Rolheiser and de Malleray on Celibacy

‘Priestly celibacy’ is a subject that is always of interest to the general public. Many do not understand its great value and tradition in the Catholic Church. Fr Marcus Holden, parish priest of Ramsgate, who has greatly raised the profile of St Augustine’s Church in Ramsgate, Kent, UK, appeared a while back on Channel 4’s “open-mic” programme arguing in favour of priestly celibacy. He made some excellent points in the short time allotted. But in the comment section on the site, there were also many detractors.

Today this appeared on the “LMS Chairman” blog: By 

Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP had a letter published in the Catholic Herald the other week which I think deserves a permanent place on the internet, so I reproduce it below.therese

It is a very beautiful brief explanation of the value of celibacy, and it demonstrates what would be perfectly possible to have, in our Catholic press, if the various papers thought it appropriate to have as columnists articulate writers with a traditional formation, rather than fill about 80% of their comment space with a rag-bag of C-list celebrities and self-promoting dissidents.

Fr Rolheiser is perhaps the most annoying columnist in the UK Catholic press after Mgr Loftus. Admittedly there is stiff competition from Quentin de la Bedoyere (pet topic: the falsity of Humanae Vitae), also in the Catholic Herald, and Robert Mickens of The Tablet, and some of the columnists in the Universe are just so boring I can’t claim to have formed a judgement about them. Rolheiser has the distinction of writing a ‘syndicated’ column, which means that it appears simultaneously in publications all over the English-speaking world, which is nice for him. The most scandalous of his columns are those, which appear once a year, in which he plays down the teaching of the Church on suicide, something which is not just offensive to pious ears but actually dangerous, particularly for young people who may be tempted towards that terrible sin. Being an accessory (in the sense used in moral theology) to suicide isn’t something I’d want on my conscience, but Fr Rolheiser seems to be made of sterner stuff.

Here’s a nice fisk of him writing on ecumenism. I wonder if it is significant that the Catholic Herald uses, for its byline photo of him, one in which he’s wearing a clerical collar; all the others I can find have him in civvies.

Padre PioThe fact that Fr Rolheiser starts his reflections on celibacy with a quotation from Thomas Merton, who famously broke his own vow of celibacy, should ring a few warning bells. Rolheiser doesn’t burden his readers with that contextual information.

You can read the article to which Fr de Malleray is replying here.


Last week Fr Rolheiser endorsed Thomas Merton’s unfortunate option that ‘celibacy is abnormal and dooms you to live in a state not willed by the Creator’. But Thomas Merton confessed in Journals that he had not kept his solemn vow of chastity.

Perhaps more eloquent witness could be quoted to display the value and beauty of so deeply Catholic an institution as consecrated celibacy.  I would suggest that St Padre Pio, St Catherine of Siena, the Holy Curé of Ars, St Thérèse of Liseux, St Maximilian Kolbe, to name but a few among hundreds of thousands of unmarried saints, answered their call to celibacy without illusions but with a filial trust, relying on the greater love of the One to Whom they offered up the sacrifice of matrimonial intimacy and of biological parenthood.

Were they lonely? Perhaps at times, but then they knew it was only an invitation to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA throw themselves more confidently into God’s arms and to devote themselves more compassionately to the service of others. And soon enough they would be comforted by the One Who promised: ‘And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting’ (Matt 19:29). Therefore, affirming that ‘celibacy does condemn you to live in a loneliness that God himself condemned’ is fundamentally at odds with Christ’s special blessing on consecrated celibates, following Christ’s election of that state for his own Self.

No one is forced to enter that blessed state and no one should, unless they firmly rely on the actual presence of their Beloved Saviour to fill them daily with everlasting love. But if they do, God’s grace will not fail them.
Yours faithfully,

Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP,Reading, Berkshire.

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61 Responses to Rolheiser and de Malleray on Celibacy

  1. Toad says:

    ” ‘And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting’ (Matt 19:29). ”

    It appears to be Christ saying this.
    If so, is he really suggesting that men leave their wives and families to follow him?
    What are we to make of this?


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh, don’t be so intentionally thick. Don’t you have some dogs toenails to clip or pension cheques to cash?


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    But this article reminds me of why homosexuals are entirely unsuited for the priesthood, quoting here the words of our Emeritus Pope from The Light of the World, his book-length interview by journalist Peter Seewald:
    “Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway.”


  4. Uncle Kyle says:

    Well there’s one benefit from a change in the marriage laws, John!


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Marriage is not a law. It’s a sacrament of religion. All that governments can do is register marriages ex post facto. If Parliament legislates that dogs are cats, does that mean dogs are cats? Sacraments, like speciehood, are not subject to or dependent upon legal recognition. I just thank God that my marriage took place before the name marriage was sullied by government interference. My beloved sister and her partner are planning a huge celebration when the Defence of Marriage Act is struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer (as they think it will be); but I’ve gently declined her invitation to the festivities, while remaining loyal to her on a personal level. Thank you and good night.


  6. Toad says:

    It’s kind of JH to suggest Toad is intentionally thick, because Toad’s simply thick, and that’s that.
    And still doesn’t know the answer to his question.
    Does anyone else on CP&S?
    Clearly it’s not a reasonable question. But why not?
    Mustn’t take Christ’s words literally, I suppose?

    ”Marriage is not a law.”
    No,but there are laws about marriage.
    Arson is not a law. Nor is driving, smoking, drinking alcohol or child molesting.
    But there are laws about them.
    As there are about marriage.

    Uncle Kyle is quite in order to say what he did.
    And I’m sure JH agrees.
    He’s not thick. Nor, it seems, is Uncle Kyle.


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad, there are many thick lawmakers who agree with you about the universal jurisdiction of law. But conservatives believe that law, in the main if not absolutely, ought to confine itself to proscriptions – such as Thou Shalt Not commit arson, drive while drunk, molest children – and ought not to take over our entire lives, forcing us to accept as good those things we consider bad. The road to Leviathan is paved with the good intentions of lawmakers. Now, sorry, I must retire, and I’ll thank you not to read anything into my subsequent silence. I enjoy your company.


  8. Toad says:

    JH, you are putting words into Toad’s mouth. But then you would, wouldn’t you?

    Because I don’t know what you mean when you say some lawyers – the thick ones, apparently – will ‘agree with me’ that the jurisdiction of law is universal.
    Surely you must agree that yourself? Every country, at every time, has laws. The German Nazis did. The Canadians do. The Iranians, next week, will.
    Just because the jurisdiction of law is universal, doesn’t mean it’s always just, though.
    I agree with you on that, if that is what you are saying.

    But I’d sooner get back to the words of Christ and how they might be interpreted.

    Oh, for a priest with a lap top and bit of time for CP&S! We did have none but we lost him. Prayers to Saint ‘Tony’,* perhaps?

    *‘Tony, Tony, turn around,
    what was lost will now be found’

    Say Americans.
    Bless ’em.


  9. Toad says:

    ”(Laws) ought not to take over our entire lives, forcing us to accept as good those things we consider bad.”

    No arguing with that, JH. But it entirely depends on who ‘us’ are, and what the things we consider ‘good’ are. But you already know that.

    If keeping slaves, or locking up gays, is considered ‘good’ by ‘us.’ well…


  10. Roger says:

    Toad on the contrary Marriage is a Law again back to Genesis. It is part of the Laws of Creation the male and the female. Marriage goes right up to the Trinity and then comes this most mysterious Creation of God the Woman. Eve was Created in Paradise.
    Adam and Eve knew the Woman.
    The Virigin Mary and her unique and extrodinary relationship to the Trinity.
    Man is I repeat Flesh and Spirit and Soul.
    The Church is also referred to as the Woman on occassions.
    The nuns are married to Our Lord (this is a real and spiritual marring superior to that of the Flesh).
    The priest to the woman (the Church) real and vastly superior to that of the Flesh.
    The Marriage of the Flesh is for fecundity. To Create men and woman both flesh for flesh and spirit and soul created from God.
    Attacks on Marriage are attacks on the Trinity and Creation.


  11. Roger says:

    Then comes to the Matthew 19:29
    Wrongly interpreted by Toad.
    Back to Genesis and the priority. First God then Creatures.
    We are bound to place God first not second in Our Lives.
    We know this to be true because of what Our Lord said of Marriage
    Matthew 19:6 Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
    Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    Obviously Our Lord wasn’t contradicting himself with Matthew 19 verses 6 and 29.


  12. Toad says:

    ”Then comes to the Matthew 19:29 Wrongly interpreted by Toad.”

    But Toad didn’t interpret it at all, Roger, as you will see by re-reading his question.
    He just said that he didn’t understand it.
    Maybe you can explain it more clearly.
    Past experience leads me to doubt that.
    But one never know, do one.


  13. Tiddles says:

    I dont know if its a suitable answer but in India many men up sticks in their fifties and wander the subcontinent as sadhus, following the spiritual path.

    I think its also a social safety valve because those who have had enough of getting and spending may explode through frustration and the rat race. Theyre better out in saffron robes than raising hell at home. Its not a bad idea.


  14. kathleen says:

    Toad, I shall also try to answer your question – the one you made in your first comment.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words were delivered to his Apostles, some of whom were married. Jesus was asking them (not commanding them) to leave everything behind to ‘follow’ Him because He knew well that these men were to be the first Bishops who were to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world. As we know from the subsequent journeys the Apostles took to fulfill this mission, dragging a family around with them would have been quite impossible.
    (We do not know how the wives responded to this idea, but we may assume they would have been given the grace to accept and agree to the importance of their husbands’ heavenly assignment, and would have most probably been followers of Jesus Christ themselves.)

    Nothing Jesus says to His Apostles is confined to them alone. Therefore the Catholic Church has always seen this great request of Our Lord (“to leave all behind and follow Me”) to be the ideal state, i.e. celibate, and therefore without ties, to be ‘another Christ’ in the world….. which is the calling of the Priest and Bishop. Jesus Christ Himself is, of course, the perfect model of this total self-sacrifice.

    Celibacy is however only a discipline of one part of the Catholic Church – the Latin West – and it is not a dogma of Faith. But it is a very wonderful thing, and over the centuries it has produced thousands of great and amazing saints.
    There is no doubt, that those blessed priests who are capable of such a generous self-giving of their whole selves to “follow Christ” in His Holy Church reap a rich and splendid ‘harvest of souls’…. and for themselves one day, ‘a heavenly crown’.


  15. Dan says:

    “(Celibacy)is a very wonderful thing, and over the centuries it has produced thousands of great and amazing saints” This strikes me as two bizarre claims. Please could you explain, Kathleen?


  16. kathleen says:

    The history of the Catholic Church is replete with saints, priests and bishops, (only a small portion who have been formally canonised) who have taken Our Lord’s commission to heart to “..[leave] house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake..”. Being therefore totally dedicated to their sacred ministry (without the distractions and home comforts of a wife and family) these generous self-giving men have been able to reach the most amazing achievements in both practical ways (e.g. travelling far and wide, writing, study, being always available, etc.) and spiritual ways – in the leading of souls to Heaven.

    Celibacy is not easy…. only a small percentage of elect souls have the strength of will to be able to live in this state. But, as Fr. de Malleray points out, it has immense value and beauty, and God’s grace will not fail those who undertake it.


  17. Dan says:

    Having children isn’t easy either, and, I would say, has much more value and beauty than making a decision to avoid having sex.


  18. kathleen says:

    Dan, you have completely misunderstood what I said.
    Celibacy is tough – it goes against our natural inclinations – but by embracing this state for the sake of the Kingdom of God (or, IOW, to fulfill Christ’s work in His Church) as a self-giving of one’s WHOLE time, energy, availability.. a priest becomes a living witness of Christ in the world.

    I have children – and feel blessed to have them – but I can see clearly that in no way could anyone who wants to be a good parent do the work of many many priests in the world today. We are human and limited in our time and energy.


  19. Dan says:

    But has celibacy “produced thousands of great and amazing saints”?
    And when you think about the reality of abstaining from sex, for most people that would only be a tiny, tiny fraction of their time, and not such a “very wonderful thing”.


  20. kathleen says:

    Besides, it is not only priests and nuns who choose this state in order to consecrate their lives totally to God. Many choose celibacy so that they have no ties and can be entirely free to persevere in their chosen missions in life.

    And chastity is a requirement for all of us.
    Those who are unmarried should remain chaste. And how many have to refrain from sex because their husbands and wives are sick, or away for long periods of work…. or even because they have died?


  21. Doctor Ziggy says:

    Celibacy is important in the Orthodox churches as well. Bishops are expected to lead celibate lives, even if married. Certain restrictions are placed on priests for a period before celebrating communion as well. A celibate life is regarded highly, even to be preferred among orthodox clergy.


  22. Toad says:

    It might be said that celibacy is the spiritual equivalent of saying to ourselves:
    ‘Heavens, I’ve got fat recently! I will never eat another mouthful!”

    On the other hand, it might not.


  23. kathleen says:

    Thanks Doctor Ziggy for that timely reminder of the Orthodox churches’ high regard for priestly celibacy too. They do indeed see it as a higher calling to that of marriage.
    Even though married clergy are permitted in the Orthodox Church, if a priest is ordained as a single man, he is then to remain so forever. Married priests cannot become Bishops.


  24. Roger says:

    Here we go confusing sex with celibracy!
    The two pillars of the Faith. The Bible AND Sacred Tradition. Celibracy is this Sacred Tradition as is communion in the mouth! Sacred Tradition preceeded the Church (Mystical Body of Christ) the Jews built up a body of Traditions.
    The priest is married! His fecundity is the spiritual. Christ like! To be filled with the Divine Life of Christ.
    Again you are confused over the Saints. The confusion is those listed as opposed to the thousands who are in Heaven but which the teaching Church hasn’t highlighted publically.
    One of the Greatest Celibrates St Joseph!


  25. kathleen says:

    Hi Roger!
    Who are you directing your last comment to?

    You say: “The priest is married! His fecundity is the spiritual. Christ like! To be filled with the Divine Life of Christ.

    I agree with that entirely.

    And that St. Joseph is a perfect example of this sacred state of celibacy and purity. 🙂


  26. Roger says:

    Hi Kathleen
    “..than making a decision to avoid having sex ..”
    Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.
    For ever means that with the Priest the mark is forever on the soul of the priest. This is not the case with the sacrament of Marriage (which is for fecundity and lasts for the Life of the Spouses).
    “..Celibacy is the renunciation of marriage implicitly or explicitly made, for the more perfect observance of chastity..”
    Marriage is essentially of the Flesh (and this world) but Holy Celibracy is of the Spirit.
    Read 1 Corinthians 7
    and especially
    [32] But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God.
    [33] But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.
    [34] And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
    [35] And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.


  27. golden chersonnese says:

    I’ve learned in various media over the not very substantial years of moi‘s existence (cf, Toad) that the married clergy of our fraternal Eastern rites have often been just more or less mass-produced body-and-blood-manufacturing robots. I do beg pardon if I have picked up the wrong media, but I think the idea was that these blissfully wedded menfolk were ordained after, say, half a dozen months of training, the better to ensure expeditiously that the sacred liturgy was made available to the baptised in less cosmopolitan and more inaccessible reaches of the various empires and regions concerned. I have read also that such was the case in mediaeval Europe, where priests were as often as not in the bond of customary wedlock.

    I saw once too that,not that many decades ago in Ethiopia, hundreds of hitched chaps were ordained en masse after only some few weeks of training to supply for the liturgical needs of rural out-liers in that ancient Christian kingdom.

    Curiously, priestly celibacy became the norm when, later, calls for the more proper philosophical and theological education of clergy became insistent. Celibacy has remained the norm since as have the requirement that the clergy be educated as thoroughly as possibly for a period of four years or, mostly, longer.

    A link between education and celibacy of the clergy? It would seem so and hardly surprising, but Toad or jabba will know. I’m just a tropical sorta largish bird with a huge gob, fond of comestible fruity and nutty type things plus the odd bug or two.


  28. Toad says:

    ”I have read also that such was the case in mediaeval Europe, where priests were as often as not in the bond of customary wedlock.”

    I have also read this, Golden.
    But, so what?
    Where does that leave us today, with scarcely any new Western priests, and a good few of them changing their minds about God by the day? (c.f. Monsignor Pope, on here earlier on CP&S.)


  29. Tiddles says:

    I must say I found it odd that priests advise on marital affairs when they have no relevent experience. I thought that was only storing up problems. And look where the suppression of natural instincts have got us today. A disgraceful epidemic of scandal which was totally unnecessary.

    In yer middle ages, priests had a ‘housekeeper’.


  30. golden chersonnese says:

    I think rather, Tiddlies, a good many of them had wives by customary law/convention. And why not when Mass was needed telling in the most disagreeable of collections of rural shacks. I myself have been acquainted with more than one lineage of families surnamed “Parsonson”.

    I suggest such was the ordinariness and disappoingtingness of such rural/married clergy that those in authority desired to elevate the quality of clergy as soon as it was possible to do so. This is a common hope among all churshes. This wish entailed a higher education of clergy united with a clear judgment that celibacy was also needful. In other words, the married clergy was found wanting and not up to what was really required.

    No wonder, then, that Church authorities, to give the faithful the best shepherds that could be, insisted on a good education and a chaste life. This was clearly the ideal of Scriptures and of course in accordance with the previous mind of the Church. Marriage was until then tolerated among clergy rather than encouraged.

    I myself see no reason that earlier standards to improve the quality of clergy should not be further honoured now. And I think this explains the mind of the previous two pontiffs regarding sacerdotal celibacy.


  31. Roger says:

    What does advise on marital affairs have to do with being a priest?
    The premise to start from is what is a priest and why celibracy is necessary to a priest.

    The priest is set appart from the world exclusively for the service of God. He is the mediator between God and the people. He is the vessel used by God in the sacraments where Christ is truly present.
    Vocations are God’s gift to Man. The lack of Vocations is a direct consequence off a rejection of God.
    The arguments against celibracy are identical to those of the Protestant Reformers. Finding the same arguments within the Catholic Church is a reflection on the True spiritual State of the Church. The road to God isn’t the road to wordly wisdom. Priests of God? or Priests of the world? The decline in Vocations is because God is giving Us priestly Souls.
    Catholics must be of God and Not of the world in the world BUT not off the world.
    If you espouse Protestant beliefs over the Priesthood then you cannot call yourself Catholic.
    The falling away from the Faith (General Apostacy) was especially highlighted by Father Malachy Martin and is a feature of the secret of Fatima.

    Scandals and the Purification of the Church (Our Lord’s Kingdom)?
    Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity.


  32. Tiddles says:

    Chasteness, if imposed, is a pointless and counterproductive burden, I think. I cant see why it is regarded as something to be valued. I know Ole Grumpy Paul would have me for that, but then he was a bit of a heavy.

    However, I must (wisely) desist here, as a kitten is climbing up my Tshirted torso using all claws and teeth for extra purchase. I like cats very much, but the pain is noticeable.


  33. golden chersonnese says:

    The priesthood is as imposed on anyone as your like of cats.


  34. Tiddles says:

    Roger, I like your comment about ‘celibracy’. I always thought that many Protestants were against such rejoicing and celebration, and were very glum as a result. Look at ole Calvin – a face like a torn accordion.

    Many of your other comments are way beyond my comprehension, sadly. You made one comment defining who should say that they are Catholic; my dear fellow, is that wise?


  35. Tiddles says:

    Yes Golden it is a choice to be a priest or to like cats. I nearly became a priest myself. A long time ago in the first flush of youth. As you do.


  36. Toad says:

    Toad knows a priest (gay) who loves his (Toad’s) dogs.
    Comes to stay here just to come out for walks with him and the furriy fools.
    So, it need not be, as Tiddles and Soren seem to think, ”Either Or.”

    (Can’t do K’s name properly. Don’t know how. Sorry, Soren.)


  37. Frere Rabit says:

    I know Fr Marcus Holden and have worked with him. He is an orthodox Catholic priest and expresses a valuable traditionalist outlook within the Archdiocese of Southwark. If the archdiocese is to survive with any Catholic credibility in the future it will rely on men like that rather than its current Archbishop.

    It is a shame that this thread has once again descended into the pointless inanities I have commented on before, and the usual suspects are un¡surprisingly quick off the mark to undermine a serious and intelligent post. Shame.


  38. kathleen says:

    That’s interesting Rabit, because my family also knows Fr. Marcus Holden, and we also think very highly of him! He spent a year or so in my mother’s parish when he was a newly-ordained priest, and right from the start showed signs of his orthodox Catholicism and his great potential.

    I’m sure you have heard of the marvellous “Evangelicum Project” which he started together with Fr. Andrew Pinsent. It is doing so much good, especially in reaching out to the young with the great truths of Catholicism?


  39. kathleen says:

    Tiddles, your comments clearly demonstrate why you would not have been a good candidate for the Holy Priesthood!

    The sex scandals of the last decades are most definitely not delimited to those who take the vow of celibacy, but have infected every sector of society, due to the overriding obsession with sex in our current culture. Even in the small percentage of cases where sexual abuse has indeed been committed by members of the clergy (and which Pope Benedict XVI referred to as a very serious sin) this has far more to do with the problem of homosexuality than with priests being ‘unmarried’.

    P.S. We all have to suppress “our natural instincts” sometimes, don’t we? Otherwise we might turn into a whole lot of overweight, lazy alcoholics! Or hooked onto some other addiction.
    Celibacy is a choice made by some generous souls for the good of others; it should never be seen as “an imposition”.


  40. Toad says:

    Some ”pointless inanities” on CP&S are also ”rude” and ”norty,” I suppose.
    ”Norty” being a word Toad has, until now, not employed, considering it to be inane..

    (Apologies to those readers who find this comment incomprehensible.)


  41. Toad says:

    I’m sorry to return to this particular issue after your (as always) considered and comprehensive comment at 10.52 yesterday, Kathleen, but – on reflection – how would you feel if your Hubby suddenly said he was off to spread The Good Word among the unenlightened heathen, leaving you and the family to fend for yourselves?
    What would Mrs. Burro say if he took off?
    Would either of you regard it as essential and reasonable behaviour?

    JH seems to consider this question as important as clipping dogs’ toenails.
    I wouldn’t go quite that far.


  42. Jerry says:

    Hey Toad,

    Other people will doubtless give you the information you need. But my take on that question is as follows.

    There is a prima facie inconsistency in the Gospels. The same Jesus who calls for radical renunciation of all family ties also emphatically rejects the possibility of divorce. The solution is to remember that (however much devotional reading can forget this) Jesus didn’t simply produce pearls of timeless wisdom in a vacuum.

    Fr. J.P. Meier reminds us that we must reconstruct the original audience of a piece of tradition preserved in the gospels before we can interpret it right. As a limited example: is statement X addressed to; a.) the inner circle of followers joining Jesus on his earthly ministry b.) is it a corrective to other Jewish teachers? c.) is it primarily aimed at the Church as a body of believers existing after his earthly ministry has ended? d.) is it a general moral norm intended to apply to even those who do not take the radical step of following Jesus during his ministry? Etc. Etc.

    Christian tradition has always drawn such distinctions.


  43. Roger says:

    “ would you feel if your Hubby suddenly said he was off to spread The Good Word among the unenlightened heathen, leaving you and the family to fend for yourselves? ..”
    Rubbish If and when God has made such requests this isn’t Divorce and Providence amply looks after the spouses and families.
    He who feed the 5000 can look after the widow, the spouses and family. How much more so when a Spouse is called to Gods service.
    The lives of the saints are replete with Providence looking after loved ones and dependencies.
    The Great example is Of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross!!

    What a dreadful cynical view you have of Our Lord.

    God is ominpresent and omnipotent and yet your view of God excludes Him from His Creation. Our Lord took Flesh and lived the Life of a Man (without Sin) No stone idol but a living loving God.

    St Francis stands against this sick worldly cynicism with his complete Loving dependence on Providence.

    My Lord is more than capable of looking after the spouses and beloved of those whom He
    has called.

    Away with this worldly materialist blindness where yesterdays Sciences are todays problems and where todays Sciences will be Our siblings yoke! No Our Lord looks after His Own!


  44. Tiddles says:

    Thank you Kathleen for your opinion on my suitability for the priesthood. I have to say that to manage celibacy and marriage in the way we have done is catastrophic -is it not? The statistics prove my point.In the US ALONE, 5000 priests have been involved in atrocious behaviour. You say that everyone’s at it so it’s no surprise priests do so too. Wrong. The reasons are obvious and need no explanation to any thinking Catholic.

    Its about time that heads are removed from the sand.


  45. Tiddles says:

    Roger, you seem to speak from a position of knowledge, piety and certainty. This is wonderful.


  46. Tiddles says:

    Mr Toad says he knows a homosexual priest. How can this be? I thought that was unacceptable. On the other hand I know a priest in a most prestigious Parisian cathedral who has a mistress. Also not allowed.


  47. Toad says:

    HonestlyRoger! When did Toad ever suggest Mr, Kathleen’s departure would involve divorce? Why on earth should it? Fie!

    Toad knows more than one gay minister. But the others are Prods, so that don’t count. Though he does also know a gay ex-priest. And he once met a priest who is Mel Gibson’s cousin. He seemed a nice man.

    (No need to be formal, Tiddles, we are all cozy here.
    Toad answers to Toad. Frequently.)


  48. kathleen says:

    “Its about time that heads are removed from the sand.” (Re the sexual scandals)

    Quite agree Tiddles. It goes back to what Roger has pointed out above, and others like our commenter Giovanni has often mentioned here…. HOMOSEXUALITY. That is the problem. Homosexual men should not be allowed to become priests!! It’s just too risky; homosexuals are notoriously promiscuous.

    Don’t know where you get your statistics from, but you are surely aware that the majority of accusations of sexual abuse in the U.S. have been discovered to be false – not all, but the majority – and this is a fact. There have been high compensation figures handed out for the real victims of this terrible crime, and unfortunately this has wet the appetite of many unscrupulous people.


  49. kathleen says:

    I think Roger at 11:08 has given such a good reply to your repeated question to me, I can’t really add anything more. First time round though, I did mention that the Apostles who might have had wives would probably have been given ‘special graces’ to accept the most important mission ever given to men: to be the foundation stones of the Holy Bride of Christ – the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    In Acts of the Apostles we are told of many disciples and converts in the first Christian communities, and that many of these were women. I think we can be pretty sure that this would undoubtedly have included the wives, sisters, relations, neighbours etc. of these very same Apostles.

    P.S. Jerry‘s comment at 10:23 is also excellent…. if you will deign to chew it over for a while, Toad. 😉


  50. Roger says:

    A little thought reveals the private nature of much of the Bible and espcially the Gospels and the Acts. A small close community of in many cases friends and relatives,
    A moments thought should tell you that some information could only have come from specific individuals sic Matthew 27 [19] And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
    The great things of God are hidden and know to a few, This is what makes Fatima so important because of the size and scale of the Miracle.
    Consider Moses and the burning bush who else witnessed this?
    Majority and popular opinion have little or no truck with God,


  51. Toad says:

    ”Majority and popular opinion have little or no truck with God…”

    At last something we can agree on, Roger.

    It has long been Toad’s opinion that, if a thing is ‘popular,’ it’s almost certainly no good.


  52. kathleen says:

    It has long been Toad’s opinion that, if a thing is ‘popular,’ it’s almost certainly no good.”

    You said it Toad!
    And that could include the current popularity of bashing Christianity (especially the Catholic Church), saying that holy celibacy for the Kingdom of God has no value, being pro-‘choice’, agreeing with the proponents of same-sex ‘marriage’, promulgating that there is no Hell, refusing to see any merit in suffering (and thus calling for Euthanasia), living selfishly and greedily (for we have only ‘one’ life), etc., etc.,
    All nice ‘popular’ current things, eh Toad?

    And as you wisely (for once) point out – all WRONG!


  53. Roger says:

    Which means staying with what we know (through sacred Tradition, the Bible , the Doctors of the Church, the Holy Councils, the Dogmas). This means for instance Creation (as said in St John and the CREED). Holy celibracy. Not giving one inch of the Faith but at the same time being a selfless good neighbour.
    Am I being hard headed? Well if St Peter and St Paul had been yes men there would have been NO Church.


  54. Roger says:

    A sobering thought and to remind of the importance of the Faith especially when this is being ridiculed and scorned. Priestly celibracy is in the Tradition and deposit of the Faith! Centuries and centuries of belief prove this.

    Mark 8
    [34] And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    [35] For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it.
    [36] For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?
    [37] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    [38] For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.


  55. Toad says:

    Yes, indeed, Kathleen. Although I was thinking more of things like ‘Art’ (Jeff Koons) ‘Literature’ (Dan Brown) or ‘Music’, (God knows.., Snoop Doggy Dog, or whatever) and so on, as opposed to Matisse, Camus, or Mahler.
    But where does Catholicism fit in with this theory? It was ‘popular,’ in a way, some time ago.
    Still is, to some extent, with many people.

    How do we deal with that? Not a problem for you, to be sure.
    Just because we might agree that ‘popular’ things are no good, it doesn’t automatically indicate that ‘unpopular’ things must therefore be good.
    Does it?

    ”Am I being hard headed?” asks Roger. I think not, Roger. Far from it.


  56. Toad says:

    I’m assuming that these comments are aimed at me, Kathleen. Forgive me if I’m wrong. But, if they are, and they are fair enough comments anyway, here are my thoughts.
    It’s really too personal, (and too long and dull) for CP&S, but there we are.

    ”…saying that holy celibacy for the Kingdom of God has no value, ” I regard celibacy with considerable respect. It’s not for me or for most of us – including you – but that goes for several things, like chess. Morris dancing, basket weaving, beards, and the novels of Sir Walter Scott..

    ”…being pro-’choice’, ” Depends on the circumstances. Certainly not always. Very infrequently. Sometimes it is the lesser evil in my opinion. Not often.

    ”…agreeing with the proponents of same-sex ‘marriage’,” I don’t see why ‘gays’ should get off scot free, that is true. Whether it’s called ‘marriage,’ or ‘marmalade,’ is a matter of indifference to me. There should be a democratic referendum on this and we should abide by the verdict, whatever that might be.

    ”…promulgating that there is no Hell, refusing to see any merit in suffering (and thus calling for Euthanasia),” I don’t know whether there is a Hell or not, or what it might comprise. Accounts vary. I see no merit in needless suffering. Neither do doctors in general, I suspect. Nobody should be killed against their wishes, though. If there is merit in suffering, it must be sinful to try to mitigate it, surely?

    ”…living selfishly and greedily (for we have only ‘one’ life), ” I will have to leave it to others to decide if I live ‘selfishly and ‘greedily.’* I don’t know how many lives we may go through. Lots. say some.

    * My wife says I don’t. But then she would, wouldn’t she?


  57. kathleen says:

    No dear Toad, I wasn’t meaning to infer that you in particular hold to all those above-mentioned ‘popular’ trends that go against Catholic thinking (and thus the teaching of the Holy Spirit), only that the world at large does. Certainly I wouldn’t accuse you of “living selfishly and greedily” when you look after your hounds and felines with such dedication! 😉

    Anyhow, you have given us an interesting look into the way you believe.


  58. Roger says:

    It has been said that World War III would be a total War. So how can total War come about?
    Now the issue over so called Gays is an example of how just such Wars can be generated. A challenge to recognised morality by a novelty. Actually it is expressly the Sin of Sodom.
    What has this to do with Celibracy? Well lets look at the humanism of “..a democratic referendum ..” in this case on gay marriage. But this is in direct and blatant conflict with the Faith!
    Total War is what is happening in Syria a war between Sunnis and Shiites.
    The Austerity in Europe is pushing towards total War.
    The French Revolution was a total War for instance.
    Now it is these novelties and fashions are more than just dress! Gay Marriage is a fashion that offends God! Married priests are a fashion that offends God very much!
    “Fatima ..Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve God ought not to follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same. ..”
    Wars are directly linked to the message of Fatima (World War one and World war two expressly! and as mentioned by Malachy Martin a third).
    Fashions? Celibracy and these times
    “..Our Lady told Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres that in the late 19th Century and throughout most of the 20th Century the Church would yield to a great heresy. The Sacrament of Matrimony “will be attacked and profaned,” and “Masonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the objective of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin, encouraging the procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church.” Then, Our Lady warned, “The Christian spirit will rapidly decay, extinguishing the precious light of Faith until it reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs (morals), and this will result in the lack of priestly and religious vocations …” ..”
    So celibacy and gay marriage and masonic referendums are examples of these Fashions expressly mentioned in these times!
    Its all about saving souls!


  59. Toad says:

    ”A challenge to recognised morality by a novelty.”</i?

    Seeing that homosexuality has been around far longer than Christianity, it's had to see how it can be considered a 'novelty,' Roger.

    And tell us a war that was not a ‘total’ war.

    ”Married priests are a fashion that offends God very much!”

    Did He tell you to say that. Roger? Or can you read His mind?
    If God were capable of being ‘offended,’ he’d be less than perfect.


  60. Toad says:

    And it should read ” …and it’s hard…”


  61. Roger says:

    Pope Leo XIII in 1893 instigated the feast of The Holy Family so we have placed before Us by the teaching Church what is in Public Revelation and sacred tradition the Family!
    JMJ that is Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
    The Holy Family is Gods Holy model for the sacrament of marriage. Our Lords first public miracle was the Marriage as Cana at his Mothers instigation.
    So that there is NO confusion over what the Word Made Flesh unequivocally example of what Marriage is because we have The Holy Family.
    That is Man married to a Woman and a Child(ren).
    Doesn’t matter if 99.9% of the 7 billion persons on this planet say otherwise they are not God are they?
    So we know what a Family is sic The Holy Family! Nice and simply.
    Married priests offend God YES Toad because as part of their Ordination of a celibrate priest they expressly know that to break their Vow they are committing Adultery. And guess what is in the 10 commandments!!! So we know and the teaching Church tells Us, Sacred Tradition that if a celibrate Priest marry’s then He is sinning against God.
    Still Nice and simply.
    Marriage and Divorce well Our Lord expressly told Us
    Mark 10
    [2] And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
    [3] But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you?
    [4] Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away.
    [5] To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept.
    [6] But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.
    [7] For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.
    [8] And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.
    [9] What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Now lets see thats MALE AND FEMALE (WIFE) . Divorce as an example of civilisation? No its an example of a Heart of STONE. So now we know how Henry VIII stood with God!
    Lets see the Male and Female = one flesh = what God hath joined together!

    Seems pretty clear to Me! It might be liked but your argument is with Our Lord (His words).


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