Sunday, January 29, 2012

Celibacy

A much respected Irish missionary has recently spoken of clerical celibacy coming to an end, it seems to be a popular Irish thing to suggest. The mess that the Church in Ireland is in doesn't quite give authority to the voice of  of those who dissent from the Tradition of the West.

Over the past forty years celibacy has been talked down by so many bishops and clergy, "that which previous generations considered holy ..." now by many is simply an embarrassment, even identified as a cause of our problems.

Today's (OF) second reading reminds us of the dynamic nature of celibacy, it is about wholehearted commitment to Christ, having no other concern but him. The celibacy recommended by Paul presumably because he has as its model the celibacy of Jesus Christ himself. The Greeks take clerical beards as being an icon of Christ, in the West we have regarded celibacy in the same way, it is an icon of that longing for God at the heart of the relationship of the Son for the Father, it is profoundly Trinitarian, in that it can only be lived in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Our problems with understanding celibacy seems very much linked to our problems in understanding asceticism today, it simply isn't part of current Christian spirituality, but then neither is any form of heroism, it is part of a feminisation of the Church.

Married priests both of the East and those recent additions in the West from Anglicanism and Episcopalianism etc do a good  job, they function well, though those with young families are often torn between family and church but with the priesthood we are speaking, I would hope, about more than function, we are concerned about "being", what a man is, what he signifies, what desires are in the depths of his being, in his very entrails.

When Jesus speaks about those who choose celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, always he holds up a hope of an eternal reward. With celibacy in practice, there is a dynamic of incompleteness and longing. in Christian celibacy that can only be satisfied by God. There is voluntary woundedness, even a desire for the continued wounding of the Cross that is incomprehensible to the world and secularised church that speaks of holiness as wholeness and finds death to self as folly and a stumbling block. The desk and grey suit, professionalism, smoothness and the corporate sense do not sit well with celibacy.

I find it fascinating that our Eastern bishops whenever celibacy is raised in a Synod, as happened at the Synod on the Eucharist, are the first to defend it and to regard it as the great treasure of the Western Church, a treasure they recognise and we do not. The Eastern experience comes from something lived, where there are both married and celibate clergy, though even in the East, though all bishops and the higher clergy are in theory "monks" most have never gone through a novitiate of any kind, they are above all those who have chosen celibacy, whereas those who are married, have chosen the lesser part. 

53 comments:

Supertradmum said...

May I suggest a clarity as to celibacy in the Church? The call should be within the traditional vocations of the priesthood, monastic life, and nuns or sisters. The tradition of the Roman Church is that these people are a sign of contradiction to the culture at large. This is the call to be an apostle or disciple. Single people should come to a decision as to these calls, as being single is a rare call, like for those who have to take care of elderly parents, or perhaps a teaching role.

In the Byzantine Rite, of course, there are married priests. I actually was a Byzantine for awhile for reasons and with permission from the bishop. The priest was married and he was a great priest. His wife was great and they are still my friends after ten years. However, we in the West are not used to paying for a couple and children. Even though this priest and his wife were fantastic, I do not think that his and her ministry were any more effective than a celibate priest. Different but not qualitatively so.

I think we need celibacy as a sign to this over-sexualized world that sex is not that important to be a whole and mature person. Also, practically, would parishes want to pay for families, etc. when the Roman Church community is not in a habit of paying for such?

I myself live a celibate lifestyle and have since 1995. This gives me great freedom to do what God wants me to do and pray more than I would if I was not celibate, or chaste, as some would prefer me to say, not taking vows. And, celibacy or chastity is a GIFT from God. One wills to accept the gift.

I do think the modern, liberal Church has made the mistake of teaching that celibacy and the married state are the same in a hierarchy of spirituality, which they are not. Again, we have dumbed down the idea of excellence, which I write about all the time. There is a difference in the state of celibacy and the married state. May there be clearer teaching on this.

Fr Ray Blake said...

One point!

Celibacy is a vowed or promised gift to God, the vow or promise being given to accepted by the Church, and having canonical status, there is difference between chastity and celibacy.
I think you are right we need more celibacy, not less.

Supertradmum said...

Thanks for the clarification. So, I live a chaste lifestyle, which is a gift as well, but less on the hierarchy of vows or solemn promises.

Victor said...

Two points:

a) I always was under the impression that chastity didn't mean not having sexual relations - in fact, every Christian, even a married couple, is called to be chaste. Or am I wrong?
b) I have many friends who are Ukrainian Greek Catholics, several of them are priests, most of them married. If I have learned anything from them it is that married priests don't have less problems (as is suggested so often in the West), the problems are simply different in nature.
In fact, just ask any married couple if their life is easier than it was when they were still single. I bet you will hear a lot of laughter...

Lynda said...

Unfortunately, I think your blog's byline on dissent is apt in this instance. In the vast majority of cases, it is those who reject essential parts of Church doctrine that denigrate a celibate priesthood. And, as Paul said to the Corinthians, when one is married one simply cannot give all of one's attention and efforts to doing God's work as a priest. We badly need our celibate priests!

Anonymous said...

No, what we need is NOT more celibacy, what we need is more proper use of the sacrament of marriage.

One doesn't react soundly against abuses of sex by suppressing it.

+ Wolsey

GOR said...

Indeed Father, celibacy is a sign of contradiction to the world and people denigrate what they don’t understand. The rampant materialism and obsession with sex in society today is in stark contrast to the self-denial and sacrifice which are evidenced by the faithful secular clergy as well as the members of religious orders – both men and women.

Whether it is the promise of celibacy or the religious vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, these are foreign to a society that promotes self-indulgence and immediate gratification all the time.

But they are powerful witnesses to the reality of our life here on earth, demonstrating that we are called to higher things and that this life is not an end in itself. Not everyone has the call – the vocation – to the priestly or religious life, but we are all called to holiness. The more people resist or fail in that calling, the more they seek to drag down those who are striving with the grace of God to achieve it.

epsilon said...

Re your link to Fr Shay Cullen, Father: This is the very same priest who said the following on a documentary a couple of years ago

"Saving souls doesn't come into the equation, doesn't come into our thinking - we're gone beyond all that. That's a very old theology, that's quite irrelevant nowadays we're about transforming society and trying to create some kindgom of justice and peace here on this earth"

I transcribed those words myself while watching a very moving account of the history of Irish missionaries on RTE player (BBC equivalent to iplayer). It was very disappointing though at the end to hear Fr Shay Cullen (Peace Prize nominee) saying "Saving souls doesn't come into the equation, doesn't come into our thinking - we're gone beyond all that. That's a very old theology, that's quite irrelevant nowadays we're about transforming society and trying to create some kindgom of justice and peace here on this earth" accompanied by images of a car park, grafitti, cars and traffic.

At the time I commented (see link here):

Why does it have to be either / or - why can't we have the prayerful worship / tradition AND the justice and peace??

Mercury said...
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Mercury said...
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Mercury said...
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Fr Barry Tomlinson said...

Fr, I'm not trying to score points but whilst I know celibacy has been a tradition in your church for many years I read in 1 Timothy 3.2 that 'the bishop should be the husband of one wife'. How does your church explain that text?

Joseph Shaw said...

If you really wanted a serious answer to that question 'Barry', you wouldn't be asking it on a blog. You must have some theological training - you should at least know where to look it up.

Fr Ray Blake said...

FBT,
It is Christ's Church, not mine.
In order to understand celibacy in the New Testament, it is best to start with the Old Testament.

Priests lived apart from their wives when doing service at the Temple.
There is strong evidence from early Councils and Synods that this was the practice for bishops and priests too.


Personally, I think that might well be Paul's situation. Was he was married but celibate, having left his wife at home, in order to serve the Lord?

Jacobi said...

Fr.,

I have come across many married Protestant clergy over the years, in various fields and throughout many parts of the UK.

They all have one thing in common. They have one foot, hesitantly to sometimes firmly, in the spiritual world - and the other solidly in the secular world.

The Catholic clergy need reform at present, as do the laity of course, but what is called for is wholehearted commitment, and married clergy is simply not an option

Fr Ray Blake said...

Mercury,
I think it is best to find a trustworthy priest and sit down with him and talk this through.

Peter said...

Father - would you like to say a bit more about what you mean by the phrase "Feminisation of the church"?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Peter,
I suppose I mean touchy-feeliness; it is a disservice to Catholic feminism, obviously.
Fluffy kittens weren't Theresa of A,L or C, certainly not Edith Stein or Catherine of Sienna or the God Bearer herself.

rachel said...

I feel sorry for those priests who ARE celibate and who'd rather not be, in this context;The Ordinariate-those former anglican priests who are married and have famalies and are ALLOWED to be ordained catholic priests!!! It makes a mockery of our celibacy rules!!!!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Rachael,
And I feel sorry for those married people who would rather not be, or would prefer to be married to someone else.

But the message of Christ is clear: change your heart!

Amfortas said...

Mercury, I agree with Fr. Blake's suggestion. And do please bear in mind that every word uttered by the saints - and I'm not talking about the New Testament writers here - does not constitute the teaching of the Church. We have the teaching office of the Pope and the Magisterium to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Mercury said...
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Fr Ray Blake said...

Mercury,
I rather like the Sarum Marriage Rite, still used by Anglicans, which speaks about "... and with my body I do thee worship".
The writings of the saint are very important but they come from a particular age, and are indeed calling people outstanding holiness, normally on the "fastrack". They also tend to be written by old saints or saints who have subsequently embraced chastity.

Looking at various Marriage Rites might be more useful, in that they tend to represent the Magisterium but also speak to people "where they are at".

Mercury said...

Father I deleted my comment again. I don't need to be posting inflammatory and unfair things and clogging your combox.

Thank you and please pray for me!

Gigi said...

I'll probably get horribly mauled on here for this, but so be it. I echo Rachel's comments...
I do appreciate the essence of celibacy. Personally, although I have gay friends who I love, I believe that sex should be a blessed union between man and woman within the sanctity of marriage. I agree this is an over-sexualised world. I'm celibate because I want to marry the right man for me, the man God intended me to be with. Because of this fact, which is basic enough, some of my female friends and relatives feel I must be somehow anti-sex. In reality, I'm passionately pro-sex as an expression of physical, emotional and yes spiritual love with a devoted partner. I have immense respect for that ideal.
I also have a deep sympathy for anyone with a clerical vocation within the Catholic church who suddenly finds they've fallen in love, possibly feeling that they've met someone that God intended for them. The Catholic church remains unequivocal about this: unrelinquished intentions towards a significant other, please hang your head and leave. I respect the authority of the Catholic church. But I have questioned why someone who has shown devoted and unconditional love for God should be disgraced by their capacity to love another person. Does this capacity to experience love for a spouse necessarily dilute the strength of one's love for God? And surely avowed celibacy must always be voluntarily promised rather than mandatory?
I've known two nuns who fell in love with good, spiritual men. One made the choice to leave the order and works with her husband in South Africa with a leading charity. She was a wonderful nun and teacher and is now a wonderful wife and teacher. Her love for God and for her husband are both inspirational. The other Sister stayed with the convent, presumably ceasing all contact with the man she loved. I'm not sure if she's still alive, but a mutual friend saw her seven years ago and said she looked and sounded as though a light had been switched off; her faith was reduced to submission. I don't feel that either of these women are "failed" nuns by the way.
I have to say that I certainly don't condone clandestine relationships in this type of situation or any another. I agree with Rachel that, marvellous as the Ordinariate movement is, it must be extremely difficult for Catholic priests who have maintained their vows to be shoulder to shoulder with so many former Anglican priests who have been welcomed with their wives and families. I appreciate that family life brings it's own stresses and complications, but so does loneliness and isolation: Father Ray writes beautifully about offering such loneliness up to God.
Priests, monks and nuns in general presumably have loving relationships with parents, siblings and dear friends: those bonds haven't altered or diminished their devotion to God or unconditional love for mankind.
@ Father Ray, I hope these comments don't anger or disturb you. I've mentioned elsewhere that my Dad decided not to commit to a monastic life because he fell in love with my Mum. He told me it was absolutely right to give that up as he was certain that Mum was intended for him, but that if he could have done both, he would have.

epsilon said...

Rachel said -
"The Ordinariate...ALLOWED to be ordained catholic priests!!! It makes a mockery of our celibacy rules!!!!"

In what way??

Anyone who resents the temporary arrangements for initial priests in the Ordinariate is just being downright petty! Reminds me of the parable of the workers in the vinyard - Matthew 20, 1:16

epsilon said...

Gigi - it is absolute nonesense to say that loneliness is an automatic preserve of the celibate. Loneliness can come to all, whether they are married, single, in religious orders, separated, divorced or widowed (did I cover everything?) Loneliness is a burden, which doe not have to last. How can anyone be lonely whether they are happy or sad, when they are walking a path to holiness?

'Tradition' said...

There's nothing sacred about celibacy. Clerical celibacy was less an expression of the soul's purity (though that was a factor) than a means by which the church forestalled loss of assets. The problem was, beforehand, monks and the clergy were marrying and having families, which raised the spectre for those higher up the church hierarchy of offices and land effectively passing out of church jurisdiction and becoming hereditary. This actually happened in several places in England I can think of - at Hexham and Ripon there were hereditary abbots before the twelfth century. More, it allowed them to further extend their control over their clerical progs by persuading them they were not of this world - separating them from the compromising reality of family and sexual life. In theory. In practice, it just attracted sodomites to the Church as a way of covering their lifestyle and is the main factor in the current sex abuse catastrophe.

Mercury said...
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FrBT said...

Father:

Thank you Gigi for your comments and I hope that you find the man intended for you and you make a wise choice.

Ultimately, life if full of choices. Roman Catholic priests make the informed choice of promising vows of celibacy at the time of Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood.

I have seen and heard of many good and I mean GOOD men leave the priesthood because they have been torn between being involved with the love for a woman and the love for Our Blessed Lord.

It is very sad for all concerned when that choice has to be made.

The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to be celebate. It is not easy to be all alone -when you are unwell, when you are sad after children's and older people's funerals or when parishioners complain about silly little things that are not so important in the 'big picture' of daily life.
When you have nobody to discuss your sadness with.

Remember, when you go home after Holy Mass back to your families or friends, we lonely priests shut the presbytery doors and have the company of the TV or radio. I have my cat and I am very fond of her.
But she cannot look after me if I am ill or if I have a heavy cold or if I come back from hospital after an operation or call the paramedics.

So this choice that we make as celebate priests is our sacrifice to The Lord. Sometimes it it difficult but on the other hand it is a blessing also.

Do my ears ache? Do I get headaches? Do I get told off if I put things back in the wrong place in my kitchen? NO.

One more comment. One of the parishioners very kindly offered to assist me, say after my operation, I had to say to her 'You are very kind ( and very beautiful) and I am very grateful for your kind words but can you imagine the comments and the gossip that I would be getting?'

So we just get on with it and I pray to my Guardian Angel to look after me - and if I really had no choice and had to have a lady to nurse me - I pray that she will have warm hands and a gentle character.

FrBT

Gigi said...

@ Mercury: I read most of your comments before you deleted them. I'm sure that Father Ray and many readers of this blog hold you in their thoughts and prayers. You are certainly in mine.

Amfortas said...

Gigi, you should have the freedom to express your views without fear. People sometimes point to the eastern churches because they allow married clergy. But it should be remembered that marriage after ordination is not permitted. I don't think this means that the married state is seen as somehow lower although, of course, married clergy are not ordained as bishops (perhaps something for the Rev Tomlinson to ponder...having said this it is clear from scripture that the first Pope was married!). But I do think it says something about the eastern attitude towards the priesthood,with its monastic orientation, which in the west is expressed as the rule of celibacy. I think the eastern and western churches are closer than we often think...or closer than people who point to the east to argue against celibacy think.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Tradition"
GO BACK TO SCRIPTURE AND THE FATHERS!!!

Anagnostis said...

"The Greeks take clerical beards as being an icon of Christ"

Where's that eye-rolling smilie when you need him? What nonsense.

Celibacy, like every other ascetical practice, is worse than useless where it engenders a spirit of pride, judgement, separateness and self-regard.

Gigi said...

@ Episilon: it would be absolute nonsense to have said that - that's why I didn't say it.
Part of the reason for my celibacy has been that I would rather have lived alone than entered into a relationship that wasn't right for me and where I would have been ultimately terribly lonely.
I've also met many people now who are well on their own paths to holiness; they are not all necessarily priests or nuns.
@ Tradition: no, I DO believe that celibacy is sacred, And I also believe that marriage is sacred.
@ Fr BT: bless you; and yes, gossip is a dreadful thing.
@ Fr Ray: see, I knew you would end up getting rattled on here.

Amfortas said...

Mercury, I'm a little worried about how you are reading the Fathers (and perhaps scripture?), seemingly out of context or without an orthodox theological and historical perspective. And where did you pick up the notion that the church wants married men to leave their wives?

Anonymous said...

... And tradition and the fathers, Father Blake - no matter what St Jerome and Tertullian's later and contrary positions were - support clerical marriage, not the existence of a legal obligation of celibacy.

By the way, check out the earliest version of St Jerome's Vulgate at 1 Cor 9:5 and his later one, where under the influence of encratitic thought, he deliberately altered the word order to give the deceptive impression that the apostles were not (mostly) married ...

It's surprising that no-one is referring to the known will of Christ in this matter - a priesthood (and episcopate) comprised of both married and celibate men - not a post mediaeval ideal of a denatured, dehumanised, "angel-priest".

Here is a critique of Card. Stickler's work which attempted to prove that compulsory celibacy dated from apostolic times and was, by implication, the will of Christ:

http://www.east2west.org/mandatory_clerical_celibacy.htm

This crtique - thoroughly theologically orthodox - is only the tip of the iceberg.

People who talk about the will of Christ really ought to make sure first that what they are banging on about really is the will of Christ!

+ Wolsey

Pablo the Mexican said...

Gigi.

You are a sweet child.

We will ask Saint Raphael on your behalf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0YQdLuMwHY

This is how a courtship and wedding should happen.

Don't let someone tell you "I love you, let me take you into mortal sin"

*

Fr Ray Blake said...

Anagnostis,
I remember a paper issued by a couple senior clergy of the Diocese of Thyateira answering questions at the time the CofE were debating female clergy speaking of beards as an image of masculinity which was a significant part of the icon of Christ, I didn't think it so crazy then nor so now.

Mercury said...
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George said...

Anag,
I think we are quite aware ascetical practices are useless when it engenders a spirit of pride, judgement, separateness and self-regard.
I think you are just repeating what Fr Ray is saying, in a self-regarding way.
You're sneering does annoy!

Part-time Pilgrim said...

This idea of the feminisation of the church is a recurring one with "traditional" Catholics. (Hate the term "traditional" but can't think of a better one). I find the arguments superficially convincing but whenever I reflect deeper I find those qualities that are identified as "male" are ones that I would wish my daughters to have. (Sons too if I had any) This is particularly true of "heroism". To be fair you have listed some women heroes (There are lots more - Margaret Clitherow, Margaret Ward and what about Mother M. Richard Beauchamp Hambrough?) and you have acknowledge it as unfair. "Touchy-feeliness" is a weakening of the Faith (and I think likely to be unattracive to women as well as men) but it should not be associated with the feminine. What could be more heroic than a women refusing life-saving treatment in order to protect her unborn child; nothing touchy-feely about that!

Anagnostis said...

George - Perhaps. I'm sorry for annoying you. I had wanted also to make the point that Wolsey has made, but got sidetracked with beardy thing.

Gigi said...

Thank you Pablo! Yes, I've seen that clip elsewhere on this very Blog I believe; it does capture the scaredness of courtship and marriage. The word "courtship" seems to provoke a mystified or amused reaction from some people, both male and female alike. For me, it simply evokes the reverence for romantic and physical love within marriage that's being eroded by the culture of non-commitment, divorce and casual sexualistaion.
I've just re-read the comments on here. I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of secular people who are unafraid to say they're celibate. My sister, bless her, frequently refers to me as "the spinster" (Spinny, affectionately). That word has ceased to simply imply an unmarried woman perceived to be of marrying age. It's now become a derogaotry term implying a woman who's rejected relationships with men or been rejected by them. I can imagine the kind of comments single celibate men are open to.
I'm pleased too that my own comments on here weren't totally misconstrued. I would never say "Catholic priests should not be celibate". I certainly wouldn't want my Catholic priests to be putting themselves about, any more than I would want that for myself or my closest friends! But I was questioning whether the vocation of a priest who'd been joined in holy matrimony was absolutely diminished. Rather than calling for the vow of celibacy to be lifted for Catholic priests, I was raising the question of a mandatory vow not being a voluntary promise.
It seems we all appreciate the huge sacrifices made by priests and nuns, and the burden of loneliness. And those priests who do find themselves in love and are forced to make such harsh decisions suffer a particular heartbreak, whatever they decide.

Gigi said...

Ooops - the "scaredness" of courtship and marriage? I meant sacredness obviously... Oh, I dunno though...

Pablo the Mexican said...

The world can exist without the Sun, it would quickly die without Priests.

Priests have a million sheep; sometimes not a single friend.

As a Cristero, our motto is "With my blood and with my soul, I will defend the cross."

We are friends to the Priests that many times do not really care for our friendship.

But we stay close. Many are the times that those who would harm them think twice and decide the collateral damage is not worth it.

If you have a Priest and Confessor, your spiritual adviser, when you meet with him, always take a sandwich, biscuit, and drink for him.

If he won't eat it, he will give it to someone poor.

It will show him your gratitude, and keep you in practice for when you find a man, and work your way to his heart through his stomach.

Padre Blake needs good men around him, but even more so, he needs you good women.

The Devil is more afraid of one righteous woman than he is of all the men in the world.

God be with you.

*

Gigi said...

Ah Pablo, I'm glad you realise there are many good and righteous women, and certainly in the Catholic church! But, and speaking as a woman who loves her own cooking, I truly believe the only way to a man's heart is through his own.

Agnes Ainsworth said...

This leter on celibacy was rejected by the Catholic Times:
Sexual continence from apostolic times in the priesthood is too important an issue to be dismissed or denied. Accumulated evidence is that the practice was a developed discipline from a norm to law; a normal process in development of laws. The Council of Elvira (AD 305) stated:
“We decree that all Bishops Priests and Deacons in the service of the ministry are entirely forbidden to have conjugal relations with their spouses and beget children; should anyone do so let him be excluded from the honour of the clergy”. (Canon33)

It is erroneous to claim that the Council of Elvira is the origin of clerical continence. Juridical constitutions of the nascent Church were transmitted orally. During the first three centuries of persecution, it would have been impossible to have written laws. St Paul also gave the Scriptural justification for a celibate clergy: “For he who is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to The Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of this world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided.” (1 Cor. 7:32-34)

The most significant Scriptural justification however are the words of Jesus after his discourse on divorce when the disciples questioned; was it expedient to marry, Jesus answered:
“Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:12).

Browsing on “Celibacy for the sake of the kingdom” shows many Catholic websites that fully expand on the issue, however using “Eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom” displays a wide variety of Protestant interpretations as one would expect. The general consensus: Jesus was teaching that voluntary sexual continence for the sake of the kingdom was an exalted calling for chosen ones, but none recognised that it was the Catholic Church’s response to Jesus’ teaching. Like so many other Apostolic traditions not recognised by Protestants as having a Scriptural justification, it is implied by St Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15).

The Protestant websites show: 1) justification for homosexual practices and transgenderism: 2) the fundamental, literal, self-castration, which was not an unknown practice as several of the early Church Fathers condemned it. 3) a correction to the excesses of Roman Catholicism in the Middle Ages by the Reformation ordaining married men: 4) a passionate appeal for the active promotion of a singles deliberate choice for sexual continence as a counterbalance to the prevailing sexual immorality and excessive promotion of married life for all. "We need to get away from the idea that brethren and sisters aren't on the road to maturity unless they're married”. Aletheiacollege). 5) Cross references are found too, which prefigure a celibate priesthood (Isaiah 56:4-5), and a future reward (Rev 14:4).

amator Dei said...

'The world can exist without the Sun, it would quickly die without priests,' says Pablo the Mexican. Without the Sun the world and human life would not exist at all, and the world existed for millions of years before there were any priests or religions - but God must have been just as much present in it as he is now. God is not bound by human ways of thinking, nor by human ideas of what is religiously correct - such as celibacy.
Christ himself cannot be called a celibate. The most we can say of him is that as far as we know he did not marry. Everyone is called by God to serve him with wholehearted devotion, so this must be just as possible for married people as for celibates. Nobody seems to notice that the Catholic Church cannot consider celibacy essential to priesthood. If it did it could not have ordained married former Anglican clergy, even as an exception to normal practice.

Pablo the Mexican said...

The loss of Catholic Identity is staggering.

In the Six days of Creation, God created the firmament; the Sun, Stars, and so on during the forth- 4th day.

"Let there be Light"

The command even before the First day.

That Light was God's ethereal presence.

Along came Satan, and to mock God and His creation, showed man how to make his own light, that rather than rest after a days work, man labors needlessly both day and night.

"You are a Priest forever, in the Order of Melchizedek"

The Priesthood has existed even before time, and will exist even past the Angel's declaration:

"Time is no more"

God bless our Priests.

They try so hard to provide the Sacraments and a good catechism, but we remain stuck on stupid.

*

Anonymous said...

Agnes,

There's no tradition of gradual implementation of compulsory celibacy OR continence within clerical marriage.

In fact, your translation of the relevant canon of Elvira is misleading. Conchini is trapped by the Latin, which actually prohibits bishops, priests and deacons from denying their wives sexual intercourse - so far from being a prohibition against conjugal relations in the case of bishops, priests and deacons, the canon permits it!

All Conchini can do is put this rather embarassing detail down to a copyist's error. Talk about a prioristic/circular reasoning!


+ Wolsey

Fr Ray Blake said...

Wolsey,
That is ridiculous!
You seem to be blind to a great deal of evidence from East and West.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Father, it's not ridiculous.

You read the Latin.

+ Wolsey