In the comments on yesterday’s post “Celibacy IS a vow”, Roseberry makes a good point:
Dom’s comments about the gift of celibacy to the Church remind me of Mother Angelica’s insistence that she wanted her Friars to be men who wanted wives, children, and a family life and who were prepared to sacrifice those desires for the Kingdom.
This is one of the objections given for why homosexuals should be excluded from the priesthood. It’s not that people necessarily fear that they will be sexual predators or that they will be sexually promiscuous. Let’s grant for the moment that there are priests who have same-sex attraction, but who are living chastely.
Still, the proponents of this point of view would say that for a man to become a spiritual father, he must be capable of natural fatherhood, biologically, emotionally, and mentally. The traits necessary for priestly fatherhood are those needed for all Christian fatherhood. In addition, the acceptance of ordination and the requirement of celibacy (in the Latin rite) is part of Jesus’ call to “become eunuchs for the kingdom of God.” But in order for this to be an authentic sacrifice, one must be giving up something. It must be a positive good that is being renounced.
At Lent we’re supposed to make a sacrifice as a sign of penance, but if you give up spinach and you already don’t like spinach, it’s not much of a sacrifice. There must be an ontological disposition toward the good being given up.
Yes, I know this isn’t what some recent Church documents have said on the matter, particularly last year’s instruction concerning homosexual seminarians. Still, a case has been advanced that this would be the higher way, a better way. The Vatican instruction is the minimum, but it doesn’t mean that it necessarily is the way it should be.