Celibacy vs. Marriage


#1

Since many of the problems that originally plagued the church and made marriage for priests impossible no longer exist, why is there nearly universal celibacy for priests? Is a celibate life more holy than a married life? Why is there such a focus on the virginity of Mary? Would she be any less holy if she had children other than Jesus? Many saints were celibate and their life long virginity is something that seems to be emphasized. Why? If Francis of Assisi or Teresa of Avila had large families would there message be any less important?

Just some thoughts.

In Christ,

Andy


#2

The married life represents an attachment to the things of this world. If a man is married, he has an interest in pleasing his wife and in devotion to her; if he is celibate, he is free to pursue only the things of the world to come, and to strive to please only He who will reign in eternity. While celibacy requires a great sacrifice, and adherence to chastity according to that station, it allows one to be more fully spiritual than earthly.


#3

It may be true for some people that if they are married they have an interest in pleasing your wife, children, etc…, but wasn’t Peter married? Weren’t priests and popes married for about the first thousand years of the church? Weren’t they able leaders who dedicated themselves to God?


#4

Yes, they were married originally, but once they dedicated themselves to the work of Our Lord, they lived chastely with their wives, as brother and sister.


#5

[quote=Cherub]Yes, they were married originally, but once they dedicated themselves to the work of Our Lord, they lived chastely with their wives, as brother and sister.
[/quote]

I know of no reliable evidence that this statement is true. Perhaps you would like to quote your sources?


#6

No, not all of them…Besides, to live chastely without ever consumating a marriage would make the marriage invalid. A marriage is an institution in part for the raising of children. To live chastely in a marriage is to say you are not open to having children which is contradictory to what the church teaches.


#7

Being chaste doesn’t necessarily mean not having sex.

chaste PRONUNCIATION:AUDIO: chhttp://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/edu/ref/ahd/s/amacr.gifst KEY ADJECTIVE:Inflected forms: chast·er, chast·est
1. Morally pure in thought or conduct; decent and modest.
2****a. Not having experienced sexual intercourse; virginal. b. Abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse. c. Abstaining from all sexual intercourse; celibate.
3. Pure or simple in design or style; austere. ETYMOLOGY:Middle English, from Old French, from Latin castus. See kes- in Appendix I.OTHER FORMS:chastehttp://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/edu/ref/ahd/s/prime.gifly —ADVERB


#8

2a. Not having experienced sexual intercourse; virginal.

Come on Rich, we all know what we’re talking about here, lets not be pedantic about it. Besides definition 2a appears to blatantly say that being chaste means not having sex. :wink:


#9

[quote=Cherub]The married life represents an attachment to the things of this world. If a man is married, he has an interest in pleasing his wife and in devotion to her; if he is celibate, he is free to pursue only the things of the world to come, and to strive to please only He who will reign in eternity. While celibacy requires a great sacrifice, and adherence to chastity according to that station, it allows one to be more fully spiritual than earthly.
[/quote]

Now that is an interesting approach to sacrament versus charism.

I suggest that you read Paul’s comments on love: love is patient, love is kind… The practical application of those words by Paul is anything but “attachent to things of this world”. It is the attachment to things of this world that prevents or inhibits love. True love is self-emptying.

If celibacy, which is a charism, is so much better than a sacrament, why didn’t Christ institute celibacy as a sacrament? And please, how is celibacy more “spiritual” than “earthly”? Are you really saying that the sacrament of marriage is more “earthly” than “spiritual”?

Can we spell Jansenism? Do we really have to skirt around that heresy again?

And do we really need to slam all of our Eastern rite Catholic priests?

And is it really true that following the command of Genesis “be fruitful and multiply” is somehow less “spiritual” than being a crochety old maid or batchelor?

Some people are given the gift, the charism of celibacy. Many of them enter a professed life of celibacy in an order. If they are women, obviously priesthood has nothing to do with it. If they are men, again, priesthood may have nothing to do with it.

Other people are simply not given the gift of intimate union with another person. They are celibate by default, often because of personality quirks. And while they are “free” to persue “things of the world to come”, many are in less persuit of those things than someone trying to empty themselves in love of spouse.

Or maybe I’m mistaken: the sacrament of marriage is not a means of sanctification, and loving my spouse is not a means or salvation for me and my spouse, and our children???


#10

[quote=Andyman1517]No, not all of them…Besides, to live chastely without ever consumating a marriage would make the marriage invalid. A marriage is an institution in part for the raising of children. To live chastely in a marriage is to say you are not open to having children which is contradictory to what the church teaches.
[/quote]

You are misuing the term “chaste”. The dictionary defines it as “not having engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse”. T:o live cleibately in a marriage is to not be open to children. To live chastely in a marriage is to be open to children.


#11

Thanks for the clarification otm :slight_smile: (But you know what I mean :wink:


#12

Here is some information you might find helpful on the Church’s position on priestly celibacy and why it is important.


#13

Thanks Cherub. I know pretty well what the church believes, I was just wondering what everyone thinks about the church’s belief. Do you think the celibacy requirement needs to be changed? Why or Why not?


#14

[quote=otm]Or maybe I’m mistaken: the sacrament of marriage is not a means of sanctification, and loving my spouse is not a means or salvation for me and my spouse, and our children???
[/quote]

Don’t be ridiculous my friend. Of course it is a good thing and a blessed sacrament to be married. But it is an institution entirely to be observed in this Earth, therefore I have called it “earthly.” Marriage is only until death, and there is no use for it in eternity.


#15

Cherub, is not ordination only a sacrament to be observed on this earth as well? Aren’t all sacraments only to be experienced on this earth? When we are in heaven (hopefully) will it really be necesary to receive the Eucharist when we are in God’s presence?


#16

Well yes, the sacraments are for us to obtain graces while on earth – but holy orders seem to me to be of a very different nature than matrimony, in that the Priest performs uniquely spiritual functions (the confection of the Eucharist, Penance, etc…), while marriage is a sanctifying union between a man and woman as “help mates” or mates, to keep them chaste within the condition of marriage so that they can be preserved from sins of impurity. The two become one flesh and it is not sinful. It just seems very clear to me that these are separate functions, and that one is more spiritual while the other is earthly.


#17

Cherub,

A priest may perform spiritual type functions, but that doesn’t mean they are necesarily a spiritual person. Why not let a very spiritual person who is married become a priest?


#18

I would say to that that a married person who would be a priest might also not be a spiritual person. There have been priests (even Popes) in the Church who were not especially spiritual, yet they functioned in the spiritual capacity and performed the spiritual works.

The reason that I would not agree with married priests is because it is not tradition and is not sanctioned by the Church (I’m sorry if that’s not a satisfying answer on my part personally :slight_smile: I believe that the Church is the instrument of God, and that if things are done this way, it is because they ought to be done this way.)


#19

Cheurb, just because the church has a position doesn’t mean it is necesarily right or wrong. Sometimes the church needs reform. With your attitude, none of the reforms that were made with the Second Vatican Council would have be inaugarated. And I categorically deny that a celibate individual is more spiritual than a married one.


#20

If Catholics want married priests they had better start tithing. We can’t afford married priests with families on the niggardly pittance we collect each Sunday.


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