Why is there celibacy in the Catholic religion?
The belief of celibacy goes back in time, much further than many of us think. Since the time of Christ, celibacy in the priesthood in many of the different religions of that time was very common.
Christ lived a celibate life and the priests of the Catholic Church want to follow His example. Before a man becomes a priest, he takes three vows: poverty, chastity, and obedience. These vows are agreements made by the priest to God Himself. Four major orders in the Catholic Church (Franciscans, Dominicans, Benedictines, and Jesuits) share these three vows.
A priest ought to be a holy, virtuous man, wholly dedicated to God and ready to sacrifice his life for God. The Catholic Church believes that if someone who wishes to become a priest cannot even make the sacrifice of giving up a wife and children, how will he hold up when it comes to other sacrifices? If God calls you, He will give you the graces necessary to be a good and holy priest.
The following passages demonstrate that celibacy as a state of life is approved, but not commanded in the Bible.
Luke 14:26 states, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be My disciple." The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about his own celibacy. 1 Corinthians 7:7-8 says, "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am."
Many priests are now urging that celibacy be optional and that the priesthood be open to married men as well as celibate men. More than 160 priests in the Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese have signed a letter and sent it to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The priests hope the letter will prompt a dialog about optional celibacy because of the shortage of priests.
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