This topic is so important to me that I cannot pass up this opportunity to write about it. What makes the Catholic priesthood so unique and different from any other clergy outside the Catholic Church? One word: celibacy. Virginity in the priesthood is sacred. Priests refraining from the married state is not only Christ’s desire, but He lays down that commandment throughout the New Testament by His Apostles (His priests). Just because Francis in the Vatican thinks that this might be the time to “get with the times”, it simply cannot be. Why? Because it has been written as God’s law.
At Akita, Our Lady warned that there would be a time when we would see cardinal apposing cardinal, bishop against bishop – even pope against pope? Pope Benedict found this matter so serious that working together with Cardinal Robert Sarah, the two men recently published a book titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church. It defended Saint Paul’s teachings on the reason why priests must forever be faithful to remaining unmarried. When priests in the Vatican, the “present-day Apostles” are themselves defying Our Lord’s teachings by trying to “get with the times”, we must look back to the original wise scholars and Apostles of Christ who built the Catholic Church and maintained their virginity while achieving their goal.
Let us remember one important thing. Even if some of the original Apostles had been married or lived a “wild” life before Our Lord called them, from the moment of that “call” they began leading the life of celibacy. In fact, many of the saints who previously struggled with sins against purity (sexual sins) became the greatest advocates of virginity after their conversions: Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint Mary Magdalene to name a few. Today however, I want to focus on the priesthood – the Catholic Church’s Apostles. Let’s look first to the man with the two edged sword, representing both his epistles and martyrdom: the glorious Saint Paul – the virgin. How do we know he was unmarried? Well, according to Corinthians 7:8 Regarding Widows, we can read what he reveals to them:
To the unmarried and the widows I say it is well to REMAIN single as I do.
Saint Paul constantly explains in Corinthians the difference between two separate calls; one of the married state and the other of the single. In fact, before deciding to become a nun, I was not a Saint Paul fan precisely BECAUSE of his views on marriage. For me, he did finally and clearly show how and why the life of a virgin is “better”. I used to be so offended by that, but now his famous quote describing how the married man is divided trying to please God and his wife, while the unmarried man serves God alone with an undivided heart makes so much more sense!
Those are profound statements and after going from discerning marriage to choosing the virginal state of the Apostle Paul, he is now my hero and model of virtue. I see now more than ever how his words are more than accurate. When Saint Paul relates to the unmarried as to “remain single as I do”, let us also remember his striking words:
He that marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do better. (Corin. 7:38)
Many times I have talked to Protestants and those words make them uncomfortable; I have not met one who lives a life of full and complete celibacy. It is unheard of for them, especially their ministers. Why am I talking about the unmarried and the married? What does that have to do with the priests? Everything. Saint Paul demonstrates so well how the one who desires to serve God without distractions must choose between the two. The biggest difference between Protestant ministers and Catholic priests are that the Catholic clergy are solely involved in providing for their “flock” the seven sacraments of Christ’s Church:
- Holy Eucharist.
- Anointing of the sick.
- Marriage. (celebrating the Mass/ ceremony, etc.)
- Holy orders.
Fun fact: even Protestant pastors contact Catholic priests for exorcisms because only the Catholic priest has full and complete authority to drive out the demon – and Satan knows this. There was a case with a Protestant pastor trying to exorcise a demon out of a person and the demon just laughed and said “you have no authority over me”. A Catholic priest was called in and the demon shuttered and grew angry because he knew his time was now limited; that the official men with the guns (spiritual of course) had shown up. That story speaks volumes about the Catholic priesthood and Satan’s hatred of it. Even though the sexual abuse crisis happened all over the world – not just within the Church, Satan has been able to center the spotlight on the one true Church of Christ.
Attending a church service for Protestants on a Sunday usually consists of a nice sermon, singing and maybe the passing around of bread/crackers and wine/grape juice. In these circumstances, the pastors/ministers (anybody) can be married and participate, but not so by the priests in the Church created by Christ. When Jesus said to Peter, “you are Rock and upon this Rock I will build My Church”, He did not mean “on this Rock I will have thirty denominations of different churches.” Only one. It had to be Catholic and it had to be Apostolic. Peter did not just preach sermons, he celebrated the ancient Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
History shows us that this was the Latin Rite (extraordinary form) as Peter helped write the canon of the Latin Mass. Most extraordinary (pun intended). Saint John Lateran’s Basilica in Rome even has Peter’s original altar on display; the very one he used to celebrate the Mass. Providentially enough, when Saint Peter’s Basilica was being built, they chose that location precisely because they believed Peter’s body to be buried somewhere in that general location. Little did they know that later on, they would discover his bones directly beneath the Basilica; I will never get over that. This discovery is rich with hard evidence of Christ showing quite literally that Peter is truly the foundation of the one true Church of Christ. What more evidence do we need? Providence led Saint Peter’s Basilica to be built right above this Apostle’s bones. The Church’s first pope, the living “rock” of Catholicism-who else celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass- and in Latin? “The universal language of the (Catholic) Church”.
I want to bring up a friendly and cautious reminder. Our Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus (the great reformer of Carmel) lived during the Protestant reformation. In her book the Way of Perfection, she describes how she wept over “this great evil” because of the many souls that were (are) being lost due to Martin Luther’s reform. As the Church has always taught, salvation lies only within the Catholic Church; Our Lady of Fatima reminded us of that when she showed the famous vision of hell. That time was known as the biggest crisis the Church has ever seen (Protestant revolution.) So, (for obvious reasons) I am not one to smile when a Lutheran says, “we are the denomination closest to Catholicism” because in theory, the Lutherans started this whole crisis in the first place.
This crisis was around the Church then, now it is within the Church as elements of Protestantism are seeping inside the walls of Catholicism. Remember when I said Our Lady warned of the “suicide” of altering the faith in the liturgy, theology and soul? (“Many Will Accept Compromise” post) Well, we are now seeing that happen with the influence of Protestants urging Catholic priests to marry. Even Francis himself is pushing for it! How do I know the New Mass was influenced by Protestants? Look at this picture with Pope Paul VI and the six protestant pastors he invited to help write it (the “Novus Ordo” Mass). The Mass that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) did not think much of when it “spontaneously” was created or “fabricated on the spot” as Pope Paul VI so famously said. Many say that the explosive contents of the hidden third secret of Fatima contain the Virgin’s words of “the Mass must not be changed”.
I often hear the argument that Protestants read more of the Old Testament (though, the old is filled with Catholicism) while we Catholics, more of the New Testament. When I started to reflect on that more, I came to the conclusion that it is almost like the Old Covenant verses the New Covenant. When Our Lord came into the world He introduced something totally new; He introduced virginity, not only for Himself and His Mother and Foster Father, but His Apostles – His priests. First-born in the ancient Hebrew culture did not mean Our dear Lady had more children, first born was actually a popular term of the time no matter how many children a family had; it was custom to introduce the first born even if they were an only child. The book of Hebrews talks about how Our Lord viewed the Old Covenant as “obsolete” while the New Covenant was Christ instituting the Catholic Church and His sacred priesthood. Hence, why we so memorably read “Jesus Prays for the Church” (John 17).
The perfect proof is Saint Peter. Saint Peter could have remained married and performed these priestly duties (if that were God’s will) as shepherd and pope but, he left everything including his married state to follow Christ – the true High Priest. Leaving all is not an exaggeration because when Peter wanted to bury his father, Our Lord said “let the dead bury the dead”(Matthew 19:27). This is a summons from God to follow Him now, not later. Saint Paul says the only time someone should marry is if they cannot control their passions. He is so confident in his teachings on virginity that he ends the section “Concerning Marriage” with the humble statement of “and I think I have the Spirit of God.” Of course, there were a series of popes who were NOT faithful to their vow of celibacy and for obvious reasons they do not have the title of “saint” before their names.
Two things bring out the worst in me – it is a mixture of untold anger and sadness:
1.) When people say Our Lord had sexual relations with Mary Magdalene, potentially had a wife, and thereby did NOT live a life of virginity.
2.) That Our Lady, the most Blessed VIRGIN Mary, had more children after Our Lord’s birth.
These are the greatest blasphemies and heresies of all. Are we even for a moment going to doubt that the Immaculate Conception and God Himself lacked self control? Absurd.
In fact, one of the five wounds found in the Immaculate Heart of Mary as revealed by Our Lady AND Our Lord at Fatima is the doubt against Her sacred Virginity. Why would Christ and His Apostles preach virginity being the more perfect way of life if they themselves did not live it? Yes, Our Lord has many brides, but they are virgins always and forever. I want to end with words of Our Lord on this subject, words that express the importance of His very own life of virginity:
And Jesus said to them, the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age and to the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. (Luke 20:24)
Our Lord says later in that verse that these souls are like angels because of their purity and “state in life” resembles these celestial beings. They are “equal” to the angels because “they cannot die anymore”. That is the beauty and power of the Catholic priesthood when lived to its full potential and splendor; that is, preserving their virginity like that of the angels. The virginal state lived in heaven for all eternity. Holy priests prefer to live heaven on earth as well! If they were not celibate, this would not be possible.