Saturday, August 06, 2005

Vow Number Two


While I was out on vacation, I did get a few questions from family about a) the priesthood in general and b) the Church in general. One of the questions that I was asked was about a particular vow I'll be taking, and my opinon of it. It wasn't poverty. My family has had its share of college students. Nor was it obedience. I've got an incredible amount of family members in the U.S. Navy, so they're good with that. Nor was it the fourth vow particular to Jesuits, that of special obedience to the pope. Evidently not a lot of people know that one exists. Nope, it was the other vow. Yep, chastity.

Darling and obsession of American society, our vow of chastity (or to be more specific, its implications for preists and religious) seems to fly right in the face of everything our culture tells us: sex is a very good thing which is in fact the fulfillment of your being. You have an innate right and duty to have as much of it as possible, and should excercise this right frequently in order to be "normal".

So, my opinion of priestly/religious celibacy? I like it. Members of religious orders should definitely keep it. The community life that they live is usually a key aspect of the spirituality or mission of the order. More often than not, either the order is very big on living with fellow members, mostly monastic orders such as Benedictines and Augustinians, or they are very active and either do or may have to travel frequently in the course of their ministry, like mendicant orders such as the Dominicans and Fransicans. For the Jesuits, it's very much both.

As for diocesan priests, I really doubt they would have time to do all that they do, be as available as they are, and still run a parish if they were to be married. The (now former) pastor of St. Mary's in College Station, Fr. Mike, was usually up by 6:30-6:45 to lead a group in lauds, and was busy working/praying until 10 or 11 at night. I think that were he married and keeping a schedule like that, he would very quickly find himself with a broken marriage, possibly a divorce.

Certainly, many theologians far smarter than I have written at length on the Biblical basis and justifications, and as I don't think I have anything to add of particular value in that arena, I won't.

So while I say that the Church could theoretically change this rule if it wanted to, I don't necessarily think it is a very prudent idea, and so far as I know, neither does anyone in the Church. I am fairly sure I can speak for just about everyone when I say: please, keep us celibate!

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."
-Martin Luther King, jr


At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet you still joke about that stuff.

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