Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,944 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Celibacy

Priestly celibacy is a Catholic tradition which dates back to St. Paul, and which is mirrored in the similar practice of persons both lay and religious who consecrate themselves to God. Celibacy, by which a person voluntarily foregoes marriage, is a sign of commitment—of living exclusively for the Other in the service of His people.

The most succinct statement on celibacy we have comes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where ecclesiastical celibacy is briefly described. The celibacy entry in our Catholic dictionary gives further background.

The sexual revolution of the 1960's and beyond undermined the value of celibacy in the minds of many, and led to considerable misunderstanding and discontent, even among priests. For this reason, Pope Paul VI addressed the subject at length in his 1967 encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus.

In early 2007, on the fortieth anniversary of Paul VI's encyclical, Claudio Cardinal Hummes offered a briefer contemporary reflection on the importance of the traditional practice of celibacy today.

If you only have time to look at three things, LOOK AT THESE.

  1. The Catechism on Celibacy
  2. Cardinal Hummes: Christ's Precious Gift to His Church
  3. Paul VI: Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (The Celibacy Of The Priest)

And if you've got more time...

See the Dictionary entry on Celibacy for a definition and the general background of this practice pertaining to both laymen and ecclesiastics.

The comments of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan priest and a psychologist, are also particularly apt on this subject: Priestly and Religious Celibacy: Is it Dead or Should it Be?

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 2 hours ago
The Pope is not the problem 23 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 24 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6