Celibacy now, celibacy tomorrow, celibacy foreverAlready the non-Catholic press is having a field day spreading the misguided notion that Pope Benedict XVI is going to end the celibacy rule for the priesthood. The Vatican says it has no intention of doing so-I am thankful that it does not. If you believe some people, the Holy See ought to care more about the ideas of men and quit upholding the Laws of God.
Father Vann Johnston, Chancellor of the Diocese of Knoxville, makes a couple of good points:
"I don't ever foresee a point where priestly celibacy would ever be totally done away with," Johnston said.
Father Johnston is right. For those of you who are not Catholic, you ought to know that many of the folks advocating for the complete end of priestly celibacy are the same bunch who want to ordain women and, in many cases, allow for Holy Mother Church to sanction so-called gay "marriage." These people apparently think that they have the authority to decide what the Church should teach and practice and what the Holy Scriptures do and do not mean, and that the Successors to the Apostles do not have any authority greater than lay authority.
There is a name for such people-they are Protestants.
Since they are Protestants de facto why don't they just do those of us who try to be good practicing Catholics a favor and become Protestants de jure? If you don't want to follow the laws of the Church, and you want to have a totally married clergy and female clergy and gay marriage and whatever else you want to have in your personal religious world, then find churches where they allow that sort of business-or better still, do as the rest of the Protestant world has done and create your own church where you can believe as you bloody well please-just don't call it Catholic.
Father Vann went on to explain to the Channel 8 reporter that a number of married men who are former Protestant ministers have converted to Catholicism and have become priests. This is quite true-but what the folks at WVLT did not tell you is that a majority of these priests came from the Anglican Communion, and were ordained on the condition that if anything should happen to their spouse they would not be free to marry again. What's more, I would be willing to bet that any future general modification in the celibacy rule would carry that stipulation for any married man wishing to be ordained, a stipulation that I would fully support.
I want to explain to my Protestant friends that nothing I have said here is meant as a personal slight twoard you or your faith in Christ, but it reflects what I see as a modern religious reality: People have no respect for Sacred Authority or Sacred Tradition, and they think they can simply interpret the Truth how they please-this is not so, God is not the author of Confusion.
There are those on the Right who are just as guilty of this kind of fallacy as those on the Left-the Church says or does something you don't like so you think you can pick and choose what you can and cannot believe. The Church's social justice teachings do not fit in with your political party so you think you can pick them out of your religious practice-nope, sorry. You think aborticide is a "choice" but you would never do it yourself, but you go to Communion, you are a good Catholic, right? Nope, sorry. You think the Pope is a nice old man in Rome but what he says doesn't have an impact on what you do-he isn't really the Successor of Peter, is he? Yes he is and you are not, thank God.
The celibacy rule is not dogma, and yes, the Church could change it-I think it is unwise to do so. Those of you who have been involved in Protestant ministry know the difficulties that families bear in such a situation, and I have seen this firsthand. Multiply that difficulty and stress by a hundred times and that is what it would be like for married priests and their families. Perhaps worst of all, I'd be willing to bet that within five days of lifting the celibacy rule and allowing priests to marry, we will have divorced priests. We aren't like many of the Protestants here...divorce is a putrid thing to us, and divorce and remarriage gets a person excommunicated de facto, and it is a terrible example to the people-so we are going to let priests marry and then do we defrock the priests whose spouses break under the strain of public scrutiny? It will surely happen...
For those who think that celibacy is the cause of the shortage of priests in many areas, perhaps you should know that I once seriously considered entering the priesthood. I ultimately determined that the priesthood was not my vocation, but celibacy had nothing to do with it-I was ready for a celibate life had the Lord called me to the priesthood, and I would have willingly embraced it.
For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.
Our political views may be something that we cherish and we may believe them to be right, but Sacred Truth is really what we believe. What do I believe?
I believe that the Holy Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ the Lord, and that it serves as God's living Body and representative on Earth.
I believe that Pope Benedict XVI is the Successor of Peter and is the visible head of the Church on Earth-Christ is the Spreme Head of the Church and of all believers.
I believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ our Lord (See John 6:31-55). It is not a mere symbol, and when consecrated it is not a cracker, wafer, chicklet, or mere piece of bread.
I believe that the Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles, and that God placed our religious authorities over us for good or for ill, and that authority must be respected and obeyed.
I renounce Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He decended to the Dead, and on the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, and in one, Holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and look for the ressurrection of the dead, and in the life of the world to come.
And I believe that if you do not believe any of what I just proclaimed above, you can be any of many things, but you cannot be a genuine Catholic.
Labels: Holy Mother Church