One of the most beautiful gifts God has offered our priests is that of celibacy. Celibacy is the renunciation of marriage for the more perfect observance of chastity. Despite the claims to the contrary, celibacy was not a medieval innovation. It is an ancient apostolic practice recommended by Christ himself. Jesus clearly praises those who, "for the sake of the kingdom of God", give up marriage. He adds: "he who can accept it, let him accept it"(). This is a choice our priests freely make. Perhaps even more compelling than the words of Jesus Christ was the life He led as the perfect model of celibacy and chastity. From early on, the Church was personified as a Virgin Bride, the pure Body of Christ, the Virgin Mother, and it was fitting that a virgin Church be served by a virgin priesthood. Among Jews, the priesthood was hereditary and accomplished through generation. But in the Church, as an antithesis to this, the priestly character was transmitted by the Holy Spirit through sacrament. Virginity is therefore a special prerogative of the Christian priesthood. Yet, even in the Jewish Dispensation, it was obligatory that a priest be continent while serving in the Temple. The more holy and exalted we represent the state of marriage, the more we justify a married priest in giving the first place to his wife and family and the second to his work. Celibacy avoids the problematic contention of totally giving oneself to the other faced by married priests. It also avoids family hardships when transferring priests to areas of danger and need.
All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to "the affairs of the Lord," they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God."
In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.
- Eunuchs who are obedient will have a special place in the kingdom of heaven.
- God tells the prophet Jeremiah not to take a wife or have children.
- Jesus says celibacy is a gift from God and whoever can accept it should accept it.
- Peter had a family before Christ chose him. He gave up all things to follow Jesus, thereon living continently.
- Jesus says those who give up children for the sake of His name will receive great rewards and eternal life.
– Jesus says there are no marriages in heaven. Priests live out that heavenly consecration to God on earth.
– Paul says that it is well for a man not to touch a woman as practiced by our priests.
- Paul says celibacy is a gift from God and wishes all who can be celibate like himself, do so.
- Paul teaches a better way where men do not seek marriage. The better way is celibacy.
- Paul recommends celibacy for full-time ministers in the Church.
- Paul says bishops must be married only once in speaking of widowers. This was not a marriage requirement.
- Paul says avoid evil doctrines that forbid marriage. Critics use this verse attack celibacy but this is wrong. Catholics exalt marriage to a sacrament. Our priests are giving up one good(marriage and kids) for a greater good(unity with God).
- Paul says soldiers should avoid civilian pursuits. Paul is speaking of the celibate priesthood.
– Those consecrated to virginity are honored in heaven.
Tradition & Fathers
"If anyone can continue in a state of purity, to the honour of Him who is Lord of the flesh, let him so remain without boasting."
"Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence."
"How many men, therefore, and how many women, in Ecclesiastical Orders, owe their position to continence, who have preferred to be wedded to God; who have restored the honour of their flesh, and who have already dedicated themselves as sons of that (future) age, by slaying in themselves the concupiscence of lust, and that whole (propensity) which could not be admitted within Paradise!"
"Peter alone do I find-through (the mention of) his "mother-in-law" ,to have been married. Monogamist I am led to presume him by consideration of the Church, which, built upon him, was destined to appoint every grade of her Order from monogamists. The rest, while I do not find them married, I must of necessity understand to have been either eunuchs or continent."
"For it became Him who is most pure, and a teacher of purity, to have come forth from a pure bride-chamber. For if he who well fulfils the office of a priest of Jesus abstains from a wife..."