Archbishop Emeritus Carmelo Giaquinta warned last week against “the false illusion that abolishing celibacy would lead to an increase in the number of priests.” Unfortunately, he noted, some priests “give in to temptation, and instead of nurturing their ideal of consecration in the Word of God, adopt the opinions of the media that often pontificates about divine things.”
After warning that this is “a trap that both the faithful and pastors should not fall into,” the archbishop underscored the need to “clearly state that the candidate for holy orders in the Latin Church must have a double vocation: to the life of consecration to God through voluntary and perpetual celibacy, and to the exercise of pastoral charity. And that must be proven by the subject and shown to the Church through an adequate journey that includes having acquired the habit of personal prayer.”
“Priestly celibacy is not an extrinsic condition that is added on after ordination, but rather a prior condition, whose foundation is living faith in Jesus Christi, who invites one to leave all for love of Him in order to follow Him,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Giaquinta also underscored that “the Church will never abolish the apostolic criteria” according to which each person should continue living “in the condition the Lord assigned to him and in which he found himself when he was called.”
He added that the Church's ecclesiastic norm that “the minister who was ordained while celibate should remain celibate, and that the one ordained while married should remain married” will not be changed either. For this reason, he explained, “celibacy will never be optional in the sense that many in the media understand it: that ordained ministers who are celibate can contract marriage.”
After referring to the infidelity of some ministers, Archbishop Giaquinta said these cases should “fill us with humility and be an incentive for the clergy” to live their fidelity more profoundly.