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Tuesday, November 10, 2009



Carl, excellent post.

Father Richard, thanks for the response. I understand your thoughts much better and find I cannot disagree. Occasionally it is only a matter of difference of emphasis, I think, between East and West. I apologize if I came across as lecturing, because having re-read my own comments after an interval of a day or so it reads that way to me, and that was not my intention.

Speaking of culture, I would add only one thought in connection to what Carl has said about the MSM. I think that the discipline of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church is a treasure worth maintaining precisely because it is such a sign of contradiction to the culture; a culture that has robbed whole generations of any sense of honor and nobility, of any sense of self-control, of any higher sense of romance; a culture that has replaced it all with a narcissistic whine; a culture that puts condoms in schools and scoffs at teaching abstinence; a culture that excoriates the Holy Father for pointing out in Africa that the real solution to the AIDS problem is not free condoms but abstinence and fidelity, a higher moral standard; and a culture that is willing to kill babies rather than strive for a higher standard of personal conduct.

In this culture, celibate priests and religious are true radicals, and because, by their very existence they denounce the culture, they are alternately scoffed at or hated, but they cannot be ignored. Neither can the Church that insists on celibacy be ignored.

(It is also the reason that a priest or religious who falls, or is found to be in some serious sin or grave violation of his vows and/or the law, is held up in the MSM relentlessly. And it could be argued rightly so, for even though the MSM does not accept the higher standard, they know that the Church does, and so holds the Church to its own standard.)

In Raymond Arroyo's biography of Mother Angelica he tells of the occasion when Mother Angelica attended a television trade show at which her display for EWTN was placed next to the Playboy Channel. It was interesting that just the very presence of nuns in full habit with rosaries caused the scantily clad bunnies next to them great embarrassment. It made them very uncomfortable because it symbolized a higher standard.

Inside the Church as well, there are many who are uncomfortable with the Church's discipline of priestly celibacy, and I would think probably for similar reasons. All the more reason to keep it.

All in all, I think that the evangelical value of priestly celibacy, if nothing else, is reason enough to hold fast to it.

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