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5 Arguments for Priestly Celibacy
Catholic Education Resource Center ^ | CRISIS Magazine

Posted on 12/14/2009 2:13:45 PM PST by marshmallow

1. Celibacy reaffirms marriage.

In a society that is completely saturated with sex, celibate priests are living proof that sexual urges can be controlled and channeled in a positive way. Far from denigrating the sexual act, celibacy acknowledges the goodness of sex within marriage by offering it up as a sacrifice to God. The sanctity of marriage is dishonored if it is treated merely as an outlet for sexual impulses. Rather, we as Christians are called to understand marriage as the inviolable commitment of a husband and wife to love and honor one another. A priest offers up a similar commitment of love to the Church, a bond that cannot be broken and that is treated with the same gravity and respect as in marriage.

2. Celibacy is scriptural.

Challenge young men to a religious life that is demanding, countercultural, sacrificial, and loyal to the Holy Father and Catholic teaching. This is the surest way to guarantee a greater number of vocations. Fundamentalists will tell you that celibacy has no basis in the Bible whatsoever, saying that Christians are called to "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This mandate speaks to humanity in general, however, and overlooks numerous passages in the Bible that support the celibate life. In 1 Corinthians, for example, Paul actually seems to prefer the celibate life: "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . . Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided" (7:27-34). This is not to say that all men should be celibate, however; Paul explains that celibacy is a calling for some and not for others by saying, "Each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another" (7:7).

Jesus Himself speaks of celibacy in Matthew 19:11-12: "Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it." Again, the emphasis is on the special nature of celibacy, one for which not all men are suited, but one that nevertheless gives glory to "the kingdom of God."

Perhaps the best evidence for the scriptural support of celibacy is that Jesus Himself practiced it!

3. Celibacy is historical.

Most people assume that the celibate priesthood is a convention introduced by the Church fairly late in history. On the contrary, there is evidence that even the earliest Church fathers, such as St. Augustine, St. Cyril, and St. Jerome, fully supported the celibate priesthood. The Spanish Council of Elvira (between 295 and 302) and the First Council of Aries (314), a kind of general council of the West, both enacted legislation forbidding all bishops, priests, and deacons to have conjugal relations with their wives on penalty of exclusion from the clergy. Even the wording of these documents suggests that the councils were not introducing a new rule but rather maintaining a previously established tradition. In 385, Pope Siricius issued the first papal decree on the subject, saying that "clerical continence" was a tradition reaching as far back as apostolic times. While later councils and popes would pass similar edicts, the definitive promulgation of the celibate, unmarried priesthood came at the Second Lateran Council in 1139 under Pope Gregory VII. Far from being a law forced upon the medieval priesthood, it was the acceptance of celibacy by priests centuries earlier that eventually led to its universal promulgation in the twelfth century.

4. Celibacy emphasizes the unique role of the priest.

The priest is a representative of Christ, an alter Christus. In this respect, the priest understands his identity by following the example of Jesus, a man who lived His life in perfect chastity and dedication to God. As Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe of Grado explains, "[A priest's] being and his acting must be like Christ's: undivided" (The Relevance of Priestly Celibacy Today, 1993). As such, the sacramental priesthood is holy, something set apart from the rest of the world. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for His bride, the Church, so too must a priest offer up his life for the good of Christ's people.

5. Celibacy allows the priest's first priority to be the Church.

The image used to describe the role of the priest is one of marriage to the Church. Just as marriage is the total gift of self to another, the priesthood requires the total gift of self to the Church. A priest's first duty is to his flock, while a husband's first duty is to his wife. Obviously, these two roles will often conflict, as St. Paul noted and as many married priests will tell you. A celibate priest is able to give his undivided attention to his parishioners without the added responsibility of caring for his own family. They are able to pick up and go whenever necessary, whether this involves moving to a new parish or responding to a late-night crisis. Celibate priests are better able to respond to these frequent changes and demands on their time and attention.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: celibacy

1 posted on 12/14/2009 2:13:45 PM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

and the Scriptural citation is where?


2 posted on 12/14/2009 2:16:43 PM PST by Revelation 911 (How many 100's of 1000's of our servicemen died so we would never bow to a king?" -freeper pnh102)
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To: Revelation 911
Uh......it's right in front of you.

Course, you'd have to actually read it to see it.

3 posted on 12/14/2009 2:18:17 PM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: Revelation 911

Did you not see #2?


4 posted on 12/14/2009 2:18:26 PM PST by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: marshmallow; the_conscience
For your edification, enlightenment and eventual conversion.
5 posted on 12/14/2009 2:19:31 PM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow

In the New Testament celibacy was a choice not a requirement.


6 posted on 12/14/2009 2:21:32 PM PST by bsf2009
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To: marshmallow

Thank you for your good intentions. Read for later.


7 posted on 12/14/2009 2:21:38 PM PST by the_conscience (I'm a bigot: Against Jihadists and those who support despotism of any kind.)
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To: marshmallow

Priests were EXPECTED to be married up until the Dark Ages ,, at that time their large families became too much of a burden on the congregation.


8 posted on 12/14/2009 2:23:36 PM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: Revelation 911

Of course there is none.

Celibacy is a good thing and in many ways a preferred state and the Church has always affirmed that. What is at issue is whether it should be a requirement for holy orders.

Since that can’t be demonstrated from early (e.g. first and second century) docs, they obfuscate.


9 posted on 12/14/2009 2:24:52 PM PST by Rippin
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To: marshmallow

1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[b] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);- 1 Timothy 3:1-5

5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? - 1 Corinthians 9:1-7

14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. - Matthew 8:14

5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination - Titus 1:5-6


10 posted on 12/14/2009 2:29:53 PM PST by Above My Pay Grade ("I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys, I'm on the good guys' side." -Sarah Palin)
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To: Rippin
Of course there is none.

Really?

Go back, read the article and then repeat that nonsense.

I dare you.

11 posted on 12/14/2009 2:33:58 PM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow

Priests in the early church were allowed to marry. Peter had a wife and Jesus found him worthy enough to be the first pope.

Priests should be allowed to marry. Not that this will be an issue in America now that we’ve picked up the Anglicans as a special diocese. I bet that if they have married priests you’ll see many parishes affiliate with them if the church remains intent on maintaining the mandatory celibacy discipline.


12 posted on 12/14/2009 2:35:08 PM PST by AzaleaCity5691
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To: marshmallow

And since Paul was married and most likely not celebate what is your point?

To look to any human as an example of a “Godly” life is always a mistake because humans will faill. There is one who did indeed walk the earth and lived the perfect life. To my Saviour do I look for example.


13 posted on 12/14/2009 2:44:53 PM PST by the long march
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To: marshmallow
Let's look at a more specific passage ["overseer" = episkopos...considered to mean pastor, elder]

1 Tim 3

3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
3:3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
3:4 {He must be} one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity
3:5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
1Ti 3:6 {and} not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.

14 posted on 12/14/2009 2:49:42 PM PST by LiteKeeper (When do the impeachment proceedings begin?)
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To: marshmallow

” The Spanish Council of Elvira (between 295 and 302) and the First Council of Aries (314), a kind of general council of the West, both enacted legislation forbidding all bishops, priests, and deacons to have conjugal relations with their wives on penalty of exclusion from the clergy.”

This clearly violates Paul’s words at 1 Cor. chapter 7 and 1 Tim. Chapter 4.


15 posted on 12/14/2009 3:00:27 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: AzaleaCity5691
Naturally, many of the Apostles were married. It would have been difficult to minister to the early Christian communities using only celibate priests. The Church has nothing against marriage and most of the other rites (Melkite Rite, Byzantine Rite etc) within the Catholic Church aside from the Latin Rite allow married clergy. So this is a discipline, not a dogma.

Nevertheless, celibacy has a role even on those rites which permit married clergy. The monastic tradition in the Eastern Rites requires celibacy, for example. This is a tacit admission that the celibate state has a real value in the Church.

16 posted on 12/14/2009 3:04:33 PM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow
5. Celibacy allows the priest's first priority to be the Church.

This is the one that stands out to me as a good reason. In marriage your first priority is supposed to be your wife, not your job. A priest's calling (and job) is to God and the church.

Of course this opinion is coming from a southern Baptist, so I may have something backwards here.

17 posted on 12/14/2009 3:06:11 PM PST by scan59 (Markets regulate better than government can.)
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To: marshmallow
- In 1 Corinthians, for example, Paul actually seems to prefer the celibate life: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . . Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided”

And these days it is even worse what with women's rights and all. So you can take what Paul said and times it by two.

18 posted on 12/14/2009 3:09:00 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvKF__2r5Tw)
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To: marshmallow

Of course, you do realize, priestly celibacy is a peculiar custom of the Latin Rite. There are plenty of married priests whose orders are recognized as valid by Rome, both among us Orthodox, and among the uniates who are in communion with Rome.

Of course, the requirement that a priest may not marry is universal, as is the requirement that bishops be celibate. Married men may be ordained (with the consent of their wives) to both the diaconate and the priesthood.


19 posted on 12/14/2009 3:16:26 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Note to read later.


20 posted on 12/14/2009 3:16:29 PM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: marshmallow

Thank you marshmallow. I enjoyed that post very much.

I would add that the Apostles were married because they were Jews....not Catholics (the church didn’t start until Jesus’s death). It’s akin to the Eastern Church accepting married priests....no problem!

However, I especially appreciate the observation that Jesus himself was celibate and that is the best reason for celibacy at all—our priests should strive to be as Christ-like as possible, which is also the reason for the all-male priesthood, correct?

And as a Roman Catholic I appreciate my priest being available to his flock at any minute, not just when it’s convenient to his wife and children. Last rites come to mind, especially.

This is the Year of the Priest, so pray for priests and vocations, that we will have many holy men hear God’s call.


21 posted on 12/14/2009 3:17:22 PM PST by GatorGirl (Eschew Socialism!)
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To: marshmallow

Priestly Celibacy (or almost anything else that the Catholics push)? Follow the money.

With concerns for protecting Church property from inheritance, Pope Pelagius I (sixth century) made new priests agree offspring could not inherit Church property.

In 1022 Pope Benedict VIII banned marriages and mistresses for priests.

Pope Urban II, in 1095, decided to order that the wives of priests be rounded up and sold into slavery, the money used to boost the Papal finances. Didn’t get away with it, but his heart was in the usual place...


22 posted on 12/14/2009 3:31:52 PM PST by flowerplough ( Pennsylvania today - New New Jersey meets North West Virginia.)
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To: marshmallow
We have lost way too many Priests because of the archaic practice of "celibacy."

The best source of endorsement comes from the man who would be canonized..and in whom we placed all our trust for wisdom and divine guidance..

"Pope John Paul II told the New York Times in July, 1993 that “Celibacy is not essential to the priesthood.”

And it isn't.

sw

23 posted on 12/14/2009 3:36:26 PM PST by spectre (Spectre's wife)
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To: scan59
5. Celibacy allows the priest's first priority to be the Church.

This is the one that stands out to me as a good reason. In marriage your first priority is supposed to be your wife, not your job. A priest's calling (and job) is to God and the church.

Of course this opinion is coming from a southern Baptist, so I may have something backwards here.

You have the reasoning. Family does become a big issue for priests regardless of whether or not they are married. I know a number who, for whatever reason, are only children and care for their parents does fall to them. And the US has one bishop who's only sibling was murdered by her husband leaving two sons with only this uncle as a family adult.

So, there's more to it than simply celibacy.

24 posted on 12/14/2009 4:51:44 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: marshmallow
Course, you'd have to actually read it to see it.

charming model of correction - thats unbiblical as well

25 posted on 12/14/2009 4:55:47 PM PST by Revelation 911 (How many 100's of 1000's of our servicemen died so we would never bow to a king?" -freeper pnh102)
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To: marshmallow
Next time you are asked about the spiritual citation tell them it is found right next to the section which justifies their flawed reliance on “Sola Scriptura”. This ignorant reliance on their precious doctrine of “Sola” is laughable at best and eviscerates their argument. The fractionalization of Protestantism into tens of thousands of sects is prima facie evidence of the ridiculous of their contentions. If one of the unenlightened challenges you about the number of fractured protestant ideologies just refer them to IRS Pub 78 Vol 1 to 7 where each an everyone of these discrete belief systems is listed for the precious IRC 501 (c) (3) exemption status.
26 posted on 12/14/2009 4:57:16 PM PST by bronx2
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To: Pyro7480
I saw #2 and what i see is a passage that suggests celibacy, but does not mandate it. The exegesis is sloppy - but youd never admit that because it fulfills your doctrine

Matthew 11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

27 posted on 12/14/2009 5:00:15 PM PST by Revelation 911 (How many 100's of 1000's of our servicemen died so we would never bow to a king?" -freeper pnh102)
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To: spectre
We have lost way too many Priests because of the archaic practice of "celibacy."

If their sense of commitment is so shallow as to leave the priesthood to marry, what makes them good marriage material? I have a friend from grade school who's father left the priesthood to marry his mother, and then left his mother after 18 years. Both commitments are meant to be life long. And frankly, a lot of the men I know who left the seminary aren't really priest material and are massive libs and really would have made lousy priests. Some aren't, but that was figured out in the first two years - as it should be the way the system is set up.

28 posted on 12/14/2009 5:04:59 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: marshmallow

Try to find anything mis-stated in my post and then respond to it. I dare you.


29 posted on 12/15/2009 3:23:40 AM PST by Rippin
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To: marshmallow

You might enjoy this too ...

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_01011993_chisto_en.html


30 posted on 12/15/2009 6:48:46 AM PST by Rippin
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