Chastity and celibacy

Chastity and celibacy

A priest who read the Boston Globe article on the gay seminarian who was ousted for his “outspoken” views had some comments to offer the reporter who wrote it. Since I don’t have a way to contact the priest (getting his remarks secondhand) and thus I don’t exactly have his permission to use his name, I will identify him only as Fr. Rich. His comments are salient, well considered, and an excellent reminder of the meaning of celibacy and chastity—two terms that are thrown about without much regard for what they really signify.

    Celibacy is a dedication of the complete self to God in love and service to him and to the church. Such degree of dedication is to be so complete that it cannot include a spouse, since marriage is so great a commitment that the spouses are dedicated to each other in their mutual walk toward the Lord.

    Chastity is the successful integration of one’s sexuality that is male or female, (never “gay”, “straight”, “transgendered” as the practicing or promoting homosexuals claim). One who claims a “gay” orientation is acknowledging an affective disorder, not from God, an immaturity in development according to Catholic teaching.

    While many people (impossible to know how many) may have from time to time homosexual inclinations or an exclusive or predominant homosexual inclination, the sexual identity is male or female. The response to one’s sexual inclinations is to know where they lead one and how to manage them, to acknowledge what one feels but to exclude behaviors which are contrary to one’s male or female identity and certainly one’s Christian identity.

    A seminarian who claims to be “gay” neither yet understands his sexual or Christian identity nor has acquired sufficient maturity for ministry if he is promoting this as a state of being. Priests who self identify as “gay” lead others to act out, to promote homosexuality as normal thus thwarting maturity in chastity in themselves and others.

    This young man was not chaste (celibate) in thought, in speech, in his manhood, and apparently not moving toward maturity in sexuality. He was dismissed for unchaste behaviors which did not include genital acting out, but certainly conduct that was unchaste in other areas.

Bravo, Father. Chastity is not just abstinence; even married couples are called to chastity. And celibacy is not just deciding not to marry. They are both acts of virtue in a bending of one’s body, mind, soul, and will toward holiness.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli