even if there were a universal clamor, the Church never listens to universal clamors. As Pascal observed there are few rational and brilliant persons in the world; most are dumb. And the clamor of the majority is the clamor of the dumb majority. Holy Mother the Church only listens to her Lord and Master Jesus Christ. A universal clamor to abolish hell will not abolish hell.

 

V. A Specific Spiritual Analysis of the State of Soul of Priests Who Wish to Remove Celibacy (St. Francis de Sales)

 An analysis of a priest who wishes to abolish celibacy shows he stands in an identical state of Eve before the great fall. Yes, such a priest is showing signs prelude to a great fall.

 Let us see how Lucifer and our first parents fell; then let us see how such priests are about to fall.

 Lucifer hurled himself down from heaven by a disobedience proceeding from self-love and self-esteem and envy of human nature. Since self-love and self-esteem caused his disobedience, fall and consequent damnation, he presented the same to our first parents to see whether it would take hold of them, too, and cause their fall.

 Notice the malice and ruse of this infernal and lying spirit: notice the exaggeration. "Why did God place you in this paradise and then forbid you to eat of the trees that are here?" God never forbade them; in fact God said they may eat of any of the trees. The devil exaggerated God's prohibition. His purpose was to try to exact from Eve a sign whether she was ready for a great fall. And her response showed she was ready for such a fall.

 Eve corrects the devil, "No, we may eat of any of the trees," then shows the sign prelude to a great fall, "except that of the Tree of the knowledge which we must not eat … or touch!!!!" God forbade them to eat: but not to look or touch. Like the devil, Eve exaggerated the prohibition.

The devil exaggerated to induce disgust or contempt for God's command; Eve exaggerated showing her contempt for God's command. Disgust or contempt for commands is the first degree of disobedience.

 By exaggerating God's prohibition Eve was actually complaining over God's over-strictness which did not exist. A priest who complains that celibacy is over-strictness is doing as Eve did; for celibacy is part of a way of life that Christ described as light and sweet. The priest is exaggerating since this is required, as we have seen, of laymen and is presented as the perfection of marriage.

"Why was this command made?" the devil asks the priest thus making him hate it and eventually withdraw from the priesthood and even the Church to be free from the obligation of observing it … and even write disputing such practices.

 Let us give a few more examples of how disgust and hatred for obedience are shown in everyday life.

 A father tells his daughter to avoid certain dangerous parties or bad company. The daughter, disgusted with obedience, exaggerates and says that her father is forbidding her from having a social life. This is like saying celibacy is making us less social.

 A Christian commanded to fast during Lent shows disgust by saying, "I'll just fast because it is commanded. But if I were to choose, I would abolish fasting." This is like saying, "If I were Pope, I would abolish celibacy."

A sister commanded to observe silence shows disgust when she says "What is silence for? There are so many important things to be shared. If I don't say it now I'll forget." Her dislike of silence makes her talk. The priest's dislike of celibacy makes him marry. That is the problem: he dislikes celibacy, he dislikes a requirement to do God's work well. He dislikes a teaching of Christ.

 The cause of the crisis in the priesthood is identical to the crisis in family life, crisis in Faith and other crises in life… lack of spiritual life, i.e. not living in accordance to the commands of Christ. Saints experience no crises.

 Celibacy has never been the cause of crisis in the priesthood since the beginnings of Christianity. However, it was a symptom of a deeper malady.

 M. Loyson states that no intelligent priest ever blamed his leaving the priesthood on celibacy. They use the more rational excuse of having to be more worldly to identify themselves with the world; of course, not realizing that by so doing they lower themselves to man's level of fallen nature and, therefore, are unable to raise themselves up from their level of corruption to the spiritual level.

 To blame celibacy for the fall of priests is to blame Matrimony for the proliferation of promiscuity. Shall we abolish marriage just because many husbands are unfaithful?

 Let us not use marriage to attract young men to the priesthood; they can have it anyway outside the priesthood.

 

VI. The Dignity of a Priest Requires Celibacy

A priest is supposed to stand between God and man. How can this be if he is inferior to the celibate laymen he mediates for?

A priest is described as an Alter Christus. How can he be such if there is no semblance whatsoever between him and Christ?

A priest is supposed to preach that the entire Evangelical life can be lived. How can he convince when he himself is not living it to the full.

St. John Vianney states that the role of priesthood can only be understood in heaven. Were his role understood here on earth, people would die, not of fear, but of love.

Celibacy for the attainment of chastity is necessary for contemplation, that is thinking about the things of god. How can I expect good answers about the spiritual matters from someone concerned with pleasing his wife and engaged in the things of the world.

 Man does not judge a priest as one arrayed in flesh nor one with a human nature but as an angel, and one without infirmity (John Chrysostom). So let those be introduced to this dignity far excel others in eminence of spirit. We don't need many priests. We have too many, in fact. What we need are a few holy priests. The early Church had very few yet she shined in unrivaled splendor. The few martyred priests of Japan sustained the priestless Catholics of Nagasaki for hundreds of years. And when they were asked with what sign they would recognize the true religion, one sign was a celibate priesthood.

 Celibacy gives the priest free access to God (PARRHESIA). St. John Chrysostom warns that greater waves of temptations agitate the soul of him who becomes a priest. He needs the protection of celibacy otherwise he is lost.

Continence, purity, chastity, celibacy, though all are required of all Catholics, must be found in an eminent degree in a priest.

A priest is looked up to because he is a celibate. Why must we look up to them? We must if we will accept them as our mediator with God. When we wish to make representations before God's throne, shall we risk earning God's wrath instead? No, we must use the best.

The Catholic priesthood was designed by Christ, Himself, for this purpose… to be mediator between God and man. Like Christ, he has no children that all may become his children. This makes people look with awe that the priest spends all his time for them. And we know it is quite otherwise with married pastors as shown in other sects. People know they have to earn more for their family's sake. And when the interest of their family and parishioners collide, they will side with their family.

A married priest is always viewed as a ruined man, though out of charity we do not say so. And legalizing their marriage does not change the picture. A married priesthood is always a fatal decision.

 A priest who cannot point to the personal sacrifice he has made of leaving father, mother, brother, sister and the married state, for the spiritual benefit of his people--he and his cause are lost. He sinks to the level of ordinary man, a man who has made a profession of his priesthood rather than a vocation. He leaves his family for God and gets a wife for what? … for himself, I presume.

 A celibate priest is a sign of a man ready to bear hardship. A married priest is a sign of a man poised to have a good time.

 Celibacy is witnessing to a disinterestedness for the things of the world; while marriage is a sign of longing for the world and things in the world. Pagans, Agnostics, Protestants, Anglicans and Hindus are not impressed by Catholic arguments; but all are impressed by the celibacy of the Catholic Priesthood. 

Besides, a married priest will not be able to keep the confidentiality of the confessions under heavy interrogation from this wife. Missionary work in far flung places can only be done by a celibate priesthood. The thousand and one concerns of married life from income, disciplining of children, medical needs, etc...are almost more than enough to make him a failure  as a priest. The priesthood is more than a full-time job. 

Christianity's goal is the attainment of angelic virtues; and purity can only be protected by the practice of unremitting self-denial and strict self-discipline. A priest, surrounded by pretty faces, affected movements, mincing walks, silvery voices, eyes dark with shadow, painted cheeks, complicated hairstyles, scanty clothing, ornaments, sweet perfumes...if he is not pure, he will surely fall. 

A priest is a mediator between God and all men, begging God to be merciful to the sins of men. He approaches God, as if responsible for all men, begging that wars everywhere may end and tumult cease, and that men be released from all ills. How should we rank him who must deliver these things? At least one among the angels; or at least, one who must surpass all those for whom he intercedes. 

And we who need him so much to aid us for our salvation, shouldn't we demand greater piety, greater purity from him? The soul of a priest ought to blaze like a light illuminating the world. 

 

VII. What the Church Really Needs

What the Church needs are HOLY people: it is immaterial whether they are priests, nuns or lay people.  If they are not holy, they are of no advantage to the Church.  If the priest is holy, it is immaterial whether he is celibate or married.  But if a priest cannot be holy as a celibate, all the more if he is married.   St. Gregory of Nyssa, a married bishop, was of greater service to the Church than a hundred unholy celibate priests…  and that’s because he was a holy bishop.  Though he was an example of one who was married before ordination.  

Is it all right to be a married priest as long as one is holy?  Yes!  But if it impossible for you to be holy when you are single, i.e., without the burdens of marriage, how can you become holy with the burdens and distractions of marriage?  Let’s stop kidding ourselves!

So “holy” is the key adjective.  But the way to holiness is through purity or chastity with the safeguards of celibacy.  And St. Gregory was a holy bishop because he was first a holy husband who aimed at purity with the help of celibacy later in his life.  

It is better for the Church to have one holy celibate priest than 100 unholy celibate priests.  The latter, being useless to the Church, should cease being priests and being celibates, and first aim at being holy husbands.  

 

On Women Priests  

The same argument goes with the idea of women priests.  A woman is only useful to the Church if she is holy.  If she is not holy, even if she is a priest or a bishop, she is useless to the Church and would just add to the thousands of problem priests and bishops in the Church.  Besides, it is clearly God’s will that women do not become priests. Women have  God-given roles, and the priesthood is not one of them.

 

VIII. The Ancient Practice of the Catholic Church  

All Catholics, not only priests, are called to holiness through purity of heart wherein they shall see God.  And celibacy is a powerful instrument for the attainment of this goal.  The strong must immediately aim at purity and embrace celibacy.  The weak may detour through married life and, when they have strengthened themselves within marriage, aim at purity using the instrument of celibacy.   

And so the ancient practice of the Church is based on this doctrine.  If the young man is strong and he wants to be a priest, he must embrace celibacy immediately and never turn back.  If he is weak, he may first marry and later on apply for the priesthood.  But the moment he is ordained to the priesthood, he must observe celibacy.  

Celibacy was never a problem in the priesthood of the Catholic Church.  The problem was weaklings who became priests.  They should have never become priests in the first place.  Or at least they should have strengthened themselves first spiritually within marriage, and then later applied for the priesthood.  But the moment you are a priest and a celibate, you cannot turn back and marry, precisely because Christ forbade true disciples to turn back: “He who puts his hand on the plow and turns back is not worthy of Me.”

  

IX. Celibacy in the History of the Church

The history of celibacy is the history of Christianity.  From the beginning, previously-married people were allowed to be ordained priests due to the circumstances of time and place, i.e., the first converts to Christianity were probably married couples who in their zeal attained holiness and, therefore, the men would have really made good priests.  St. Peter was an example of this.  

But the single, whom St. Paul exhorted to remain single, who sought ordination were required to remain celibate, as shown by the example of St. John the Evangelist.  John, wanting to continue the Jewish tradition of marrying, was expressly forbidden to do so.  

On the other hand, the man who was previously married who aspired to be ordained a priest was exhorted to aim at celibacy.  Most of the debate on celibacy was focused on this, i.e., whether the previously-married man who was ordained may keep his wife or not.  And both Eastern and Western ruling was that they should not keep their wives.  Though in practice, especially in remote areas, this was not observed, i.e., previously-married men who were ordained to the priesthood often kept their wives.  The debate was never on whether the priest should be a celibate or not.  

St. Paul’s exhortation “Bishops and deacons must have one wife” was restrictive, not injunctive.  That is, St. Paul was not saying that bishops should marry but that, if a bishop was already married, he should have only one wife.  If he had another, he would be disqualified from being a candidate for the position.  

So the doctrine of the Church was clear.  Everyone was called to be a virgin, which included celibacy; married laymen were encouraged to separate and become celibates for the sake of God’s kingdom.  And we are talking of laymen, not priests.  

 

The practice of receiving previously-married men into the priesthood was stopped as early as the time of St. Epiphanius when the Church declared that no married man be admitted to the diaconate, priesthood and Episcopate.  Only married men who had been widowed or have agreed with their spouses to separate were allowed for ordination.  And this is the practice of the Church until now.  

 

St. Clement spoke of married priests but, again, these were those married before ordination.  Paphnutius objected to celibacy as too rigorous but, again, only for those already married before ordination.  Written documents in England seem to show that most priests were married, but the word used was “cleric” and not priest.  Cleric always referred to minor orders who really can marry.  But in the 15th century, it was clear in England that wives of priests were called concubines.  

 

In 295 and 302 this traditional teaching of the Church took the form of conciliar decree in the Council of Elvira.  It decreed that those who were already bishops and priests were to remain celibate; and the code of Justinian prohibited the consecration of married priests to the Episcopacy.  

 

In 692 the Council of Trullo imposed the traditional doctrine that priests and bishops must observe celibacy; and those married before ordination must eventually separate from their wives.  Priests and deacons were allowed to live with their wives in the east; but in the west, Sts. Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome and Hilary were of one mind that the priest must observe continence.  

 

At the Council of Tours in 567, priests married before ordination were expressly forbidden to live with their wives.  And by 747 Pope Zachary included the sub-diaconate to those who must observe celibacy.  

 

Obviously, there is no conflict between marriage and the priesthood; after all, both are sacraments, except that the priesthood requires a certain spirituality which is unattainable if the priest continues to be a husband.  So, if St. Paul advises lay husbands and wives “to behave as if they are not married” to progress in the spiritual life, how much more so the husband who is ordained priest.  

 

 

Celibacy in the Oriental Church    

Many have the wrong notion that the clergy of the Oriental Church are allowed to marry.  This is not so.  The practice of the Oriental Church, both the ones united with Rome and the schismatic, is identical with the practice of the West, i.e., those who were ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in the single state must observe celibacy.  And those previously married who aspire to the diaconate and priesthood are free to retain their wives though they are encouraged to separate from their wives, of course, with mutual consent.    

The Schismatic Orthodox even made it a point to get their candidates for the Episcopate from the celibate monastic orders.  And though the Oriental Church united with Rome allows previously married priests to keep their wives, it encourages them to return “according to the ancient discipline of the Church of Alexandria and the other churches of God, i.e., everyone ordained to the higher order (major) must be celibates.  And if they are married, they must separate.”

 

X. Oppositions to Celibacy

The debates were never about the observance of celibacy, as we have seen, but whether priests, previously married, may or may not live with their wives.  Most obliged a separation from the wife while a few made concessions and allowed co-habitation but as brothers and sisters.  This brother-and-sister arrangement was a romantic label, but in truth it was not workable.  Only St. Paulinus of Nola was able to do this, but then he was a saint.  

The history of the Church attests to many ordained priests who later embraced marriage.  But this was not due to their refusal to believe in celibacy; it was purely due to lust.  Or, as in the Dark Ages when church benefices were awarded by kings to loyal soldiers, these barbarians were ordained priests.  They married as they felt, committed adultery as they liked, and precisely bore children to hand down their benefices to their children.  But then these barbarians were not priests by vocation but merely by profession.  

There were three whimpers of an opposition to celibacy that occurred, one in the Middle Ages, another during the Reformation.  Both were symptomatic of the sources of objection to celibacy…  it comes from a Protestant heart.  He who wants celibacy out is a Protestant at heart.  After all, who were the Protestants?  A bunch of Catholic priests who, in abandoning the Church of Christ, threw celibacy away.  And with celibacy, also went confessions, Holy Orders and The Holy Eucharist.  But even the Protestant objection was not on celibacy; it was on faith and salvation.  Apparently, objection to celibacy of priests comes only after there is loss of Faith.  

Of more recent times is Theiner, who at first argued against the need for celibacy but later recanted and was reconciled to the traditional teaching of the Church.

  

XI. Conclusion

Before Christ ascended to heaven He gave the apostles the commission to go to all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them ALL that He had commanded. And he warned those who would either add or subtract to theses commands

So let us not go with the apostasy within the Church which tends to take away certain commands by removing celibacy. Christ placed it there, let's leave it there.

Neither should we prohibit marriage among the lay for this is one of the great heresies of the end times. Marriage is a holy state. For those who need it, take it. But the Christian Priesthood is a unique witnessing that requires chaste- celibacy to be effective. Christ wouldn't have it any other way; and so with His faithful Church.

  And to all priests, heed St. Catherine of Sienna, who, while reforming the Church in turmoil due to a completely incompetent hierarchy said: "To the priests, insist that they study to rule themselves in a holy and good life." For he who wants to be good and holy will embrace celibacy.

 

 

 

 

(updated 01-03-02)

[ Home ]  [ Return to Top ] 



 


The Winnowing Fan hopes ..." to do what little it could to solve the evils that beset the church."

                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


Winnowing Fan and Guadalupe Series are owned and Copyrighted by S. of G. Foundation.
Articles therein maybe freely copied, distributed and re-published in full or in part without written authorization provided appropriate acknowledgement is made.  

  2001, caryana.org All rights reserved