As culture treats traditional marriage, it also treats celibacy.
As marriage disintegrates in the ‘dictatorship of relativism,’ in ‘the unhinging of sexuality from procreation’ (contraception), and in the evil conceived as convenience, power, freedom, and self-control (abortion), western society also seeks the abolition of what they conceive as the ‘abnormality’ of celibacy. Their solution, similar to the solutions they have inherited from the ‘principalities and powers’ of society, in the human production of ‘planned’ parenthood, is the married priest. Of course, this will eventually lead, as Pope Benedict XVI pointed out, to the divorced priest. The bottom line in all these protests for change within the Church is a crisis of faith, initiated by the architects of ‘the culture of death.’
For the contemporary attack is the same attack which Crucified Jesus, from the very same diabolical source, which attacked His celibacy as the Holy One of God, and His Marriage as the Husband of His Bride, the Church. This attack is aimed at discouraging faith in Christ, Crucified and Risen, through disintegrating courageous witness to Catholic Truth through the ordinary witness of Traditional Marriage and faith-driven celibacy.
Faithfulness in celibacy, and Traditional Marriage, can only be attained through the grace filled perseverance of faith. For God created man (man and woman) for the transcendent heights of Imaging His Likeness in monogamy. God is One in the Love of the monogamy of the Trinity. God is One in the celibacy of His self-sacrifice of self interest in the Paschal Mystery of His Love. Men and women find their true selves in, either, faith filled celibacy, or the commitment of Traditional Marriage.
The forces of the ‘culture of death’ have distorted celibacy, and marriage, in making them into a form of slavery which hinders human freedom and true maturity. We must remember that celibacy and marriage are meant to be entered into in total freedom. Both, moreover, in the form of a sacrament require an oath in the former, and a promise in the latter. When the oath and the promise are taken seriously, informed and strengthened within a believing Church community, they flourish. When the oath and the promise are given half-heartedly, within a Church that struggles to believe in the glory of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, they disintegrate.
We have seen the experiments with married clergy in the Protestant Church and in the Orthodox Church. We must remember that Protestant pastors aren’t priests and do not stand ‘In Persona Christi’ sacramentally. We must remember that the Orthodox priest who marries will never be a bishop, and is basically only a liturgical minister. We must also observe the divorce rate for both of these groups in America to parallel the rest of society.
Celibacy also has societal obstacles in the decrease of children born in the western world. Add to this a decrease in church-going Christians and this double whammy decreases vocational numbers. There have, however, been increases in recent years, witnessing to the modest resurgence of genuine Catholic faith in America.
The situation is this: as marriage goes, so does celibacy. Better yet, as Catholic faith in America goes, so do these two facets of the Life of Jesus. Faith, a gift of God for those who pray, those who attend the Sacraments, those who seek and receive the Eucharistic Christ, these are our armor and weaponry against the enemies of our faith, manifest in the culture of death.
Will we embrace them, or will we succumb to the enemy?