celibacy

Fear God. Honor the President

In early March, several players on the World Series championship team the Washington Nationals—Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Kurt Suzuki, Patrick Corbin, and Daniel Hudson—played golf with President Trump at his private West Palm Beach resort after a morning workout at the team’s spring training facility. Unsurprisingly, the Nats players were pilloried by the President’s many [...]

Celibacy Is a Gift to Priests—and the Laity

Few books have caused so much controversy even before they were published than did From the Depths of Our Hearts, a new defense of clerical celibacy in the Roman Church by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah. On January 14, Benedict’s private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, told the Italian news agency ANSA that, [...]

The Invisible Churchman

The #MeToo movement has finally reached Rome, and the wisdom of priestly celibacy is being hotly questioned. As it happens, H.G. Wells questioned it just as hotly nearly a century ago, and along many of the same lines. Though his denouncements of the Catholic Church and her priesthood have been largely forgotten, it is his [...]

The Pope Is Still Catholic

Yesterday, the Holy Father did something completely unexpected: nothing at all. In his long-awaited exhortation on the Amazon Synod, Querida Amazonia, we find the clearest insight into Pope Francis’s thinking on the vocations crisis, both in the Amazon and across the Western world. His solution is not to do away with clerical celibacy. It is [...]

Abandoning Apostolic Celibacy Would Be a Mistake

In the eighteenth-century comic poem Cúirt an Mheán Oíche (“The Midnight Court”), the narrator expresses frustration at her lack of marriage prospects, berating the young men of her day for their scheming, selfish ways. In spite of an abundance of attractive young women eager to marry and start families, these lazy men would rather chase [...]

What Will Francis Choose: ‘Expert’ Opinion or Orthodoxy?

Nobody was under any illusions about the stakes at the Synod on the Amazon. Ostensibly, the synod was convened to help the Pope address concerns about the Amazon in consultation with Amazonian church authorities. It was evident from the very beginning, however, that the synod would serve instead as a staging-ground for progressively-minded bishops to [...]

An Old Testament Justification for Priestly Celibacy

God ordered Moses to consecrate the Israelites “today and tomorrow,” and have them wash their garments, so that they would be prepared to see the Lord descend on Mount Sinai on the third day. Moses consecrated and instructed the people accordingly. He also told them to abstain from sexual intercourse (Exod. 19:10-15). Why did God [...]

Skepticism over New Calls to Abandon Priestly Celibacy

In the wake of ongoing new reporting regarding sex scandals among many clerics, we have witnessed increased calls for the Catholic Church to loosen celibacy restrictions for the priesthood. Even many devout Catholics have begun to believe celibacy represents an unhealthy repression of sexual urges. To stem the tide of clerical abuse, the Church must [...]

The Times Pushes a Tired and Flawed Gay Priest Narrative

In its recent Sunday edition, America’s newspaper of record ran a front-page article on the challenges facing gay Catholic priests titled “A Silent Crisis for Gay Priests.” It is the most recent specimen of the journalistic genre of suffering-gay-Catholic-priests-in-an-unwelcoming-Church. The narrative is well-known by now: a Church which fails to welcome gay priests, whose leaders [...]

Celibacy and Priests with Same-Sex Attraction

In recent conversations concerning the Church and the priesthood, it seems that the main focus when discussing the issue of celibacy is the idea that the one who “chooses” a celibate life is one who willfully forgoes the enjoyment of sex. While this feature of celibacy is without a doubt true, looking at celibacy from [...]

Gay & Catholic Lands at Life Teen: A “Yes” or a Mess?

“These days I go back and forth on how well I think I grasp the theology behind the Church’s sexual ethic.” —Eve Tushnet Eve Tushnet, author of Gay & Catholic, gives this candid self-appraisal early in her recent post at the Life Teen youth-ministry apostolate blog. I’d like to hope that the following commentary, sincerely, will [...]

The Strange Notion of “Gay Celibacy”

Of late, much attention has been given in both the secular media and Christian media to those who call themselves “gay celibate Christians.” As a man attracted to men yet committed to traditional Catholic teaching on human sexuality, I find the notion both of being “gay” or “celibate” strange. Indeed, in the context of what [...]

There is No Link between Celibacy and Clerical Sexual Abuse

The Independent newspaper reported last August that “the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he dealt with issues of child sex abuse on a daily basis (my emphasis) and he anticipated that more ‘bad stories’ would emerge. He said: ‘I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.’ He told the BBC that it was ‘becoming [...]

Fifteen Minutes for the New Homophiles

It was all but inevitable. The New Homophiles have finally made the big time, the front page of the Washington Post Style Section, above the fold no less. Eve and Josh sit fetchingly on a couch, Josh’s legs crossed exactly precisely just so, Eve’s bare feet, Josh’s dirty socks, lips pursed, college text books prominently [...]

Priestly Celibacy and the Demise of Marriage

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus used to call it “the parish paper,” a gentle barb at the pretensions of the self-described “paper of record,” but also, I think, a subtle pastoral hand extended to those who think they get all the advice they need when they look in the mirror. Yes, I’m talking about the New [...]

Our Hearts are Restless

I have just watched an extraordinary and deeply moving film, soon to be released by the Catholic apostolate Courage, called Desire of the Everlasting Hills. It is knit together, like a polychronic chorale, from the personal witnesses of three people, two men and one woman, who have come out of a life of sexual sin [...]

A Manly Voice on Matters Gay and Christian

A gay guy gets up in the morning, does something, and nobody writes about it. Now that would be news. Will we ever see that day when we as a culture do not stare slack-jawed and unblinking—so as not to miss a single thing—at all things gay? There’s an old joke about how many lesbians [...]

The New Homophiles

Never before has a devout, vocal, and coherent group of educated, thoughtful, and orthodox gay† Christians sought to articulate what the Church’s teaching might mean for someone who is not attracted to the opposite sex. Chris Damian wrote that in the blog—Ideas of a University—he ran at Notre Dame University where he took an undergraduate [...]

What Jesus Really Said About Sins of the Flesh

I have often heard it said that our Lord did not care overmuch about sins of the flesh; for He was relentless in his attacks upon hypocrisy, pride, and avarice, but was so mild towards adulterers and fornicators that we might, extrapolating from that mildness, so far dispense Christians from the strictures of the sixth [...]

The “Balancing Act” of Karl Rahner and Luise Rinser

The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner (1904-1984) was known as a “progressive” and, during the papacy of Pius XII, was required to submit his writings for approval before publication, but in 1962 was reinstated and appointed as one of the periti for Vatican II by John XXIII. During the Council he was very influential among German [...]

Catholic Fears of the Dreaded Religious Calling

The other day I walked into our bathroom to encounter a small stack of towels, folded on the floor—the same stack my wife had earlier asked our eighth grade son to put away. She hadn’t told him to put the towels on the shelf rather than the floor. Hence the stack on the floor. This [...]

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