Marriage and the Priesthood
"But at the same time the [Second Vatican] Council did not hesitate to confirm solemnly the ancient, sacred and providential present law of priestly celibacy." (Vatican Council II Vol. 2, p. 290)
Are priests to marry?
Why is there sexual immorality in a Church? Most often it is because someone who burns with passion needs to married. Paul answers this in 1 Cor. 7:2-3 "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband."
Look at what has happened when they are frustrated in something God commands is good. Because they have forbidden the priests to marry they have a high percentage of improper sexual conduct. This can include children as well. This is not to impugn specifically the Roman Catholic Church. There are other Churches as well that forbid people to marry and make men or woman remain single when they are unable to do so.
The qualifications of a priest/bishop do not forbid being married. The Greek word for bishop is episkopos, is translated in different Bibles using the same word elder, presbyter, bishop, priest. Titus 1:5-6 "As I instructed you, a bishop (priest) must be irreproachable, married only once, the father of children who are believers."
The only thing that would disqualify them to be a priest is to be married to more than one wife. 1 Tim. 3:2-4: "A bishop (priest) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, ... having his children in submission with all reverence."
Requiring celibacy is forbidden by Scripture. Paul writes in 1 Tim. 4 to deny a priest to marry is not a teaching from God but a teaching from a demonic source. 1 Tim. 4:1-5: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." If you can eat any kind of food on any day, you also can marry. (remember they could not eat meat on Friday). Priest or not being a priest excludes personal choice in one being married. But Roman Catholicism has it by law not choice, and they connect it to their tradition which is suppose to be alongside the Scripture. History shows us that the enforcement of celibacy for priests began in 1123. So it is their church law, not a biblical law.
"If anyone says the married state is to be place above the state of virginity or of celibacy and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity and celibacy than to be united in matrimony, let him be anathema."[accursed!] (Council of Trent Nov.11, 1563) The Bible states it is not good that man should be alone. The idea of one being single is a spiritual gift it is not the norm.
Heb.13:4 says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled." The Catholic Church recognizes marriage as a Sacrament and encourages people to be married. But not with the priesthood.
Look at the fruit of their prohibition today, frustration which often can end up in child molestation or homosexuality. This is not my point of view but the News that continues to report their findings. Jesus said his commands were not burdensome but freeing.
Arguments such as Mt.19:
"For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb,
and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who
have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to
accept it, let him accept it."
Paul also speaks of
those who can remain single as a spiritual gift. Paul writes in 1
Tim 3:2:" A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife."
Being married was not a requirement because Paul was a single elder, but neither
was celibacy required.
Catholics consider Peter to be the first Pope and the Scriptures tell us Peter was married (Matthew 8:14), but the Popes cannot marry. 1 Tim.3 says bishops can be married, Catholic tradition challenges this and says no. The apostle Peter who they consider their first Pope brought his wife with him. The Apostle Paul writes that all the apostles except himself were married.1 Cor. 9:5 "Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Peter and the other apostles were living with their wives! The overall view of Catholicism toward sexuality is thoroughly unbiblical and prudish. Just look at the sexual improprieties among the priesthood which are now becoming known. Then we can understand the seriousness of the problem of practicing this unbiblical teaching. When men pervert biblical teaching, it always results in serious consequences in real life. Practices of asceticism, such as monasticism and celibacy of the clergy neither promote spiritual growth nor helpful in avoiding sin (Col. 2:20-23).
What about the priesthood today
The priesthood has the ability to forgive ones sins which he imposes someone being free from guilt as the words of the minister say I absolve you from your sins. (Council of Trent session14 chpt.3).
This is not declaring in agreement with Jesus that ones sins are forgiven (which only God can do) but is a judicial act of the priest. It is the priest who determines whether the sinner is truly sorry and has the intention of not repeating the sin.
"If anyone denies that sacramental confession was instituted by divine law or is necessary to salvation; or says that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, which the Catholic Church has always observed from the beginning and still observes, is at variance with the institution and command of Christ and is a human contrivance, let him be anathema." (Vatican Council II pp. 102 , 103 14th Session, Chapter 3, Canon 6)
Scripture teaches that our focus is to be on God who we sin against and whom we need to petition for forgiveness. Ps.32:5
The believer has forgiveness of sins as explained in Acts 10:43-48, . . . "through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins."Acts 13:38.
Eph. 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Col. 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" Its all through Christ, he alone is the sacrifice, the priest, the mediator and the advocate.
Who is a Priest today?
The priesthood of the Old Testament was done away with and replaced by
an eternal high priest and those under him.
1 Pet. 2:9-10 Peter finishes by explaining the result of Gods making all believers priests. " But ye are a chosen generation, a Royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Who in time past were not a people but are now the people of God; who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
In Romans 12:1, Paul instructs the Roman believers to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." This is in reference to the burnt offering in Leviticus 1, where the whole animal was burnt as an offering to the Lord. All aspect of a believers life is to be set apart to Gods service as we die to self and allow Christ's life to live through us.
All believers are Holy to God, set apart for his service. As Israel is Gods chosen people according to His covenant made to Abraham in the Old Testament. so New Covenant believers are chosen in Jesus Christ.
In James 5:14-16 we find the believer who confessed his sins because he was sick, it was to the one he offended. It was the elders that anointed with oil and prayed for him to be healed.
There is no mention of a priesthood in the New Testament that functions
like the roman catholic priests changing the bread and wine to his body or blood or
give absolution to ones sins. The only priest we are to confess to and acknowledge today
as our priest is Christ. Heb 6:20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus,
having become High Priest forever according to the order of
Heb 7:16: "who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment,
but according to the power of an endless life."
Heb 10:11-12 "And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, Vs.21-22 and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,."
Because Christ sat down his sacrificial work as a priest is done. He now mediates for us as our defense attorney 1 Jn.2:1,2: "If anyone sins we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Only someone perfect and righteous can absolve our sins. As 'born anew" believers we have Direct Access to God. Because of Christs sacrifice of Himself and His perfect high priestly mediation on our behalf. It gives all of us a special position with privileges before God. All believers are on equal access to approach God. We can come immediately into the very presence of God by our high priest who is God (Heb. 4:16).
Paul writes of his ministry to the believers in Rome, Rom. 15:15-16: " That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit ."
Here Paul describes himself as a priest (a minister) who serves through the preaching of the gospel. This is the calling of all believers to affect those around them with the gospel .
The Roman Church by not allowing the people to participate in the priesthood deny them their right to function as a priest in the kingdom. This is why their is no gospel presentation for one to be saved by faith. They must continually take the sacraments given by the priesthood. They have copied the Old Testament format of the priesthood that has passed away. Christ is now is our one high priest and we minister unto him and for him.
Here is our example of being a priest for Christ in the New Covenant 2 Cor.5:20 "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 6:1-2: "We then, as workers together with him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says" "in the acceptable time I have heard you and in the day of salvation I have helped you." The people will recognize us as priests, not by our collars but by our priestly works of reconciliation.
Despite our failings, weaknesses or sin God invites each of us into His presence by his grace through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. There is no longer the need to go through any other human priest/mediator to come to God.