1st Corinthians Chapter 7


#1

This is of course the chapter that goes over St Paul’s views on Marriage and Celibacy. I also saw a tract on this on this website.

Being LDS and in college and one who is intending on converting to the Catholic faith, I have tried to make attempts on trying to get my dad to understand this chapter. The LDS KJV version of the Bible seems to totally besmirch or twist the translation of what I have read in the two Catholic bibles I use for Study, the RSV-CE 2nd and the NABRE. Is Paul telling us that we can be celibate and not marry? To be as Paul was? I’m a single man, never married and I prefer to stay that way, it is not my vocation to even seek a partner given a variety of reasons. I believe that I can focus much more on my spiritual life given my current circumstances.

Another thing my dad says is that he thinks its unfortunate that priests and Bishops are required to be celibate. Apparently his so called standard works like the BOM tell him what he believes and that his Priesthood is right for everything. That’s why I wish to see if 1st Corinthians 7 might help me out here.

Hopefully this a good sub forum to post this. :slight_smile:


#2

Not quite. According to Haydock’s commentary, Paul was asked by the heads of the Corinth Church to answer whether they could marry and if church men were to abstain from their nonbelieving wives. After all, there wouldn’t be too many Christians if we were forbidden to procreate. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

The key here for me, is this part of the Scripture you quoted, which I think is the one you are addressing in your OP:

32 I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. 33 But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

This is exactly why our priests and nuns are celibate. To truly understand our faith though you have to understand the concept of a vocation. Vocation means “calling” in this sense, not the job a person does or where they are employed. You may already know this. It is not just a choice, but rather something that is discerned. When one is called to the vocation of marriage, that’s their existence. That’s who God created them to be. A husband, father, wife, mother… that’s their primary expression of the life of holiness that God has given to them.

As a father, and a man discerning the diaconate, I know all too well how difficult it is to be present to my family first and foremost while also being extremely active in ministry. I don’t put in nearly the time our priest does by any means, but I still find that I have to carefully examine my schedule to make sure that my primary vocation never falls to the wayside. My job, so to speak, is to help my wife and family live a life that leads to their eternal salvation. That is my first goal, my primary reason for existence. My ministry comes second to that.

A priest, on the other hand, is charged with the spiritual development of his entire flock. Be it in a parish or not, he is responsible for being the spiritual father to that family. To have a wife and children at home would mean that he either neglects his spiritual family to perform the role of husband and biological father, or he neglects the role of being the shepherd of those God has entrusted to his care. His ministry is his primary calling, so he forgoes a family just as Paul suggested, so that he can be concerned about things of the Lord.

We as Catholics also believe in two other vocations: single life, and consecrated life.

God can indeed call you to a vocation of being single for the rest of your life. A single person is still called to the same level of holiness, and all people are called to the virtue of chastity based on their vocation. The single person is called to live as Christ lived, giving their life over to others as a servant and being a true disciple. Here is a handy link to a guide for helping you to discern if that’s your calling. It’s not an easy thing to discern, we have to make sure it’s not our own preference, or some event that has triggered us to think this would be better than that… but rather that it’s truly God calling us to this way of life. You may already be certain of that. It never hurts to take a step back and listen for God’s prompting though to make sure.

Discerningment Tools - USCCB

Part of that discernment though brings in the other form of vocation, the consecrated life. Some are called to an even more exceptional way of living their life. They set themselves apart for God in a very unique and powerful way, becoming a religious brother or sister. In effect, removing themselves from the public life, leaving behind everything in the world and following Christ in a much more radical and poignant way. They take official vows of obedience, poverty, etc.

Something else to keep in mind is that every vocation is unique, but not that any vocation is ‘better’ than the other. God created you to be someone specific, not a clone of another. He wants you to be the fullest man/woman you can be. That means first and foremost understanding who Jesus is, and how he exemplifies the fullness of what it means to be human, and then in your own unique and beautiful way, living out that call to holiness and Sainthood. We are all called to the same bar, and the only way we will ever get there is with the help of the Holy Spirit and through carefully listening to Him to discern who we really are fashioned to be.


#4

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