Thursday, May 30 2024

What does celibacy have to do with the messages of our portal, which deal
with family and media? I was asking myself this question as I finished
reading the book by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah, From the Depths of our Heart, already published in France, where
it is a best seller, and in the United States, and soon it will be in
Italian. Hopefully, it will be printed in every language! Give it time.

I leave this question regarding the editorial authorship of the
book to the polemists fond of the ephemeral. It is a question worthy a
footnote regarding the scholarly history of the publishing industry, and
which instead has been intensely covered by the, allegedly, most serious
newspapers of the world. Merely reading the book gives more than enough
answer to the pseudo-problem. Simply read the Introduction and the
Conclusions…evidently written and/or shared by both authors. It seems
obvious to me, after reading them, that every corresponding chapter has
been read and approved by the other author as well. Both authors have
proven to be straight and credible in their personal careers until now. So
why doubt…now?

In the Introduction, the authors say they have written the book
“with a spirit of love for the unity of the Church. If the ideology
divides, the truth unites hearts (…) with a spirit of charity (…) whoever
would like can complete it or criticize it. The search for the truth cannot
be completed without an open heart.”

Should I doubt this compelling declaration? I shall not, lest I make an
illicit judgment of their intentions. I will not, to avoid introducing
divisions between Pope Francis and the Emeritus Pope Benedict or among
Catholics.

Getting back to the point, the book is relevant and interesting to this
portal because the serene, rich and good argument in defense of priestly
celibacy in the Catholic clergy makes the beauty of one’s human love for
another forever shine, the beauty of the centuries old teaching of the
Catholic Church regarding sexuality. A young mother, writer and friend, to
whom I submitted this article for “merciless criticism” before publishing
it, told me: “This reminded me of the premarital chastity testimony I give
in conversations with young couples that think about or doubt premarital
chastity before getting married: to many, it seems absurd to ‘deprive’
themselves for years (meaning abstaining from sexual relationships before marriage: NdT) for ‘we
are in love’. Very few of these couples understand that this “privation”
leads them to receive something more beautiful in marriage.”

If celibacy wasn’t the renunciation of something great for something even
better for those who receive the call, what would be the point of being
attached to a functional discipline? Functional…for what or for
whom? No. Whoever renounces the beauty of conjugal love and the possibility
of having children, does so to have spiritual children. A professor
generates spiritual life in the minds of his students when his mind is full
of life, not when he completes an administrative-teaching role, credits and
merits recognized by the teaching administrations, whatever level they are.
True, surely having to renounce winning money in complementary teaching
activities, for example.

What is at stake in the defense of priestly celibacy is the entire
architecture of human love as is revealed in the fullness of the
Incarnation. Before that, it was impossible to see it in this way. Merely
read Ratzinger’s commentary on the priesthood in the Old Testament in his
chapter of Ratzinger-Sarah’s book to understand its importance. After the
Incarnation, it is possible to look at human love, regardless of its
expression, in fullness, as what it is: personal donation and not
self-affirmation. And, above all, it is possible to live it with the help
of the goods that the Incarnation has brought—what Catholics call
grace—both in marriage and in celibacy.

Nor was it possible to see the superiority of monogamous marriage, that is,
one with another forever, over polygamy. The Patriarchs of the Old
Testament honestly lived polygamy. This is also the view of Chief Rabbi of
London, who is very popular in the media. We have published his brilliant
conference on our portal explaining the marvelous evolution, biologically
first, and culturally after, from asexual “reproduction” to sexual
reproduction 385 million years ago—approximately, of course—and
from polygamy to monogamy:

The Music of Man and Woman.

Truly a must read.

We have also written about the ecclesial battles around the family on our
portal — issues in which, not surprisingly, the allegedly mainstream media are more interested. See, for example, this

article

of a courageous African bishop, among others. Why does it seem the brave,
who are speaking out lately, are all Africans? A mere coincidence that
Saint Augustine, who is profusely quoted in the book by Ratzinger-Sarah or
Sarah-Ratzinger if my readers prefer, was African as well. Why should we
not also discuss this new battle?
I cannot make a better comment on the book than echoing the authors’ call
to enter into a real dialogue—not virtual simulations—with the text: Read
it, please. It will not leave you indifferent.

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