First, some definitions:
is called to chastity.
- Chastity is an aspect of the virtue of temperance. It pertains to the
ordered use of the sexual faculty.
- Celibacy is the state of being
- Sexual continence refers to total
abstinence from sexual relations.
For the married, chastity can include sexual
For the unmarried, chastity requires sexual
Priests are called to be chaste by being totally sexually continent.
Because of this, they
are also called to be celibate.
Now some facts which I present because of the incessant push to
normatively allow for married priests, which some see as a solution to
the problems of clerical sexual abuse and the shortage of priests. To
support this very bad idea, history is twisted, with some asserting
that priestly celibacy is a medieval whim rather than the logical
consequence of the required sexual continence. They will point toward
Eastern rite and Orthodox priests as the way things should be. They are
Peter and some other of the Apostles were married.
called by Christ, the Apostles embraced sexual continence, refraining
from sexual relations with their wives (Matthew 19:29: "And every one
that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for
my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life
everlasting."; I Corinthians 7:8 "But I say to the unmarried, and to
the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I."; I
Corinthians 7:32-33 "But I would have you to be without solicitude. He
that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the
Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous
for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is
Old Covenant priests refrained from sexual relations before offering
their sacrifices (see Leviticus).
Covenant priests are also to refrain from sexual relations before
offering their Sacrifice.
New Covenant priests in the West offer the Sacrifice daily, perpetual sexual
continence is called for. [In
the East, it wasn't the practice for each priest to offer Mass each
perpetual priestly sexual continence is called for in the West,
celibacy became the
Perpetual sexual continence before offering the Sacrifice is the way of
apostolic perfection, which
the Roman Church preserves intact by insisting on celibacy
Fact: The ordained priesthood is radically different from the
royal priesthood of believers. Holy Orders is a Sacrament that
leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the recipient, who acts in persona Christi to offer the Son
to the Father. Laypeople do not have this mark, authority, or power. Treating the
ordained as mere functionaries is wrong.
emulate the Divine Bridegroom by being married to the Church. To act as
married to a woman is a sort of bigamy.
express paternity through spiritual fatherhood. It isn't fair to
children to have to share their fathers, as fathers, with the world.
traditional priests work incredibly long hours, have no set working
hours (e.g., they are called in the middle of the night to offer Unction, etc.), don't make enough to support
families, etc. (Are you willing to at least quadruple what you give to
support your priest so he can support his wife and seven children?)
Treating the priesthood as something married men
can do as a "part-time gig" is to disrespect and not understand the
office of the priest.
Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests is a
falling away from apostolic perfection (see below) allowed only because
they didn't offer the Sacrifice daily, and it comes with a
whole host of problems (e.g., they often have to work "second jobs"
(not that the priesthood is a "job") in order to feed their familes;
their families, like the families of Protestant ministers, are held to
extremely high standards, which puts intense pressure on them, often
resulting in "preacher's kid syndrome"; etc.).
Orthodox and Eastern Churches are lax in this area is no good reason
for the Roman Church to become lax in this area.
more lax priestly discipline is, the more banal the liturgy, the less
that is expected of priests, the more the sanctuary is swarming with
girls and women, and the more the priests see themselves and are
treated as a cross between glorified social workers and
sacraments-dispensers, the less often good, masculine men will be drawn
to the priesthood.
was no dearth of priests before the Second Vatican Council, and even
now, traditional seminaries
are full while diocesan seminaries are emptying.
being married and not having heterosexual sex do not cause
homosexuality or pedophilia.
the human element of the Church's clerical
sexual abuse problem: 81% of the victims are male; 90% are between
the ages of 13 and 19. They aren't kids; they're pubescent and
physically sexually mature teenaged boys and young men. The Church
doesn't have a pedophile problem; She has a homosexual hebephilia and,
mostly, ephebophilia problem.
and heterosexual sex do not cure homosexuality, pedophilia, hebephilia,
The cures for
the problems of clerical sexual abuse and the homosexualization of a
too-large percentage of the
The cure is not to
further corrupt traditional practices.
- to have orthodox
gatekeepers and good spiritual directors at our seminaries, men who
follow Church discipline in not ordaining homosexuals;
- to return to the
traditional liturgy, traditional sacramental rites, and orthodoxy, and
to realize that it is lax discipline and banalized,
feminized liturgy that has caused men to become uninterested in the
- to treat homosexuality (the inclination, not
homosexual acts) as a disorder, not a sin, and to treat homosexuals
with dignity and charity so that homosexuals are out of the closet,
unashamed for having a disorder they did not choose, and not tempted to
use the seminary as a "hide-out" or an explanation as to why they're
not interested in girls.
To those who say that allowing married priests will fix the priest
shortage: that would just serve to water down the priesthood
even more, driving orthodox men away from what masculine men are
naturally attracted to: a challenge. The logic is akin to saying we'd
have more attorneys if we were to let anyone who's graduated from 8th
grade practice law: sure, at first, maybe, we'd have
"more attorneys," but what sort of lawyers would they be? How would
people come to think of the practice of law as a profession after that?
Would the best and brightest be attracted to the practice of law after
it's been bastardized in that way? The answer is Tradition, not further
There was no priest shortage before Vatican II (parishes typically had
multiple priests!), and today's traditional
seminaries are full
of seminarians; it's the liberal
ones that are dying (if you're wondering why, then, Bishops don't push
for more Tradition so we'll have more priests, you need to read the Traditional Catholicism 101 page
and understand that the health of the Church, fidelity to Christ, and
salvation of souls are not the concerns of many Bishops).
And to those who say that celibacy is a "mere discipline": technically,
celibacy is a discipline, a law, but sexual continence isn't, and the
celibacy instituted to help ensure continence shouldn't be
changed. From Aquinas's Summa, I:II:97:2., "Whether human law should
always be changed, whenever something better occurs?":
As stated above
(Article 1), human law is rightly changed, in so far as such change is
conducive to the common weal. But, to a certain extent, the mere change
of law is of itself prejudicial to the common good: because custom
avails much for the observance of laws, seeing that what is done
contrary to general custom, even in slight matters, is looked upon as
grave. Consequently, when a law is changed, the binding power of the
law is diminished, in so far as custom is abolished. Wherefore human
law should never be changed, unless, in some way or other, the common
weal be compensated according to the extent of the harm done in this
respect. Such compensation may arise either from some very great and
every evident benefit conferred by the new enactment; or from the
extreme urgency of the case, due to the fact that either the existing
law is clearly unjust, or its observance extremely harmful. Wherefore
the jurist says [Pandect. Justin. lib. i, ff., tit. 4, De Constit.
Princip.] that "in establishing new laws, there should be evidence of
the benefit to be derived, before departing from a law which has long
been considered just."
Those with a proper sensus
Catholicus should be pained at the idea of throwing away a
2,000 year old Apostolic tradition as an experiment. "Don't fix it if
it ain't broke" -- and it ain't broke.
What is broken is the
post-conciliar rejection of the tried and true. We need a restoration,
not further revolution.
Support of Priestly
Celibacy as the Way of Apostolic Perfection
Gospel According to
St. Matthew 19:27-30
Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and
have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?
And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed
me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of
his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve
tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my
name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life
everlasting. And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall
Tertullian, A.D. 160
Heretics, Chapter 40
The question will arise, By whom is to be interpreted the sense of the
passages which make for heresies? By the devil, of course, to whom
pertain those wiles which pervert the truth, and who, by the mystic
rites of his idols, vies even with the essential portions of the
sacraments of God. He, too, baptizes some — that is, his own believers
and faithful followers; he promises the putting away of sins by a laver
(of his own); and if my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in the
kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers;
celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a
resurrection , and before a sword wreathes a crown. What also must we
say to (Satan's) limiting his chief priest to a single marriage? He,
too, has his virgins; he, too, has his proficients in continence.
Council of Elvira,
A.D. 306, Canon XXXIII
27. A bishop or other cleric may have only a sister or a daughter who
is a virgin consecrated to God living with him. No other woman who is
unrelated to him may remain.
33. Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and others with a position in the
ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their
wives and from the procreation of children. If anyone disobeys,
he shall be removed from the clerical office.
Salamis, A.D. 310/320-403, The Panarion, Part 25 (Epiphanius Against
the Nicolaitans, spoken of in Apocalypse 2:1-6, 11-15)
1:1 Nicolaus was one of the seven deacons chosen by the apostles,
together with the saint and first martyr Stephen, and Prochorus,
Parmenas and the others.
1:2 He was from Antioch and became a proselyte. But after that he
received the message of the proclamation of Christ, joined the
disciples himself, and was at first ranked among the foremost. He was
thus included among the ones who were chosen at the time to care for
1:3 Later, however, the devil slipped into him and deceived his heart
with the same imposture of the ancients whom we have been discussing,
so that he was more severely wounded than the ones before him.
1:4 Though he had a beautiful wife he had refrained from intercourse
with her, as though in emulation of those whom he saw devoting
themselves to God. He persevered for a while but could not bear to
control his incontinence till the end. Instead, desiring to return like
a dog to its vomit, he kept looking for poor excuses and inventing them
in defence of his own intemperate passion. (Being ashamed and repenting
would have done him more good!) Then, failing of his purpose, he simply
began having sex with his wife.
1:5 But because he was ashamed of his defeat and suspected that he had
been found out, he ventured to say, 'Unless one copulates every day, he
has no part in eternal life.'
1:6 For he had shifted from one pretence to another. Seeing that his
wife was unusually beautiful and yet bore herself with modesty, he
envied her. And, supposing that everyone was as lascivious as he, he
began by constantly being offensive to his wife and making certain
slanderous charges against her in speeches. And at length he degraded
himself not only to normal sexual activity but to a blasphemous
opinion, the harm of perverse teaching, and the deceit of the covert
introduction of wickedness.
2:1 And from this source the founders of what is falsely termed
'Knowledge' began their evil sprouting in the world—I mean the people
who are called Gnostics and Phibionites, the so-called disciples of
Epiphanes, the Stratiotics, Levitics, Borborites and the rest. For each
of these, in attracting his own sect with his own passions, invented
countless ways of doing evil...
...3:1 But if anyone would like to see the Holy Spirit's rebuttal in
the case of Nicolaus' sect, he must learn it from the Revelation of St.
John. John writes in the Lord's name to one of the churches—that is, to
the bishop appointed there with the power of the holy angel at the
altar—and says, 'One good thing thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds
of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.'...
...6:5 And on your terms, Nicolaus, where is the application of the
Saviour's saying, 'There are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of
men, and there are some which were eunuchs from birth, and there be
eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s
6:6 If there are eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, why have you
deceived yourself and those who trust you, by holding God's truth in
unrighteousness with your copulation and unnatural vice, and teaching
6:7 And where do you see the application of, 'Concerning virgins I have
no commandment of the Lord; but I give my judgment, as one that hath
attained mercy, that it is good so to be?' And again, 'The virgin
careth for the things of the Lord, how she may please the Lord, that
she may be holy in body and in spirit.'
6:8 And how much there is to say about purity, continence and
celibacy—for the whole filth of uncleanness is brazenly spelled out by
yourself! But with these two or three texts which I put before the
reader in refutation of the absurd sect, my purpose is served here.
7:1 But next I shall go on and describe the sect which is closely
associated with Nicolaus, like a wood overgrown with grass, a thicket
of thorns tangled together in every direction, or a heap of dead trees
and scrub in a field, ready for burning—because of its union with this
sect of the wretched Nicolaus.
7:2 For as bodies contract infection from other bodies through
inoculation, a malignant itch, or leprosy, so the so-called Gnostics
are partly united with the Nicolaitans, since they took their cues from
Nicolaus himself and his predecessors—I mean Simon and the others. They
are called 'knowledgeable,' but they are known all too well for the
wickedness and obscenity in the transactions of their unclean trade.
7:3 For with the reed that was placed in Christ's hand we have truly
struck and destroyed this man as well, who practiced continence for a
short while and then abandoned it—like the creature called the newt,
which comes from the water to land and returns to the water again. Let
us move on to the sects which follow.
St. Cyril of
Jerusalem A.D. 315-386
For it became Him who is most pure, and a teacher of purity, to have
come forth from a pure bride-chamber. For if he who well fulfils the
office of a priest of Jesus abstains from a wife, how should Jesus
Himself be born of man and woman? For thou, says He in the Psalms, art
He that took Me out of the womb. Mark that carefully, He that took Me
out of the womb, signifying that He was begotten without man, being
taken from a virgin's womb and flesh. For the manner is different with
those who are begotten according to the course of marriage.
Council of Nicaea,
A.D. 325, Canon III
The great Council has stringently forbidden any bishop, priest, deacon,
or any of the clergy, to have a woman living with him, except a mother,
sister, aunt, or some such person who is beyond all suspicion.
St. Jerome, A.D.
340-420, Against Jovinianus, Book I, 35
35. The bishop, then, must be without reproach, so that he is the slave
of no vice: the husband of one wife, that is, in the past, not in the
...36. But you will say: If everybody were a virgin, what would
become of the human race? Like shall here beget like. If everyone were
a widow, or continent in marriage, how will mortal men be propagated?
Upon this principle there will be nothing at all for fear that
something else may cease to exist. To put a case: if all men were
philosophers, there would be no husbandmen. Why speak of husbandmen?
There would be no orators, no lawyers, no teachers of the other
professions. If all men were leaders, what would become of the
soldiers? If all were the head, whose head would they be called, when
there were no other members? You are afraid that if the desire for
virginity were general there would be no prostitutes, no adulteresses,
no wailing infants in town or country. Every day the blood of
adulterers is shed, adulterers are condemned, and lust is raging and
rampant in the very presence of the laws and the symbols of authority
and the courts of justice. Be not afraid that all will become virgins:
virginity is a hard matter, and therefore rare, because it is hard:
Many are called, few chosen.
St. Ambrose, A.D.
340-397, Epistle LXIII, 62
And so the Apostle has given a pattern, saying that a bishop must be
blameless, 1 Timothy 3:2 and in another place: A bishop must be without
offense, as a steward of God, not proud, not soon angry, not given to
wine, not a striker, not greedy of filthy lucre. Titus 1:7 For how can
the compassion of a dispenser of alms and the avarice of a covetous man
I have set down these things which I have been told are to be avoided,
but the Apostle is the Master of virtues, and he teaches that
gainsayers are to be convicted with patience, Titus 1:9 who lays down
that one should be the husband of a single wife, Titus 1:6 not in order
to exclude him from the right of marriage (for this is beyond the force
of the precept), but that by conjugal chastity he may preserve the
grace of his baptismal washing; nor again that he may be induced by the
Apostle's authority to beget children in the priesthood; for he speaks
of having children, not of begetting them, or marrying again.
Directa Decretal of
Pope St. Siricius, A.D. 10 February 385
1…. In view of our office, we are not free to dissemble or to keep
silent, for our zeal for the Christian religion ought to be greater
than anyone's. We bear the burdens of all who are heavy laden, or
rather the blessed apostle Peter bears them in us, who in all things,
as we trust, protects and defends those who are heirs of his government.
2. That Arians must not be rebaptized. At the beginning of your page,
you have observed that many who were baptized by the wicked Arians are
hastening to the catholic faith, and that some of our brethren wish to
baptize them again: this is illegal, being forbidden by the apostle, by
the canons, and in a general order sent to the provinces by my
predecessor Liberius of revered memory, after the quashing of the
Ariminum council. As has been laid down in synod, we admit these
persons, in common with Novatianists and other heretics, into the
congregation of catholics, only through the invocation of the sevenfold
Spirit, by the laying on of hands of a bishop. All the East and West
keep this rule; and in future it is by no means fitting that you,
either, should deviate from this path, if you do not wish to be
separated from our college by sentence of the synod.
3. That baptism is only to be bestowed, save under stress of necessity,
at Easter and Pentecost..... Up to now there have been enough mistakes
of this kind. In future all priests must keep the above rule who do not
wish to be torn away from the solid apostolic rock upon which Christ
build the universal Church.
4. That renegades to heathenism are to be excommunicated and, if
penitent, to be reconciled only at death.
5. That a girl who is betrothed may not be married to another man.
6. That Christians who, after penance, return to heathen lusts, are to
be denied Communion.
7. That unchaste ‘religious’ are to be expelled from their convents.
8-11 That married men, after ordination, are not to cohabit with their
Council of Carthage,
A.D. 387 or 390, Canon III
Aurelius the bishop said: When at the past council the matter on
continency and chastity was considered, those three grades, which by a
sort of bond are joined to chastity by their consecration, to wit
bishops, presbyters, and deacons, so it seemed that it was becoming
that the sacred rulers and priests of God as well as the Levites, or
those who served at the divine sacraments, should be continent
altogether, by which they would be able with singleness of heart to ask
what they sought from the Lord: so that what the apostles taught
and antiquity kept, that we might also keep.
And this is when the
East goes Lax. Note, though, that even as they are breaking away from
the apostolic tradition, they offer statements in support of continence
before offering the Sacrifice of the altar, words that show how the
people were scandalized by priests who don't keep away from their
(Council in Trullo), A.D. 692, an Eastern Council not accepted by the
Since our pious and Christian Emperor has addressed this holy and
ecumenical council, in order that it might provide for the purity of
those who are in the list of the clergy, and who transmit divine things
to others, and that they may be blameless ministers, and worthy of the
sacrifice of the great God, who is both Offering and High Priest, a
sacrifice apprehended by the intelligence: and that it might cleanse
away the pollutions wherewith these have been branded by unlawful
marriages: now whereas they of the
most holy Roman Church purpose to keep the rule of exact perfection,
but those who are under the throne of this heaven-protected and royal
city keep that of kindness and consideration, so blending both together
as our fathers have done, and as the love of God requires, that neither
gentleness fall into licence, nor severity into harshness; especially
as the fault of ignorance has reached no small number of men, we
decree, that those who are involved in a second marriage, and have been
slaves to sin up to the fifteenth of the past month of January, in the
past fourth Indiction, the year six thousand one hundred and nine, and
have not resolved to repent of it, be subjected to canonical
deposition: but that they who are involved in this disorder of a second
marriage, but before our decree have acknowledged what is fitting, and
have cut off their sin, and have put far from them this strange and
illegitimate connection, or they whose wives by second marriage are
already dead, or who have turned to repentance of their own accord,
having learned continence, and having quickly forgotten their former
iniquities, whether they be presbyters or deacons, these we have
determined should cease from all priestly ministrations or exercise,
being under punishment for a certain time, but should retain the honour
of their seat and station, being satisfied with their seat before the
laity and begging with tears from the Lord that the transgression of
their ignorance be pardoned them: for unfitting it were that he should
bless another who has to tend his own wounds.
Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya
and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not
refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the
people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all
things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed
to us — it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in
any way occur.
Since we know it to be handed down as a rule of the Roman Church that
those who are deemed worthy to be advanced to the diaconate or
presbyterate should promise no longer to cohabit with their wives, we,
preserving the ancient rule and apostolic perfection and order, will
that the lawful marriages of men who are in holy orders be from this
time forward firm, by no means dissolving their union with their wives
nor depriving them of their mutual intercourse at a convenient time.
Wherefore, if anyone shall have been found worthy to be ordained
subdeacon, or deacon, or presbyter, he is by no means to be prohibited
from admittance to such a rank, even if he shall live with a lawful
wife. Nor shall it be demanded of him at the time of his ordination
that he promise to abstain from lawful intercourse with his wife: lest
we should affect injuriously marriage constituted by God and blessed by
his presence, as the Gospel says: What God has joined together let no
man put asunder; and the Apostle says, Marriage is honourable and the
bed undefiled; and again, Are you bound to a wife? Seek not to be
loosed. But we know, as they who assembled at Carthage (with a care for
the honest life of the clergy) said, that subdeacons, who handle the
Holy Mysteries, and deacons, and presbyters should abstain from their
consorts according to their own course [of ministration]. So that what
has been handed down through the Apostles and preserved by ancient
custom, we too likewise maintain, knowing that there is a time for all
things and especially for fasting and prayer. For it is meet that they who assist at the
divine altar should be absolutely continent when they are handling holy
things, in order that they may be able to obtain from God what they ask
If therefore anyone shall have dared, contrary to the Apostolic Canons,
to deprive any of those who are in holy orders, presbyter, or deacon,
or subdeacon of cohabitation and intercourse with his lawful wife, let
him be deposed. In like manner also if any presbyter or deacon on
pretence of piety has dismissed his wife, let him be excluded from
communion; and if he persevere in this let him be deposed.
Enough with the madness, the homosexual abuse scandals, the
liturgical chaos, the watering down of doctrine. Go "trad," Catholics!