Same old anti-celibacy baloney

Same old anti-celibacy baloney

This is a typical attempt by a secular newspaper to give space to heretical Catholics to undermine the Church’s teaching. This one is the teaching on priestly celibacy. It’s full of the same errors and distortions that Call to Action is always trying to advance. She claims celibacy was a modern invention (it is not), that it was Trent that imposed it as a rule (nope, much earlier), and other myths like the fact that children inheriting property was eroding the Church’s financial holdings (much more bunk).

I could refute each of these points, one by one, but I’ll just appeal back to St. Paul. (1 Cor 7:1, 27b-28) but especially vv 32-35: “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” Or Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:12.

Those seem to predate the 11th century or 15th century that Kemper claims was the origin of celibacy. And then there’s Pope John Paul’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

  • When you get back to Christian basics, the man who wants to most emulate Christ emulates him – and devotes the entirety of his soul and being to God – and is thus chaste and celibate.

  • It of course doesn’t follow that if priests could marry all would be sweet-smelling.  Still, I have to ask, what of the Council of Nicea’s canons on married priests?  It was, if memory serves, a renowned ascetic and virginal celibate who made the argument that requiring celibacy of all priests would be an undue burden, and the council accepted his position, thus overruling the delegates from Spain who sought to make sacerdotal celibacy canonically binding.  To this day, the Orthodox Church allows for married priests, provided they are married prior to their ordination, and I haven’t noticed their priests are more lax in their pastoral work than most Catholic priests I know.  All of this comes back, for me at least, to the Council’s provisions and canons, which the Latin Church seems to rather blithely ignore. 

  • Ya know – I grew up with many Protestants – and have known quite a few Protestant minsters.  And almost without exception, there lives are tremendously more complicated because of all the family problems that must deal with – and there are endless financial difficulties between congregations and ministers – relating to money they say they need for their families.  (Try watching 7th Heaven on TV!)  And there is even an old Protestant saying to the effect that the worst kids are always the minister’s kids (often true, sadly, in my experience).  When a man who is devoted to God seeks to channel that devotion into a family AND into a congregation, he inevitably compromises both.  Here’s a question.  Do you think Christ’s mission would have been as successful if he had a wife and kids to worry about?

  • Do you think Christ6-19 09:24:53
    2004-06-19 13:24:53
    Thomas I’m not a great thinker or anything but one thing about the Orthodox priests is that most of them have to work a second job in order to support their family. Not so good for the laity if you have a pastoral problem during normal working hours or even at 2 AM when a family member needs a hospital visit for the Last Rights.

  • At the local Eastern Catholic Church here, the Catholic priest (a former Eastern Orthodox priest) was married with several children. As far as I could see (on the few times that I attended their Liturgy), his wife was very helpful with the various social occasions and in greeting and welcoming the new people. I thought that she did a great job and was well liked by everyone and that she was a wonderful complement to her husband’s priestly activities.

  • You know,  the thing about celibacy is this.  While it is a tradition within the Western Church to not marry, it is not Sacred Tradition.  It is a discipline that priests have adopted in order to better serve the Church.

    The law of celibacy has no doctrinal bearing in the Catholic Church—it is a mere disciplinary law. Even today, there are married Catholic priests in the United States. Each is a former Episcopalian priest who joined the Catholic Church. There are Uniate Churches, churches in union with Rome, e.g., the Greek Byzantine Church, who have a married clergy.

    Priestly celibacy became law in the Roman Church in the 6th century.

    Is it a tradition that can change in the future?  I suppose that it could, however, it is almost certain that it will never happen.  The Holy Father has said as much on several occasions.

    Priestly celibacy, according to the Holy Father, provides the men and women of our time with “a testimony of undivided consecration to the mission entrusted to them and a living sign of the world to come, which is already present among us through faith and charity.”

    An interesting article on the subject:

    With all that being said, there are instances when men who are married can and are validly ordained.  They provide a fresh prospective and a valuable tool to the Church proper.  Several examples are all of the Eastern Rite (Uniate) Catholics, Anglican Use priests, and on very rare instances Protestant converts.

    There are strict guidelines that govern these instances though.  As for the Eastern Rite Catholics, I suggest one look to that tradition for answers.  As far as Anglican Use goes, here are a couple of articles:

    Just because the Church has adopted the charism of celibacy for the West, it does not mean that those who are married cannot in certain and specific instances cannot be ordained and provide a valuable instrument in the life of the Church.