Is celibacy an imposition?

CelibacyThe priesthood in the Catholic Church is an amazing gift from God, and it becomes more amazing when you meditate on the holiness of the priesthood to which a man is called; it is the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Mere mortals are called to this priesthood and they are expected to live a celibate life. This celibacy has raised so much dust not even among the priests themselves but by those not called to the life, they see it as an imposition by the Church. Somebody once wrote, saying that Most non-Catholics—and even some Catholics—are pretty sure that Jesus would oppose a celibate priesthood. We hear that it comes from “the Dark Ages” and is caused by a Catholic hatred of sex. Some are certain that celibacy is due to repression. Many are mystified why the Church doesn’t just dump the whole celibacy thing and get back to the mission of fitting people for heaven. So much has been said about this celibacy stuff in the Catholic Church, but the question still remains; is celibacy in the Catholic priesthood an imposition? Certainly no, it is not an imposition, neither is Jesus against it, he is aware of it (Mt.19:12).

Am imposition is something that is forced on you, against your will. No man is forcefully ordained a priest in the Catholic Church, one’s consent is a prerequisite. Even though men are called by God into the priesthood, God still respects the human freedom to either say yes or no to the call. To say yes to this call of God is not an indication that one is strong enough, we just hold on to the grace of God. He who calls will not leave us alone, he is with his priests even in moments of weakness. The person of the priest may not be the best, but the priesthood into which he is called is holy.

Pray for your priests.

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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