Celibacy: Curse of Catholicism

ISBN 13: 9781425910365
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The book is written in a vicious manner, as from one who clearly is angry at the Catholic Church. I have read numerous criticisms against the Church's teaching on clerical celibacy which I can understand and sympathize where people are coming from, but this is by far the worst argument I have ever seen.

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Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Audible Download Audio Books. The triune being of God is therefore the primal form of all of our covenants. Here, God chooses not to be alone but with and for the humanity God created. Here, God elects humanity to be God's covenant partner. Here, God's love cannot be contained but pours itself out with incomprehensible majesty into the creation and reconciliation of humanity.

Christian covenants must participate in this Trinitarian structure, so that the order broken by sin and restored by God's sovereign decision in Christ becomes an order of being "with" others. From our participation in this divine self-disclosure—as Christians who have been incorporated into God's Trinitarian being through Baptism and who meet the Triune God again and again through Word and Sacrament—we can begin to describe the form of Christian covenant:.

First, God chooses each of us for covenant, calls us into covenant life and uses covenant to complete God's work of conversion and sanctification in our lives. Election, vocation, conversion and sanctification! Nothing less is at stake in Christian covenant than the overcoming of our opposition to God!

So every Christian covenant is a means of grace that draws us into the covenantal life of the Trinity. God works through covenants to convert us to a life with God and with others. Second, Christian covenants are accountable to the community , and therefore must be sealed by public vows.


A broader dialogue and, perhaps, an openness to hitherto-untried approaches to discerning whether a candidate possesses the spiritual gift of celibacy, are needed. By Kenneth L. By the s, the center of gay life in Rome was a cruising area called Monte Caprino, on the Capitoline Hill. Celibacy makes sense: single men are freer to serve their parish, have fewer reasons for holding back in ministry, and avoid favoritism. Abandoning the ministry does not come into question for many priests, and there is also a fear of social fallout.

In contrast to the secular theory of "contract," in which two independent persons with equal rights enter into an agreement, Christian covenants are accountable to the Lord who comes to us in Word and Sacrament, that is, in the realized life of the Body of Christ in the Christian community. Jesus Christ is the Lord of every covenant, but the Covenant Lordship of Christ is mediated through his Body, the church.

Therefore, covenant promises cannot be a private contract between two solitary persons but always a public demonstration of vows in the presence of the community. Third, the community is accountable to the covenants made by its members. Because we are sinners, our covenantal relationships are always threatened by moral disorder.

Covenant partners will turn again and again to the church which, as the Body of Christ, will call us back into relationship. Fourth, Christian covenants create new life. Just as the triune life of God is not enclosed within itself but creates life in all of its forms, human covenants must also be creative. This is seen most clearly in the covenant of marriage, where if it is God's will a woman and a man extend life through the birth and care of children.

But this creative vocation must be seen in all of our covenants. In some way, every Christian covenant must extend the boundaries of life. Every Christian covenant must be generative and generous. Every Christian covenant must say "Yes" to life. Heterosexual marriage is the oldest of human covenants, and every other relationship descends from this encounter of a man and woman in marriage.

This is obviously so because we are born in families and we owe our existence to heterosexual parents. But the tradition also says that in the marriage of a man and a woman we have a type, or an image, of the covenantal love of God for Israel and Christ for the church.

There is much discussion about whether same-sex relationships also should be called "marriage," and, as you all know, this is a subject on which the church is deeply divided. There can be no question, however, that the Jewish and Christian traditions set heterosexual marriage apart from all other covenants. In my view, the confusion of marriage with other relationships can obscure the priority of heterosexual marriage in God's creative design and the Bible's orientation towards marriage as an analogy of God's passionate and faithful love for creation.

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And although I intend to argue that the church must grant equal dignity to same-sex relationships lived under vows—an argument I will save for the end of this paper, if you will be patient with me—I am not yet convinced that "equal dignity" is the same as "objective equality.

In any case, the marriage rites of all Christian churches testify to the tradition that marriage is a covenant between heterosexual partners. So does the only gay and lesbian denomination, the Metropolitan Community Churches, whose rite for blessing same-sex couples is called "union," not "marriage. As the first human covenant revealed in scripture and the only human covenant present at the origin of the human race, I believe marriage has a privileged claim on the ministry of the church. Through the tradition's use of marriage as an analogy of God's covenant with humanity, marriage is prior to all other covenants but one—our primal covenant of baptism.

But although heterosexual marriage is unique , it also participates in the Trinitarian structure that is common to all Christian covenants. Marriage, if I may borrow from St.

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Benedict's well-known image of the monastery as a "school for sinners," is the school where those called into this covenant learn how to be with another and not alone. It is a means of grace, through which God calls a man and a woman away from the terrible solitude of the alienated self into a life of self-giving love. Like other covenants, marriage is not closed in on itself but open to others, first, to the gift of children and family, second, to the church whose liberating boundaries encompass every Christian marriage.

Like other covenants, marriage is accountable to Christ, who is the Covenant Lord of the married partners and of their family. Marriage is also a vocation , which means that to be a Christian marriage, God must summon a man and a woman into this relationship. But throughout its history, the church has also held an honored place for women and men who were called into a different covenant, but one by which they nevertheless were liberated by God to live a life with and for others.

That covenant is celibacy, and to this we will now turn. We are immediately in trouble here because most of us in this room are Protestant and we have had virtually no tradition of organized celibate community for more than years—with a few exceptions, including one Augustinian monastery in Germany that transferred its allegiance to the Lutheran Reform in and somehow survived until The disappearance of vocational celibacy, along with the organized structures without which any covenantal life is impossible, ought to be a serious concern among us.

Luther's reaction to the abuse of monastic vows was so extreme that at one point he wrote that chastity is impossible outside of marriage. Calvin was equally contemptuous of the monastic way of life, writing that "the cloisters, the cells, the holes of the monkeries smell of nothing but excrement. Our break with 1, years of vocational celibacy has led us to believe that marriage is normative for all men and women, that is, the only vocation of relationship to which Christians can aspire.

But it was not so in the apostolic church, as Karl Barth reminds us:.

Reflections of a Friar in Training

This "different path" is celibacy. So it is a mistake for us to see celibacy as either a compromise or a curse for those who, because of their sexual orientation or their situation in life, are unable to enter into the covenant of heterosexual marriage. Celibacy is a gift in which the person called into this life becomes fully human. Those who hear God's call to this life are not half-human.

We cannot say they are incomplete because they have not fulfilled themselves in a union between a woman and a man. Nor should we understand celibacy as "asexuality" or merely as "abstinence" from a sexual relationship. Instead, celibacy is a particular disciplining of sexuality that liberates sexual energy for communion with others. We only have to look at the ecstatic visions of Roman Catholic mystics like St.

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John of the Cross or St. Therese of Avila, or the extraordinary creative energy of the Shaker communities, to see how sexual identity was not negated by celibacy but channeled into an intensely unitive relationship with Jesus Christ. Celibacy therefore conforms to the Trinitarian structure of covenant.