11 Apr 2018

Marriage is good, but consecrated virginity is even better

Victim Nuns of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

On May 27, 2014, “Pope” Francis said: “Since it is not dogma, the door is always open to rethink priestly celibacy”. Already, as I write, there are now some married “Catholic priests” around the world. In the United States alone, for instance, there are currently about 125 married “priests”, all recognised by Rome. (See for instance: I’m a Married Man. I’m also a Catholic Priest; see also: Pope Francis: Married priests "on my agenda"--"reform of the reform" not so muchand The new push to end priestly celibacy ).   

Carefully note that Francis’ support of “married priests” is not a news. Before he invaded the Vatican, he had been notorious for encouraging priests to leave the priesthood if they fall in love, and divorce as well. For instance in a private conversation with his longtime friend from Buenos Aires, Oscar Crespo, Francis reportedly revealed his plans to change important “archaic” parts of the Catholic rules. Crespo says “the Pope” intends to overturn the “centuries-old ban” on Catholic priests from getting married and to lift the banishment of divorcees from the Catholic Church. Crespo claims Francis told him “six years ago”, when “the Pope” was archbishop of Buenos Aires, that the ban on priests getting married was not “doctrine”.(See: Pope Francis wants to change two major Catholic laws he sees as 'archaic' ).

As Bergoglio himself, before invading the Vatican, said in “Conversations”, (pp. 118-119): “There are times when a priest does fall in love and must reassess his vocation and his life. Then he must go to the bishop and tell him, ‘I’ve made up my mind… I didn’t know I was going to feel something so beautiful… I truly love this woman’, and he asks to leave the priesthood”.

And what do you do in these cases?

Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) says: “I stay with him; I accompany him on his spiritual journey. If he is sure of his decision, I even help him find work… We request what is called ‘dispensation,’ permission from Rome, and then he would be allowed to receive the sacrament of marriage.”

So Francis will help a man who took a permanent vow of chastity before God to break his vow and leave the priesthood! (Of course he will, since he doesn’t believe in a Catholic God). The Catholic Church has never allowed a priest to leave the priesthood and get married. This is a heretical invention promoted after Vatican II. Celibacy, in fact, has existed in one form or another throughout history and in virtually all the major religions of the world. It was common in the ancient world—when men were really religious and pious—to view sexual power as a rival to religious power, and the sexuality of the opposite sex as a polluting factor, especially in sacred or crisis situations. Even in the Old Testament times, there were prescribed periods of sexual abstinence in connection with rituals and sacrifices and the prosecution of holy wars. Hence we learn that King David—at a time when a war was going on between Israel and Rabba—after committing adultery with Urias’ wife, Bethsabee, and learning that she had become pregnant, sent for her husband, Urias, who was among those fighting the war, and tried different means of sending him to his house to sleep with his wife but in vain. “And Urias said to David: “The ark of God and Israel and Juda dwell in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord abide upon the face of the earth: and shall I go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to sleep with my wife? By thy welfare and by the welfare of thy soul I will not do this thing”. (2 Kings 11: 1-11). In post-Old Testament times, some members of the Essenes, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, rejected marriage, and the medieval Talmudic scholar Ben Azzai remained celibate. Our Lord Himself, speaking of celibacy, said, “...there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it”. (Matthew 19:12). The origin of priestly celibacy goes back to the first apostles of Christ who, for the sake of God’s kingdom, gave up marriage. As we read in the Gospel: “Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, OR WIFE, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possesses life everlasting”. (Matthew 19:27-29). St. Paul, who was celibate, writes: “…It is good for a man not to touch a woman…For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that.” (1 Corinthians 9:1&7).  

“A priest”, says the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “may be defined as one who, as a mediator, performs the sacred function of communicating through rites the needs of the people to heaven and the sacred power and presence from heaven to the congregation. His function is objective. Its efficacy is assured if the priest conducts the proper rite and has the proper qualifications of ordination and, perhaps, of ritual purity, regardless of whether he is particularly moral or fervent. Celibacy serves as such an objective mark of special state and ritual purity.” The point to note here is that the main purpose of priestly celibacy is ritual purity required for sacerdotal rites—this is different from another type of celibacy associated withmonasticism, the main purpose of which is moral and spiritual advancement. Today we are often given the false impression (by some perverts among the clergy who, like Martin Luther who renounced his vow of celibacy and married the former nun Katherina von Bora, are intoxicated with sex) that “Well, celibacy is not a dogma. Priests in the early centuries were married and priests today can still marry.” But the fact is that, even at the so-called “time when priests were married”, it was common for ordained men to give up sexual relations with their wives. In fact the reason why some of them had wives in the first place was because they had been married before they took the decision to become priests—so having become priests, some gave up their wives. (Matthew 19:12; 27-29). (Such actions are unthinkable today only because modern men and women have become extraordinarily canal—intoxicated with sex!). These perverts will never mention the regional Council of Elvira in Spain (c. AD 306) which decreed that all priests and bishops, married or not, should abstain from sexual relations—or the ecumenical Council of Nicaea (AD 325) which forbade priests to live with women other than their mothers, sisters, or aunts.

Note that all I've been describing took place between the apostolic times and the fourth century. Thus when Pope St. Gregory VII championed the compulsory clerical celibacy in the 11th century, it wasn't really seen as something new. Celibacy, then, was only made a part of church law—at the first and second Lateran Councils (1123 and 1139) which abolished clerical marriage and thus established the official and still-existing position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The article below says more on this topic.

Why the Church teaches marriage is good, but consecrated virginity is even better

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As celibacy and virginity come increasingly under fire not only in the secular world but even within the Church and her very hierarchy, we must renew our understanding of immutable Catholic doctrine and our commitment to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
In the ancient Church, Jovinian was a heretic who taught the equality of sacramental marriage and celibacy for the kingdom of God. His views were roundly refuted by St. Jerome and St. Augustine, and the Church in her Magisterium has consistently taught as they do: one who marries in Christ and brings children into the world does well, but one who altogether relinquishes marriage and family for the sake of following Christ more closely does even better.
Nevertheless, Jovinianism rears its ugly head throughout Christian history. The Protestant Reformers challenged the traditional doctrine, in spite of the fact that it is based on the very words of Christ and of St. Paul. In more recent times, we certainly see among Catholics a pragmatic sort of Jovinianism, which I have discovered in nearly all the students I have ever taught. Perhaps because they have met in their lives so few authentic religious brothers and sisters, they tend to think it wrong to elevate the religious state above the married state as a means for attaining perfection in charity and contemplation. They are surprised to learn that they are in conflict with the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils.
One student put the case this way on a final exam: “If I am a married person and I do everything, including change diapers and go to work and embrace my wife and build up a house and garden, all for the love of God, how am I not making of myself and my life a ‘holocaust’, a total offering, that is just as pleasing as the offering of a religious who gives up family, property, self-determination? As a matter of fact, the religious still has clothes, a bed, a house to live in, probably a lot of books, financial worries in his community, practicalities to take care of, his brethren as a family, and for the most part he does what he wants from day to day, even if the bigger decisions belong (in part) to a superior. So is his life really all that different from mine?”
Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? With a vague appeal to the “universal call to holiness” and the “primacy of charity,” one can quickly deduce that all Christian states in life are equal. Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas also teaches that holiness is for everyone and that charity holds pride of place in becoming holy, but he does not, all the same, reach that egalitarian conclusion.
The student claimed that “marriage, too, is a total holocaust.” I ask: in what sense? Is the married man or woman actually giving up spouse, children, house, fields, his or her own will? In a way yes—but in a decisive way, no. When Jesus told his disciples that they who left everything to follow him would receive a hundredfold, he was not speaking metaphorically, but quite literally. Nor was he saying that those who renounced these things up front were permitted to reintroduce them later, through the back door. The hundredfold blessing rests only on the ones who remain poor, chaste, and obedient, and to the extent that they are truly such.
In order to understand the Our Lord’s teaching better, let us consider how the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity (in the sense of perpetual continence), and obedience are means for accomplishing the goal of perfection in charity, that is, holiness.
The counsels take away those material and temporal goods that tend to distract or weaken our focus on God or that allow us to rely on them rather than on Him. Unlike the commandments, the counsels do not separate us from bad things that are incompatible with love of God. Rather, they separate us from things that are in themselves good, even very good, but not the greatest good, and thus can hinder a direct focus on the greatest goods, and on the Giver of all good things. The reason why separating ourselves from things that are good is helpful for focusing on the highest good and source of all goods, on God Himself, is that we are finite beings with finite capacities for attention and love. Therefore, by removing our attention and love from worldly and temporal goods, the counsels help us to fix them more fully on spiritual and eternal goods, on the divine. St. Thomas beautifully makes this point:
“It is manifest that the human heart is borne more intensely towards one thing, to the extent that it is withdrawn from many things. Thus man’s mind is borne more perfectly to loving God to the extent that it is removed from love for temporal things... Therefore all the evangelical counsels, by which we are invited to perfection, have as their aim the turning away of man’s mind from love for temporal things, so that his mind may tend more freely to God, by contemplating, loving, and fulfilling his will.” (On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life, ch. 6)

In the present climate, it is important to emphasize that the counsels are not proposed as good because the things we give up by following the counsels are bad, but because there is a better way to grow in love than the use of these things. Giving up marriage enables one to grow more in the love of God and neighbor solely because the direct dedication of our heart and mind to God is a better means for growing in love than marriage is, whether considered in itself or as a sacrament (see Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Sacra Virginitas, nn. 37–39). Pope John Paul II taught this quite clearly: 
“The reference to the nuptial union of Christ and the Church gives marriage itself its highest dignity: in particular, the sacrament of matrimony introduces the spouses into the mystery of Christ's union with the Church. However, the profession of virginity or celibacy enables consecrated persons to share more directly in the mystery of this marriage. While conjugal love goes to Christ the Bridegroom through a human union, virginal love goes directly to the person of Christ through an immediate union with him, without intermediaries: a truly complete and decisive spiritual espousal. Thus in the person of those who profess and live consecrated chastity, the Church expresses her union as Bride with Christ the Bridegroom to the greatest extent.” (Catechesis on Consecrated Life, November 23, 1994)

Implied in these words is, however, a salutary warning. One who gives up marriage—a monk or nun, a priest, a bishop—will not be any better off for doing so if he does not use the freedom of his heart to devote himself more fully to God and to the service of the Church. In fact, he will be worse off, since he will lack the great good of marriage as well as the greater good of virginity or celibacy “for the kingdom,” the orientation that alone makes it so great a good. 
Moreover, assuming good intentions to begin with, the intensity and steadfastness of the resolve to pursue the goal of holiness using whichever means one chooses is of greater importance than the means as such. To be more concrete: it is better to seek for holiness in marriage wholeheartedly, than to seek holiness in religious life half-heartedly.

Our Lord has provided us with two ways, noble and nobler, good and better, of entering into the mystery of His indissoluble nuptial union with the Church: through a sacramental image of it in marriage, and through a mystical participation in the very union itself in consecrated life.

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