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.