Most priests know far more about marriage than most married people do


To summarize most of the 200+ replies in 18 words in two sentences: there’s an objective approach and there’s a subjective approach to these things. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.


I think the priests see the whole dynamic as they walk with you through your marriage. When they hear Confession. And go with you on the journey of difficulty along the road you are facing. It is then these priests do so well. Many of them have, again, been through marriage of their parents. And know as much about the prospects of marriage as anyone else who knows a bit about being married and parents themselves, from their own parents. The priest has gone through marriage under his parents, as a child. So he knows a thing or two, just from observation and witness of that Covenant relation. But that doesn’t mean he knows exactly the trials of marriage to a specific woman, in the same way. Two different experiences, of two very different realities. But all belonging Covenant to the same and one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The priest who goes with you on that journey through Confession, Counseling, or Spiritual Direction will gain greater insights because you’ve given him the gift of your Sacramental union, which is Wisdom itself. And from there, the priest becomes better and grows from it. He is then by God’s grace to help others too. Your Confession is a gift to the priesthood. It helps him see what is out there. And know the dynamic of the relationship. But, the nice thing about priests, they are neutral observers. They haven’t been caught up in the emotional aperture of being married in intimate life with someone. Even better, because of this, they preserve the Sacraments for you. They keep to the faith in an uncompromising witness for you. So that they do not give you excuses. They do not hand you down for anything lesser than the love God has for you. Even if they don’t experience marriage the same way as you or I do. They nevertheless, are set apart - Holy. In order to preserve that love, life, and relationship God has. Thus not being compromised nor diminished of/for the full expectation of the life of it.


If you’re alluding to doctrine I would challenge you to attempt to substantiate this.


I generally agree with your precepts here and acknowledge that most priests have better understanding of marriage than most laymen. I would however point out that most people learn about marriage through their parents. THis I would argue is why more and more marriages fall apart because they have witnessed their parents marriage / non marriage etc.


What is enterprise?


Yes, they souls struggling or not struggling to be good and holy.

And that’s why they know so much about marriage.


Erm, that would be “disembodied virtues.”


Enterprise falls under the cardinal virtue of fortitude. It’s doing more than simply enduring, it’s being opportunistic under difficult circumstances, and seeking an even greater good than simply “holding on” to what one has.

Fortitude might involve endurance…hanging on to a life raft…just to use a physical example…but “enterprise” might involve finding a way to save even more people from the capsizing of a ship by finding a way to signal others, to move one’s liferaft to them by fashioning a sail out of coats and blankets, that sort of thing.

So it’s really going beyond the call in an opportunistic way - in times of trouble - to secure an even greater good.

It could be applied to non-physical events too, just takes some imagination.

It’s the virtue of turning events around, not just barely getting through them.

There’s a great story of a Marine company commander in Korea who - in 20 degrees below circumstances - cut off and surrounded by the enemy watching his wounded men slowly give in to the elements…one night he had a spur of “enterprise” and he said ‘I think we need to do some raids on the enemies supply line’ and so he put together a small group of mostly able Marines and led them out of the security of their camp at night and started screwing with the North Koreans, and this totally turned the situation around…and the rest of the Marines responded to these small victories…and rallied a stronger defense until such time as reinforcements could be sent.

That’s enterprise.


What are disembodied virtues please?

People just make up terms.

Be specific.


Words do have meaning.

past tense: disembodied; past participle: disembodied

separate or free (something) from its concrete form.

noun: virtue; plural noun: virtues

1. behavior showing high moral standards.
"paragons of virtue"
synonyms:	goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, worthiness, purity; More
principles, ethics
"the simple virtue of farm life"
antonyms:	vice, iniquity

(BTW, Xantippe didn’t coin the phrase “disembodied virtues.” It’s been used for several centuries by lauded authors.)


Well but that’s not an answer. It’s just two unlinked definitions.

Do the work of giving us examples using real virtues and circumstances relevant for priests and lay, respectively.

Time for some harder work than cut and paste.

We have almost trained our cat to cut and paste, without the snark.

Let’s see…


You can’t put two definitions together to understand a phrase? Here, I’ll help:

Disembodied virtues = high moral standards that are separate or free from their concrete forms.

(In addition to a writing class, I also suggest a basic philosophy course. A few lessons on Aristotle and the phrase disembodied virtues likely would seem quite comfortable to you. A quick preview: moral virtue is inherently linked with activity. Virtues spoken of without associated actions are empty, much like listing virtues that one might need to hone in marriage without any sense of actions that grow them.)


Sorry…that doesn’t pass the test of intellectual work.

You need to substantiate the introduction of this term into the discussion, using the material of the discussion, emphasizing how it adds or differentiates. As it stands, it doesn’t do any work, but give you a little platform to preach about Aristotle.

So let’s begin the real work at this point (no running away with condescending comments about my education):
what precisely is a disembodied virtue in a priest in contrast to one in a lay person?" and how do these differ from other virtues they have respectively.

So far the term is fogging, not clarifying.


Yes, I’ve often thought that of Aristotle… :roll_eyes:

You misread (I assume innocently) the phrase used by Xantippe. I clarified it for you. Then you claimed it was “made up” by Xantippe. I demonstrated to you that this isn’t the case. And now that you know it’s an actual term, you require others to hand hold you through its explanation (after, I might add, I offered a very rudimentary – read: easy to understand – explanation that can be easily applied to the conversation at hand). That’s a mighty enticing offer but I’ll have to pass. The effort you’re putting forth doesn’t “pass the test of intellectual work.”


Before marrying a Catholic, I did my fair research on sites with Priests as people who gave advice. Honestly not even one of the 50 priests gave any substantial advice and just seemed too philosophical and totally detached from the real world. This became in my mind a fact after I got married. They have an idealistic idea that may work somewhere, but in the real world they are far removed!


I want someone to justify the introduction of this term “unembodied virtues” into this discussion.

When I earned my Ph.D, in engineering one of the first seminars I took was on the philosophy of science. There’s a principle that I learned in that short course called “parsimony” that rears its head here: introduce no additional theory or hypothesis than the data demands, introduce no terms not demanded by the data, introduce no new experimental variable or measure unless it’s strongly suggested from previous findings.

So, with my more technical background, I am not budging.

And since you can’t bridge the gap by giving us the substantiation, I suggest you skip this sub-thread.


Again, it was “disembodied virtues.”

I’m supposed to be doing something else, but very briefly, gracepoole is correct to say:


So again I ask someone to apply this to the question at hand.

are you saying that a priest’s temperance is somehow disembodied? or the lay person?
or is his charity, or his fortitude, or his chastity, or his patience, or his attentiveness, or his humility.

there’s an assertion here of a virtue that exists in concept only not practiced (as it’s said in places “…more honored in the breach than in the observance”…)

so what is not practiced in the case of the priest, or the lay??

That’s what is missing big time here.


It’s specific to the circumstances.

Take for example, the pregnant or nursing mother’s temperance. She’s supposed to be eating appropriately to her condition, forgoing alcohol, limiting caffeine, perhaps forgoing or limiting quite a number of different foods and medications, but at the same time not fasting on fast days. The priest’s temperance is going to be quite different.

Likewise, the married couple’s chastity is quite distinct from the celibate Roman Catholic priest’s celibacy. Etc.

How virtue looks is very specific to the particular duties of different stations in life.


So it’s not really disembodied then is it?


So now, how is it different per circumstances?

Does the exercise of the virtue require more of a particular faculty in one or the other circumstances?

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