Saturday 30th April 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Levitical Priesthood

July 5, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 2

The second type of priesthood in the Old Testament was the Levitical priesthood. It was established by God on Mount Sinai — whereto Moses took the people to offer sacrifice to God. There is one aspect of the Levitical priesthood that is often overlooked by those who read the Bible through anti-celibacy eyes: God our Lord imposed three conditions for the people to receive the priesthood, to become a priestly kingdom, a holy nation (Exodus 19:3-6).
They were to a) be sanctified, symbolized by the washing of their garments (verse 10); b) keep themselves away from the holy mountain, and not even touch it, under penalty of death — it was God’s sanctuary, and, as they were not yet priests, they could not approach the sanctuary (v. 12); c) not touch their wives for three days (v. 15). There we have marital continence, as a condition to receive the priesthood. They were to remain “celibate” as it were, away from their wives, for three days: Then they would receive the priesthood.
What happened? Well, we know the story. They not only did not do as God had commanded, but fell into spiritual adultery — idolatry — with the famous golden calf, a pagan god of Egypt, and became involved in the practices of the Egyptians, which involved singing, dances, and most likely orgies, as it is euphemistically suggested by the fact that the people were naked (verse 25).
Moses was angry with them, and said, “If any man be on the Lord’s side, let him join with me” (the Lord’s side is chaste, continent). “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.”
The Levites, by Moses’ order, killed 23,000 idol-worshipers and, as a reward, Moses said to them, “You have consecrated your hands this day to the Lord.” Since then, only the family of Aaron received the priesthood in perpetual ordinance (Exodus 29:9).
This is a very important point: All the males of the other eleven tribes were forever excluded from the priesthood. They did not fulfill the conditions to become priests (washing of garments, keep away from the mountain-sanctuary and not to touch their wives). They had a chance to redeem themselves by answering to Moses’ call, but since only the Levites responded, every man of all the other tribes missed out on a unique privilege: to be a priest of the most high God. Amazing how God takes very seriously our lack of seriousness!
Levi and his sons were consecrated priests in a way that seems to prefigure aspects of the Catholic Ordination. It included having them dressed in a special vestment and a girdle. Then an anointing with oil would follow, then a consecration of their hands, and they would be priests to God by a perpetual ordinance (Exodus 29:4-10).
The point I am making here is that God asked only three things from the men who were going to be consecrated to the priesthood, and one of those things was precisely marital continence — here we have a third hint of the future counsel of perfection to celibacy in the Church of the New Testament.
The fourth hint of celibacy happened during young David’s flight from his tempestuous father-in-law. Old King Saul had something against David, and decided to send him to the other world. Saul’s son and good friend of David, Jonathan, warned the potential victim of the danger and encouraged him to flee (1 Kings 21 or Samuel 21).
David and his party of friends left for Nobe and met Abimalech the priest, and asked him for food. Unfortunately, they had no “common bread” but only the “holy bread,” the breads of the proposition, which could only be eaten by the priests. Abimalech established a condition for David and his friends to eat the holy bread: to have been continent, or more precisely, “clean, especially from women” (verse 4). David replied in the affirmative and specified that he and his friends had been continent for three days. Then, “the priest gave him hallowed bread” (verse 6).
Isn’t that interesting? To eat the “holy bread,” which was but a symbol of the Eucharist to come, they had to have been continent from their wives. Since the priest ate of the hallowed bread, he also had to be continent. There we have a fourth hint in the Old Testament that God our Lord was pleased to have continent priests when they ate the “holy bread,” prefigure of the Eucharist.
A fifth hint in the Old Testament in favor of marital continence is in the Book of Tobias. The Archangel Raphael asked young Tobias to remain continent with his newlywed wife for three days prior to consummating their marriage. And his explanation was remarkable indeed (Tobias 6:16-22):
“Then the angel Raphael said to him: Hear me, and I will show you who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil has power….And when the third night is past, you shall take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham you may obtain a blessing in children. . . .
“Then Tobias exhorted the virgin, and said to her: Sara, arise, and let us pray to God today, and tomorrow, and the next day: because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock. We are the children of saints and must not be joined together like heathens that know not God” (8:4-5).
My point here is that since God our Lord is pleased with continence, even among the married, how much more wouldn’t He be pleased to see continence among his priests, who minister in His sanctuary? It’s just another hint.
And by the way, I would strongly recommend couples to be married to read the Book of Tobias. It will be very helpful to them to orient their married life. In other articles, we’ll see how St. Paul goes much further into the issue of counseling celibacy.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke of a “New Covenant” between God and His people, “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers.” This New Covenant would not only supersede the first one, but also perfect it. Instead of animal bloody sacrifices, there would be a clean oblation, of which Malachi prophesied in his book. Malachi also says that in that New Covenant, those who offer the clean oblation (the priests) are called to be “the angel of the Lord of hosts.”
It is interesting to remember that Jesus compared the resurrected to be like the angels of God in Heaven, who “neither marry nor be married” (Matt. 22:29-30).
A holy calling indeed, as St. Paul refers to the priesthood as God’s holy calling in his Second Letter to Timothy: “I admonish you that you stir up the grace of God which is in you, by the imposition of my hands….Be not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but labor with the gospel, according to the power of God, who has delivered us and called us by His holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:5-9).
Next article: Celibacy in the New Testament.

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; 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.RaymondeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Pro-Life Group Lists Every Company Backing Planned Parenthood

A pro-life organization that has spent decades working to try to get corporations to stop giving financial donations to the Planned Parenthood abortion business has released a revised listing of companies backing the abortion giant. Life Decisions International has released…Continue Reading

Trump completes 5-state sweep; Clinton beats Sanders in most Super Tuesday III contests

Donald Trump completed a five-state sweep in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primaries, strengthening his shot at avoiding a contested convention – while Hillary Clinton scored convincing victories but was denied the same bragging rights of a primary sweep by a surprise…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Caught Again

Kentucky is suing a new Planned Parenthood clinic after Governor Matt Bevin found out that they have illegally killed 23 unborn children. The clinic knowingly operated without a license for nearly two months. The request for a license was later…Continue Reading

Top Vatican cardinals aren’t commenting on pope’s exhortation

April 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of the Vatican’s most senior prelates, both known for taking a strong stand for the Church’s tradition at the Synod on the Family, are declining interviews on Pope Francis’ controversial apostolic exhortation. Vatican reporter…Continue Reading

Indiana diocese: Catholic teachers must uphold Church’s moral teachings

FORT WAYNE, Indiana, April 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Another Catholic bishop has taken steps to reinforce Catholic identity in the schools of his diocese. Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades promulgated “The Mission of Our Catholic Schools and the Importance…Continue Reading

Abby Johnson to Georgetown: Pray for Cecile Richards because no one is beyond conversion

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – No one is beyond conversion, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson said at Georgetown University Wednesday, just hours after Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards delivered a lecture to a packed room at…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Pro-life NFL star Matt Birk reveals real reason he skipped meeting with Obama

April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When football star Matt Birk decided to quietly decline an invitation to meet President Obama after winning the 2013 Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, he said at the time that he was acting on…Continue Reading

Head of US Bishops’ news agency resigns, blames ‘far right blogosphere’

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary. Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had…Continue Reading

Scandal: More ‘Drag Shows’ at Catholic Colleges

Annual drag shows — where individuals dress up and perform as the opposite sex — have become a consistent presence on several Catholic college campuses, punctuating the spring semester with scandal and disregard for Church teaching on human sexuality. Despite…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood: Ted Cruz is ‘the biggest threat we face’

April 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Ted Cruz’s pro-life views make him the “biggest threat” Planned Parenthood faces, the abortion giant said in a fundraising email last week. Citing the Texas senator and presidential candidate’s opposition to abortion in cases of…Continue Reading

Details Released for Planned Parenthood Event at Georgetown

March 7, 2016, at 8:12 PM  |  By Adam Cassandra In a statement sent to The Cardinal Newman Society Monday night, the Archdiocese of Washington responded to the controversy surrounding the invite of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President…Continue Reading

Ted Cruz takes stand against abortion after rape: Go after the rapist, don’t kill the baby

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Texas senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has run as the most prolife candidate, and this week, Cruz once again boldly backed up his prolife credentials. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly conducted an extended…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .  

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Top Catholic Philosopher: Amoris Laetitia Will “Split the Church”

Today, 28 April, an important exclusive interview with a well-known Catholic philosopher has been published in Germany. The important statements of Professor Robert Spaemann might well indicate that the wind is turning now against the “Francis Revolution”. Spaemann – who is a personal friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – says about Amoris Laetitia that there are some ways of interpreting the document against the continuous teaching of the Church. He then continues: However, the article…Continue Reading

Christians in Crisis: Report Details Dire Situation in Iraq and Syria

ZENIT.ORG People of all religions will miss Christians’ contribution to education, healthcare •April 28, 2016•Fr. John Flynn• With no end in sight to the fighting in Iraq and Syria the remaining Christian population continues to experience very difficult conditions. A recent report, “Salt of the Earth: Impact and Significance of the Christian Presence in Syria and Iraq during the Current Crisis,” details the significant contributions Christians have made to the region and what it stands…Continue Reading

Pope: Do We Know the Other Lesson From the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

Zenit.org At General Audience, Says There’s More to Learn Than ‘Who Is My Neighbor?’ •April 27, 2016•Kathleen Naab• We know the parable of the Good Samaritan is a lesson to teach us that we must love our neighbor, and that there’s no one in the category of non-neighbor, but beyond that, Pope Francis asked today, have we also learned the parable’s lesson that God treats us with the compassion of the Samaritan? “In the gestures…Continue Reading

Over 750,000 pledge to boycott Target for giving men access to women’s bathrooms

target

April 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—Over 750,000 people have pledged to boycott Target over the company’s new policy allowing men to use women’s bathrooms. The American Family Association, which launched the petition, says the fact that it’s generated such a large response in only five days shows how outraged Americans are. “American families are concerned about their wives and daughters being harmed by predators or voyeurs who will now have more freedom to enter women’s bathrooms,” AFA…Continue Reading

Pope to Young People: Get Back Up on Your Feet

ZENIT During Jubilee Mass for Young People, Francis Reminds Youth to Not Settle for Mediocrity •April 24, 2016•Deborah Castellano Lubov• Remember that God is always your friend, even when you let Him down. Therefore, don’t worry if you’ve fallen, get back up and start fresh. Pope Francis stressed this during his Jubilee Mass for young people this morning, reminding them that the Lord is faithful to His friends and believes in them. “Even if you…Continue Reading

If God Is Dead…

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In a recent column Dennis Prager made an acute observation. “The vast majority of leading conservative writers . . . have a secular outlook on life. . . . They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.” These secular conservatives may think that “America can…Continue Reading

Being Conscientious About Conscience

By DONALD DeMARCO My earliest recollection of an explanation of conscience was when I was a young lad sitting in a movie theater and being enthralled by Walt Disney’s 1940 classic, Pinocchio. The newly carved puppet had been brought to life by the Blue Fairy. But he was still a puppet and had not been…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How To Fight Dissent”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Luther 1517-2017 . . . Five Hundred Years Of Heresy And Doctrinal Confusion

luther

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 (Editor’s Note: This is the sixth installment in a series by Wanderer contributor Raymond de Souza on Henry VIII’s book defending the seven sacraments against Martin Luther. De Souza edited this updated version of Henry’s work, which is presented to readers in this series. (This series will appear…Continue Reading

The President, The Court, And Immigration

By JUDGE ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In 2014, President Barack Obama signed 12 executive orders directing various agencies in the departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security to refrain from deporting some 4 million adult immigrants illegally present in the United States if they are the parents of children born here or legally present here and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding the question of whether Jesus after the Resurrection appeared first to His Mother, which is not mentioned in the Gospels, or to Mary Magdalene, which is mentioned, F.A. of Massachusetts called our attention to the following comments by St. John Paul II in an audience on May 21, 1997: “How could the Blessed Virgin, present in the…Continue Reading

Faith And Love

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventh Sunday Of Easter (YR C) Readings: Acts 7:55-60 Rev. 22:12-14, 16-17, 20 John 17:20-26 In the Gospel reading today we hear a portion of the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in which He prays not only for His apostles, but also for those who will believe because of their word. What a wonderful thing to…Continue Reading

Five Remedies For Sorrow From St. Thomas Aquinas

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog. All rights reserved.) + + + Some of you who follow me on Facebook know that I just lost a beloved pet, Daniel, our rectory cat. Losing a pet…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Join Me For Pilgrimage To Italy: Mother Teresa’s Canonization

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Join our small group of pilgrims on a journey to Italy from September 1 through 9, 2016. Our adventure will of course be a spiritual one, but also cultural as we make stops to explore some of the major historic and beautiful cities of Italy as well as Rome for Mother Teresa’s canonization at St.…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Inquisition

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 51 In order to properly understand the historical event called the “Inquisition,” a basic, primary distinction must be made: There were three distinct inquisition tribunals in history: the Medieval Inquisition, the Roman Inquisition, and the Spanish Inquisition. Let us consider them, one by one, as their circumstances and historical contexts were very different. The…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Hugh The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the 11th century, over 150 years before St. Francis of Assisi received the order from our Lord to “repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin,” the secular rulers sought to control the appointment of bishops, abbots, and even the Pope. During this period of simony and conflict, St. Hugh the Great entered…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Gabriella Of Unity

By CAROLE BRESLIN Just before Italy formally entered World War I in April 1915, a poor farmer and his wife welcomed a little girl into the peaceful land of Sardinia, an island about 150 miles west of Italy. Maria Sagheddu was born on March 17, 1914, the fifth of eight children. During the war that lasted until 1918, over 1,800,000…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading