Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
The Catholic Church, with God's approval and authority, following the example of Christ and the Apostles.
No. He merely enforced the already existing law more rigidly in his efforts to correct abuses. Over 300 years before Gregory VII. was Pope, the Greeks met the Latin Bishops at the Council of Trullo, and admitted, "We know that the law of the Roman Church is to demand that married men, from the moment of their ordination, must separate from their wives forever. " St. Jerome, over 300 years before that, wrote, "The Apostolic See accepts married men to be Priests provided they live no longer as husbands to their wives. " Marriage was never allowed after ordination. If a single man were ordained, he had to practice celibacy. If an aspirant were already married, he had to practice celibacy from the day he became a Priest. Pope Siricius, in 385 A.D., said, "All we Priests are obliged by an inviolable law dating from our ordination to be continent and chaste, and thus offer the sacrifice of our bodies to God." This same Pope wrote also, "I have heard that a Priest of Christ has married, defending his action by saying that the Priests of the Old Law married. But the Church, the Spouse of Christ, has always loved chastity. Wherefore any Priest who claims a privilege from the Old Law which is unlawful in the New must know that he is deprived by the authority of the Apostolic See of the ecclesiastical honor he has so misused, nor can he celebrate the divine mysteries. " Pope Siricius was not beginning a new law in the Church, but blaming an individual for not observing a law that had long been in existence. In 314 the Council of Neo-Caesaria had also said, "If a Priest marries, let him be degraded. " The Apostolic Constitutions gave the law, in the 2nd century, "If a Priest or Deacon is not already married, he can never contract marriage." Thus right back to the 2nd century you have explicit testimony that in the Catholic Church once a man became a Priest he had to renounce marriage, and practice celibacy.
Yes. They have been exempted from the law obliging all Priests of the Latin Rite. The Church has tolerated the ancient custom of marriage in those Eastern Churches which have sought re-union with her, allowing married men to be ordained amongst them, though marriage subsequent to ordination is forbidden. But in the Western Latin Church the full law must be observed.
That is a general precept for the whole human race, and a general blessing upon marriage. But it does not bind each and every individual. If it did, every single marriageable man in the world is breaking God's commandment and is in a state of sin. Or when would a man begin to sin by not being married? At 18? 19? 20? Or only when he could afford to support a wife? And would you accuse Christ of violating God's will ? Or if you exempt Him because of His divinity, would you blame the Apostles? Was St. John the Baptist so very evil? Or St. Paul, who wrote, "I would that all were as myself . . . unmarried"? 1 Cor. VII., 7. You quote the Bible, and then give a teaching radically opposed to the doctrine of that Bible.
The sense is simply that one who does take a wife has a duty to her and to his children which is so binding that he must leave even his parents in order to fulfill it in his newly adopted state. But Christ gave a special blessing to those who would renounce father and mother, and the prospects of a wife and children also, for His sake. Matt. XIX., 29 says, "And everyone 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 possess life everlasting."
St. Paul does not say that a Bishop must be the husband of a wife, but insists upon the expression "one wife." Had he meant that it was necessary to have a wife, he would have been violating the law himself. In the early Church, owing to the scarcity of single men eligible for the Priesthood, married men who wished to be ordained could be accepted provided they had not been married twice. Those presenting themselves must have been the husband of but one wife. That is all that the text means. Catholic Bishops and Priests do not violate that law. A law forbidding a man to have had more than one wife does not order him to have one; nor is it violated by a man who has never had a wife at all. However, as Christianity grew and vocations became more plentiful, single men only were accepted, and had to remain celibates, according to the advice of St. Paul which I have quoted.
That does not suggest that a Bishop must be married, but belongs to the same context as that which you have just quoted. If a man who has been married, but not to more than one wife, be chosen, he must be one who has been faithful and who has ruled well his own house. That discipline was most wise at a time when such a man could be chosen. But such discipline no longer holds.
The Catholic Church does not forbid people to marry. The vast majority of Catholics marry with the blessing of the Church. The text refers to people who declare all marriage evil, as did many early heretics. Marriage is not evil, nor is any Catholic forbidden to marry, as you would suggest. It is true that Priests may not marry. But no one can be obliged to become a Priest; in fact every one who is a Priest could have married instead of devoting his life to an ecclesiastical vocation, had he wished.
Because they do not wish to be only natural. They wish to be supernatural. St. Paul was human, but he did not marry. And like St. Paul, Catholic Priests wish to centre their interests in Christ and share their hearts with no one else. Meantime, they are not forbidden to marry as human beings. They are forbidden as Priests. Prior to their choice of the Priesthood, every Priest could have chosen marriage instead had he wished.
As human beings—no; as called, not to the state of marriage, but to the Priesthood—yes. For this reason, whilst like all others who for one reason or another do not marry, they are obliged to avoid all sins against chastity; they also take upon themselves an additional obligation to do so under pain of sacrilege by vows of chastity offered to God.
No one suggests that they are exempt from ordinary temptations. But it is not against nature to rise above these temptations. It is one thing to be tempted; quite another to yield to the temptation. Anybody could avoid sin if never tempted. But the merit and glory of a Christian is to be tempted yet not to give way to the temptation. Priests undertake to resist such temptations with the help of God's grace.
Upon what do you base that outrageous assertion?
Do you mean that no one with human nature can be pure and chaste? That every young couple entering matrimony can be quite sure that the other has led an evil immoral life up to that moment? If you do not mean that, do you mean that a young man in the world can lead a good life, but suddenly becomes corrupt when he gives himself to a life of closer union with God? Do you think that the devoting of oneself to a life of prayer and to spiritual things makes it much harder to live a good life than it was before? If a man wanted an immoral life he need not become a Priest in order to attain his desire; nor would he dream of taking a solemn vow of chastity for the sheer joy of making himself doubly guilty in breaking it. And do you, a Protestant, include in your indictment all unmarried Protestant ministers and celibate clergymen?
It is a fundamental law of nature that those who do exercise the functions of marriage should do so for the propagation of the race, and no Church fights against the contraceptionist as does the Catholic Church. But it is not a fundamental law of nature that every individual must marry. Many single people never get the chance. St. Paul also says that a single life for the love of God is the better thing, and the Catholic Church asks the better thing of her Priests so that they can be more free to devote themselves to the cares of all, that they may set a lofty example of self-restraint, and that they may more closely imitate Christ.
If that were so, will you blame me for denying myself what you admit to b8 a happiness? However supernatural happiness more than compensates me for the loss of that natural happiness. No word of mine could make you think that I am gloomy or miserable. And I am sure that your estimate of me will make you admit that there is at least some girl in the world the happier for not having had me inflicted upon her as a husband.
If anyone is to complain, let the Priests do the complaining, who have to endure the burden. And believe me, if Priests were left free to marry, very very few would ruin their work and influence by taking upon themselves the duties of married life with its necessary division of their interest from their ecclesiastical vocation. Priests do not want to be free to marry.
Few Protestant ministers would thank you for that remark. There is, however, no need to pretend to be better. There is need to be better. Christ said to His Apostles, "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt lose its savor! . . . You are the light of the world. So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, etc." Your ministers may marry—but the Apostles did not, even as their Master did not. Of course it is more honest to marry than to live a life of un-chastity in an unmarried state. But provided one lives a clean and chaste life in in the single state, thus imitating Christ, it is not more honest to marry.
Not for a moment. They break no commandment of their Church. It is true that God commands His Priests to remain single through the legislation of the Catholic Church. But her legislation in this matter has nothing to do with Protestant clergymen.
You might just as well say that, if it is right for me to obey one set of laws in America, it is wrong for another man to follow a totally different custom in China! And the Catholic Church differs much more from other religions than America differs from China.
No one could give a higher moral example than Christ, and a Priest sets a higher moral example by not marrying. When he encourages young people to live pure and chaste lives in a single state he is not telling them to do what he is not obliged to do himself. He is unhampered by domestic cares so that he can go to the poorest mission for the love of God, and can attend those dying of contagious diseases without thought of carrying infection to wife and children. And it is certain that our people have more confidence in their Priests precisely because they are single men, above all in the Confessional. Even in the Greek Orthodox Church, it is a known fact that the people go to confession by preference to single Priests rather than to married Priests.
Because single men can give undivided attention to their duties, and have more time to study and know the law of God upon which they must base their advice. Then, too, people feel that one who has renounced earthly affections for the love of God has more opportunities of living a disinterested spiritual life, and that his words will be correspondingly more helpful. And last, but not least, a single man is not so likely to share his thoughts and worries with a better-half, or betray a confidence through indiscretion or inadvertence.
"The lips of the Priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth." Mai. II., 7. The married state is not exempt from God's laws, and the Priests must know those laws. Every Priest studies all the possible duties of marriage from a moral point of view during a long course of theology before he enters a Confessional at all. If you say that a Priest cannot explain those laws to people because he himself is not married, will you say that a trained lawyer has no right to explain the law of the land to a plumber concerning that individual's trade because he himself has never so much as soldered a jam-tin?
Those who undertake the duties of married life are forbidden deliberate and artificial birth-prevention. Priests called, not to married life, but to a different state altogether, have neither the rights nor duties of the married state. There is a vast difference between preventing children by setting God's natural laws in operation yet frustrating their effects, and simply omitting to have children. No one is obliged to set the natural productive laws in operation. So, too, the obligation to pay bills is not violated by the man who has no bills. I may omit having creditors, but if I have them, I must not prevent them from receiving what is due to Jiem. That should make it clear. Human beings may omit those actions which God intends to result in life, but if they exercise them and then prevent human life, they violate God's law.