The logic here escapes most God-fearing Catholics who weep for what is happening in their beloved Church. But it shows how these subtle changes have opened wide hell's doors to engulf the majority of faithful who don't have a clue, led by shepherds who, for whatever reason, are promoting these aberrations that are weaking Holy Mother Church. That weakening starts by reducing the dignity of the priesthood. It has been going on now for thirty years. As the years have passed slowly but surely everything but the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Penance have been usurped by the laity. Priests are mere celebrants, today. The idea of "shepherd" has been lost on the masses because the sheep are lost! The only true shepherd is the chief shepherd - Christ's chosen Vicar on earth - Pope John Paul II. The hidden agenda to this first mandate is to reduce the priests to the same status as the laity by doing away with celibacy - a willing grace that has marked the dedication and exaltation of the office of priesthood for so many centuries. The voluntary vow of Chastity is one of the benchmarks of religious life and strongly upheld by his holiness John Paul throughout his pontificate. Is it a coincidence that those behind these mandates are disgruntled ex-priests and former nuns who have rebelled against the Church and forsaken their vows and now, by forcing these progressive commandments on the entire mystical Body of Christ their sins will be washed away through the axiom of "misery loves company" rather than truly seeking repentance for their transgressions. In many of these mandates the underlying current is to accept the sin. Christ teaches to accept the sinner, but NEVER the sin! But the liberals propose the opposite, while touting that sin isn't so bad because "God loves us all and wouldn't send anyone to hell because the devil doesn't really exist." As the holy stigmatist mystic priest Padre Pio often said when someone told them they didn't believe in hell, "You will when you get there!" So true in these circumstances of the nineties when laxity and ammorality have taken such a firm hold in our world.
Point in fact, celibacy is not something dreamed up by a few in the Church but divinely inspired by Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:11-12, "Not all can accept this teaching; but those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let him accept it who can." The latter is the essence of the vow of Chastity. Today the word "eunuch" has derived a negative connotation but in the way Christ used it in regard to "for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven" it is noble and worthy of great graces. The Apostle Saint Paul affirmed celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7: 8, "But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they so remain, even as I" and in verse 32 gives celibacy the proper perspective needed for the priesthood when he says, "He who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please God. Whereas he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided." The last sentence is one of the greatest arguments for preserving celibacy in the priesthood...and this logic has been passed down through divine revelation. And celibacy has withstood the ages. It is a doctrine of the higher exaltation of virginity, reinforced by the spiritual and temporal experience of countless centuries. It was first mandated as ecclesiastical law at the Synod of Elvira in 305 when the council and Holy Father at that time Pope Saint Marcellus I decreed that all bishops and priests would henceforth live in total continence. This laudable discipline spread throughout the Western Church and by the First Lateran Council in 1123, the council fathers and Pope Calixtus II declared that marriage for clergy was not only unlawful, but invalid. Though many think Vatican II weakened the nobility of celibacy, nothing could be further from the truth for the council fathers declared when they made chastity paramount among the evangelical counsels, "Through virginity or celibacy observed for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven, priests are consecrated to Christ in a new and distinguished way. They more easily hold fast to Him with undivided heart. They more freely devote themselves in Him and through Him to the service of God and men. They more readily minister to His Kingdom and to the work of Heavenly regeneration, and thus become more apt to exercise paternity in Christ, and do so to a greater extent." And in the Constitution of the Church the Vatican Council proclaimed chastity chief among the evangelical counsels, stating "it is a precious gift of divine grace given to some by the Father to devote themselves to God alone more easily with an undivided heart in virginity and celibacy. This perfect continence for love of the Kingdom of Heaven has always been held in high esteem by the Church as a sign and stimulus of love, and as a singular source of spiritual fertility in the world."
There you have it - celibacy as a symbol of a way of life dedicated to the Kingdom of Heaven. But the cymbals of dissidence clang in the ears of the faithful as the liberals clamor for change. As we have pointed out before and will continue to maintain, Vatican II was of God and the reason what was decreed at Vatican II did not filter down to the faithful was because organized liberal factions intercepted and interpreted the findings of the Council to fit their own liberal agendas. Yes, these factions included bishops, priests, religious and highly placed lay leaders in many parishes. They even included some influential cardinals who rebuked Pope Paul VI and sounded the new cacaphony of confusion in an effort to lure others off key. Because of the resulting confusion the majority of Catholics were left to accept whatever was offered in their parishes and dioceses. Instead of promoting celibacy as a fertile ground for vocations, the progressives promoted negatives to celibacy to fertilize the future with so much excrenentable pablum that is now stinking up the present Church.
What then is the answer as the progressives feign innocent alarm that we will soon have "priestless Sundays?" Our Blessed Mother has conveyed at La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje and countless other sites and to thousands of visionaries and messengers that the only answer is prayer - "Pray! Pray! Pray! and do Penance. Convert you hearts and return to the refuge of my Divine Son." Throughout Church history there have been dire times before and Holy Mother Church has survived and flourished even moreso. So, too, will she overcome these obstacles but not without prayer and commitment to join Mary's little, but powerful army and truly live within the Communion of Saints as a committed soldier for Christ in the Church Militant.
In the next installment we will deal with the second mandate - a very controversial one which Pope John Paul II has emphatically said "no" to - the ordination of women as priests. Yet the feminists clamor, forgetting the symbols of Holy Orders as established by Christ and bang the cymbals of demand. The noise is deafening and too many are deaf to the truth. Stay tuned!