Celibacy: A Calling


Is Celibacy a calling that comes with the calling to the priesthood? I mean, what are reasons that one would want to live a celibate life?



Check out this article.


First of all, the Roman Catholic Church states, that the calling to priesthood for latin rite implies the calling of celibacy, also. So, you can have one without the other.

On your second question: Celibacy is a self-sacrifice for the next life and a way to devote one’s life to spiritual things. For the modern man mentality, it’s absurd to think that anyone could really abstain from sex. Everybody does it, they say. Actually that’s a big lie. I have met some people who chose a life of celibacy, not because they couldn’t, but because they wouldn’t. And I’m sure there are many.
Keeping one self in a state of pure, wields many rewards for future life. It’s a sign of complete union with the Lord. Once you lost this state of pureness, in which you were created, you lost it for all eternity. That doesn’t mean you can’t get to heaven, it only means that your glory will be lesser then those who kept themselves for God alone.
It also bears many fruits here on earth. You are more attuned to the spiritual life, you are more free, you can pray with more fervor for others, knowing you have lost all hope in this world and put it in the world to come. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight like the rest. Even more so, that’s why it’s more rewarding.
In the end, it’s a big sign of love for God and for others.


I am not sure that celibacy is a calling for the Catholic priesthood but it is more of a discipline that needs to be accepted. Some men however are called to a celibate life but I do not believe all the priests of the Roman rite are called to be celibate. Rather for most of them it is a discipline they must accept. I would say it will be more difficult for anyone to accept the discipline of celibacy than if someone had willingly chosen it. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the candidates for the ordained ministry are all given the option to remain celibate or to be married. Therefore from the Orthodox point of view all candidates who have chosen celibacy want it. Yet I do not find this point of view in the Catholic Church because I do not think all the men who have chosen the ordained ministry all want this. For many of them celibacy is a discipline which they must accept while for others it is very easy to want this. It seems to me from observing both Churches there cannot be two different callings that God is only calling for instance men to be celibate in the Catholic priesthood and in the Orthodox Church this calling is only a select few. It would make more sense that men who are called to celibacy are much fewer than one suspects and that in actuality the Catholic man who is not called to celibacy must accept the discipline which the ordained Catholic ministry presents. In this regards the Catholic man who is not called to celibacy but must accept it may have more difficulty to live it than the one who is more called to live it.


Celibacy is not just a discipline. It is, first and foremost, a calling from God. Without this calling a person cannot be accepted to the priesthood, in the roman rite.
The Catechism states the following:

1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord,” they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.

1580 In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.


A key word that you overlooked is “normally.” As is widely know, a number of Episcopal priests have converted and been ordained Catholic priests, complete with a wife and family. I believe several Lutheran ministers have similarly been ordained. So I believe “cannot” doesn’t fully capture the reality.


You have not properly understood my words. I cannot believe that all men who are called to the Catholic ordained ministry want celibacy as well. You must differentiate when someone is called to the celibate life and to one who needs to accept it. Just because the Catholic Church calls all of her priests to be celibate does not signify they were willing to be celibate in the first place. It does not make sense that all Catholic men who want to be ordained want this celibacy when there are so many different types of vocations among people. What I was saying that yes some men were created to be celibate while others were not. If those who were not created to be celibate are interested in the Catholic ordained ministry it makes sense they have to accept celibacy as a discipline. Those who were created to be celibate in the first place would find the Catholic ruling more to their liking. It does not make sense that all men who are interested in the Catholic priesthood are only those who God called into celibacy. Do you understand this point? Any calling of celibacy from God must be what you were created to be. It must be there before you are ordained. However it is to my observations that many men from the Catholic Church must sacrifice any notion of marriage if they were not created for celibacy in the first place. Many men who are Catholic priests were probably sacrificing their vocation to marriage because of what the Catholic priesthood insists for their life. God does not only call celibate men to the Catholic priesthood but also those men who need to give up this vocation to marriage. This is what I meant when I said that celibacy is more of a discipline that must be accepted in particular to those men who had to sacrifice marriage for the ordained Catholic ministry. For those who were created to be celibate in the first place it is more a way of life than it is a discipline.


I think that this was stated by the Catechism, so, I didn’t need to repeat. I know there are exceptions.

This is a fallacy! :eek: A vocation is a calling from God. Are you implying to not answer God’s call?


Forget it. I said men are called to the priesthood but that does not mean that all men who are Catholic priests were called into a celibate life. Some of these men had to forsake their vocation to marriage to allow celibacy into their life. This means that celibacy was never their calling but more of a discipline to be received. You cannot expect God to call all men into celibacy if certain men who want the priesthood had no inclination to celibacy in the first place. We are dealing with a description of what is inside a man before they are ordained. Celibacy is much easier to maintained if you were celibate in the first place. The calling to the priesthood and the calling to celibacy is two different things. You see it though as the same thing. I don’t and so do many others. The Orthodox person who does not want marriage but chooses the priesthood had already chosen celibacy. Yet we find the majority in the Orthodox Church had chosen marriage before they were ordained. Now from this reasoning it is easy to see that celibacy is allowed in the Orthodox Church but you do not see many of the men to have chosen it. So by the witness of the Orthodox Church it seems when God is calling men to the priesthood there is a lot more those in the marriage vocation than there is in the celibate vocation. If the Catholic Church is only getting men who were celibate in the first place than why is this not happening in the Orthodox Church which permits celibacy as well.


You have a bit of a misunderstanding, here. Only in the roman rite, is this distinction made. The Greek-Catholics, also follow the tradition of the east, which allows previously married men to become priests. This is the tradition of the eastern lung of the Church. For the western one, it’s a long tradition for the priest to be celibate. But even in the eastern part of the Church, he can marry only before ordination. Afterwards, if anything happens to his wife, he remains a celibate for the rest of his life. So, a priest cannot marry, no matter what rite he is in, be it in the Greek-Catholic Church or in Orthodoxy.
As for priesthood, celibate life and marriage, all three of them are callings, but, according to saint Jerome: Clerics, even though they may have wives, cease to be husbands. The priesthood is so high a state, that even angels tremble in front of an ordained man, for the ability to bring down the Son of God from Heaven onto earth, the ability to bring the life of the Holy Trinity back into a person, through Confession. Without a priest the door of Heaven is shut. For a responsibility such as this, requires a total giving.
Saint Paul says:
The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. (1Cor 7,32-34)
And Pope Paul VI, in Sacerdotalis Caelibatus:

  1. The priesthood is a ministry instituted by Christ for the service of His Mystical Body which is the Church. To her belongs the authority to admit to that priesthood those whom she judges qualified—that is, those to whom God has given, along with other signs of an ecclesiastical vocation, the gift of a consecrated celibacy.

Keeping with the teaching of the Church, Pope Paul IV states clear that, with the calling to priesthood comes the calling to celibate life.

If you are more interested in what the Catholic Church teaches on celibacy and priesthood, I suggest you read the entire encyclical. God bless!


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