So if Marriage and Sex are so great

Why forbid Priests from taking part in these two things? I mean, I’ve read up on the Catholic view of sex, and if it is such a wonderful and joyful thing, why give it up?

The celibacy of a priest - besides an imitation of Our Lord - is a reminder and a symbol of the eschaton when the physical joys of marriage will be overshadowed by the spiritual joys of union with God in the Beatific Vision. This article by Fr. William Saunders may be helpful in better understanding this:

Thanks. :slight_smile:

If it wasn’t such a wonderful and joyful thing, why would it be a sacrifice?


That is one of the points in Theology of the Body. Christopher West points out, “we don’t give up lima beans for Lent.”

Marriage or Celibacy? Both are fine according to scripture and St. Paul.

1 Corinthians 7

Teaching on Marriage

1Now concerning the things about which you wrote, **it is good for a man not to touch a woman. **

2But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

7Yet **I wish that all men were even as I myself am However,each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. **

8But **I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. **

**9But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. **

25Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.

26I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.

27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. **Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. **

28But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

**32But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. **

36But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.

37But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.

38So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

39A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

40But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

Paul is referring to doctrines that forbid marriage and other goods when done outside the teaching of Christ and for a LESSOR good. Celibacy is an act of giving up one good (marriage and children) for a GREATER good (complete spiritual union with God). This undersanding is supported by 1 Cor. 7:32-33, 38 where Paul recommends celibacy for full-time ministers in the Church so that they are able to focus entirely upon God and building up His kingdom. He “who refrains from marriage will do better.”

I have heard it said by protestant ministers, in private, that they wish their faith required celibacy. They site tremendous strain of splitting quality time on their marriage and their ministry.

Once again, showing the wisdom of the Catholic Church due to it being guided by the Holy Spirit of God.

Do you think everybody is called to marriage?

If the priesthood is so wonderful (and it is!) then why forbid married people or women from taking part in the priesthood and becoming priests? Why force them to give the idea of priesthood up? :slight_smile:

In neither marriage nor the priesthood is a person truly required to ‘give up’ anything. No more so than someone who decides to become a doctor as opposed to a lawyer or musician or whatever ‘giving up’ anything when they do so.

It’s a simple fact that you cannot be, in the Latin Rite (apart from rare exceptions) both married and a priest. For very good reason. Just as you can’t be both a doctor and a lawyer - not if you hope to do any justice to both professions/vocations.


In your mind there exists some idealized view of what Catholicism should be and how it has failed miserably. What better proof than this silly assertion of yours concerning marriage and sex.

If idealized, anything will disappoint.

We are not perfect beings (well, pope Noah I excepted of course) and our forays into relationships, friendships, work relations and marriage are fraught with pitfalls of our own devising.

Don’t put the Ideal as the lowest common denominator among mankind. It is an abstraction and we as Catholics work towards it perfect state: in how we love one another and how we respect what God has created.

Of course many fail: look at the divorce rates (or your parents, maybe?) or scarred souls and bodies from indulgence and licentiousness.

Catholics do not live “dual lives.” They are, as most breathing-living-loving people, “standing with our feet in the gutter, looking at the stars” (a nod to Chryssie Hynde).

Don’t act so pompous or be so presumptuous about the Sacraments.

Be a little humble and read some more. You’re young still and until you finish Don Quixote and see your umpteenth performance of Hamlet, you haven’t the gravitas to speak on the human condition.


In Matt 19 Jesus says that for some it has been given not to marry for the kingdom. Marriage is a part of our being made in the image and likeness of God. It points to heaven but is not the ultimate goal. Heaven is. Contemplating God for all eternity. In 1 Cor 7 Paul says that the man who is married is divided between his wife and God. Marriage is given up for the kingdom. The kingdom can in part be realized in this life through life in the Church and the preists allow us to reflect on that life where we are “neither married nor given in marriage” but are the bride of Christ in a metaphorical way. If you want a deeper understanding of this it is a part of JP II’s Theology of the Body and I am sure Christopher West has some articles at

Lets look at it from the point of sacrifice…

When the apostles asked Jesus who is greatest, he said the least of these will be greatest in Heaven. The least of these in which he spoke were those who sacrificed and served the others. We all have the ability to Love Greatly but the really special ones (like Saints) give up everything to follow the Lord. Everything includes there lives, marriage, wealth, and any sense of persona.

I really don’t understand how protestant congregations can have a leader who is not 100% available. My so & so is dieing can you give him his last rights? I’m sorry but my wife is sick and I can’t go.

In a more relative sense. A boss at a big company gets what? Nice car, big house, bigger paycheck to make very tough decisions. A priest is asked to give up everything to do a more important job of guiding our souls.

Two totally different leaders… One has to look after “his” interests and the other has only the basic necessities. Think about it which one would you like making the decisions?

God’s wisdom is far more reaching than we can possibly understand. I’m aways so humbled when I understand just a piece of it.

God’s Humble servant,
John A.H.

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