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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Priestly Celibacy – The Rule Not the Exception

Except for the fact that I am a priest, I am unsure what value my reflection upon this matter of celibacy may possess for others. There are already historical studies which demonstrate that perfect continence was an ideal of the early Church. Much has been written toward a theology of priestly celibacy, especially citing the marital analogy. In any case, for what it is worth, I will add my own personal musing.

I am already well aware that my support for the full retention of the discipline has put me at odds with critics, even with some of my fellow priests. Petitions have popped up in various countries where clergy want optional celibacy, much as practiced in our Eastern rites. The Anglican clergy who have accepted the papal offer of Catholic inclusion are also making noise about the celibate/married priest situation. A few have paraded how wonderful it is, to be a married man and a Catholic priest. I would prefer that they remain quiet and keep a low profile. I hope that the Holy Father will compel the Eastern rites to restrict their married clergy to Europe and not to allow their numbers to amass in North America, as has been asked of them under holy obedience. The Anglican usage Catholics should not expect that the next generation of clergy will contain married priests. The aberration is tolerated for the sake of reunion; not as a permanent relaxation of the discipline. Or am I wrong? I have heard it said that married candidates will be granted dispensations for ordination on an individual basis and that the Pope will be generous. What if he is not?

Some act as if opposition to celibacy might be a new phenomenon; it is not. Our erotic society makes the custody of the eyes difficult today but priests are men and men have always struggled with the emotions, passions and yearnings of all men. There is also the inescapable truth of original sin and our fallen nature. This struggle associated with celibacy is precisely why it is regarded as an important element of sacrificial love.