Today I was picking up my lunch today and heard a man loudly saying how the church needs to change its policy on celibacy. My blood was practically boiling, by the time my food arrived. I took the opportunity to leave before I said something uncharitable. First, what guidance can someone give me on responding first to the anger I felt and second to the statements he made. I know that I need to pray but what prayers and better yet what scripture might help to give guidance or sooth anger so that I can respond in a charitable manner?
Your anger was not sinful; in fact, having approached him would not have been a sin, either. If you would have used that anger for good (in charity), then it would not have been a sin, either; it would have been evern better, according to the Psalmist: “Be ye angry and sin not” (Ps. iv. 5).
Well, we would need to know the statements he made before we could give you guidance in how to respond. Was he saying the Church’s policy is “unbiblical”, or is he saying that the Church is “old-fasioned” and needs to “get with the times”?
I’m glad to hear that you want to get any anger in control before approaching an overheard conversation. Using anger in Charity is an extremely tricky endeavor and I don’t recommend it when dealing with strangers who don’t intend to be talking to you (unless they are putting someone or something in grave and immediate danger.)
I’ve been involved in a couple of Celebasy for Priests conversations. I also heard a point made on Catholic Radio that may be helpful. A Celebate Priesthood is an excellent tool for providing us with Witness to the Gospel, in that here is this hopefully Holy, Intelligent, Educated man who speaks on a subject to which he is so committed that he has forsaken Women, Money and Personal Ambition to follow. These are the alternate God’s of society. What could make a person willing to give up all that is “good”? Only something that is Greater and that something is, of course, God.
The conversation I was in was with a woman whom, as things progressed, I came to realize was a practicing Lesbian. Our conversation up to this point had been wonderful as I shared with her my love of Christ, even as I came to realize that she was Jewish and she shared her love for God. We talked about how great God is and the gifts he shares with us, and she told me of some great friends of her son (a whole other story) who were Catholic, the father being a deacon of the Church, and how they were extremely special people to her and her son. Anyway, after she shared that she was gay and I declined her offer to discuss why the Church was wrong in this (I said something like “I’m not ready to try to defend the church’s teaching on this subject, as I haven’t educated myself, so I rather not get into it, if that’s ok”) the subject of Priests and their vow of Celebacy came up. She claimed, “It’s just unnatural!” I simply smiled, cocked my head slightly and said “wow, of all people, certainly you should understand that not all people have the same charisms with regards to sexuality” (we’d been talking four hours about charisms). “You don’t think that everyone has the same sexual desires you have, do you? Priests are given the gift of the charism of celebacy to live their life in the state of Celebacy for the Church.” Stopped her dead in her tracks and she realized that her argument for her lifestyle, if appropriate (which I do NOT suggest it is, this was 1 1/2 yrs ago, I’d be somewhat better prepared to have that conversation with her now, though I think God I didn’t get into it with her then, or this answer would have been clouded by the muck I might have waded through in trying to answer her) had to also apply for another alternate view of sexuality. You know, do your own thing. (Argh, how sad that they do not accept God’s way as the definition of right and wrong, but that’s a completely different thread.)
Anyways, I don’ t know if my experience helps at all, but in the event it does, this is what I have,
I would love to get an update on how things progressed regarding your defense of the church’s position on celibacy.