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The Celibate Priesthood - God's Will and Human Nature
"Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation" 1st Peter 2:12-13
The issue of sexual perversion, of whatever sort, amongst Roman Catholic priests proves the difference between God's perfect way and man's faulty way. The Bible states, "And the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him'" (Genesis 2:18). Plain and simple, men and women have emotional and physical needs that are fulfilled in emotional and physical relationships with the opposite sex. God's plan is that one man is to come together with one woman in order to fulfill these needs.
The Bible further states that it is acceptable for a person to choose to remain unmarried (see 1st Corinthians 7:7-9) and be celibate, "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it" (Matthew 19:12). For example, Paul recognized that since he was unmarried he could devote all his time to the ministry and not have to divide his time between ministry, wife and children (see 1st Corinthians 7:32-35). However, the Bible states that "if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1st Corinthians 7:9). Moreover, although even a married couple could abstain from physical relations it is to be for a predetermined and agreed upon temporary period of time (see 1st Corinthians 7:5).
What we have in the system created by God is a clear recognition of, and provision for, natural human needs. However, as clearly opposed to this, the Roman Catholic Church has created its own system which as the evidence of history proves has, does, and will fail. We cannot go against the will of God and expect success. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that, as far as its upper level clergy is concerned, it is good for man to be alone because the Roman Catholic priesthood is one in which celibacy is a life long commitment, a vow. It may be argued that celibacy is not imposed upon Roman Catholic priests, it is a decision that they make and to which they commit. The problem is that this issue is not simply a matter of black and white intellectual discussions because we are dealing with real life human beings with real feelings, needs and all that comes with. A young man who wants to become a priest may in all honesty believe that he can be a lifelong celibate, and of course God can give him the gift of celibacy.
But what happens five, ten, thirty, fifty years down the line? What if a priest, according to natural human needs, begins to long for physical relations? "Then he can leave the priesthood and get married," you might say. It's not that simple, at this point the priest must make a difficult decision and he must make it due to the faulty human system in which he finds himself trapped, "Do I give up my life's work, my decades of service in the priesthood for marriage?"
We hear over and over of people who have been laid off of work after decades at the same job, "I don't know anything else," they say, "I don't know what to do!" Keep in mind that a Roman Catholic priest does not pay rent, does not pay utility bills, does not have a wife and children to support, they are given a car and an allowance for food plus their wage. It's not as simple as to think that a person would be willing or able to walk away from a life long vocation and not having to pay most of their bills.
In this way they are forced to remain in a faulty system. You are either celibate or you are not a priest is the Roman Catholic stance which causes us to declare priestly celibacy as being forced. Moreover, the choice between marriage or the priesthood is not what the Bible teaches (of course you will not find a New Testament priesthood, but that's another article).
This is why it is extremely important to consider that God tells us in His word that "the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" (1st Timothy 4:1-3). Nowhere does the Bible teach that one cannot serve God if one is married and while, for example, Roman Catholic deacons can be married the higher levels of the clergy are reserved for the celibate. These are the sort of problems that the Roman Catholic Church has created for itself by making up its own rules instead of following God's.
We speculate here in stating that just as a person might commit adultery for a momentary thrill, a celibate priest may decide that it is not worth giving up his life long career and financial ease for a momentary physical thrill. Roman Catholicism has set up for itself a system by which to grade sin, venial and mortal. It seems to be a human tendency to excuse ourselves by thinking that if we are not committing a grade A sin then a grade C or grade Z sin is not so bad. B
eing caught in this dilemma a priest might unreasonably reason that if he has vowed to never have a natural male/female relationship he can, in an odd way, get his thrills with children or other men. They might tell themselves that they, while they have sinned, it was not as bad as violating the original vow of abstaining from a natural male/female relationship. It is true that celibacy ultimately means abstaining from any and all sexual relations, but we are speculating about how people make excuses for themselves.
Speculating upon the inner workings of a troubled mind is difficult indeed, if you cannot conceive how someone could sexually abuse a child you should thank God that you are so far removed from that malicious perversion that you could never have conceived it.
Therefore, the bottom line is that some people can ruin it for everyone else. All priests are now looked upon with suspicion, which is a shame because many do not deserve such scrutiny. But what are we to do about the children who are left in the care of priest, for class, as altar server, or what ever reason? Sad to say but these children should never be left alone with any priest. This is not an assumption that the priests themselves are not trustworthy but because the Roman Catholic Church as a religious hierarchy proves over and over that if something does happen they will either do nothing, or simply relocate the priest (giving him fresh hunting grounds).
They will buy silence from the family with money and ultimately they will hide yet another skeleton it in the Vatican's closet. They constantly prove to the world that a false clean outward appearance is more important than a true inward cleanliness. Jesus pointed out that some people are like a beautiful mausoleum, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men's bones on the inside (see Matthew 23:27). The covering up or ignoring of these horrendous acts is as bad or even worse than the acts themselves.
One single priest may take it upon himself to privately molest a child, but we see that a system of thousands of clergy are willing to look the other way and allow it to continue, allow children to be scarred for life and cause people to turn away from God due to the terrible actions of people who are supposed to be His holiest servants. When King David committed adultery with Bathsheva, and arranged for her husband to be killed in battle, the prophet Nathan told him that by his actions he had caused the enemies of God to blaspheme (see 2nd Samuel 12:14). We should never add fuel to the fires of unbelief. Let us pray that their attempts at reformation and reconciliation in this area will be fruitful.
One Biblical response to such perverted behavior comes up in a church that Paul was involved with, "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles_In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1st Corinthians 5:1-5). In time, when the person repents they are to be restored. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
We could not go without pointing out the obvious, which is that celibate Roman Catholic priests are not alone in the commission of these grave sins. Some married Protestant Pastors are likewise guilty. Some regular Joe American married men, and women for that matter, are likewise guilty. We have heard stories of Hindu-Hare Krishna school teachers that are likewise guilty. Recently, Buddhist priests in Cambodia have been suspended for frequenting brothels and watching pornographic videos. We have focused on Roman Catholic priests in order to explore a particular aspect of their system that adds fuel to the fires of a troubled mind and heart and to show that God's will takes into consideration that which Roman Catholic celibacy does not.
Other verses of Scripture seriously contradict Roman Catholicism's concept of the celibacy of the clergy. Bishops are to be allowed to marry:
"you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you-if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God" (Titus 1:5-7).
"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife" (1st Timothy 3:2).
Peter, who Roman Catholicism claims to be the first Pope, was married:
"Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter]?" (1st Corinthians 9:2).
"Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever" (Matthew 8:14).
In conclusion, we note that all and every form of perversion is born from the seed of rebellion against God's will for our lives. God has set up a system that takes into account and provides for human emotional and physical needs, when we do not follow God's will we can expect nothing but the worse, the acting out of the darkest human deeds unrestrained.
"for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor" 1st Thessalonians 4:2-5
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