Celibacy and the Priesthood


#1

Does the word celibacy in regards to the priesthood give people the impression that a man has engaged in sex at some point in his life and is then in turn taking a vow to be abstent ?

I also wonder if people be it non Catholics / or Catholics assume that a man who has become a priest has had sex at some point in his life before becoming one or would people be surprised to find out a man is a virgin, and heterosexual and also chose to accept a call to the priesthood… Would that be hard to believe for some people ? An would that been seen as a negative for a man ? I would think society would find it to be a negative though spiritually it would be a gift. Would it be a model example for others I do not know.

Then I am also curious, supposedly at some point when the Holy Father John Paul II was alive I heard that 1/3 of Catholic Priests petitioned the Holy Father to allow priests to marry, now i did not research this so i dont know if it is true or not, but if it is then i am left to wonder why. Why is this even an issue ? Free will is the key, one choses to accept a call to the Priesthood, and one knows the rules that are implace, so what changes ?

Are men thinking that they can go in to this vocation and make changes to it ? An if there ever was a petition, then wouldn’t these men in turn instead of filing a petition maybe should have instead asked to just leave the priesthood ?

Wouldn’t it be better for a man who is a priest who if he has a change of heart for what ever reason down the road in his vocation instead of trying to change things to inturn just leave the vocation, if prayer and discerning over the matter does not change ones heart ?

Thoughts ?


#2

Does the word celibacy in regards to the priesthood give people the impression that a man has engaged in sex at some point in his life and is then in turn taking a vow to be abstent ?

Not really, it just means a man has accepted God’s call to serve in the priesthood of Christ. Ideally a man would have persevered (not the best word to use) in Chasity both before and after his acceptance of celibacy. Its not that the man has experienced sex and chosen a life without it, rather he has felt that God has called him to sacrifice that (good) portion of his humanity and take on a role Christ asks some men to fill, ministering to the Church.

Then I am also curious, supposedly at some point when the Holy Father John Paul II was alive I heard that 1/3 of Catholic Priests petitioned the Holy Father to allow priests to marry, now i did not research this so i dont know if it is true or not, but if it is then i am left to wonder why. Why is this even an issue ? Free will is the key, one choses to accept a call to the Priesthood, and one knows the rules that are implace, so what changes ?

Are men thinking that they can go in to this vocation and make changes to it ? An if there ever was a petition, then wouldn’t these men in turn instead of filing a petition maybe should have instead asked to just leave the priesthood ?

The celibacy of the priesthood is a practice of the Western Church that could potentially change, but it is one that is unlikely to change any time soon. For example the eastern Churches accept married men into the priesthood (though it does not necessarily let priests get married).

But what is important to remember is that becoming a priest is not something men themselves do, it is something both they and the church discern, it is ultimately God’s call and if a man is called God will give Him the grace to act accordingly. Seminary generally lasts several years and men would meet with spiritual and/or vocation directors and possibly even the local bishop before being ordained.


#3

Priests are celibate because they are married to the Church.


#4

but are there cases where men realize that they have fallen in love with a woman, an in turn i guess request an annulment from the Church ? That is if we are saying the man is married to the Church then one should be able to be annuled ?

Which personally I have conflict with this idea of being " married to the Church " isn’t that comparable to saying being married to ones job ?

Surly one is not suggesting a physical marrage between a man and a female entity defined as " The Church " but that it is a metaphor for ones commitment to Christ and His people. Or do I have that misunderstood ?

would it not be better for men instead of conflicting with the Church, trying to change the Church, to just leave. ? Why does it seem every so often we hear more of men doing something wrong, being caught with a " mistress " , when they have free will just like anyone else, and can avoid causing a problem.?

Wouldn’t one priest who can commit to being celibate be worth more in service to the Roman Catholic Church, than 1/3 petitioning to allow priests to marry ? ( an im going to have to surf the net to find out if there was ever a 1/3 petition as i am starting to wonder where i heard this from ) .


#5

9 days ago I attended Mass at a neighbouring parish to discover that the parish priest was on holiday and that there was a stand-in priest in his place. I heard one of the best sermons on the Epiphany that I can remember.

It just so happens that this stand-in priest is a USAF military chaplain from the base down the road, is a former Episcopalian minister and before that a former Baptist. He is also married with grown children and has a son in law in the USAF on the same base he serves on.

From my experience of him, he was a better homilist and better at celebrating the Mass than almost any priest I have encountered before. He had a great sense of spirituality, warmth, reverence and love for the people he was serving (and most of those would have been strangers to him, yet he still radiated care for us).

So no, I don't think married priests are worth less than celibate ones, and I find the assertion that 1 celibate priest is worth more than a purported 1/3rd of all priests who would petition for the dropping of mandatory celibacy quite distressing, to be honest.


#6

#7

I can tell you from personal experience that I kkow of a man who had sexual encounters, but he is now an ordained priest.

Usually, if you have tye intent of having sex as a priest, than I wouold diminish that thought.

You know once you are ordained you take the vow of celibacyl meaning to be chaste.

If you cannot do this, than, the priesthood is not for you.

God love you


#8

Not being married frees up the priest to serve the needs of his spiritual children. Our priests are so busy just doing priest things like celebrating the sacraments that it wouldn’t leave enough time for proper family involvement.


#9

So no, I don’t think married priests are worth less than celibate ones, and I find the assertion that 1 celibate priest is worth more than a purported 1/3rd of all priests who would petition for the dropping of mandatory celibacy quite distressing, to be honest.

I wanted to clarify an say that I did not mean to suggest that those who are Christian and are married priests are worth less than a priest who is celibate, and i can see how it may have come off as such, what I was trying to express was instead of petitioning to make a change wouldn’t one who stands with the Church be worth more than those petitioning for change, and really with out a better grasp of context it is hard to if not impossible to answer that, so I finally did the best I could to answer my own question and provided two links.

abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94635&page=1

ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/MARPRIE.HTM

From these two links, I have gathered that there isn’t this undertone of " hey lets get with modern times and allow for priests to marry " ( which is what I first assumed is what was going on ) but seems there may be two sets of things going on, a need to fill vacancies, and a need to unite those Christian Clergy whom are already married , to unite them into the Catholic Church…But I also see the confusion as well, being well if the Holy Father can make an exception for certain individuals then why not make a flat out change all together? To which I guess one either has to decide to accept the rules in place and move forward, or already be at peace with this concept of being celibate before even considering a religious vocation in any form…Though I have not seen any answers or thoughts on if a Priest wants to leave his vocation to pursue a marrage with a woman and a family, if it is allowed by the Church… Would that man be excommunicated ? And maybe it is better that question doesn’t get answered on the basis of if one goes into a religious vocation knowing that the Church does allow for such a thing that it almost becomes a safety blanket to a degree . An perhaps it is better for anyone; man or woman to never have that knowledge going in, so ones discernment is honest.

So perhaps I needed more time to really research things on my own before asking here, I did not mean to suggest a married clergy / priest is worth less than a celibate one, i just did not articulate my question properly an I hope I at least clarified what I meant when i asked that part.


#10

Dont confuse the possibility of a married man being ordained with and ordained man getting married. These are 2 very different things.

The prohibition on an ordained man getting married is prohibited by St. Paul in the Bible. (Let him stay as he is). It is Divine Revelation. it can never be changed. that is Gods Law.

The prohibition on a married man being ordained is a Discipline of the Church. It is a strict guideline for the Roman Rite of the Western Church.

The Eastern Church permits married men to be called to the Presbyteriate.

The Western Church permits married men to be called to the Diaconate. (ordained)

The Western church also permits some married men who have converted from episcopalian or lutheran “churches” to be ordained if they were ministers in their previous liturgical community.

With the formation of the “Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham” there is a new Rite, in which married men may be ordained to the priesthood. Initially they will be converts from Anglicanism, but the Ordinariate will remain, and it will be possible to be born into it instead of convert.
Structures based on the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are expected to be created for other areas where Anglicanism / Episcopailaianism are common. These will together form an “Anglican Catholic” Rite in which there will be no law against ordaining a married man to the Priesthood… But it will not be open to converts from Roman Rite catholicism. (i.e. it wont be a back-door)

There is also now a possibility that some of the other Eastern Rite catholic churches may review their policies in this area in keeping with the traditions of the Orthodox Church from which they came into Communion with Rome.


#11

I have to say that the situation that allows men who were clergy in other denominations (principally but not exclusively Episcopalian / Anglican) to become ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church does present someone what of a conflict or anachronism and it certainly seems to call into question the Church's consistency on the matter.

To me, it seems very unfair on the married Catholic man who wants to become a priest, especially when he looks at the married Anglican clergyman who is received into the Catholic church, loses his clerical status as a result automatically and then is later ordained.

I know the Church might well be hoping that that anachronism is temporary, while they 'complete the task' of converting all clergymen of other denominations to the One True Faith because if there aren't any more to swim the Tiber then the married clergy problem goes away after one generation, but in all practicality, that isn't going to happen and meanwhile there are good and holy married Catholic men who would dearly love to become priests but can't on the basis of a discipline that is relaxed for some people but not others.

My instinct tells me this is unfair to the point of becoming unjust.


#12

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