Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/3/2014 (9 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 (9 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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

Could terrorists attempt to attack the White House with a drone? Crash sparks debate over future use of drones in war Watch

Image of A small, four propeller drone, crashed on the White House lawn, spurring a discussion on whether drones may be used by terrorist groups in the future.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A two-foot-long, four propeller drone crashed onto the White House grounds yesterday, raising troubling questions that drones could be utilized by terrorists or other potential murderers to attack the White House or other U.S. government institutions that have ... continue reading


The Thrill of the Chaste: Matt C. Abbott Interviews Dawn Eden Watch

Image of Dawn Eden, author of the highly-acclaimed My Peace I Give You and the Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste

By Matt C. Abbott

Being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and receiving Jesus' own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, has given me a deeper understanding of the meaning of being embodied. I see more clearly how chastity enables one to love fully in each relationship, in the ... continue reading


GOP teams up with Israeli prime minister to forcefully override Obama's Iran policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Speaker John Boehner is seeking to enlist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support a congressional plan to override President Obama's Iran policy on March 3. Boehner hopes to bring Netanyahu to a joint session of the House and Senate. Boehner ... continue reading


The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


Caught in the act: Telephone scammers get comeuppance from plucky woman Watch

Image of Becoming pro-active, Rachel Fitzsimmons decided to take action in an effort to spread awareness so that others do not fall for the swindle.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Telephone solicitors threatening phony legal action are the bane of many people's existence. They typically prey upon "old-timers" who still have landlines in their homes and are home in the evenings. Rachel Fitzsimmons, of Denver, Colorado received such a call ... continue reading


Is Israel beholden to Obama? Should the president be able to hold the American people hostage via threat of veto? Republicans and Israeli prime minister say no! Watch

Image of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak before a joint session of Congress on March 3 about keeping nuclear capabilities out of the hands of Iran.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On March 3, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a move which is as much a show of support for Israel from the Republican dominated legislature as it is a rebuff of President Obama. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Upset over private donations, Liberal protestors barged in on the Supreme Court Watch

Image of Members of 99rise during a protest.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Supreme Court opened on January 21, a rare disturbance broke out which caused seven protesters to be removed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chief Justice John Roberts was about to announce the day's opinions when a protester stood up and began shouted: "We ... continue reading


The First Right is the Right to Life. It is Time to End Legal Abortion on Demand Watch

Image of The great human rights movement of our age is the struggle to restore to the Civil and positive law the legal recognition of the fundamental Human Right to Life. It is already a fundamental human right, and one which can never be taken away. This Right to Life is the foundation of all other rights. It is the first solidarity issue. The child in the womb is our innocent neighbor. It is wrong to kill any innocent neighbor. We know this and we have perpetuated the lie for too long.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

No one with integrity any longer argues that the little girl or little boy killed through procured abortion is not a human being. When the abortion occurs through miscarriage we properly enter into the mourning of the mother over the loss of the one we call - her ... continue reading


Archbishop Josť H. Gomez: OneLife LA and 9 Days for Life Watch

Image of Archbishop Gomez - In granting a legal right for some people to take the lives of others, the Supreme Court in effect decided that human rights are granted by government - not by God. That gives the government the final say - not only in defining what is right and wrong, but also in deciding who gets to live and who does not. There are many injustices in our society, but the most fundamental is the one our society rarely acknowledges - the routine taking of innocent human life every day through abortion.

By Archbishop Josť H. Gomez

Roe v. Wade continues to shape American consciousness and public life. At the political level, from debates in state legislatures to federal questions about health insurance, our country is clearly still divided over whether to allow abortion and what limits ... 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, Hebrews 10:1-10
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11
2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:31-35
31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 27th, 2015 Image

St. Angela Merici
January 27: When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was ... 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