Diocesan priests meeting in India recently resolved that “Jesus is the ultimate model for celibate life and His self-sacrificing love for the Church is to be imitated by priests,” writes Fr William Grimm MM in Ucanews. This followed a talk by Archbishop Pascal Topno in which he said: “Celibacy is the highest expression of discipleship.”
While the priests’ commitment to make Christ their model for living celibacy is truly praiseworthy, there are many other ways of being a Christian that are at least as high — and maybe higher — expressions of discipleship, ways that the world needs more than celibacy. In any case, trying to rate discipleship is a dangerous endeavour.
As God told Samuel, “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
A callow couple pledging their marriage vows today because they love one another will, after years of growing, realize that there were probably additional unconscious reasons that brought them down the aisle.
Some of those reasons may not even be attractive. No one makes major choices based upon a single reason, whether they are aware of all the reasons or not. In the same way, there are many reasons why the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church has mandated celibacy for its clergy.
Some of the reasons have been culturally conditioned, like a Hellenistic aversion to women and sex as somehow unclean. Some have been economic, like problems of inheritance where Church property was involved. Some have been more “noble,” like being signs of the Reign of God, where “they neither marry nor are given in marriage.”
Theoretically, at least, celibacy is supposed to make priests more available to serve, though married clergy are clearly as generous with their time and talents as celibates.
One thing the celibacy of the Roman clergy certainly does is provide a point of obsession for all sorts of people. For many it would appear that the definition of priesthood is celibacy rather than the Eucharist, mission or service to the Christian community.
FULL STORY Priesthood is not about celibacy (Ucanews)