Priestly Celibacy Essay

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“The vow of celibacy is a matter of keeping one's word to Christ and the Church. A duty and a proof of the priest's inner maturity; it is the expression of his personal dignity,” (Pope John Paul II). Celibacy in the church changed much of the structure that was there before. The definition of celibacy, according to Dictionary.com, is: “the state of being unmarried, and abstention from sexual relations.” The first time the Church actually made celibacy a rule was at the Second Lateran Council, in 1139. This Council forbid priests from marrying, and was once again brought up in the Council of Trent in 1563 (History News Network). Priestly celibacy is an institution that put several things into focus for a priest’s life. They become focused on the Church and Christ instead of being caught up in problems with family. Also, by not having a family, the priest’s savings would not go to family, but would instead go back to the Church. Celibacy is supported in Scripture and shows how the lives of some of the greatest Christian leaders were celibate. “Preaching is the ‘primary duty’ of priests,” (Sacraments 199). If a priest has a family, that can get in the way of his focus on the Church. A Priest, instead of a conventional marriage between a man and a woman, is “married” to the Church. This makes his only job to help the people of God with their problems. A priest should have no distractions like a modern day family may have. All they have to focus on would be helping his congregation, and thus with God. A family is a great thing and is usually a person’s main focus, so a priest having a family would affect his relationship with the congregation, because they would become number three on his mind, after God and his own family. So the practice of celibacy is a very appropriate one because a priest needs to be focused on the Church that Christians have given

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