Sunday 24th September 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Biblical Foundations Of Celibacy

December 27, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 1

Years ago in New Zealand I listened to a talk by Scott Hahn where he told the story of a conversation he had had with a young man from Steubenville University.
The youth has shared his desire to go to the seminary to become a priest. Some time later, the same young man found a lovely young lady on campus and realized that priesthood was no longer for him, since he now wanted to marry his newly found love. Scott’s reply was masterly: If you attend Steubenville where you find a large number of virtuous, Godly young ladies, and you do not fall in love with one of them, there’s definitely something wrong with you!
Scott then proceeded to explain to the young man the purpose and glory of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom. The youth went to the seminary.
And this is the reality: To be a priest one must be a man, a real man, who understands human nature and offers a sacrifice to Heaven for the sake of a higher good: the promotion of the glory of God and the salvation of souls, acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, in the imitation of Jesus Christ as perfectly as possible, including in Jesus’ celibacy.
Jesus affirmed that the holiest man born of woman was John the Baptist, the celibate forerunner who preceded Christ our celibate Redeemer. Since the early Church days, men have been called by Jesus to follow in His footsteps in every possible respect. The priest follows Jesus’ counsel to walk the extra mile of celibacy.
Luther abolished celibacy in the church he founded. True, in his day there was much corruption among the clergy — it seems that history has this funny habit of repeating itself — and many priests did not lead a celibate life. I remember one priest in particular, very fond of beer, who made a scandalous marriage, by living with a runaway nun in a convent — Martin Luther himself.
Over the centuries, Luther’s followers of every color and modality disagreed among themselves in many ways because of their individualistic and relativistic interpretations of Scripture, but they also had many things in common — among those stood the abolition of celibacy.
Several times I have come across people who claim to live by the Bible and quote the Bible against the Catholic discipline of celibacy. Their most common quotation is:
“In the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:1-4).
When one quotes a text of Scripture out of context, one makes a pretext against the Church, as the saying goes. Those who oppose celibacy based on St. Paul’s teaching fail to appreciate the historical context in which the apostle was writing. As John Henry Newman wrote once, “to know history is to cease to be a Protestant.”
Citing only the Bible without the historical context leads many to ignore the fact that in the early days of the Church there were Gnostic sects attempting to poison the minds of the faithful with their weird doctrines. Among them were the Marcionites, the Encratites, the Manicheans, and other ancient heretics.
In simple terms, many of them believed that there were two principles in the universe: one good and one evil. The good principle created the spiritual beings, whereas the evil principle created the material beings. So, every matter was from the evil principle, whereas spirit was from the good one. Now, since in marriage children are begotten, and children are made of flesh and bones — matter, therefore — marriage was seen as bad because it propagated matter.
Therefore, they forbade their followers to marry and imposed fasts (and possibly even vegetarian practices) as they saw fit. I’ve met some misguided Protestants who saw in these things the origin of celibacy and of Friday fasting in the Catholic Church. They err, not knowing the Scriptures.
In order properly to understand celibacy, one must understand the nature of the Catholic priesthood. This is so because the Priesthood of Jesus Christ is part and parcel of the mystery of salvation.
The Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary defines the word priest as coming from the old English preost, from Greek presbyteros, elder. The priest is the minister of divine worship, especially in its highest act, sacrifice. Since a sacrifice is offered in the name of a whole religious society, its minister must be appointed by the competent authority. Thus, priest and sacrifice are correlative terms.
Here is the big difference between the Catholic priest and the Protestant minister: The priest is not a mere president, chairman, facilitator, minister, preacher, leader, elder, etc. No. He is the one who offers sacrifice.
In Scripture we can distinguish three kinds or three stages of priesthood: the natural priesthood, which was common to Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, etc; all males, especially the heads of families, were called to offer sacrifice.
Then came the Levitical priesthood, established by Moses and that lasted until the times of Jesus. The priests offered sacrifice in the tabernacle and later in the Temple.
Finally, the sacramental priesthood, instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, when He transubstantiated bread and wine into His Body and Blood while He was alive — thus the Eucharist has also the presence of His Soul and Divinity. He commanded the apostles to “do this in memory of me.” The apostles had to do it precisely as He did, and not in any other way.

A Clean Oblation

In the Book of Genesis we learn that the first man to offer a sacrifice agreeable to God was Abel. According to a very picturesque Hebrew tradition (not Scripture) Adam and Eve had 32 sets of twins over their multi-secular existence. Each set was composed of a boy and a girl, who subsequently married and begot their own children. The only exception was Abel, who was born without a twin sister to marry, and who died a celibate man, whose sacrifice was agreeable to God. Could this be a first hint in Scripture that God our Lord wanted His priests to offer sacrifices agreeable to Him and die celibates?
A second hint about celibacy in the Old Testament is our friend Melchisedech. It is interesting to notice that the word priest (cohen in Hebrew) is mentioned for the first time in Sacred Scripture not in reference to Aaron, but to him, Melchisedech. He was that mysterious priest who did not offer a bloody animal sacrifice but instead offered a clean oblation of bread and wine — the first evident prefigure of the Holy Eucharist (Gen. 14:18).
In the Epistle to the Hebrews (7:1-3) we read: “For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, and who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him….Who first indeed by interpretation, is king of justice; and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the son of God, continues a priest forever.”
Melchisedech was a “priest of the most high,” the first true Cohen in Salvation History, who imparted a priestly blessing in God’s name and who was a man with no recorded family — a celibate? Here is a second hint of how God the Father would be pleased with a celibate clergy in the future.
The messianic Psalm 109 prefigures the everlasting priesthood of Jesus: “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech”— not the order of Aaron, who was married and offered animal sacrifice, but the order of Melchisedech, who was probably celibate and offered bread and wine.
In the next article we’ll take as look at other hints about celibacy during the Levitical priesthood, which started on Mount Sinai.

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI]; president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is www.raymonddesouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

blogger

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

21 Sep 2017

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics for which he provided his illuminating insights are the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, an appraisal of the situation in which the Church finds herself in contemporary times, and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. (This interview appeared in three parts in The Wanderer in August 2017.) + + + Part 1 Q. We are in the midst of…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: priests must resist pressure on Communion for remarried

Bishop Schneider said that priests should ‘lovingly and respectfully’ tell their superiors that they cannot abandon the Church’s perennial teaching Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said priests have to follow the Church’s constant practice on Communion, even if their bishops and…Continue Reading

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke: ‘urgency’ to resolve dubia ‘weighs very heavily on my heart’

PARRAMATTA, Australia, September 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of the four dubia Cardinals seeking moral clarity from Pope Francis over his controversial teachings on marriage and family have died. But this will not stop the remaining two cardinals from continuing the “important work of resolving the dubia,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the dubia signers, in a new interview. In a wide-ranging interview with the Diocese of Parramatta’s Catholic Outlook, Burke said the “urgency of…Continue Reading

Pope: “Doctrine” does not come before mercy

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “The door that leads to encounter with Jesus is recognizing ourselves as we are, the truth. Sinners. And He comes”. “I want mercy and not sacrifices” said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the gospel song of the day recalling the conversion of St. Matthew to return

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Poetic Insight

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY “Poet — lawyer — planter, and former soldier” is the description Walker Percy gives to his uncle, William Alexander Percy, the author of Lanterns on the Levee, reprinted by the Louisiana State University Press in 2011, from a 1973 edition. William Percy’s book is worth revisiting not simply for its observations…Continue Reading

A Book Review … Reflections On Our Lady’s Message Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Fatima and the Triumph of Mary: Reflections on the Fatima Message, by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, (World Apostolate of Fatima, 2016); 228 pages, $17.95 available via:http://giftshop.wafusa.org/browse.cfm/4,2578.html. Fatima and the Triumph of Mary is a compilation of articles by Fr. Andrew Apostoli which originally appeared in the World Apostolate of Fatima USA…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Dispelling The False Images Of God

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Light Shines on in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith, by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, Ph.D. (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2017), 543 pp. $19.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or 1-800-651-1531. For anyone who struggles to make sense of human suffering or to reconcile the unconditional love of God with the weight of…Continue Reading

Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER Several months ago when we began our consideration of the seven sacraments, it was noted that they can be subdivided into various categories (see volume 148, n. 32; August 13, 2015). The authors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) chose to present them according to a threefold classification: sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. At Our Lady’s July 1917 appearance at Fatima, she stated that a war greater than World War I would break out during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Ambrogio Ratti chose the name Pius XI when he became Pope in 1922. No doubt Our Lady knew he would be known as Pius XI, but why didn’t she say “the…Continue Reading

The Radical Call To Follow Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 18:25-28 Phil. 2:1-11 Matt. 21:28-32 In the second reading today, St. Paul says we are to have in us the same attitude as Christ. As we continue through the reading we can see the attitude of Christ is marked by humility, obedience, and charity. This essentially repeats…Continue Reading

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive.com reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading