THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CELIBACY VOWS: IF YOU CAN’T GET ALONG WITH THE SYSTEM IT’S BETTER TO CALL IT QUITS RATHER THAN CHALLENGE IT. By Mungai.

The Kenyan Chapter of the Roman Catholic Church has faced its biggest and stiff litmus test in the recent times. The move to denounce celibacy vow and confessions by some Catholic that they have been living a lie by keeping secret families is a big blow the church has ever received.

To these renegade priests we can only sum up that it’s a height of hypocrisy in their part after going a well laid down procedure of which they were given a chance to take a stand, and, then at the end, they took the vows of celibacy knowly knowing its consequences.

As one German theologian, Dietrioh Bonhoeffer, said that if you board the wrong train, it is no use of running along the corridor in the other direction. This is what we can tell the priests who are criticizing the church offer its stand on celibacy.

But are these priests justified in their rallying call to challenge the celibacy and chastity life of which they were not forced to undertake this religious rite?

In the Roman Catholic Church, its either you are in the main stream church abiding by its canon laws or you are out. You can’t have a splinter group because they are well laid down canon laws which if you don’t abide by them you are excommunicated.

To these wayward priests who have decided to go overboard to denounce their celibacy vows, we can only tell them that if you can’t get along well with the system, it’s better to call it quits rather than challenge it.

But, what’s celibacy and chastity which the Roman Catholic Church cherishes and advises it’s priests to adopt? According to Longman’s dictionary. Celibacy is an act of not taking part in sexual activity as a result of a religious promise. And, chastity is an act of sexually pure.

To most Catholic theologians, Celibacy is a mystery. It’s a mysterious under taking because; what on earth could possibly motivate any normal human to give up the one thing that everyone else treasures as their greatest hope of joy and happiness?

The Roman Catholic Church is an old and strong institution which dates back to many thousand centuries ago. The church is guided by a well laid down and structurally crafted canon laws that calls the priests to live a life of celibacy and chastity to emulate Jesus Christ.

According to the Church’s traditions celibacy is a great blessing for the church and the World. And, priestly celibacy more than anything else, is a gift. The call to celibacy is a gift from God to the priest so that he might live a life of total dedication to priestly service.

The Catholic Church adopts celibacy and chastity as a necessary requirement for priestly and religious lives. And, before one is ordained to become a priest, the aspirant is taken through a very rigorous educational formative 8 years, coupled by completion of Catholic catechetical, have a sound Catholic Faith, freedom from any impediment, and above all lead a chastity life. The aspirants of this kind of life are required to observe the discipline of celibacy in their calling, throughout their formative period.

According to one theologian, being a priest is a call which requires sacrifice and denial. Sacrifice means that they deny themselves certain things and devote their entire life to what they have been called (to do). They are also required to obey the authority; a priest must also deny himself earthly riches and bodily pleasures, including sex. And, it’s through Celibacy, that priests or other religious people free to serve God with a freedom that married person cannot.

In turn celibacy is a gift to the church and the world for through it the priest is able to imitate Jesus Christ, the Good shepherd, in service. Jesus himself chose not to marry and, much to the surprise of his disciples invited some of them to imitate him; let anyone accept it who can.

So, Paul followed suit, giving these advice; in (1st Cor 7:32-34), should you like to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife and he is divided.

Before the 12th century the Catholic popes, Bishops, Priests were allowed to marry. But the practice was changed and they were required to lead lives of chastity, obedience and poverty.

According to the theologian, the Latin Church considered consecrated celibacy to be a gift received from God which the church wishes to watch over, convinced that it’s a blessing for the church and all world. Consecrated celibacy is also seen as a radical witness in the footsteps of Christ and as a sign of the New Jerusalem to which priests are totally dedicated to.


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