It is always a topic to believers as to why the Catholic doctrine deprive their priests of the Joy of biological fatherhood. Some often fondly ask, is there another heaven for the catholic priest when they die? Why the abstinence from the pleasure that the world brings?
Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth”. Many hold on to this scripture as God’s intention for mankind while questioning the Catholic’s priestly celibacy tradition.
“Be fruitful and multiply” – this is not an individual mandate about how one should live, it is a command to all creation to occupy the world with life. If it is seen as God’s purpose for mankind, how then do we allow a doctrine that contradicts God’s intention for man? This thought has brought about protestants even among the Catholics in the early days of the church separating from the faith. The faith in the priestly celibacy is however the uniqueness of the Catholic pride.
The message of the celibacy of priesthood was recorded in the teachings of Apostle Paul when he reflected on the human nature. A man cannot be in the same position as both a good husband and a good priest in service of the Church and the People of God. The limitations of man will induce one or the other to be left insufficiently served. People are permitted to choose to live lives of celibacy to better serve God, which is why all of the apostles did. Writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 7:32-34: “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his family, and his interests are divided“.
Contrary to the contentions of the secular world and various protestant societies, priestly celibacy is not merely a remnant of medieval property protections or unhealthy repression of natural human intention. Rather, it is a practice that finds its origin in Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic instructions of the Church. The Church has continued to reflect on this agreement and tradition to continually develop an ever deeper theological knowledge. These, combined with the practical references have given the Church reasons to maintain the call for men receiving Holy Orders to voluntarily infer the promise of priestly celibacy.
The promise of “perfect and perpetual continence,” which, strictly speaking, means abstaining from all sexual activities, necessarily includes refraining from marriage for those who are not already married since consummating a marriage is necessary for a completed marriage. This further explains the rule by which permanent deacons may not remarry in case of the death of a partner.
Theologically, it is cited that priests serve in the place of Christ and therefore, their ministry specially configures them to Christ. Just as it is written in the Scripture, Christ was not married (except in a mystical significance, to the Church). By remaining celibate and assigning themselves to the service of the Church, priests more closely model, configure, and consecrate themselves to Christ leading people into God’s kingdom.
Jesus made us understand that everyone remains unmarried in heaven. Mathew 22:23 – “That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brothers, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven“.
According to the theological teachings by St Paul – priests are closely configured to the ultimate, eschatological state that will be all of ours.
This impediment remains as long as the priest has not been dispensed from it, even if he were to attempt a civil marriage, even if he left the Church and joined a non-Catholic sect, and even if he apostatized from the Christian faith altogether. He cannot be validly married after ordination unless he receives a dispensation from the Holy order.