Celibacy for the Sake of the Kingdom
This is not the first of the points I wanted to make regarding why I believe men with SSA should not be admitted to the seminary. It isn’t even one of the essential points either because celibacy is a discipline that can be changed. It is a current requirement for men in the Western rite and that is why I brought it up. Some have argued I have created some novel theological argument. I have not. I am taking what the church has said preistly celibacy is and showing that I think it is incompatible with SSA. Since it has brought up a lot of discussion I am going to elaborate on it here.
In my response to a commenter below I argued that a man with SSA couldn’t truly be a celibate. I think I need to make a clarification here that I should have done earlier. I was arguing specifically for priestly celibacy which is differentiated from other forms. John Paul II describes it in Love and Responsibility on pg 252. “Nor is celibacy the same thing as spiritual virginity. Celibacy is merely abstention from marriage, which may be dictated by a variety of considerations and motives. Thus, people who dedicate themselves to learning or to some form of creative or public activity may decide to abstain from marriage. Sick people unable to live a normal married life may also abstain from it. There are also a large number of persons, especially women, who, although they have to wish at all to renounce marriage, nonetheless remain unmarried. The celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church is a special phenomenon. It is, so to speak, on the border line between celibacy made necessary by the exigencies of social work (the priest has a care of souls, and must live and work for a number of people, a whole community, a parish , for instance), and the spiritual virginity which results from betrothal to God. Priestly celibacy, which goes so closely with dedication to the business of the kingdom of God on earth, asks to be reinforced by spiritual virginity, although the sacrament of Holy Orders can be taken by people who have previously been married.”
None of this changes my original argument, but I should have been tighter on my terms in the beginning so there was less confusion. I am sorry if it caused any confusion.
Now what the Church understands as priestly celibacy is not simply refraining from marriage. As John Paul II pointed out above there are a number of reasons to refrain from marriage and these wouldn’t constitute priestly celibacy. The Church has always understood celibacy as a gift given by God for the service of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is giving up a good (The Sacrament of Marriage) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ talks about this gift in Matthew 19. It has always been understood as complementary and affirming the vocation of marriage. That is why you will find it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the topic of Marriage and not of Holy Orders. I am going to quote here three paragraphs under the section entitled Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.