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Priestly Celibacy

Priestly Celibacy

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Published by Francis Lobo

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Published by: Francis Lobo on Sep 23, 2012
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01/26/2014

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What is the Church’s authority toallow priests not to marry?
SEPTEMBER 2012"Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it" - Pope St. Felix III
NOTE: In this report I may occasionally use
bold print
,
italics 
, CAPS, or word underlining for emphasis. These will be my personalemphasis and not that of the source that I am quoting. Any footnote preceded by a number in (parenthesis) is my personal librarynumbering system.
This woman at my parish is a catechist and she stopped at the office one day to pick up her catechist book andshe said to me: "I believe everything the church teaches except I believe that priests should be able to getmarried." What can I tell her to show the church’s binding authority to not allow priests to marry? Pat
Q:
I begin this report by referencing what the Holy Father says about
doctrine we are required to obey astaught in the Catechism and our requirement to obey Canon Law
.
 
:
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I (Pope John Paul II) approved June 25
th
last and the publication of which Itoday order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority
, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine,attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium. IDECLARE IT TO BE A NORM FOR TEACHING THE FAITH AND THUS A VALID AND LEGITIMATEINSTRUMENT FOR ECCLESIAL COMMUNION
. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authenticreference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms."
1
 
"
I (Pope John Paul II) therefore exhort all the faithful to observe the proposed legislation (Code ofCanon Law)
with a sincere spirit and good will in the hope that there may flower again in the Church a renewed disciplineand that consequently the salvation of souls may be rendered ever more easy under the protection of the Blessed VirginMary, Mother of the Church."
2
 
"
FINALLY, BY THEIR VERY NATURE CANONICAL LAWS ARE TO BE OBSERVED
."
3
 "Exhort: to give warnings or advice."
4
The pope gets his authority to teach dogma, doctrine and Canon Law from God Himself. "
We have positive evidencefrom scriptures that the Church cannot err in her teachings
. Our Blessed Lord, in constituting St. Peter Prince of His apostles, says to him: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevailagainst it'.
Christ makes here a solemn prediction that no error shall ever invade His Church
, and if she fellinto error the gates of hell have certainly prevailed against her."
5
 "And so I (Jesus) say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworldshall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
WHATEVER YOU BIND ON EARTHSHALL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN ; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven
."
6
 
So if the pope teaches us doctrine in the Catechism (or otherwise) or enacts Canon Laws, we commit sin if we disobeyeither. One may not like the fact that priests cannot marry but one cannot publicly dissent from this teaching withoutcommitting serious sin."But when either the Roman Pontiff or the Body of Bishops together with him defines a judgement, they pronounce it inaccordance with Revelation itself, which
all are obligated to abide by and be in conformity with
, that is, theRevelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops
1
Catechism of the Catholic Church, ISBN. 0-932406-23-8, (1994), Apostolate for Family Consecration, Bloomingdale, OH., Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) – Imprimateur, Paragraph 3, P. 5
2
Code of Canon Law, ISBN. 0-943616-20-4, (1983), Canon Law Society of America, Washington, D.C., Nihil Obstat and Imprimateur, Apostolic Constitution P.XVI
3
Code of Canon Law, ISBN. 0-943616-20-4, (1983), Canon Law Society of America, Washington, D.C., Nihil Obstat and Imprimateur, Apostolic Constitution P. XV
4
Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, (1965), G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, MA., P. 290
5
The Faith of Our Fathers, (1876 reprinted 1980), Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, John J. Crawley & Co., Union City, NY., P. 55
6
The New American Bible – St. Joseph Edition, (1970), Imprimatur & Nihil Obstat, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, NY., St. Matthew 16:18-19, P. 38
 
and especially in care of the Roman Pontiff himself, and which under the guiding light of the Spirit of Truth is religiouslypreserved and faithfully expounded in the Church."
7
"Priests, never losing sight of the fullness of the priesthood which the bishops enjoy, must respect in them the authority of Christ, the Supreme Shepherd
. THEY MUST THEREFORE STAND BY THEIR BISHOPS IN SINCERE CHARITYAND
OBEDIENCE
."
8
 "While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice thatsaid, '
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; LISTEN TO HIM
’. When the disciples heard this,they fell prostrate and were very much afraid."
9
 
Because of our obligation to obey Christ, we believe and practice: "
The Church of Christ is a faithful and everwatchful guardian of the dogmas which have been committed to her charge
.
In this sacred deposit shechanges nothing, she takes nothing from it, she adds nothing to it
."
"The Church is considered the family of God, and rules exist to protect that family as a whole as well as the individualmembers. Specifically,
Catholics are obliged to follow all the divine laws of God, the natural moral law,Church law (also known as Canon law),
and all the legitimate and ethical civil laws of their city, state, and nation aslong as they don’t contradict the laws of God or the Church."
 
With what the Holy Father said regarding Canon Law in mind, we now look at the specifics of law which require a priest tobe celibate (unmarried)."Canon 277: §1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven andtherefore are obliged to observe celibacy, which is a special gift of God, by which sacred ministers can adhere more easilyto Christ with an undivided heart and can more freely dedicate themselves to the service of God and humankind.§2. Clerics are to conduct themselves with due prudence in associating with persons whose company could endanger theirobligation to observe continence or could cause scandal for the faithful. §3. The diocesan bishop has the competence toissue more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation."
 "Celibacy: the discipline of the Latin Church that forbids the ordination of married men."
 "All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons,
are normally chosen
fromamong 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 themselvesentirely 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
."
"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth, which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith. Schismis the rejection of the authority and jurisdiction of the pope as head of the Church."
Heresy and Schism are both sins that require confession. "Canon 1394: §1. With due regard for the prescription of can.194, §1, n. 3, a cleric who attempts even a civil marriage incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) suspension; but if he isgiven a warning and he does not have a change of heart and continues to give scandal, he can be punished gradually withvarious deprivations, even to the point of dismissal from the clerical state."
 "Catholics can participate in Holy Communion if they are
properly disposed 
, which means they (1) Are unaware of anymortal sins that aren’t yet confessed and absolved, (2
) Don’t publicly dissent from Church teachin
g"
 If one has unconfessed mortal sin on their soul, including publicly dissenting from Church teaching on celibacy, they cannotreceive Holy Communion!"
SHOULD A CATHOLIC BE SO UNFORTUNATE AS CONTUMACIOUSLY TO DENY A SINGLE ARTICLE OFFAITH, OR WITHDRAW FROM THE COMMUNION OF HIS LEGITIMATE PASTORS, HE CEASES TO BE AMEMBER OF THE CHURCH, AND IS CUT OFF LIKE A WITHERED BRANCH
."
7
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II, (1967), Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA., Constitution on the Church, Paragraph 25, P. 136
8
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II, (1967), Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA., Ministry and Life of Priests, Paragraph 7, P. 427
9
The New American Bible – St. Joseph Edition, (1970), Imprimatur & Nihil Obstat, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, NY., St. Matthew 17:5-6, P. 39
10
The Faith of Our Fathers, (1876 reprinted 1980), Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, John J. Crawley & Co., Union City, NY., P. 12
11
Catholicism for Dummies, ISBN: 0-7645-5391-7, (2003), Rev. Fr. John Triglio, Ph. d, Th. d, and Rev. Fr. Kenneth Brighenti, Ph. d, Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York, NY., P. 163
12
Code of Canon Law, ISBN. 0-943616-20-4, (1983), Canon Law Society of America, Washington, D.C., Nihil Obstat and Imprimateur, Canon 277, P. 97
13
Catholic Dictionary, ISBN. 978-0-87973-390-2, (2002), Rev. Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph. d., S.T.D., - editor, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN., P. 175
14
Catechism of the Catholic Church, ISBN. 0-932406-23-8, (1994), Apostolate for Family Consecration, Bloomingdale, OH., Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) – Imprimateur, Paragraph 1579, P. 395
15
Catholicism for Dummies, ISBN: 0-7645-5391-7, (2003), Rev. Fr. John Triglio, Ph. d, Th. d, and Rev. Fr. Kenneth Brighenti, Ph. d, Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York, NY., P. 178
16
Code of Canon Law, ISBN. 0-943616-20-4, (1983), Canon Law Society of America, Washington, D.C., Nihil Obstat and Imprimateur, Canon 1394, P. 501
17
Catholicism for Dummies, ISBN: 0-7645-5391-7, (2003), Rev. Fr. John Triglio, Ph. d, Th. d, and Rev. Fr. Kenneth Brighenti, Ph. d, Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York, NY., P. 149
18
The Faith of Our Fathers, (1876 reprinted 1980), James Cardinal Gibbons – Archbishop of Baltimore, John J. Crawley & Co. Inc., Union City, N.J., P. 8
 
I hope I have reported sufficient 'proof' of the Church’s authority to require celibacy for priests. There are some rareexceptions that already-married men are admitted into the priesthood. Since that was not part of your question I will notget into that now. If I can be of further assistance, please ask.This report prepared on September 6, 2009 by
Ronald Smith
, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, E-mail:hfministry@roadrunner.com. Readers may copy and distribute this report as desired to anyone as long as thecontent is not altered and it is copied in its entirety. In this little ministry I do free Catholic and occult related researchand answer your questions. Questions are answered in this format with detailed footnotes on all quotes. If you have aquestion(s), please submit it to this landmail or e-mail address. Answers are usually forthcoming within one week.
PLEASE NOTIFY ME OF ANY ERRORS THAT YOU MAY OBSERVE!“If you tell the truth and the person to whom you have told the truth decides not to do anything aboutit anyway, God will not hold you accountable, but if you fail to tell the truth, you will be heldaccountable” –Judie Brown, President, American Life League, 2/7/2007
(NOTE: Created from Ezekiel 32:7)
Why Not Married Priests? The Case for Clerical Celibacy
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/apologetics/priestly-celibacy/the-case-for-priestly-celibacy/ By George Sim JohnstonEach month, when I face an auditorium full of engaged couples preparing for a Catholic marriage, there is a Q-and-Asession. It is the interesting, unrehearsed part of the evening. The couples write their queries on a piece of paper, and theanonymity guarantees at least a few hardball questions about the Church and its practices. "What about Galileo?" is amongmy favorites, along with inquisitive notes about Torquemada. But the majority of these "zingers" turn out to be protestsabout the Church’s rule of clerical celibacy. "You’ve told us how wonderful marriage is, that it’s a great good for the humanperson, that the body has a nuptial meaning, and so forth. Well, then: Why can’t priests marry?"It is a question that comes up among even devout Catholics at coffee hour after Mass and at cocktail parties. A marriedclergy is seen as the obvious solution to a number of problems that confront the Church, ranging from the shortage of priests to the recent sex scandals. Moreover, both the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic churches allow marriedclergy. So do Protestants; and, in fact, the rejection of clerical celibacy was a much larger issue for the leaders of theReformation than the fuss over indulgences. Luther, Zwingli, Carlstadt, Bucer, and many other rebellious priests soon took wives (often former nuns), while Thomas Cranmer already had one hidden in Germany. During the Council of Trent,powerful rulers like the Emperor Ferdinand put enormous pressure on the Church to abolish the law of celibacy, but thepopes resolutely declined, and have done so ever since.The agitation for a married priesthood has sharpened in recent decades. There is a drumbeat in the media, often from ex-priests who write copiously for the op-ed pages. Probably a majority of American Catholics also favor the change. So, it’snot surprising that my engaged couples think that Rome should “get with the times” and allow priests to marry. Isn’t therule of celibacy simply another example of a retrograde Church sitting on somebody’s rights?I surprise my audience by first telling them that clerical celibacy is not a Church doctrine. It is a discipline, and so can bechanged. The pope could wake up tomorrow and allow priests to marry. Moreover, in the early centuries there weremarried priests, starting with some of the apostles. We know that Peter was married, because we’re told that Jesus curedhis mother-in-law. The immediate successors to the apostles were also allowed to marry. Paul writes to Timothy that abishop should be "married but once." Clearly, by not permitting married clergy, the Church since the early Middle Ages hasdeparted from the more commodious practice of the early hierarchy.But — a further surprise for my audience — there are, in fact, married priests in the Latin Church today. There aren’t many,because a priest may have a wife only in one circumstance: A Lutheran or Episcopalian minister who is already married andwishes to convert to Catholicism is allowed the option of becoming a Catholic priest, on condition that his wife gives fullconsent. You don’t usually see these married priests, because they’re generally not given parish assignments; they teach inseminaries or work in the chancery.But this one exception to the general rule is the occasion of a story that I tell my audience. It is about a friend of mine whois now a prominent Catholic moral theologian. Years ago, he was an Episcopalian priest who decided to convert toCatholicism. He was married with children and was given the option of becoming a Catholic priest. He agonized over thedecision. He was already an ordained minister (although the Church does not recognize the validity of Episcopalian orders)and was deeply attracted to the Catholic priesthood. But at the same time, he recognized that there must be seriousreasons why the Church insists on a discipline that is such a sign of contradiction to the modern world.The debate went on, until finally there came the moment of clarification. He was up all night with one of his children whowas seriously ill. Feeling drained and haggard, he went to Mass the next morning, and the priest celebrating Mass came outlooking equally drawn. During the brief homily, the priest mentioned in passing that he had been up all night with aparishioner’s child who was dying of meningitis. A light bulb went off over my friend’s head: You can’t do both. If you fullyunderstand the vocations to marriage and to the priesthood — the total availability and self-emptying that each demands —you would not choose to do both. And so he became a lay theologian and, apart from raising a large family, has served theChurch in ways that he probably could not have as a member of the clergy.

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