A Truly Throwaway Culture

shutterstock_163361339Pope Francis recently described abortion as a manifestation of a throwaway culture. His words made me think, “What exactly are we throwing away in abortion?” Hopefully you will instinctively reply, “Duh, children of course!” You may also rightly add that we are throwing away our future as well. But that is not all that is thrown away in abortion.

The Prophet Isaiah paints the hopeless picture of God’s people without a savior. They had a “yoke that burdened them,” a “pole on their shoulder” that they could not shake off, and they received the continuous beating from the “rod of their taskmasters.” How did God save His people from this bondage? God chose to save His people by becoming one of them in the person of a little child: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us, upon His shoulder dominion rests.” This child savior is the Prince of Peace, whose “dominion is vast and forever peaceful.” God offers us peace in the person of the child savior born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When we reject this child, we forfeit God’s gift of peace.

That Jesus is the Prince of Peace who reconciles us with the Father and with each other is known and believed by many of the faithful. But what we sometimes ignore or fail to deeply realize is that He has chosen to identify Himself always with the least in our midst, most especially the children. The way that we treat these little ones will determine our relationship with God and our participation in His abiding peace.

Jesus gives us two possible attitudes to children in today’s Gospel that will determine if we are going to have the peace of Christ in this world or not. We can either receive the children or despise them. Jesus has so identified Himself with the little ones that we receive Jesus in receiving the children in His name: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Our reception of these children becomes our path to peace. He warns against despising one of the little ones because “their angels in heaven always look upon the face of His heavenly Father.” All people, small or big, are so much the objects of God’s loving care that His angels stand behind them here on earth and before His own face in heaven. To despise these children is to refuse to mediate God’s loving care to them. How then could we ever despise the smallest and most vulnerable in our midst and still hope to enjoy the peace of God?

St. Paul reminds the Ephesians that God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,” and has “destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ.” Jesus, our peace, has reconciled us with God first and then with others. This gift of adoption to God in Christ is not out of any merit on our part but it is out of “the favor of the divine will.” God does not ask us to pay Him back for this gift of divine adoption and peace but to communicate it to others by receiving them in love, especially the helpless without restrictions. We grow in this divine life and peace only when we let our faith in Jesus Christ move us to accept Him when He comes to us in the disguise of the weak and needy ones.

A recent statistics showed that since abortion was legalized in the United States over 41 years ago, there have been 157 abortions every hour in the United States. This means that close to 3 abortions take place in the United States alone every minute. By the time it takes to finish this homily, the life of close to 27-30 infants would have been thrown away. Remember that this stats is only for the United States alone. And we still have the nerves to talk about or seek peace in our hearts, our families, our communities, our country, or in the world!

We all must heed the call to receive the children, the helpless and needy in Jesus’ name, beginning with the Church herself. Receiving these children must be followed by nurturing and protecting these innocent ones in our midst. The painful thing about the priest sexual abuse crises is that in many cases the opinions of clinical psychologists, the careers and reputations of the priests involved, the financial aspects and many other factors took precedence over protecting and nurturing the children that God has blessed us with. The Gospel of life that we preach cannot be limited to only receiving the children; we all must be determined to protect and nurture them at any costs. Unless we do this faithfully, the peace of Christ will remain elusive.

In our sacramental encounter with Christ in the Eucharist today, let us hear Him tell us what we need to enjoy His peace in this constantly tumultuous world: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives Me.” God in Jesus Christ again comes to save us from woe and to share His peace with us by making Himself small, disguised under the forms of bread and wine. Let us beg of Him the grace to recognize and receive Him in the helpless children in their mother’s womb and in the society.

If after this union with the Prince of Peace, we still say such things as, “I am pro-abortion,” or “I am personally opposed to abortion but who am I to judge?” or “It is the mother’s right,” please remember that you are choosing to throw away our children, our future, and the peace that Christ has won for us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

image: neneo / Shutterstock.com

Fr. Nnamdi Moneme, OMV

By

Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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  • remaining anonymous

    “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives Me.”

    Career(?), reputation, money, pride, power, honor, anything taking precedence over living ‘best we can’ the First Commandment and all that flows from it is separation from God. Yes, indeed, Father, ‘throwing away the peace that Christ has won for us by His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.’

    “But my people did not listen to my words; Israel did not obey me. So i gave them over to hardness of heart; they followed their own designs.”

    Mandatory celibacy is prevention of Life. It is not God’s Law. It is division. It is a crutch to worldly assurance which inhibits proliferation of the Christ centered family, to see how they love on another, the invasion of Love in this world, the proliferation of His Body here on Earth.

    Celibacy is perfect within God’s Sovereign Providence as is the longing for a child in Truth is a desire of the heart – All in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Imposed mandatory permanent celibacy is like denying Christ in humanity. There are no exceptions.

    Again, where is the Faith in preventing the procreation of some of the most faithful men on this Earth?

    “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life…

  • Kevin Bailey

    Mandatory celibacy is not the prevention of LIfe. It s a call that one chooses because in Faith the follower believes they are called to raise up and serve souls differently.

    I encourage you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1533 through 1666 and pray over these words. The duties of Matrimony and Holy Orders serve the same goal and are very involved and gratifying. However they are very demanding of those who are ministers of them. One who accepts Matrimony commits themselves to joining with one other soul before all others for the purpose of raising them up before God and also, with the blessing of God in the Holy Spirit, to co-create in the generation of real souls and the duty of cultivating and protecting those new souls. One who accepts Holy Orders commits themselves to joining with The One, Jesus Christ, before all others for the purpose of raising Him up before the children of God in the Sacraments. To do this in the regeneration of Faith, Hope, and Love through the Holy Spirit given in the Sacraments of the Church. These tasks can and I believe will often come in conflict with one and other when they are served by a single person.

    I am not a priest but I am a husband in Matrimony for nearly 27 years now. I am very involved in ministry and service within the Church. I can give a great deal of myself to the Church as an Instituted Acolyte and Catechist to youth, young adults, and in the RCIA program. However these never are an obligation on par with my service to my wife and my children. Even the Priest of my Parish should find it difficult to call me out to serve when in valid conflict to me vocation and covenant I have made to my wife. I am free to always choose service to my wife and family first as is my first duty. I am to Love and serve God first and always but I promised to serve Him in my marriage and family and I must maintain that promise.

  • remaining anonymous

    Thank you for your response and respect. God is first and foremost always without exception. This is what i believe to be a rightly ordered life.

    I am not a Sister or Nun, and i am not married. I have a personal relationship with Jesus. If I was married and should a Priest call me out, in the name of Jesus to serve i would go, and my husband would be one to support me in selfless Love as God would be first in our marriage of 3. And i am thinking this is also, in concept, the way of life for the wives of the married re-ordained Catholic Priests that have been fully accepted into the Catholic Church.

    GOD is first, before Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Wife.

  • Kevin Bailey

    I appreciate your willingness to say “Yes!” This is the way that our family operates as well, as my wife agree with you completely. Our love is only what it is because God is the source of Love and our love’s source is Him who seals our covenant.

    While as you discuss would be the perfect order of things we currently live in a world that contains disorder and imperfections. To best prepare for the everyday dealings of this the Holy Church in her wisdom provides us with disciplines, doctrines, and dogmas to guide us rightly. Not that we cannot ever get past the disorders without temptation and fault as an ordinary way of life we are called by the Church to work to avoid overt difficulties when possible.

    Hence the Ordinary Discipline of a Celibate Priesthood. There are allowed Extra-Ordinary occurrences as you point out it is the rarity and the Extra-Ordinary and should not be the expected norm in dealing with this chaotic world which our Lord does not yet reign in entirety over. When he comes all will be put right. And in that place we will no longer need any of the Sacraments which sustain us in this disordered world as that which they provide in part will be fully available in the presence of God in Heaven.

    Thank you for the peaceful discussion/debate. It is always a pleasure to find honorable dialogue! Peace of Jesus Christ to you and may your relationship with Him continue to grow daily!

  • remaining anonymous

    Hi Kevin, what does this mean? please? i really don’t understand what you’re saying to me. (thanks!)

    “While as you discuss would be the perfect order of things we currently live in a world that contains disorder and imperfections. To best prepare for the everyday dealings of this the Holy Church in her wisdom provides us with disciplines, doctrines, and dogmas to guide us rightly. Not that we cannot ever get past the disorders without temptation and fault as an ordinary way of life we are called by the Church to work to avoid overt difficulties when possible.

    Hence the Ordinary Discipline of a Celibate Priesthood.”

  • Kevin Bailey

    Sorry after reading it a day later it made soooo much sense when I wrote it and now well I see why you would like me to explain it a bit! :-) You know how the conversation in your head only about half of it makes it out sometimes, I think that is what happened there!

    I was trying to say that your points are very valid, spot on accurate actually! However they come from living in the Perfection of Creation. How things really could be if we did it all right! That is what I meant by the “perfect order of things”. However the reality is we live in a world far from perfect order, a world full of disorder and temptation. While our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, came into this world and walked in this disorder and temptation without falling He wanted us to walk in His footsteps but He did not expect us to follow perfectly. He knew Satan was/is in the world.

    Because of this He knew we would need sustaining grace, not just the usual grace from God that lets us have Faith. The usual grace that lets us have Hope. The ordinary grace that allows us to be Charity to others. We needed a Sanctifying Grace! Something bigger that would give us a touch of what is beyond our humanity and join us to the divine. To adopt us into Him as brothers and sisters. This Sanctifying Grace is found in the Sacraments.

    To live out these Sacraments, to best hold on to the gift of His Sanctifying Grace he left His Holy Church. She was left here to guide us through the disorder and chaos and help provide some “Best Practices” for day to day living in the mess. These are various disciplines, doctrines, and dogmas that help shine a ray of light on the path we should strive to be on. These “Best Practices” do not show for us the ONLY way to get from our fallen state to Heaven but they are a tried and true method. These help us to not have to struggle through so much along the way.

    Such is the case of the discipline of a Celibate Priesthood. It is not that married man could not with the cooperative support of his wife be a priest as well. It is a matter of this will make it more difficult for this man to do both roles well. It will put strain on his role to the parish when he has duties of a father and husband to fulfill. Same for his role as husband and father when he has duties to fulfill as priest. It is not that he and his family and parish cannot do it right but that it is more difficult and increases the chance of division in the marriage, failure to provide Sacraments, inability to emotionally support the needs of children, etc.

    The disciplines given to us by our Holy Church are not there to tell us we CANNOT but rather to tell us it is hard enough day to day why stand before Satan and say “Bring it on!” Better to kneel before God and say “I am an unworthy servant, but only through you do I find true life.” Better not to approach the world and take on everything that is out there but to kneel before God and discern what specific tasks He wants us to complete and do that well!

    This is why the Holy Church has the Discipline of a Celibate Priesthood. To help encourage men to take on the vocation of God and do it well. Some few the grace may be granted to take on both roles and our Holy Church has the ability to grant that permission and has, even still does, when appropriate. However we should not all presume to be able to live up to the task.

    Is that any better? I hope so.

    May any who read this find the blessings of God!

  • remaining anonymous

    but celibacy is a “mandatory permanent discipline” AND with exceptions. Why? Where is the Truth in a mandatory discipline that prevents the procreation and proliferation of some of the most faithful men in this world?

    We are not to adapt to wordly disorder and imperfections, we are to strive to “be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” In this striving is the promise of Help of the Advocate, His promise.

    Intimate relationship with the person of Jesus Christ draws one into HIS Church, HIS Body. I do not see Truth in passing out the discipline of mandatory permanent celibacy That indeed promotes division and a division of that which God Himself put together. It is not good for man to be alone. So God created woman. Priests beget Priests. Christ centered families. Celibacy is God’s Gift and for anyone to mandate it as discipline for a lifetime, well, that’s like worshipping the Church not God. What good is to come out of it?

    Well, how else can i say it, i believe the Body of Christ is within the scattered Church. HE is gathering in. I believe it is without exception to worship God, through and with Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirirt which is His Church. it’s not of this world – does that make sense?

  • remaining anonymous

    Hi Kevin, You have a most beautiful heart. And you and i still have those different things we see. God works through us. We are to empty ourselves to HIM. It is in the surrender we find Life.

  • Kevin Bailey

    And He made us in great variety!! Thank you for the kind statement. I treasure your difference from me as part of the beauty of His creation. Keep up His good work and one day it again will be Very Good!! God Bless! I pray He continues to guide your heart and mind well and we someday meet in His most wondrous house in Heaven!!

  • Lee

    Father Nnamdi, I pray for the Catholic church to begin more community care programs in the name of the Church giving the families, the singles, the teens, the fathers, the mothers proof of support for them if and when they find themselves in need of help with out the fear of being brow beaten for their sinful ways. We all make bad choices while we yet are trying to be good people. The Church needs to put out the good news that they can be counted on for needed support at these difficult times in peoples lives. Then the Good News will be accepted much more readily by those who have actually benefited from the love of the Church; and now are ready to accept the Love of God as they are helped to move forward. We can save babies and we can save souls.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    thanks once again Lee, I pray, wish and hope for a more holistic pro life approach that goes beyond just condemning abortion to include providing relief, broader support, encouragement, viable and more befitting alternatives and healing to all those who face such issues regarding abortion. God bless.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    I believe Kevin has really answered most of your questions on celibacy. From the perspective of a priest, this discipline is not just one that we have maintained from tradition. The generosity and selflessness that the priest is called to demands a complete identification with Jesus Christ, the chaste and celibate one who gave up this life on the Cross so that you and me may have life too, not just earthly life, but a sharing in the very life of God. Only the offering of a holy and chaste life of the God-man can save mankind. We priests reach an intense level of identifying with Christ at the consecration during Mass when we repeat His words over the bread and wine: “This is my body, this is my blood.” It will be a mockery of the Eucharist and what Christ intended if we are not living chaste celibate life and still repeat His words. These words, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the intention of the priest, effects the change of the bread and wine into the Eucharist. Our celibacy is thus not life preventive. On the contrary, it is a radical identification with Jesus Christ, who is forever the way, the truth and the life, so that His life is communicated to every soul in every time and place. I hope that this helps to clarify things for you. God bless you and all your loved ones and endeavors.

  • hardly remaining anonymous

    Thank you, Father, makes sense and is most beautiful. i suspect i see too much hypocrisy, too much duplicity. I do believe in and so love the fullness of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. I believe the institution is a separate entity from the true church, the Body of Christ, and I do believe there are good priests living eschatological lives.

    I try to live my faith. Perhaps i am not doing a very good job at it or perhaps to some I am Christian, but not Catholic, or most likely i am just plain ignorant. You see, i think we’re all called to identify with Christ.

    I believe and I am aware of the priest identifying with Christ, and the acting in persona Christi, and that is indeed what i believe: Identification and Acting in Persona Christi. However i must confess that is all–identification and acting in persona Christi. My reasoning for belief, most sincerely, the priest is not Jesus. Jesus is God. The priest is not God. The priest has received Sacrament of Holy Orders to identify and act in persona Christi. Yes, most reverenced.

    Thank you, again, Father, for talking with me on this. This is what I believe. I do not have an agenda or a specific endeavor. I’m following a fire inside of me. I have to know where the Truth is
    in forced, mandated, permanent celibacy because it is not God’s Law.

    With deepest respect and all of God’s Love, can you see what I am saying, does this make sense?

  • Mancipium Mariae

    The priest is definitely NOT God and thank God for that!!! God’s law, when it comes to such practices is rooted in what is stated in Scripture, what Jesus Himself did, and on what the Church’s apostolic tradition has taught and believed in over the years. Jesus offers celibacy as a viable option for the sake of the kingdom of God (Mt. 19:12), St. Paul offers his own example of celibacy as an example in 1Cor 7:1-7 and as a gift from God for the Church. Are we now going to reject the gift of celibacy because it is not explicitly stated that it is God’s law? Besides those who look on celibacy as only a law miss the point. Celibacy makes no sense and cannot be fulfilling if one is not in love with Christ and the Church. It becomes an endurance test only when we look at it as a law that somehow hinders our freedom. But when we look at it as a life-giving gift from Jesus to His Church to be received with gratitude and lived out with the grace of God and a disciplined life, we will unleash the hidden power of celibacy to bear fruit in souls for Christ and the Church. Lastly, no one is forced to embrace celibacy. It takes about 6-12 years to be trained for the priesthood and one is trained and formed to freely make this choice and live it. The Church in her wisdom, and following the teaching of Christ and sacred tradition, requires this of the one desiring to be ordained. Nothing is forced in the Church. If a man has a problem with remaining celibate, then the priesthood is simply not for him. why present yourself for ordination, promise God and His people that you choose celibacy and then begin to complain that it one is being forced to live celibacy. As a lay person, please encourage your priests and pray for them to remain celibate. They will love you for that and the Church will be better off too. God bless and thanks for sharing your journey of faith with us.

  • hardly remaining anonymous

    As a lay person, i continuously pray for priests and have tried best i can to act with God first and foremost in my mind and in my heart, most especially in support of the priests – on several occasions and in several different ways.

    I certainly agree with you on many things and am learning. i didn’t know the priest promises God to remain celibate. If that is true, that would make a difference. I’ve always believed the promise was to the church.

    My point from the beginning has been in response to the pro-life article, the procreation and proliferation of the Christ centered family. A soft invasion of Love in this world. I’m not sure how it happened, but it appears my point of discussion has clandestinely been reduced to a Catholic priest having sex. Well, yes, the two becoming one, sexual relations, is part of it, however, that was and is not my point. Even appearance of impropriety would be offensive to me as i have explained I have prayed and acted in support of our priests. God is first in my life and while I disagree with mandatory celibacy, I do respect the rules of the institution and the life and promises of the priest. I love my priests, and I know it would not be the best for them to break their promise.

    I do agree celibacy is a gift from God, kind of like a type of fulfillment of a promise planted in the heart, God’s gift, here and now. That is a part of the foundation of my argument. I do hear your definition and explanation of ‘gift from God’, but i do not agree with that definition as i am still hearing a strong sense of self – autonomy. We are telling any man who desires to be a Catholic priest they can only be ordained if they commit to a requirement of gift of celibacy. Do you see what i mean? that does not make sense, it would not be a Gift. Again, our priests are some of the most faithful men on this earth, and I believe that there are many, many men who love God so much that they will do anything to be a priest. i see that as a call and gift from God. The Church’s requirement of celibacy, as you’ve described, does not cohere.

    The longing for a child is a desire of the heart placed there by God.

    Priests beget priests. i know i don’t have to tell you that. Mandatory celibacy as a requirement of the Church is division of man and woman, a hindrance and defiance in cooperation with God’s plan.

    Please know, none of what i’ve said is intended to offend or hurt anybody. It is what i see, what my heart says.

    Peace.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    I sense that you are a very humble and honest person in search for
    reasons for what you believe. I encourage you on this your journey of
    faith seeking understanding and I know that God will not disappoint you
    in your honest search.

    In the first place, there is no such
    thing as a gift without responsibility on the part of the one who
    receives the gift. Jesus’ many parables and teachings show us that it is
    an insult and ingratitude to God to receive a gift from Him and then
    fail to make full use of the gift. We will be judged also by how
    faithfully we make use of these gifts. Bearing this in mind, if you
    accept St. Paul’s teaching and the apostolic tradition that this
    celibacy is a gift, then it must be embraced wholeheartedly and used
    generously without any hindrance in the Church. We do not throw the
    gift away because the responsibility is too great. Thank God Mother Mary
    did not think that way (i.e. considering the responsibility too great
    for her and thus reject the gift) because if she did we would not have a
    God-Man as our redeemer. she embraced the gift with the huge
    responsibility involved in a time when virginity was not the thing in
    vogue. We Catholics too must have the same attitude towards the gift of
    celibacy with its challenges and responsibilities.

    Secondly,
    celibacy does not divide men and women in any way. God did not create us
    for the sake of just creating but so that we share His divine life here
    on earth, enter into deeper relationship with Him and with others and
    then to participate in His own happiness for all eternity. Celibacy is
    prophetic in this sense, pointing to us that we all are made for
    communion with God ultimately and not just to bond here on earth.
    Celibacy makes no sense without this primary goal that we all are called
    to – union with God.

    Praying for your priests is a good and
    necessary thing to do and I pray that you continue to pray for us
    priests. We need your prayers a lot. But you also must pray for the
    grace to desire what Christ and His Church desires for priests which is
    to live holy and celibate lives in imitation of Jesus Christ.

    Lastly,
    the fact that a celibate desires a child does not mean that celibacy
    should be dispensed with. Do you dispense marital chastity because one
    spouse is attracted to someone not their spouse? Whatever our vocation
    may be, we are called to renew our commitment every moment, sometimes in
    good and bad times. The same applies to a celibate person who desires a
    child.

    I hope that you get some clarity from these
    words. Once again, i wished that many of our faithful will undertake
    such an honest search as you are undertaking. Please pray and read the
    bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to gain this clarity.
    Jesus assured us, “Seek and you will find.” You will surely find the
    light in this issue if you persevere in humility and openness.

    If
    you wish to continue this communication in private (which I recommend
    at this point), feel free to send me an email at ndymaria@gmail.com

    God bless you my sister in Christ.

  • hardly remaining anonymous

    Oh Father, this really jumped out at me :

    “Lastly,
    the fact that a celibate desires a child does not mean that celibacy should be dispensed with. Do you dispense marital chastity because one spouse is attracted to someone not their spouse? Whatever our vocation may be, we are called to renew our commitment every moment, sometimes in good and bad times. The same applies to a celibate person who desires a child.”

    If one is sincere in their relationship with Jesus, then there
    would be effort striving for that First Commandment. God is first always and everywhere and center in marriage. I believe God’s Gift of celibacy joins one in a different way or perhaps sharing at a different level than the gift of sharing in the Divine Life through and with the other. (Marriage) both bringing one to holiness, oneness with God, and most definitely God’s call and gift. Otherwise, the married priests in our church would not make sense.

    We are seeing this differently:
    To dispense with marital chastity would reduce what God has put together to a sexual act of gratification, in this case, Adultery–Not the same as a celibate desiring a child. The desire for a child is not a desire of the flesh.

    I believe God’s Gift of celibacy is part of the mystery and not as freely given as marriage, and God allows temptation in both. We are all called to the imitation of Christ. It sounds like you are saying that in order to fulfill this imitation one must be celibate. Now, the married priests in our church really don’t make sense.

    Father, I read scripture daily, it’s my home page on my computer. I have seven different versions of the Bible. I love to pray.

    I can’t ignore the desire of the priests who long for a child and a Christ centered family. Only good can come out of it. Does not the Christ centered family Christify the world? Celibacy, is indeed manifestation of God, presupposing the only one giving the Gift is God. It is arrogant for one to mandate it on the other further than for guidance in discernment within mortification.

    Thank you for the email address. I will use it when the occasion prompts. May God Bless you and yours richly,
    and thank you for being a priest.

  • noelfitz

    Mancipium Mariae writes some surprising things.

    I read “Only the offering of a holy and chaste life of the God-man can save mankind”, I wonder why this is so.

    I am also surprised to read “These words, by the power of the Holy
    Spirit and the intention of the priest, effects (sic) the change of the bread
    and wine into the Eucharist”. I had thought that the intention of the priest has nothing to do with the validity of the Mass, it acts “ex opera operato” and even if the priest lacks correct intentions the bread and wine become Christ at the consecratrion of the Mass.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    My dear brother, thanks for raising the issues to be clarified. We cannot merit anything outside Jesus Christ Jesus. The holiness of His life and His love for the Father expressed in His very being and action is our only hope to merit anything supernatural. In Him alone we find how to receive and respond to God’s love completely. We are saved only by being united with Him and conformed to His image alone. The priest seeks this complete identification by his own commitment to celibate, humble and obedient living to the divine will just as Jesus did. Jesus offered His own holy and chaste life and makes it possible for us all, whether we are priests or not, to do the same. That is what that statement implies.

    Yes, the sacraments work, “ex opera operato” but the sacraments are not magic. Something is required of the People of God, not to make the sacrament valid but to experience the full effect of the sacraments. What is required on the part of the priest is an intention to do what Christ and the Church intends to do at the Mass. Just as Christ Jesus offered Himself completely to the Father, the people’s intention, especially that of the priest, cannot be less. It is once again a union of intention with Christ and the Church.

    I hope that this clarifies the statements.

  • noelfitz

    MM,
    You wrote in your reply to me “Yes, the sacraments work, “ex opera (sic) operato” but the sacraments are not magic”. It is important to stress that even if the priest is an unbeliever and in mortal sin the Mass is valid, and the participants are not guilty of idolatry by worshipping the sacred species.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    It is very true that the validity of the sacraments do not depend on the holiness of the priest or his level of faith. Thank God for that!!! But the point made about the sacraments not being magic has to do with how much of the sacramental grace one really appropriates. Just showing up is not enough on the part of the priest and all. On the priest’s part, for him to experience the full effect of the Eucharist, a minimum intentionality is required. We are not disagreeing but we both seem to be emphasizing different points that must be held together for the sake of valid and fruitful reception of the sacraments.

  • anonymous

    After much reflection and contemplation on your response regarding missing the point on looking at celibacy only as a law.

    Well Father, God’s Law
    is indeed first. It is to be observed, respected, and obeyed in all its
    fullness and order. That’s what makes celibacy so beautiful when it’s looked at as a Gift
    in Truth from our Lord which falls perfectly in line with God’s Law – which is
    first.

    Please, what is the truth in required mandatory, permanent celibacy?

    (Thank you with all my heart and God’s Love,
    Fr T, you have helped me to see.)

  • Mancipium Mariae

    I am only sharing with you how the Church has viewed celibacy over the years and how I have come to see it and embraced it in my life as a priest. It is a discipline that I see as reflective of the priest’s radical configuration to Christ at his priestly ordination. This is something that many theologians deny today. Many say there is no change in the soul of the ordained, that anybody can be a priest, that it can be a temporary vocation, that there is no permanent priestly character in the soul. Holy Mother Church never sees it that way and she has her reasons from Tradition as well as from the nature of Christ as God-Man. Jesus Christ saved us in His person first before He saved us in His words and actions. In His person, we see this freedom, this self giving, this choice for being completely belonging to God. In Him, being came before doing perfectly. He did all things and embraced all things first out of love for the Father and not out of the need to play a certain role. Likewise, we priests see (or should see) our own celibacy as something freely embraced not only for the sake of playing a role or fulfilling a function but out of love for the one who gave His life for us all and calls us to the same for others. If celibacy were only a law that did not reflect any of Jesus’ being and attitude towards the Father and His love for the Church, it would make no sense whatsoever. The truth about celibacy? Only love and a desire to give all in total response and identification with one whose sacrifice we re-present in the Eucharist.

    I am really happy to share these with you because I know that this issue is something that is not thoroughly discussed. I pray that these communication will be used by the Holy Spirit to shed light in your heart for you.

    Please remember that in the Church, especially when it comes to the sacraments, we can only mumble a few words because we do not get the entire picture. The mystery of Christ and the Church is deeper than we can imagine. Only a humble search with gratitude for what we have and understand so far will open our hearts to know more about things.

    That is why your search is really touching and I am edified to join you in searching for the better understanding of what we believe. God bless your journey.

  • anonymous

    Have they no fear? One cannot require a Gift from God.

    What about what God wants? Where is the Truth in Faith?

    That is not Love. It’s not just shame, it’s shameful. One cannot force someone to be or remain celibate if our Lord calls him to both.

    That’s like worshipping the Church, not GOD.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    When we as Catholics say “I believe in the Catholic Church,” we do not make the Church equal to God. Neither do we oppose the church against God. We hold that God speaks and acts in the Church as His unworthy but beloved bride and instrument of salvation of men and instrument of communion between God and men.
    I explained to you earlier that no one is being forced to be a celibate priest. It is an invitation to be freely accepted or rejected. If one is searching for a job, he looks at the job requirements from the potential employers and then asks himself or herself if they still want to do this. Is the person being forced to meet the requirements of the employer? Does the employee dictate the terms of the contract? Not at all.
    Priesthood is more than a job or a function. But it is a mysterious calling that no one can take upon himself as the letter to the Hebrews tells us. The Church, aware of the union that she has with Christ as her head, offers the man who thinks he has a vocation an invitation to celibacy in imitation of Christ the head of the Church and as a requirement and prepares him for the life of celibate living. If the persons decides that they are not growing in this celibate lifestyle, they are free to live the seminary at any time. One is called by God but is also chosen by the People of God. The People of God, under the direction of her pastors, require celibacy and our faith in the Church as priests call us to embrace this celibate life with the grace that God offers us in the Church.
    Please, no one is being forced to embrace celibacy. I hope that this helps you. God bless.

  • anonymoud

    I really don’t think there is much distance between what we are saying, however, there is a significant divide.

    There is no way I could conceive comparing the Body of Christ to an employer. The Body of Christ is not of this world, it’s just in it. It allows us to remain with Him through obedience to His Law and all that flows from it–That help from the Advocate for us to strive for Holiness, so we can be closer to Him.

    The true Church IS the Body of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit working through His people being gathered in by HIM in this way. “it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

    The Institution exists in this world because it has to – my opinion, it has not fear and that scares me.

    I hope, with God’s Grace, that i am part of the ‘People of God and yet i do not believe in the requirement of celibacy which i do believe is a convenient, man-made law dividing men and women and the Christ centered family that need to be flooding this Earth and showing the world how they love one another. Oh, the strength of the Holy Christ Centered Family! The union placing God above all growing in holiness.

    Is Billy Graham less Holy? Is he not part of the Body of Christ? Is the Holy Spirit working in him?

    I tell you what i see, and now wonder if you are hearing what it is I am saying. In all due respect, i think not.

    Is it possible that my spiritual development is way off, actually, it would not be surprising to me–just very sad. I pray everyday for his Spirit to guide me. to live a life pleasing to HIM.

    I see your example as a reflection of a worldly belief. Do you see what i am saying?

    I want to know the truth behind celibacy. You tell me it’s a requirement by the Catholic Church. I say it’s a Gift from God and beautiful expression for discernment and maintenance throughout our worldly lives. The institution has made a requirement for itself that turns it into that which makes it a type of a men’s club.

    If God does not want his faithful men to have a wife and children, that Christ Centered family, why doesn’t He? How can that be?

  • Mancipium Mariae

    My dear sister, we are going around in circles in this discussion. In my last few statements, I emphasized the gift of celibacy and why we could not just throw it away because we think that it separates men and women. But now you acknowledge that it is a gift from God and then you still ask what is the truth about it. If it is a gift from God, can you still say that it divides men and women? Does God give us harmful gifts?
    In summary, celibacy is a gift from God indeed, a gift loaded with mystery for His Church. Like any of His gifts, we may never appreciate it or understand it all. Celibacy is not a divine command but it is a canonical requirement from the Church that we profess to believe in. This same Church has the ability to enact laws for her organization and mission and she has and will continue to do so, the requirement of celibacy being one of her laws based on Tradition and the nature and mission of Christ the priest.
    When we seek the truth about something like celibacy, we need to be open to the truth from the Church herself who is the “bulwark and pillar of the truth.” If we hold on to our per-conceived views and opinions while seeking truth, we block the light of truth.
    I will end with a honest and heartfelt request. One of the things that destroys the vocation of many priests is to develop a double mind about the Church and what she teaches. Jesus says that “anyone who puts his hands on the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.” We priests have made a commitment to be celibate; looking back now and developing doubt about our commitment or its usefulness is developing a double mind and we risk losing our vocation.
    We need out brothers and sisters like you to join us in embracing this gift and responsibility of celibacy and to live it to the fullest. We cannot evaluate God’s gifts on this part of life. In the life to come only will we know the full truth of gifts like celibacy.
    i remain open to journeying with you in this issue as you seek for clarity in your humble search.
    God bless you now and always.

  • i’m with HIM

    God gives the gift, not the church. Otherwise, why would the church mandate it and refer to it as a discipline. It’s not something hanging out there for the church to pass out and ask one to embrace. We’re speaking of the Body of Christ and a participation in the Divine Life in line with God’s Law.

    The discipline of celibacy can surely assist to holiness, as does chastity – that which God calls us all to.

    ‘Imposed mandatory’ celibacy is not working – for very clear reasons. If it was, we’d have so many more holy priests.

    I agree that one cannot evaluate God’s gifts on this part of life, but i see it as exactly what the Church is doing.

    I’m thinking perhaps the word “Gift” is not clearly defined between us. One can’t mandate a Gift and call it a discipline.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    Yes, something can be a gift and a discipline because there is no gift without a corresponding responsibility on the part of the gift’s recipient to develop and make use of that gift to the fullest. Jesus’ parables about talents being given as gifts call for full and responsible use of the gift. The gift is from God and the Church calls us to it by a discipline that she offers to her sons. Maybe we are having different ideas of what discipline is too. I am using discipline as a form of training in my last message.
    In addition, you do not judge the efficacy of a thing by the failure of those who try to live it out. You cannot judge celibacy by the failure of those who try to live it. It is not fair to do so. Will you say that chastity is not working because many fail in living it out?
    Again, how do you know we do not have many holy priests today? How can you judge the holiness of a priest? Is it externally manifest or do we judge from the scandals in the priesthood? I don’t see how you can jump to that conclusion about priests. Please help me to understand better. God bless you.

  • joan

    Forgive me, with heavy heart, i know no Truth. My heart burns with a ‘no’ to mandatory. Please pray for me, and God Bless you too.

  • Mancipium Mariae

    Forgive me too, I just speak from faith and from the hidden joy of living as a celibate myself with all that it means to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Let us pray for each other. We all need prayers.

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