Catholic Church Authorities And Priestly Celibacy

          -Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical Letter Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, wrote the following in regard to celibacy for ordained leaders and Scripture:

          “Let us honestly consider the main objections against the law of ecclesiastical celibacy united with the priesthood. The first comes, it seems, from the most authoritative source, the New Testament, in which the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles is preserved. The New Testament does not demand celibacy from sacred ministers, but simply proposes it as free obedience to a special vocation or a particular charism (cf. Mt 19:11-12). Jesus did not impose this condition when choosing the Twelve, just as the Apostles did not impose it on those they placed at the head of the first Christian communities (cf. 1 Tm 3, 2-5; Tt 1, 5-6).”

          It seems that the Pope acknowledged the concept of church leaders being required to abstain from marriage does not originate from any teaching of the New Testament. Moreover, the Second Vatican Council, in its Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, on the Ministry and Life of Priests, says that the celibate life is:
          “…not demanded by the very nature of the priesthood, as is apparent from the practice of the early Church(35) and from the traditions of the Eastern Churches. where, besides those who with all the bishops, by a gift of grace, choose to observe celibacy, there are also married priests of highest merit. This holy synod, while it commends ecclesiastical celibacy, in no way intends to alter that different discipline which legitimately flourishes in the Eastern Churches. It permanently exhorts all those who have received the priesthood and marriage to persevere in their holy vocation so that they may fully and generously continue to expend themselves for the sake of the flock commended to them.”
          This practice is not necessary in order for a priest to faithfully carry out his work in ministry. It is both an arbitrary and cruel custom which should be discarded. Archbishop Pietro Parolin affirmed that priestly celibacy is not a dogma of the Church but a debatable subject:
          “…it is possible to discuss and reflect on these topics that are not defined faith, and consider some modifications, but always in the service of unity and according to God’s will.” One also needs to be attentive to the signs of the times, he said.”






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