Over the last several weeks, I’ve shared some of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on Parish in this space each week. I saw this quote from Bishop Robert Barron, given in comment during Pope Francis’ visit to the USA. I think it a nice complementary view to what Vatican II tells us.
“During our coverage of the Pope’s final Mass in Philadelphia, Brian Williams posed a question to all of the commentators: “Isn’t it odd,” he asked, “that those without families are setting the moral agenda for families?” A number of the contributors chimed in, more or less agreeing with this anomalous thought, and I [Bishop Robert Barron] felt obliged to intervene. “As the only celibate on the panel,” I said, “May I offer an opposing point of view?” Borrowing a phrase from the scholastic philosophers, I said, “Brian, in regard to your question, nego majorem (I deny the major premise). Priests, I explained, have families. I then indicated the ring that I received upon being ordained a bishop and I said, “That’s a wedding ring, and we are explicitly told never to take it off, for it symbolizes our marriage to the people we serve.” Then I quoted my mentor, the late Cardinal Francis George: “Priests are not bachelors; they are married men, and they have spiritual children.” Celibacy should never be understood in a purely negative way, as though it amounts simply to the denial of something. The no to marriage and children in the ordinary sense is in service of a far greater yes, the yes to a wider, more inclusive, and more abiding form of marriage and procreation. In point of fact, the very familial implication of the celibate commitment is precisely what makes priests uniquely positioned to help and advise families. Once again, the teaching of Vatican II is apposite. Celibacy and marriage are ordered to one another, since both are ultimately in service of the sanctification of the world. When they are set up as rivals or as mutually antagonistic, we get a fly stuck in the fly bottle.” (Bishop Robert Barron, Forum: Brian Williams, Chris Matthews, and Letting the Fly Out of the Fly Bottle, Zenit.org: USA, October 08, 2015)
Pray for healthy, happy, holy marriages. Proclaim healthy, happy, holy marriages by your life. St Mary and St Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Fr. Gries
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