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).
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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.
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Christ's exercise of the cardinal virtue of "Prudence" (CCC, 1806) is evident on abuse of marriage by adultery in his keeping or allowing of the inseparability and qualitative equality of justice and mercy in his response to the woman taken in adultery: "Neither do I condemn you [mercy] ...go, and sin no more [justice]" (RSV John 8:11).
"... it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgement of conscience." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1806). Here Christ's exercise of prudence guides the virtues of justice and mercy by this keeping or allowing in uncertainty of his belief their inseparability and qualitative equality.
The "worldwide catastrophe" of abuse of marriage by sexual abuse is prudently responded to by Pope Francis on 10 June 2021 or just after by his keeping or allowing the inseparability and qualitative equality of his ensuring and his insuring.
This ensuring is of his procreation role gift in his role as a helper of his family within his family.
This insuring is of his need of union of his identity as a consecrated Jesuit religious Order priest celibate married by vows to man in Christ.
This ensuring and insuring by Pope Francis as joined in a consecrated celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ is on the "reference point" (Pope St John Paul 11's Council for the Family "Guidelines" document, TTMHS, PCF, 1995, 110) of the consecrated male female marriages vowed to God (cf. "the great majority of sacramental marriages [both celibate and male female] are invalid", Pope Francis, 15 June 2016), that are on the reference point of Mary with St Joseph (cf. Matthew 1:24) joined in a consecrated male female marriage vowed to God.
This followed Pope Francis authorising in the absolute power of his keeping or allowing the inseparability and qualitative equality of his procreation role gift ensuring and his need of union of his identity insuring in his been joined in a valid consecrated (sacramental) celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ on the reference point of consecrated male female marriage of the address of his President of his Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, at the UNO on the 15 May 2014 warning of uncontrollable:
"... oscillation between persistent forms of regressive "familyism" on the one hand and an affirmation of radical individualism on the other that, in destroying the family reverses the progress of humanisation, heedless of the long-term consequences of so doing."
This ensuring by Pope Francis was in his role in the case of alleged embezzlement of his ensuring procreation role gift charity donations by Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine other Vatican state citizens/employehttps://oliverclark.substack.com/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=web&utm_content=comment_metadataes of his Vatican state Secretariat of State presently been heard on this and other financial offence inditements in his Vatican state criminal court.
This insuring by Pope Francis was in the case in his identity of the Italian state Parliament "Zan" anti-homophobia bill as an unacceptable risk of fraud on his insuring his need of union of his identity as joined in a consecrated celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ on these reference points of consecrated male female marriages, including of Mary with St Joseph, vowed to God.
Pope Francis' simultaneous ensuring and insuring in his been joined in a consecrated celibate marriage on the reference point of at least one consecrated male female marriage, including of Mary with St Joseph, in these cases exercised an absolute power of these simultaneous authorisations by him.
This "Zan" anti-homophobia bill in the Italian state Parliament was defeated on the vote in early November 2021 following a protest note against it authorised by Pope Francis on or just after 10 June 2021 from his Vatican state Secretariat of State to the Italian state government.
By this keeping or allowing in uncertainty of his belief in out occulting this occult as hidden, incest connected as substitute mate, evil of abuse of both eucharist procreation gift role and marriage identity need of union by Pope Francis of the inseparability and qualitative equality of his ensuring procreation role gift and his insuring of his union of his identity need in his consecrated celibate marriage on the reference point of at least one consecrated male female marriage, he has contributed by his giving this good example to the fulfilment of what Mary as "Blessed ... believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (RSV Luke 1:45).
Real Presence in eucharist and present moment in marriage is evident in the multiplier in economics first described in 1930 following the League of Nations established in 1921 after WW1 collecting international data on population and food supplies in the developing countries as was for the first time possible in human history.
The testing of the multiplier in economics from 1931 by my father, economist and statistician, Colin Clark, joined in a consecrated male female identity-role marriage from 1946 in a roman catholic church role group with his wife, my mother, Marjorie Clark (nee Tattersall), in an anglo-catholic role group, allowing my prudently considering my role as their seventh child conceived in their valid consecrated marriage in April-May 1946 to be anglo-catholic though in error I either thought or had faith until August 2018 that this anglo-catholic procreation gift role was a roman catholic identity in need of union, found "just about paripassu rate of growth of population and food supplies in the developing countries".
My father, Colin Clark (b.1905; d.1989)), who served with Keynes on UK PM Ramsay McDonald's Committee on the Worldwide Depression in 1931, was described by Keynes as "a bit of a genius - almost the only economic statistician I have ever met who seems to me quite first class" (Keynes to MacMillan, 2 December 1931).
Though my father, Colin Clark, in his accountability and amends for failing previously to apply his finding in his marriage simultaneously authorised application of this finding by the UNO FAO and the roman catholic church role group Vatican Council 2 (1962-65) Pope St Paul V1's Commission on Population, both of which role groups he was employed to advise at this time, his exercise of his absolute power of authorisation in his been joined in a consecrated male female marriage vowed to God on the reference point of consecrated celibate marriage vowed in man in Christ since 1946 was inadequate due to his not been joined in this marriage in uncertainty of his belief as to its validity hence not out occulting this occult, incest connected evil only achieving "inseparable ... union and procreation" without 'qualitatively equal' in the roman catholic church role group Pope St Paul V1's Encyclical Letter, "Of Human Life", Humanae Vitae, 1968, 12.
Left to others, including me, as not one of those joined in the great majority of consecrated (sacramental ? marriages) that were invalid (cf. Pope Francis 16 June, 2016), 'qualitatively equal' was included with inseparable" once in a valid consecrated marriage joined in uncertainty of belief as occurred in my case on 25 February 1991 as completed on 31 March 2021 immediately following which on 10 June 2021 or just after Pope Francis at least on this reference point exercised in uncertainty of his belief an absolute power of his simultaneous authorisations in the cases of his applications of his ensuring (alleged embezzlement of his procreation role gift charity donations b Cardinal Becciu and nine others) and his insuring ("Zan" anti-homophobia bill as unacceptable risk to his insuring his need of union of his identity).
In this way 'qualitatively equal' was added de facto by Pope Francis to "inseparable ... union and procreation" (HV, 1968, 12).
For c.2000 years the roman catholic church role group had thought or had faith it was an identity until corrected in this de facto way on or just after 10 June 2021 by the exercise of the absolute power of the joining of Pope Francis in a consecrated (not "sacramental") celibate marriage vowed to man in Christ on the reference point at least of my been joined in a consecrated male female marriage vowed to God which consecrated male female marriage was joined on the reference point of the consecrated celibate marriage of Mary vowed to man in Christ as also Pope Francis' consecrated celibate marriage was joined in the reference point of the joining in consecrated male female marriage by Mary with St Joseph (Mt 1:24).
That it was by an exercise of the virtue of prudence by Mary who carefully: "considered in her mind" (RSV Luke 1:29), that her other virtues, including the other cardinal virtues of courage, justice and temperance, were "set... rule and measure".
As to eucharist been imprudently considered both "source and summit of the Christian life" or of unity (CCC, 1324-1327), what Mary authorises (cf. at Cana, John 2:5: "Do whatever he tells you", it is joining in consecrated either celibate or male female marriage on the reference point of the other joined in consecrated marriage; that is, celibate on the reference point of male female and vice versa, that is the summit of the Christian life or of unity.
This is the "remedy" referred to by Pope Francis' delegate at the conclusion of his Synod of Bishops on Youth, Vocation and Discernment in October 2018, Cardinal Arlindo Furtado, of the "worldwide catastrophe" (Pope Francis 10 June 2021) of abuse of marriage by sexual abuse causing "the great majority of sacramental marriages [both celibate and male female] are invalid." (Pope Francis, 16 June 2016).
Consecrated celibate marriage and consecrated male female marriage are equal in excellence; that is, both in quality and quantity.