Marriage is not inferior to Celibacy


#1

The Catholic Church does not view Marriage as inferior to celibacy.

Both Marriage and the Priesthood are Sacrament. They are sacred.

In the Latin Rite, a priest is symbollically married to the Bride of Christ, the Church.

So marriage is not inferior to celibacy. Pope John Paul II and Second Vatican II affirms it. These two Sacraments are holy. None is greater than the other.

Priesthood celibacy allows the priest to focus all his energies on God and tending his sheep.

While the husband is concern with the welfare of his wife. The role of the husband to his wife is to give his life for his beloved much like Jesus gave up his life for the Church.

So if you are one of those who believes the celibacy is superior. It isn’t.


#2

Marriage is very good. But celibacy is better.

Celibate chastity is one of the Counsels which, while optional, are needed if one wishes to be perfect in the religious sense.

Paul himself says marriage is good and permissable, but that it is better to remain unmarried.

This is a strange trend developing in Catholicism…a “different but equal” notion about the two that just isn’t true. Celibacy, clerical or not, has always been considered superior theologically.


#3

This is a pertinent canon from the Council of Trent, Session 4:[INDENT]Can. 10 If anyone says that the married state excels the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is better and happier to be united in matrimony than to remain in virginity or celibacy,[15] let him be anathema.


15 Matt. 19:11 f.; 1 Cor. 7:25 f., 38, 40; c. 12, C.XXXII, q. I; c.g, C.XXXIII, q.5; c. 16, X, De sponsal., IV, I.
[/INDENT]What’s clear about this canon is that matrimony is not better than celibacy. At the very least, therefore, celibacy is as good as matrimony.

But does this mean that celibacy is better than matrimony? That’s a question that isn’t directly answered by this canon, although some may infer it based on its citation of 1 Corinthians.


#4

If I am reading it correctly, the *Catechism of the Catholic Church, *1618-1620, refers to marriage as “the great good” and to virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven as “the most excellent good.”


#5

So the goal of superior theology is the willful, deliberate complete and abrupt end of the human race?


#6

Granted that celibacy is superior to marriage, it doesn’t follow that everybody is called to celibacy.


#7

One thing you have to be careful with is ascribing too much holiness to celibacy. Just because a person is celibate does not mean they are holy. IMHO, it is wrong to say that celibates, in general, attain to greater holiness than married people.


#8

I cannot imagine why this would be a concern for anyone. The call to a vocation is a call to a vocation. As long as one answers to what they are called to everything is fine. When people start getting into who or what is better, it is good to recall the Scripture about the two apostles who were concerned with which one would sit at the right hand of Jesus. Live and work where God plants you and you will grow appropriately and be rewarded appropriately.


#9

The goal of superior theology is the salvation of human souls.
Vincent and Magdalan both make good points.


#10

Let me give an analogy - my favourite meal is lasagna.

Does that mean that all I eat is lasagna and never eat anything else?

No, it doesn’t, I still eat other things. Just none of them are as good as lasagna. :slight_smile:

It’s the same with celibacy. Celibacy is a better state than marriage - but that doesn’t mean that everyone is called to celibacy.

JD


#11

IMHO, it is wrong to say that celibates, in general, attain to greater holiness than married people.

I think we can say that it’s rather that out of the two, celebacy is the greater **path **to holiness.


#12

I agree. Although, celibacy isn’t an automatic “have your ticket to heaven” - it is an oppurtunity for such awesome graces. But you can still reject those graces.

Even looking at the Saints a lot more are celibate than married.

JD


#13

We should also remember the historical context of the Council of Trent – the anethema isn’t addressed to the general public, it’s addressed to those Protestants claiming to be priests, ministers, bishops and so on who married and claimed that for a clergyman to be married was better than for him to be celebate.


#14

Celibacy has always been for the few. If everyone was a doctor and no-one a nurse the National Health Service would collapse overnight, but that’s a very hypothetical problem. The difficulty is in finding enough people with the intelligence and commitment to become doctors, and that always will be a difficulty. Same with celibacy. The problem is almost always lack of vocations, not too many.


#15

Originally Posted by Johndigger:

I agree. Although, celibacy isn’t an automatic “have your ticket to heaven” - it is an oppurtunity for such awesome graces. But you can still reject those graces.

Even looking at the Saints a lot more are celibate than married.

JD

Yeah, just check out the Apostles. Many of them weren’t celibate, and yet they all got into heaven (well, except Judas). :slight_smile:

One of them not celibate was our very first Most Holy Father. :smiley:


#16

I agree with everything in your last post. What point are you making exactly?

I’m just saying that there are more celibate Saints than married ones, although, not exactly conclusive evidence, it’s more something just worth noting when talking about marriage/celibacy.


#17

Originally Posted by Johndigger:

I agree with everything in your last post. What point are you making exactly?

I’m just saying that there are more celibate Saints than married ones, although, not exactly conclusive evidence, it’s more something just worth noting when talking about marriage/celibacy.

I’m simply saying that holiness should not be equated with celibacy. There are many very holy persons in the Church’s history who are not celibate.

I don’t believe any one here is saying that one cannot be holy if married, but there’s a real danger to think that “monastic” Catholics are more likely to end up more holy than, say, missionary Catholics, who may even be married. I’ve always had difficulty with this…


#18

Marriage is not inferior to Celibacy. We are all called to Holiness. Holiness consists in doing the WILL OF GOD. Marriage is absolutely essential to Celibacy as without marriage and families there would be no celibates.

However, Priesthood is a higher calling than Marriage. Parents can pro-create Human Life but a Priest can consecrate bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.


#19

Originally Posted by childofmary1143:

However, Priesthood is a higher calling than Marriage. Parents can pro-create Human Life but a Priest can consecrate bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

So, by this logic, is the non-ordained monk in a high but relatively lesser calling than the celibate priest? :shrug:

And what then about women. They can’t become priests. They cannot consecrate bread and wine… Are male priests then called higher than women? The BVM was married. What about her? :confused:


#20

The Blessed Virgin Mary was celibate. That’s why we call her the Virgin.
She became the Mother of God. There is no higher calling for any human being.


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