Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/3/2014 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

the discipline of celibacy for our priests reminds everyone that sexuality is something which we all need to control in order to be happy--married people and single people alike.

We have a newspaper headline stuck on our fridge which says, "Married Priests favor Celibacy From Personal Experience." I'm one of them, and my wife doesn't mind me saying so. You see, I'm a married Catholic priest. I have a wife and four children.One of only about 200 in the United States, I am a former Anglican minister who has been dispensed from the usual vow of celibacy to be ordained as a Catholic priest.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/3/2014 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Fr. Dwight Longenecker, celibacy, marriage, chastity, married priests, Benedict, Francis, John Paul, St Francis, St benedict, Fr Dwight Longenecker


GREENVILLE, S.C. (Catholic Online) - We have a newspaper headline stuck on our fridge which says, "Married Priests favor Celibacy From Personal Experience."

I'm one of them, and my wife doesn't mind me saying so. You see, I'm a married Catholic priest. I have a wife and four children.

One of only about 200 in the United States, I am a former Anglican minister who has been dispensed from the usual vow of celibacy to be ordained as a Catholic priest.

As an Anglican priest I was celibate for seven years. Then I got married. Then we became Catholics. I can therefore speak with some personal experience about the question of celibacy or marriage for priests.

This hot topic should be cooled down with a bit of common sense. Firstly, it should be plain to everyone that marriage does not solve the problem of pedophile priests. Marriage doesn't cure pedophilia. The fact is, most child abuse is committed by married men.

Furthermore, most of the sex abuse by priests was against young men.  Are those who think marriage would cure man-boy sex suggesting that homosexual pedophiles would be cured if they just found a good woman?

Neither will marriage purge the priesthood of other sexual scandal. Plenty of married Protestant clergy still manage to tumble out of the pulpit onto the wrong pillow. Being married doesn't mean a person is free from lust and adultery.

On the other hand, being celibate doesn't mean a person is constantly panting for sex. There are plenty of people in all walks of life, of both genders and all ages who are sexually inactive for many different reasons. That doesn't make them all insatiable sex hounds or sad and desperately lonely souls.

Some Catholics speak enthusiastically about their desire for priests to marry, but when the subject of financial support for the married priest's family comes up it's remarkable how their enthusiasm fades. 

Speaking of the married priest's family, has no one else seen the most obvious problem? If a young priest is married and he and his young wife are fertile they would be expected to live within the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Yes, it is still Catholic policy that artificial means of contraception are forbidden.

The Catholic priest and his wife would be expected to live within that teaching. Do the parishioners who are so gung ho about married priests really want to support the priest's twelve children?

Would they want to re-build the rectory to house them? Pay their health insurance, deductibles and orthodontics? Would they be willing to cough up to send the priest's kids through Catholic school and college?

I'm the first to admit that there are problems with celibacy for priests. My celibate colleagues are sometimes isolated and lonely, but then, I know married people who are isolated and lonely. Many celibate priests are workaholics and starved for real relationships and affection. Ditto many married men.

Marriage for priests is a pipe dream panacea. It will solve few problems and create many more: What happens to clergy widows? Who picks up the pieces when a clergy marriage breaks down? Will a priest be able to date? In the present climate would he go courting in an old fashioned chaste way, or would he just sleep around like everyone else?

The powers at the Vatican might change the rule. It's unlikely they'll allow priests to marry, but they might adopt the Eastern Orthodox discipline in which priests may not marry, but married men may be ordained, or they might decide to allow older married men to be ordained.

In the meantime, the discipline of celibacy for our priests reminds everyone that sexuality is something which we all need to control in order to be happy--married people and single people alike.

The celibate priest, brother or sister reminds us that sex and marriage are given to lead us on to something better than sex: true and lasting Love. That's why we insist that marriage and the celibacy vow are for life: because lifetime love gives us a taste of the eternal.

For this reason alone celibacy should be a valued virtue-- because it is a self discipline that reminds us that while true love is tender, for it to last it also has to be tough.

-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina.Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, subscribe to his weekly newsletter and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com Join Fr Longenecker during Lent for a Blobble Study. That is a Bible study on a blog. On his blog, Standing on My Head he will lead readers through a study of Mark's gospel. There will be a reading from the gospel each day with a short reflection. Then the combox is open for comment and discussion. His latest book is The Romance of Religion --Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Malinformed much? Ninety percent of your information now comes from just 6 media sources Watch

Image of Small media outlets are consumed by the large, limiting the variety of expression.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever tried to describe something, but lacked the vocabulary to do it? This is the concept behind Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell's 1984. Orwell proposed that by limiting expression, thought itself could be limited. Today, as media companies ... continue reading


Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage struck down Watch

Image of The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit ... continue reading


Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter