Discover more from Pope Francis Generation
Is Celibacy Better than Marriage?
Podcast: Season 3, Episode 7
When I was in college, the leader of a young adult group told me something like, “While the particular vocation a person is called to is the best vocation for them, the priesthood and consecrated vocations are objectively greater.”
At the time I was dating or engaged, so I was pretty annoyed by that comment. So I approached the guy afterwards and challenged him about it. He was like, “I’m just saying what the Church teaches.”
So, being me, I went digging. I found this infamous comic from the Baltimore Catechism:
While the Baltimore Catechism isn’t magisterial teaching, it’s based on this passage from the Council of Trent:
“If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.”
That pretty much stopped me in my tracks. For years this teaching never sat well with me, but I accepted it and tried my best to understand. However, after reading Amoris Laetitia, I realized that Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have thankfully clarified and developed this teaching.
Dominic and I use Amoris Laetitia as a jumping off point for our personal reflections on how married people live out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
This episode is available now on Youtube and on your favorite podcast app.
**Correction: In this episode I said that Saints Louis and Zélie Martin (parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux) took a vow of celibacy in their marriage. A listener thankfully corrected me. Louis and Zélie wanted to take a vow of celibacy in their marriage but their pastor advised them against that.
In this episode, Dominic and Paul talk about what the universal call to holiness can look like in the married vocation. Both of us grew up being taught that the celibate vocations are better than the married vocation. This idea can give the impression that holiness is for the “professionals” and lay people are exempted from living the radical life Jesus invites all of us to. However, since Vatican II, the Church has developed her teaching in this area.
“Those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union” (Amoris Laetitia 316).
Paid subscribers get to watch each episode before everyone else! Your support allows me to create this podcast and all the resources I’ve shared here.
ABOUT DOMINIC DE SOUZA SmartCatholics founder, Dominic de Souza, is a convert from radical traditionalism – inspired by WherePeterIs, Bishop Robert Barron, and Pope Francis. He is passionate about helping ordinary Catholics break the ‘bystander effect’, and be first responders. “We don’t have to be geniuses. We just have to show up with witness and kindness. Christ does the rest.” Today he hosts the SmartCatholics community.
JOIN FATHERS HEART ACADEMY Discover the truth and hope of Church teachings through a study of magisterial documents, access to Paul Fahey’s podcasts and articles, and a supportive community of learners. Join here:
ABOUT SMARTCATHOLICS If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your one friend you think would really like to see it. Come and regroup with us in the free, Catholic community on smartcatholics.com We're free of trolls and ads and toxicity, faithful to the Holy Father Pope Francis and the Church, and committed to a culture of kindness and learning. Sound like you? Come and join us. Join the free community:
Send us a gift: https://smartcatholics.com/donate