Perhaps it was that time of day – close to sunset – or the place – a sidewalk cafe – that moved a friend and I to discuss this sober subject of celibacy. Or, maybe we’re just these two people who still have to come to terms with certain aspects of our selves. But I believe the conversation began when I quoted for him a few texts from the book A Church In Search Of Itself:
A young priest in the US went to an older priest and told him he intended to leave the priesthood because he wanted a woman. But the older priest told him he doesn’t have to leave because he can have almost any woman in town.
A homosexual priest rationalized his long-term affair with a young man saying he was faithful to the young man as a chaste husband is faithful to his wife, and so how was he violating his vow of chastity?
We had a good loud laugh. Priests are human beings after all.
My friend is all for married priests. It’s practically adaptation and other religions have shown it works, he said. I agreed with the imperative to adapt. But I admitted despite my liberal leanings, there is that side of me solidly shaped by my upbringing and personal convictions which tells me that priests, having chosen freely and fully aware of the sacrifices in priesthood, should abide by their vow of celibacy. The key is, freedom of choice. Without this, there will be a holding back. And the vow becomes a burden.