St. Paul, a defender of celibacy.

Anonymous internet celebrity Archbishop Cranmer (obviously not the real one), has stated in his recent post that if he were elected Pope, he would roll back mandatory celibacy in the Catholic Church.

As if the state of the Anglican Communion was not enough to convince him otherwise, “His Grace” does ye olde biblical gymnastics and cherry picks quotes from the New Testament to prove his point, going so far as to make a case for St. Paul calling priestly celibacy the stuff of demons. My response below:

What a seriously deceitful and damaging observance you have made to the teachings of St. Paul, who hardly stated clerical celibacy was the stuff of demons. I really hope my immense anger is only righteous indignation for the Lord. That was disgusting cherry-picking.

No, Paul taught celibacy was a good thing. He made a circus of it in the first letter to Corinthians, a people known for their love of basal pleasures. In fact, he wished everyone were celibate (and though I am confused with the practicality of the notion, the Catholic in me dares not question his holy wisdom). And why did Paul teach celibacy was a good thing? Because it was taught by Christ himself.

In the 19th chapter of Matthew (and Luke 16; and Mark 10 by the way), Christ taught about marriage. In that same chapter, it was the apostles themselves who motioned celibacy to remain in holiness. Our Blessed Lord confirmed that idea when he said some will give it up for the kingdom of Heaven. So yes, tradition has it that even if the apostles had a family, they gave it up for the priesthood. Now you may understand why Paul had no bones expounding upon the matter.

Now the theology is cleared up, if the successors of Peter require priests under their jurisdiction to remain celibate, then what is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and the relative strength of the Roman Church is proof of its disciplinary victory. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Anglican Communion. Your Communion has all the manner of married, gay, and female priests, and yet it is in a sorrier state than the Roman Church could ever hope to be. Perhaps the charism of the Holy Spirit are not found in Anglicanism.

You see, Cranmer, Catholics – sinful sufferers as we are – are pretty good at accepting the commandments of Our Blessed Lord and Apostles. When Christ said no divorce and re-marriage, he really did mean it; only the Catholic Church still beckons. When the disciples motioned celibacy, they were all ready for it; only the Catholic Church understands the apostolic zeal. And when Paul taught it was holier to be celibate than to be married, then by God, it’s true; only the Catholic Church professes it as such.

(And for that matter, when Christ gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, and asked him to feed his lambs, we neither take it lightly or liberally. It is the Son of God, after all.)

This is why we’re still standing, despite being as weak as we’ve ever been. The One True Church is free from error in faith and morals, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed yet, even when demons are wrecking it from within. Despite our iniquities, our Church has continued for 2000 years. Despite our iniquities, She will continue on for another 2000.

I’ll finish off with a prayer, because after all, this is a matter of salvation, not mere political banter.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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