Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/3/2014 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

the discipline of celibacy for our priests reminds everyone that sexuality is something which we all need to control in order to be happy--married people and single people alike.

We have a newspaper headline stuck on our fridge which says, "Married Priests favor Celibacy From Personal Experience." I'm one of them, and my wife doesn't mind me saying so. You see, I'm a married Catholic priest. I have a wife and four children.One of only about 200 in the United States, I am a former Anglican minister who has been dispensed from the usual vow of celibacy to be ordained as a Catholic priest.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/3/2014 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Fr. Dwight Longenecker, celibacy, marriage, chastity, married priests, Benedict, Francis, John Paul, St Francis, St benedict, Fr Dwight Longenecker


GREENVILLE, S.C. (Catholic Online) - We have a newspaper headline stuck on our fridge which says, "Married Priests favor Celibacy From Personal Experience."

I'm one of them, and my wife doesn't mind me saying so. You see, I'm a married Catholic priest. I have a wife and four children.

One of only about 200 in the United States, I am a former Anglican minister who has been dispensed from the usual vow of celibacy to be ordained as a Catholic priest.

As an Anglican priest I was celibate for seven years. Then I got married. Then we became Catholics. I can therefore speak with some personal experience about the question of celibacy or marriage for priests.

This hot topic should be cooled down with a bit of common sense. Firstly, it should be plain to everyone that marriage does not solve the problem of pedophile priests. Marriage doesn't cure pedophilia. The fact is, most child abuse is committed by married men.

Furthermore, most of the sex abuse by priests was against young men.  Are those who think marriage would cure man-boy sex suggesting that homosexual pedophiles would be cured if they just found a good woman?

Neither will marriage purge the priesthood of other sexual scandal. Plenty of married Protestant clergy still manage to tumble out of the pulpit onto the wrong pillow. Being married doesn't mean a person is free from lust and adultery.

On the other hand, being celibate doesn't mean a person is constantly panting for sex. There are plenty of people in all walks of life, of both genders and all ages who are sexually inactive for many different reasons. That doesn't make them all insatiable sex hounds or sad and desperately lonely souls.

Some Catholics speak enthusiastically about their desire for priests to marry, but when the subject of financial support for the married priest's family comes up it's remarkable how their enthusiasm fades. 

Speaking of the married priest's family, has no one else seen the most obvious problem? If a young priest is married and he and his young wife are fertile they would be expected to live within the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Yes, it is still Catholic policy that artificial means of contraception are forbidden.

The Catholic priest and his wife would be expected to live within that teaching. Do the parishioners who are so gung ho about married priests really want to support the priest's twelve children?

Would they want to re-build the rectory to house them? Pay their health insurance, deductibles and orthodontics? Would they be willing to cough up to send the priest's kids through Catholic school and college?

I'm the first to admit that there are problems with celibacy for priests. My celibate colleagues are sometimes isolated and lonely, but then, I know married people who are isolated and lonely. Many celibate priests are workaholics and starved for real relationships and affection. Ditto many married men.

Marriage for priests is a pipe dream panacea. It will solve few problems and create many more: What happens to clergy widows? Who picks up the pieces when a clergy marriage breaks down? Will a priest be able to date? In the present climate would he go courting in an old fashioned chaste way, or would he just sleep around like everyone else?

The powers at the Vatican might change the rule. It's unlikely they'll allow priests to marry, but they might adopt the Eastern Orthodox discipline in which priests may not marry, but married men may be ordained, or they might decide to allow older married men to be ordained.

In the meantime, the discipline of celibacy for our priests reminds everyone that sexuality is something which we all need to control in order to be happy--married people and single people alike.

The celibate priest, brother or sister reminds us that sex and marriage are given to lead us on to something better than sex: true and lasting Love. That's why we insist that marriage and the celibacy vow are for life: because lifetime love gives us a taste of the eternal.

For this reason alone celibacy should be a valued virtue-- because it is a self discipline that reminds us that while true love is tender, for it to last it also has to be tough.

-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina.Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, subscribe to his weekly newsletter and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com Join Fr Longenecker during Lent for a Blobble Study. That is a Bible study on a blog. On his blog, Standing on My Head he will lead readers through a study of Mark's gospel. There will be a reading from the gospel each day with a short reflection. Then the combox is open for comment and discussion. His latest book is The Romance of Religion --Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading


IT'S ABOUT TIME: Rick Perry deploys national guard to halt southern invasion! Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, in an effort to stem the flood of illegals that have crossed over throughout 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort to stem the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have been entering the United States illegally in 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption Watch

Image of Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as ... continue reading


BUSTED: FedEx indicted on numerous counts for shipping illegal internet pharmacy drugs Watch

Image of Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes. As a result, FedEx Corp. - a trusted mail delivery system has now was indicted for ... continue reading


We Need Monks for the Church of the Third Millennium, a New Missionary Age Watch

Image of A part of monastic life and spirituality is also labor, immersed in prayer. Monks support themselves through hard work, dedicated to God and caught up in the ongoing redemptive work of Jesus Christ in and through His Church. They follow a

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Monasticism in the first millennium gave us the fountain of theological wisdom which still inspires the Church. Those who went into the desert became the great teachers, fathers, confessors and prophets. Their prayer and witness kept the Church in the Divine ... continue reading


SOLD WHILE IN WOMB: Girls, sold, abducted given away in developing nations Watch

Image of Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

 In Ethiopia, girls are abducted on their way to school, raped and then married to their captors. In Ghana, they are married to traditional priests and become "slaves to the gods" to pay for their family's sins. In Cameroon, girls are promised in marriage to ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Song of Songs 3:1-4
1 On my bed at night I sought the man who is my ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-2, 11-18
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Mary Magdelene
July 22: She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter