Essay on Pope John Paul Ii and Celibacy

Submitted By jcortens
Words: 1237
Pages: 5

Priesthood Marriage

Good morning honourable judges, Mr.Dardano, and fellow students. Today's resolution is be it resolved that “The Roman Catholic Church should reverse it's centuries old tradition of ordaining single males into the priesthood and allow married men to become priests as well”. We the negative side strongly believe that this resolution must fall for the following reasons.

There are many reasons, both practical and theological, why the Church insists on clerical celibacy. It is a wise practice that was gradually codified in light of centuries of accumulated knowledge and experience. Early on, it became obvious to many bishops that a married priesthood doesn't work and that the Church needs men who are willing to embrace a higher spiritual state. Starting with the Spanish Council of Elvira in 305, regional churches began to ask of the clergy what many priests had already spontaneously chosen. The early Church Fathers, Tertullian, Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, and Hilary, wrote in favor of clerical celibacy, and at the end of the Dark Ages, great reforming popes like Leo IX and Gregory VII insisted that henceforth the priesthood would be celibate. This decision greatly strengthened the Church and still does so today. There's no hint in the New Testament of celibacy being mandatory either among the apostles or those they ordained. But we have ample warrant in the words of Christ and the writings of Paul that celibacy is a higher calling than marriage. Christ Himself was celibate, and the Incarnation took place, so to speak, in the context of Mary and Joseph's abstention from sexual relations. Pope Benedict XVI has written about how Mary's virginity is really a condition of spiritual fruitfulness.

Reasons for Priesthood Celibacy:
1. Priests as Christ figures: Above all else, the Catholic priest is an alter Christus meaning another Christ. This is clearest in the sacrifice of the Mass, when the priest acts in the person of the Christ in offering the Eucharist. Celibacy allows priests to be more completely available to Christ, who lived a perfectly chaste life. Pope Paul VI writes in the encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus that “priests not only participate in His priestly office” but also share “His very condition of living,”
2. Marriage to the Church: Also, married priests wouldn't be able to be able to completly commit to the church and to God. If priests had wives and children, they're first priority would be to them. Because a celibate priest does not have the obligation of a wife and children, he can give of himself more easily, including his own life, if necessary
3. Spiritual fatherhood. Through celibacy, priests give themselves over wholly to the service God and His Church. Just as a father is uniquely dedicated to his children, so also the priest should be dedicated to his parishioners. As one Jesuit priest at Georgetown University recently put it in the Washington Post: “I do not have my own biological children, but I have over 6,000 here on Georgetown’s main campus! I have many sons and daughters who call me ‘Father.’” John Paul II describes this as a “singular sharing in God’s fatherhood’”(Pastores Dabo Vobis).
4. Celibacy as sacrifice. In renouncing married life, the priest also links himself with Christ’s own sacrifice on the Cross. “In a similar way, by a daily dying to himself and by giving up the legitimate love of a family of his own for the love of Christ and of His kingdom, the priest will find the glory of an exceedingly rich and fruitful life in Christ, because like Him and in Him, he loves and dedicates himself to all the children of God,” Paul VI writes. This ultimately is the purpose of human sexuality—to be a “a genuine sign of and precious service to the love of communion and gift of self to others,” writes Blessed Pope John Paul II in Pastores Dabo Vobis.
5. Celibacy as angelic purity. Celibacy is not only a sacrificial act. It is also a mark of purity. Just as Christ…