Married Priests?: 30 Crucial Questions about Celibacy

Married Priests?: 30 Crucial Questions about Celibacy

by Dom Arturo Cattaneo (Editor)

Paperback(First Edition)



Why do Catholic priests not marry? How can celibacy possibly be so important to the Church, if Jesus did not even require it of his apostles? Cannot such an obligation cause sexual deviance, emotional troubles and even cases of pedophilia? These are three among the numerous possible questions that many people ask themselves, often without finding convincing answers. In recent years the arguments in favor of openness to married priests seem to be multiplying. Some object that celibacy is not a dogma but only a discipline that originated in the Middle Ages; that it is contrary to nature and hence harmful for a man's psycho-physical equilibrium and the maturation of the human personality. And then, if priests could marry, there would be an increase in vocations. In this book, seventeen various experts make contributions, responding to these and other burning objections, allowing the reader to discover the value that celibacy has today in the lives of thousands of priests and seminarians. Among the key topics this book discusses are: History of Priestly Celibacy, What Theology Says on the Celibacy, Emotions and Sexuality, Discerning and Fostering a Vocation, Celibacy in the Life of a Priest, Celibacy and Inculturation, Papal teachings on Celibacy from Pius XI to Benedict XVI.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586177256
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication date: 12/01/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 110
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

To Whom This Book Is Addressed xv

Priestly Celibacy: A Bit of History

1 Is not priestly celibacy a now outmoded remnant of the ritual purity required of priests in the Old Testament? 3

2 Is priestly celibacy a discipline of the Latin Church, or does it have biblical origins? 7

3 Is it true that priestly celibacy did not develop until the Middle Ages? 17

4 Why do the Eastern and the Western churches differ in the matter of priestly celibacy? 22

5 The churches in the East have allowed the priestly ordination of married men. Could not the Latin Church do the same? 26

6 Is it true that with the personal ordinariates for the Anglican faithful there is now an opening for married priests? 29

7 Would not permission to ordain married men foster an increase in vocations? 31

What Theology Says on the Subject

8 Is it true that Vatican II describes priestly celibacy not as necessary but merely as "appropriate"? 35

9 Celibacy is not a dogma but only a disciplinary norm. Why does the Church still attach such great importance to it? 38

10 The fundamental magisterial document on priestly celibacy is the encyclical by Paul VI. What are the most important teachings in it? 41

11 The chief task of the priest is the celebration of the Eucharist. What importance can celibacy have here? 48

Emotions and Sexuality

12 Is not celibacy unnatural and therefore the cause of existential crises among priests? 53

13 Is not the requirement for perfect continence in celibacy harmful to one's psycho-physical equilibrium and to the maturation of the human personality? 57

14 Can the obligation of perfect continence cause sexual and emotional deviance, as well as infidelity, scandals and painful defections that hurt the whole Church? 60

15 What positive message does celibacy have for today's society? 62

16 Does obligatory celibacy foster the presence of homosexuals in the priesthood? 64

17 What should be done to avoid the spread of homosexuality in the clergy? 66

18 Is celibacy the cause of sexual abuse on the part of some priests? 68

Discerning and Fostering a Vocation

19 Is it possible to ask young people today to commit themselves to celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven? 77

20 How can the beauty and value of celibacy be presented to someone who wants to become a priest? 81

21 How does one discern a call to the celibate life? 84

22 Celibacy is a charismatic gift. How can it be imposed by law? 87

Celibacy in the Life of a Priest

23 Does not celibacy tend to cause loneliness and frustration in the life of a priest? 93

24 Celibacy demands great self-denial. Is it really necessary? 97

25 Since most lay people are married, would a priest not understand them better if he himself were married? 99

26 Would a pastor not fit more easily into a parish community if he were married? 101

Celibacy and Inculturation

27 Is celibacy foreign to our lifestyle? 107

28 Does celibacy foster an ecclesial culture that is anti-women and hostile to marriage? 110

29 Is celibacy foreign to non-Western cultures in Africa? 114

30 Is celibacy foreign to the peoples of India and Latin America? 118

Papal Teachings on the Subject From Pius XI to Benedict XVI: By His Eminence Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

1 Pius XI and Ad Catholici Sacerdotii 123

2 Pius XII and Sacra Virginitas 127

3 John XXIII and Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia 132

4 Paul VI and Sacerdotalis Caelibatus 135

5 John Paul II and Pastores Dabo Vobis 139

6 Benedict XVI and Sacramentum Caritatis 143

Conclusions 147


Excerpts from Other Significant Magisterial Documents on Priestly Celibacy: Selected by Arturo Cattaneo and Manfred Hauke 153

Documents from Christian antiquity 153

Documents from the Middle Ages 155

Documents from the Council of Trent to Vatican II 155

Vatican Council II, Optatam Totius (1965) 157

Vatican Council II, Presbyterorum Ordinis (1965) 158

Other magisterial documents since Vatican II 161

Congregation for Catholic Education, A Guide to Formation in Priestly Celibacy (1974) 161

Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests (1994) 164

Congregation for Bishops, Directory for the Ministry of Bishops (Apostolorum successors) (2004) 165

Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia for the Exchange of Christmas Greetings (December 22, 2006) 166

Congregation for Catholic Education, Guidelines in the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood (2008) 169

Benedict XVI, Address to Participants in the Conference Organized by the Congregation for the Clergy (March 12, 2010) 171

Bibliography 173

Contributors 177

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