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Written Word > Articles & Commentaries > May 2009 > A Case for Celibacy by Priests
Current rating: 3.8 (8 ratings)
Preach it, Fr. Barron. Continue doing the good Lord's work. Jesus, I trust in thee.
5/15/2009 4:29:27 PM
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Sandra Salinas
The Lord has spoken! Thank you Fr. Barron! We need to think with a spiritual mind, hear with spiritual ears, and see with spiritual eyes to understand Celibacy.
5/15/2009 4:51:15 PM
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God created the world good. God is not the world. Nor is God apart or distant by setting the world in motion. Marriage, sexuality and intimacy are goods to be enjoyed in their right ordering to God. Marriage, man and woman in relation to each other are sacramental expressions of God in this world pointing to the reality of God in eternity.
5/15/2009 4:53:06 PM
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How is celibacy different from having sex(priests)? The church need to explain that to the younger generation of priests even the old who think they have been punished by accepting priesthood. They should know that it was they choice to beging with. I have to accept that live and live in saintety and stop sining. God is the only one who can see in every corner dark or not.

Please teach your priests how to stay free of sex and accept their cross for God!

5/15/2009 4:55:04 PM
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The only way to remain pure and accept the cross of Christ is to abide in Him at all times through prayer, the Sacraments, His word, and His love. Jesus said it very clearly: "Without me you can do nothing." This is so true!
Not only priests, but all baptised Christians have the obligation to lead holy lives, although priests, due to their consecration and the mission they have accepted at their Ordination, should set an example for all to follow by becoming similar to Christ. We, the faithful, are called to support our priests with our prayers, our respect and our gratitude. Without them we would have no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist we would have no Catholic Church. It is that important!
5/15/2009 9:00:15 PM
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Remy Rosenhoover
Father good writing. The nuances of the Catholic faith in building the kingdom are fascinating. The vow of celibacy once taken is absolute. However, not all Catholic priests have taken a vow of celibacy. We have been blessed with Anglican priests coming home to the church. Catholics so frequently do not appreciate the many facets of there faith.
5/15/2009 9:11:53 PM
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I see Divine Providence at work. St. Paul tells in his first letter to the Corinthians that the Lord will bring to light what is hidden in darkness. I believe this present scandal is for the purification and santification of the Priesthood. Providentially, Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 2009 through June 2010 a year for Priests. We must pray fervantly and unceasingly for our Priest!
5/16/2009 12:00:17 AM
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The Catholic Church teaches that Sacraments (with the possible exception of Baptism) must be administered by a priest. Sacraments are central in our walk with The Lord. The spiritual leader of ordinary Catholics is the priest. Tens of miliions of people have left the Catholic Church due to the absence of priests, the absence of the Sacraments, the absence of leadership. Catholics are illequipped to answer the questions and accusations of Fundamentalist, Pentacostals and Evangelicals. The Church is failing to lead God's people because it refuses to develop a corps of non-celibate clergy. Do you remember that great fear of dying without a priest? Why isn't the Church concerned about living without a priest? It is apparent to me that very few men have been given the gift of celibacy. I have known too many lonely, alcoholic, sad priests to believe that this is the way The Lord wants His Church led on earth. The Bishops won't train lay people or ordain men who desire the companionship of a woman in their lives. The Church has lost Europe (most recently Ireland and Poland) and is losing Latin America. If the Catholic Church can't bring Jesus to the people, someone else will. And they are.
5/16/2009 12:06:22 AM
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i am a catholic religious priest, with 25 years of faithfulness to celibacy. i find your argument for it in the cnn article very weak: your arguments are purely ascetic. at no point in the article do you give the main argument, as far as i am concerned: that Jesus Christ was celibate, and that he calls some to imitate him in that, in order to serve. your line of argumentation therefore only complicates the issue, and can even be construed as to put into doubt that Jesus himself was celibate.
5/16/2009 6:50:32 AM
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First lesson in the Bible is that man needs woman and that is the reason why she was created. This is very clear so far a priest to say that the story of Hosea contradicts this is absurd and that God picks some to be celibate as examples of the world to come please give me a brake. There is nothing magical or mystical about not having a physical love for a woman and wanting to reproduce.Actually it seems twisted and perverted.
5/16/2009 9:45:45 AM
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Dan A.
Let's not forget, that a priest is married already, so he cannot marry another. I also know that priests are far to busy to give both a personal family, and his flock the attention God commands for each situation. once of them would be severely neglected.

5/16/2009 11:10:42 AM
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Joseph Patrick Kennedy
I've been a priest for 36 years as of a few days ago. I have always said that I have experienced more love, more affection, more acceptance, more intimacy as a celibate priest than, sadly, many, many mariages I know. The great iconic value of any celibate life is simply this: There is nothing on earth that can fully satisfy the longings of my soul. When I combine my commitment to God's people in a love that has its origin beyond this world, I sense a nearness to Christ that makes any sacrifice pale in comparison.
5/16/2009 11:15:18 AM
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Padre Barron, I am also scandalized by how some innocent people try to defend their friend priest by attaking celibacy.
Are there any good men or women left that can speak up for bravery in acknowledging mistakes, courage in seeking forgiveness and keeping to promises made even when sacrificing the good (the feeling of being a nice person) is necessary to achieve the better (fidelity to Christ and the Chuch teachings)? How about the dignity of men and women deserving an honest HUSBAND/WIFE!

Can somebody teach us about what redeemed men and redeemed women should seek in one another?

I am praying here for all of us who have made mistakes and for God's grace to bring us back to the truth with compassion.

God bless!
5/16/2009 1:32:50 PM
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I cannot find even one verse in the Bible that calls church leaders or pastors to a life of celibacy. Quite the opposite: there is a verse that says it is better to marry than to "burn" with lust. When I thought of this, it made me wonder why the Catholic Church requires celibacy of its priests. This puzzled me until I read somewhere that the early church "fathers" were worried that if priests married, that they might try to keep some of their property separate from the church's property so that they could leave it to their children. This would NOT have been acceptable to the early founders of the Catholic Church so they made up the requirement of celibacy because it is NO where found in the Bible.
5/16/2009 5:11:25 PM
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Remy Rosenhoover
Read all of Corinthians chapter 7 especially verse 7. Paul strongly recommends the celibate life is the best life for those who like himself are ministers of God.
"Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God..."

Celibacy is a significant part of becoming a priest in the Roman Rite. However, many Catholic priests are married. Former Anglican's and Eastern Rite Catholics. So we do have married priests.

Maybe we should accept the wisdom of Saint Paul.
5/16/2009 5:57:13 PM
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You should also read with attention Matthew 19 on Marriage and Divorce. Focus on verses 10-12. Jesus explains that there are three kinds of people who are incapable of marriage ("eunuchs": from birth, from castration, and THOSE WHO HAVE VOLUNTARILY RENOUNCED MARRIAGE FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM to devote themselves entirely to its service. Remember that becoming a Catholic priest of the Latin right is voluntary, just as a young Catholic man marries his bride exercising his free will. In both cases they must accept their specific responsibilities of fidelity, self giving, and sacrifice. No one says it is easy, but with the grace of God, it is both possible and beautiful. +
5/16/2009 8:55:41 PM
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Fr. Barron your gift for clearly sharing the Catholic Church teaching on these challenging issues is magnificent. Please continue your great work. God Bless You!
5/17/2009 2:50:01 PM
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Lisa Contreras
Well done again, Father Barron! As always you go straight to the heart, to the essence of a teaching! Esteban (above) charged that you complicated the issue and he then suggested that the basis for the Church's teaching on celibacy was simply that Christ was celibate. But what you wrote actually illuminates for us the mystery of Christ's celibacy - in living the consecrated, celibate life, Christ embodied the transcendant truth to which you refer! God bless you greatly, Father, and may He give you strength and courage to keep on keeping on - getting out THE WORD!!
5/17/2009 10:14:51 PM
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Deacon Don
Jesus was celibate, but the apostles probably weren't. (especially Peter) Early church leaders were required to demonstrate that they could run a family (see Timothy) Bishops were to be married to one wife. It is possible to minister as a married person; Eastern rite priests, orthodox priests, protestant ministers; and I believe that many priests are stunted in their spiritual growth because while it is certainly possible to be come a great saint as a celibate, it is also possible to be come quite selfish and self centered when there is no one to pull you out of yourself, which I think happens frequently. Celibacy should be optional, and can be witnessed in religious orders as a charism. But it has very little value, and a lot of dangers, in parish ministry. And as another comment said, why doesn't the Church care about access to priests?
5/18/2009 7:04:16 AM
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Dcn Marcelino
Fr. Barron, thank you for your voice in the wilderness. Your logic in a world of chaos. I would encourage all of your posters to become familiar with Pope John Paul the Great’s writings on the Theology of the Body. The Holy Spirit, through his writings, gives the Church what She needs when She needs it. Many of these objections or lack of understanding can be remedied by even some exposure to his writings. From priests unhappy with celibacy to understanding what the sacrament of marriage (really) points to as a sacrament. You were spot on with the points in your second to last paragraph about the eschatological context of love (as with all of the sacraments). Only in that eschatological context does all of this make any sense. We practice here (sacramentally) what we will be doing for all eternity.
5/18/2009 11:36:48 AM
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Yes, you are right, Dcn Marcelino. I am familiar with with Pope John Paul the II’s writings on the Theology of the Body. There is nothing greater that has been published yet on this topic. Celibacy is, in a sense, for all people. Even in a marriage the bride and groom give themselves to each other by renouncing everyone else. In the case of the priest, he gives himself to the Church, his bride, and renounces the option of marriage to a woman. He becomes the spiritual father of the faithful, and devotes his life to his bride, the Church and his children, the Body of Christ. Celibacy is also for widows and widowers, and for single people who are faithful to the Gospel and wish to be united to Jesus Christ in purity of soul and body, even in this life. +
5/18/2009 5:31:32 PM
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A great defense of celibacy, in itself, as a valued part of the Catholic Tradition.

However, nothing in this fine article defends celibacy as a sine qua non for presbyteral ordination. Nor should it.

Celibacy, to be truly valued as the great charism that it is, must be a free choice detached from any ecclesial order.

Celibacy is proper to religious life in the same way that sexual intimacy is proper to married life. But to ordination? We would have better celibates, and better priests, if the two were not juxtaposed.
5/18/2009 9:37:53 PM
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Dcn Marcelino
A. - Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be, even if Fr. was attempting to. Simple articles can never accomplish what sometimes takes a lifetime to learn. Maybe the article was meant to spurn discussion of OUR approach to celibacy, it’s definition or spurn those who are considering a religious life to address the requirements, as they are, before taking the first step. While I am a married deacon I had to take a deep look at the possibility that if my wife were to pass before I did, I would be required to live the celibate life and not re-marry. I had a couple of very faithful single candidates in my class, one of which continued on to ordination. They had to face the celibacy aspect before continuing on. I pray for them still. Just as chastity is a requirement to all of us in whatever state of life we are in, it takes a lifetime to master it. If for a moment we slip or grow slack, we must reach out to God to regain our foothold. You are right in that celibacy is a requirement for all of us unless we are called to the married state. When I joined the army it was a requirement to participate in ongoing training every day. Golfers cannot go (or shouldn’t go ) to the course if they haven’t hit the range first, especially if they want to be any good. Lawyers must continue to practice law to stay up with the changing laws. Firefighters, police officers, deacons, religious, teens, young adults, and on and on, they all have to continue to press into their vocation requirements in order to exercise their fidelity to it. Maybe this doesn’t answer it either but it sure made me review / renew my commitment to my vocation. There but for the grace of God go I.
5/19/2009 11:36:04 AM
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In the bible it states that God has called some to be priest, if God has called you to be apriest then he will equip you to be a priest. I know alot of young men who desire to be a priest but has God called them? I have friends that deisre to be married then go out and find someone else who has the same desire. they get together have children and such and things do not work out, why because God did not call them to do that. What I do not like is how the church makes the men priest seperate themselves from others so that they will not be tempted. Like I said if God has called you to the priesthood then there is nothing to worry about, he will equip you.
6/10/2009 9:32:57 AM
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In the Old Testament is stated clearly that God set aside the Levites to be His Priests, and in the New, the Church ordains priests according to the Magisterium, and sets them aside as well. This are verses from Deuteronomy 18:
Deuteronomy 18:1-3
1 The priests, who are Levites—indeed the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offering made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.

Being called by God is only the first step. Then comes discernment, making decisions, and years of preparation. The call does not make anybody automatically holy or immune to failure. It is an every day, lifelong conversion walking in the steps of Jesus Christ. It requires dedication, commitment, and faithfulness.
Being called to be a priest does not mean that a man stops being human, with all that it entails: weakness of flesh, propensity to sin, going through trials, falling into temptation...
At the time of Ordination, the new priest receives the graces he needs to fulfill his mission, but he still has to use all the personal resources available to him: prayer, the Sacraments, retreats, support from his bishop and his parishioners, and a continued effort to live the virtues necessary to be “another Christ”. The Church is wise, being almost 2 000 years old, and has more experience than you or I have to know what is best. And even better than advancing judgment on its Magisterium is to ask in prayer to the Holy Spirit to give the necessary light and wisdom to dispel our doubts and discontents. +
6/10/2009 3:34:30 PM
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Lavinia Tai
The reason why I am Catholic is because of Father Damien's influences in my life. All my life I model every priest after him. To me the beauty of the Catholic priesthood comes from celibacy. The Cutie guy's scandal came as a terrible shock for me. I just couldn't accept the fact that a Catholic priest could do such ugly things.
2/18/2011 10:48:16 AM
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