Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Celibacy of priests always greatly esteemed by the Church

In his new book, "Reflections on the Priesthood: Letter to a Young Priest" retired Francis Cardinal Arinze says, "The Church has always had great esteem for the celibacy of priests. Christ lived a virginal life, taught chastity to his disciples, and proposed virginity to those who are willing and able to follow a similar call."

"In priestly life, perpetual celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven expresses and stimulates pastoral charity," he added. "It is a special fount of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. […] It is a testimony that stands out before the world as an efficacious way to follow Christ."

The cardinal said that in today's world, "immersed in an exaggerated preoccupation with sex and the violation of its sacredness […] a presbyter who lives his vow of chastity with joy, fidelity and a positive spirit is a testimony that cannot be ignored."

Through priestly celibacy, the prelate continued, "the presbyter consecrates himself more directly to Christ in the exercise of spiritual paternity." He is more available "as a minister of Christ, spouse of the Church," and he can "truly present himself as a living sign of the future world, which is already present through faith and charity."

For more on the new book, visit Zenit.

(Photo of Francis Cardinal Arinze by Siena.)

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