Sunday, March 12, 2017
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 258
(Youcat answer) Jesus lived as a celibate and in this way intended to show his undivided love for God the Father. To follow Jesus’ way of life and to live in unmarried chastity “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:12) has been since Jesus’ time a sign of love, of undivided devotion to the Lord, and of a complete willingness to serve. The Roman Catholic Church requires this way of life of its bishops and priests, while the Eastern Catholic Churches demand it only of their bishops.
A deepening through CCC
(CCC 1579) All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19:12). Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to "the affairs of the Lord" (1 Cor 7:32), they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God (Cf. PO 16). (CCC 1599) In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men.
Reflecting and meditating
(Youcat comment) Celibacy, says Pope Benedict, cannot mean “remaining empty in love, but rather must mean allowing oneself to be overcome by a passion for God”. A priest who lives as a celibate should be fruitful inasmuch as he represents the fatherly character of God and Jesus. The Pope goes on to say, “Christ needs priests who are mature and manly, capable of exercising a true spiritual fatherhood.”
(CCC 1580) In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities (Cf. PO 16). Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.