The Catholic Defender: Celibacy Is Still A Worthy Life
The 1990's was not an easy time for Catholics as the priest scandal was in full bloom in the media and basically those opposed to the Church. Of all the debates I would be associated with the scandal would always seem to be used against us.
It never mattered that those making these attacks had the same problems some with a greater risk. It was certainly a difficult argument because in no way was I ever defending those who were responsible. I was more than happy to defend the vast 98% who were innocent of such accusations.
While stationed at Fort Campbell through most of the 1990's, I participated with others against pornography and we won some victories in Clarksville Tennessee. Based on our efforts porno stores could not present themselves near schools, parks, or churches within city limits.
Austin Peay University held a debate at their college over my use of a video camera at the site. People did not want to be videoed going into a porno store. I had a lot of support plus also the law as long as I stayed on the sidewalk and not on their property.
During these times I stood shoulder to shoulder with non-Catholics who were interested in what I thought about the priest scandal. I wanted to share the real Ministry of the Catholic priest and celibacy.
The foundations for celibacy in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church go all the way back to the time of the Apostles. St. Paul speaks to the challenges of married life and supports those inclined to the religious life. St. Paul writes, "So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does the unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that" (1 Corinthians 7:26-28). Notice St. Paul refers to the "present distress", the Catholic Faith was being persecuted first by the Jews and then by the Romans. It was difficult times to raise a family when your trying to survive.
St. Paul connects the problems associated between this distress and the afflictions experienced in this life. If St. Paul were here today, he might say the same thing for different reasons. Our society has progressed so far to the left that it is difficult to see anything holy in marriage or outside? The attacks upon marriage has had it's affect. St. Paul continues: "I tell you, brothers, the times is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).
St. Paul seems to be writing as if there was another Passover taking place, we must be on the ready, much like that first Passover when they ate with their loins girt, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand. The Israelite were commanded to eat like those who were in flight. This seems to be the feel that St. Paul was giving because of that "present distress" and that fierce persecution. St. Paul continues, "I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband" (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). Clearly, St. Paul sees being unmarried as an advantage in overcoming the present difficulties experienced in the world.
Today, the Catholic Church echos this sentiment wanting couples asking to be married to discern if this was truly what the Lord is wanting in their lives. It is so easy to marry for the wrong reasons, especially because of the glorification of self gratification. There is so much immorality today that it would be difficult to find an unmarried woman who is a virgin? If sex was love, then the United States would be a very loving country? Critics of celibacy will attack the Catholic Faith for promoting something that is so out of date, it is not expected or realistic to think that anyone could possibly remain faithful in their celibacy. Some will even say that Jesus himself never supported celibacy?
Matthew 19:12 Jesus says, "Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it." Jesus is clearly showing that those who renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven "ought to accept it". This is the position of the Catholic Church! It is a calling! Luke 18:29 Jesus says, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive back an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come." A religious who chooses to live the religious life as a priest, brother, or sister are accepting for their lives the higher reward from the Lord in their service to Him. It is coming from His holy Catholic Church the mission and God's grace to fulfill this mission. The enemies of Christ hate the purity of what celibacy means to the servant of God. To put God first in all things is something the progressive liberal cannot accept. It is a contradiction to the world that says you can't do it, that you must be liberated from the kingdom of God.
Celibacy actually represents liberation from the bondage of sin and it's power. No question celibacy is a challenge and the religious have to overcome many temptations, but the secularist can't reason this for the modern age. Yet, celibacy is a deep sign of the love for God in his service. Notice the hatred displayed here by George Lujack, an anti-Catholic who spills this kind of hate on Facebook: "There can be no doubt that homosexuality is CONDONED among the Catholic clergy. They certainly DO NOT condemn it, except in the pulpit, but then they must believe that this "perverted sin," along with pedophilia, is something that they as Catholic priests are entitled to."
People like this are devoid of anything Christ like. They prey upon the ignorance of many. They are filled with hate for the Catholic Faith. It is interesting that during the midst of the "priest scandal" the media, the Church, the law, went back 50 years wanting to uncover every rock and the most they found was about 3%. George and company will condemn the 97% who were innocent. Dr. James Dobson of "Focus On The Family" took an inward study of their own and found that within Non-Catholic Pastors, there were something like 30% of sexual sin to include child molestation. This ranks far worse that what was uncovered against Catholic Priests.
Not only this, but Protestant Ministers have a divorce rate about 50% near the national average. That would play havoc on a Catholic Parish. Even though Non-Catholic Pastors have a married clergy, they have a much higher incidence of sexual immorality. The attack on celibacy is not because of celibacy itself, it is because it is coming from the Catholic Faith. Anything that the Catholic Faith does, the world will attack no matter how pure and good it is. We as Catholics must remain strong united in the same mind and purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10). On the question of Marriage, the Catholic Church lifts it as a Sacrament, it is holy. Like celibacy, marriage is under attack as is the family. Deepertruth want's to help lead the prayer for our religious as well as our families! For the married, if you are away from your Spouse for any reason, deployments, work, sickness, we are also to be celibate!