The secretary for the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, said this week that celibacy, which was embraced by Christ throughout his whole life and to which all those who consecrate their lives to Church are called, signifies âtotal dedication to the service of God and man.â
In an interview with the Vatican newspaper LâOsservatore Romano, the archbishop revealed details about the closing of the Year of Priests and spoke about Jesus' life of celibacy.
Christâs state of virginity, Archbishop Piacenza said, âwas united in full harmony with his mission as mediator between Heaven and earth and as eternal priest. The Son of God took on human form and entrusted himself completely to the Father, giving Him the total and exclusive love of his own heart â¦ Virginity is part of his very essence.â
âChrist is virginity itself and therefore he is its model,â he explained.
Reflecting on the Church's requirement of celibacy for priests and religious, the archbishop noted, âthere are certainly many reasons why celibacy is convenient, both historical and biblical, spiritual and pastoral, but above all it is essential to adhere to the source of everything, Christ himself.â
Closing of the Year for Priests
In explaining the events for the closing of the Year of Priests scheduled for June 9-11, Archbishop Piacenza said the first day would be dedicated to conversion and the mission of priests.
âWe will gather at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where following the example of the Apostle to the Gentiles, we will meditate on the dimension of permanent conversion in the life of the priest and on the sanctity and efficacy of his mission.â
The second day âwas originally planned for the Basilica of St. Mary Major, but the great number of priests who have registered, now nearly seven thousand, will not have enough space in the Marian basilica so we will be at St. Paulâs again. The idea is to meet together in a renewed cenacle, as apostles gathered around the Blessed Virgin Mary awaiting the Spirit.â
The closing Mass on Friday, June 11, will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.