See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chastity, Continence, and Celibacy: Kind of a Primer.


I came across the following on Jimmy Akin's blog.  I have rarely read a more practical definition of the Catholic observance of chastity, continence, and celibacy.
.
First, let’s be clear about what celibacy is: It’s the property of not being married. Anyone who is not married is, by definition, celibate. People often confuse this with two other concepts—continence (which in a sexual context means not having sex) and chastity (which means behaving in an appropriate manner sexually, based on your state of life). If a person is celibate (unmarried) and they wish to be chaste (act in a moral manner, sexually) then they will be continent (not have sex), because sex outside of marriage is immoral. By contrast, if you are not celibate (i.e., you are married) then you can be chaste (act in a sexually moral manner) even though you presumably are not continent (i.e., are having sex)." - Jimmy Akin

.
Coincidently, Akin goes on to discuss priestly celibacy - something I was also thinking about after prayer this morning - in relation to chastity and continence... 
.
"Second, the requirement of celibacy is neither a “doctrine” (teaching) nor a “dogma” (infallibly proclaimed teaching taught or implied by Christ and the apostles) of the Catholic Church. It is a “discipline,” a practice that has been adopted for prudential reasons but that can, and does, admit of exceptions..." ibid

.
I was wondering what some readers would think if I said I wouldn't be totally opposed to married priests.  I prefer things as they are, but observing how some Anglican turned Catholic priests are married and how well the married permanent diaconate is working, I no longer see it as such a big problem.  Jimmy Akin correctly notes that "a Catholic can hold the opinion that it would be pastorally prudent to make such a change. You are not being disloyal or a bad Catholic by holding such a view."  Although he's also realistic about any change happening soon - if at all - in the discipline;  "Suffice it to say that it would be pastorally inadvisable in the extreme for the Church to make a sudden, unprepared shift in its discipline on this point. Translating the Mass into the vernacular would be peanuts compared to this. Thus, even if one felt that the Church should move toward such a solution in the long-term, that does not in the least mean that it should be done precipitously. Or at all, because . . ."
.
Be assured that I accept the teaching of the Church on this matter.
.
Art:  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

3 comments:

  1. What a marvelously simple distinction and definition of terms. I must confess, I did not understand the distinction. Terrific. Thank, Terry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. perfectly clear and succint. love it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mr. Akin's post was very good. My personal opinion is that I can see no real good reason why removing the requirement would be an actual help. Lots of people say there'd be more vocations, but I am not so sure. Why then was celibacy not an impediment to lots of vocations in the past? And why is there also a dearth of vocations in other rites and denominations where married ordained clergy are allowed? The problem is much deeper, I think.

    I see no reason why theoretically it wouldn't work for diocesan priests who don't have the same vows as order priests. And Eastern rite priests and guys like Fr. Longnecker are certainly no less holy than Fr. Joe Schmoe of St. Suburbia Parish. But it is a VERY longstanding tradition in the West that has its on merits, and I would say it's a plank of cohesive Latin-rite Catholic culture (one of the few intact ones).

    Perhaps if a change ever were made, it should be done at a time when it wouldn't be interpreted as a concession to the wishes of the World.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.