SPidge Tales

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Should Priests be Allowed to Marry?

Recently some bishops have brought up in the issue of celibacy in the Church, and whether celibacy should me made an optional part of ordination. Priests were only required to remain celibate and not marry beginning 1,000 years ago. And, occasionally this rule is dispensed from. This is a teaching that can change. However, I believe that it would be wise, at least now, to leave the mandatory celibacy rule in place.

Even when priests were allowed to marry, there was always a decent number of men who chose to remain celibate as priests, as well as monastic orders devoted to celibacy, both male and female. It the early years of Christianity, a life of celibacy in a monastic order was a way for a women to show her independence. Instead of being married off by her family to some guy that she did not choose for herself, she could take her life into her own hands and choose to devote herself to God.

Besides, when we look at the relationship game, it’s just a bunch of bullshit. All people ever do is hurt each other emotionally. If we really looked at things empirically, we would have to conclude that physical attraction causes more problems than it is worth. Life would be a lot simpler if we weren’t attracted to members of the opposite sex. We could actually have real friends of the other gender. The only thing that keeps us from concluding that this whole male-female-dating-bullshit-game is not a waste of time is that our faith tells us that God created men and women for each other. Paradoxically, the Church, which always gets blamed for “repression,” is the one that tells us, despite the apparent bullshit that we see as the basis for male-female interaction, men and women are made for one another, and to love one another.

People argue that we should eliminate mandatory celibacy for priests since supposedly people are unable to remain celibate and that is the cause of the priest shortage. Yet, I think, precisely because our culture is oversexed, and does not appreciate celibacy, the priesthood should remain celibate as an example for people to live up to. Marriage and relationships are good because they show us an image of God's love for us: As one spouse loves another, God loves us. Living as a single person, whether as a priest, nun, brother, or just regular single life, is a way to live like Jesus did, and devote yourself to all of God's people. Both are good.

I, personally, am sick of living in a culture where everyone is expected to be in a relationship, and you are looked at as if there is something wrong with you if you go without a girlfriend or boyfriend for a long period. Social events are all tailored around couples. It’s treated as if people are repressing themselves if they do not date. Well, some people choose not to date, and some people can’t find anyone to like them, and it’s just mean to say that people ought to date, or have a right to do what they want. Nobody has a "right" to anything. You only can date if someone actually wants to date you.

The whole dating game is just the random luck of whether you were born physically attractive or not. There is a reason why we all know people who seem to always be in relationships and people who hardly or never date. It’s not whether they are nice or not or have personality or not. It’s looks. That’s it. (At least, with women. Out of the women I know, the ones who are usually in relationships are the good looking ones, and the ones who aren't are the ones who aren't physically attractive. It has nothing to do with whether they are nice or not or have personality or not. As far as guys, there really is no clear cut pattern. I still haven't figured out what women are interested in in guys. My assumption regarding myself, and I may be wrong, is that it is probably my looks that is the problem. Because, the women I know all like hanging out with me and like my personality, but still don't want to date me, so it can't be my personality that is the problem--but that is a topic for another day. And, not all of us have that. So, my point, after that pointless rambling session, is twofold. (1) our culture does not honor and respect the fact that some people either can’t date or just don’t want to, so priests show that there are honorable ways of living outside the accepted norm, and (2) the fact is, based on sociological studies, priests on average live happier lives than other people. Unlike members of the opposite sex, God does not reject you when you give yourself to Him.

Sorry if that was incoherent. I was just rambling and didn’t proofread it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your well-written essay, not only on church and celibacy but the broader issue of the role of relationships in society. I think you know me well enough to know celibacy is a bit of a sacrifice (the waitress at the smoothie bar tonight was HOT, and it would have been convenient not to be celibate), but it is a lifestyle that is helpful to the church, the gospel and the kingdom for both practical and theological reasons.

6:23 PM  

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