Continuation of the outline of the book: The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life; Charles A.Callagher and Thomas L. Vandenberg. St Paul Publications. England. 1987.
Chapter 1: Privation or Privilege
Christian celibates do not concentrate on what is to be given up but on what is to be received and moved into. Celibacy is not a privation but a privilege.When people talk about celibacy they seem to view it as something negative e.g. abstaining from marriage, not having sex etc. but this is not a definition of what celibacy is.
Celibacy is about relationship – the relationship of a priest with his people. He is especially given over to his people in the way a married man is particularly given over to his wife and children.
Celibacy is nothing to do with ‘a job’ or even having more time for ‘the job’. It is far more than that. There must be a real quality and depth of relationship between a priest and his people – a relationship that is far more than doing the job. It is about commitment and a deep bonding with a people.
“Rather than being the operator of a spiritual filling station, a priest is more like the conductor of an orchestra who enables the talents of his people to emerge for the glory of God.”
A priest does this because he is in communion with his people. A priest is not above his people, but is in the centre with them. He is like a father in a family; there is value in what he does for his people, but it cannot replace who he is with his people.
This series, outline of ‘The Celibacy Myth’, to be continued.