Sunday, 21 June 2009
That Celibacy Thing...
Time Magazine has used the excuse of Fr. Alberto Cutie's departure from the Catholic Church to justify calling for the Church to allow married priests.
The idea is, you see, that, while many priests feel freed from sexual longing and a desire for personal intimacy on entering the Church, many do not. At least, that's the argument put forward by Donald Cozzens, professor at John Carroll University and author of Freeing Celibacy.
In my humble opinion, that has to be one of the most stupid arguments against priestly celibacy ever written. It is somewhat akin to suggesting that, because some married people still experience sexual feelings towards people other than their spouse, fidelity in marriage is an unreasonable expectation.
It is related to the modern inability to accept that one is capable of living without sex.
A priest is required to be celibate (I'm not considering convert clergy who were married before they became Catholics) and he makes a promise to that effect at his ordination to the diaconate. He has had plenty of time (generally five or six years) in which to consider whether or not he would be better suited to the married state. The promise is made freely, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. It is a sacrifice, to be sure, but it's made freely.
The priest does not promise that he will never experience feelings of a sexual nature. He promises that he will not act upon those feelings. The same thing actually applies to Religious.
If you read the Time article carefully, you'll see that it's not really about allowing priests to marry. Advocates of celibacy reform are actually calling for the Church to abandon the law prohibiting priests from marrying or being sexually active.
It's pretty obvious where this is coming from...