Priestly celibacy today
Priestly celibacy is undergoing a process of evaluation at the present time, and is the subject of frequent discourse in the media. However, a confused awareness of the origin and development of this charism in the Church often leads to erroneous judgements and conclusions.In his 1992 document on the priesthood, Pastores dabo vobis, John Paul II, aware of the current misunderstandings about celibacy, encouraged a presentation and explanation of this charism 'in the fullness of its biblical, theological and spiritual richness'. This book is an effort to respond to that concern.The first chapter is an historical survey of the development of celibacy in the Churches of the East and West. This is followed by chapters on the scriptural foundations and the theological arguments. In particular, special attention is given to the spousal dimension of celibacy which is the key theological explanation of this charism given in Pastores dabo vobis.The anthropological aspect of celibacy is dealt with in some detail, showing the complementarity between the vocation to marriage and that of priesthood. There are separate chapters on formation for celibacy and the ascetical means to practise it. A final chapter answers some of the main objections levelled against priestly celibacy today.
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