How do Catholic priests stay chaste?

Celibacy: marriage and sex forbidden

Celibacy comes from the Latin caelebs, which means “celibate”. Catholic priests must declare at ordination that they will not marry a woman. On the other hand, they do not have to take a vow of chastity that is required of monks and nuns. So are pastors allowed to have sex after all? No chance: Because the Catholic Church forbids sex outside of marriage. So the equation is: celibacy = no marriage = no sex.

Celibacy cannot be traced back to the Holy Scriptures. There are only some indications that celibacy can or should have advantages. At first it was left to the popes and priests to decide whether or not to marry a woman. In 306 AD it was decided at the Synod of Elvira that priests should not have marital intercourse.

As a result, the attitude of the church or the popes was not consistent. Sometimes celibacy was required of priests, then again only chastity, even in the case of marriage. It was not until 1022 that Pope Benedict VIII introduced compulsory celibacy for priests at the Synod of Pavia: from now on they were no longer allowed to marry.

More than 100 years later, at the Second Lateran Council in 1139 under Pope Innocent II, celibacy finally became an “essential prerequisite for access to the priesthood”. Accordingly, marriage and intercourse with a concubine has only been forbidden for priests since the Middle Ages. The reasons for this prohibition can also be found in the resolutions of the Second Lateran Council. Since priests "should be temples of God, vessels of the Lord, and sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit, it is not proper for them to surrender to marriage and uncleanness."

To this day, the Catholic Church regards celibacy as "appropriate to the priesthood" despite all criticism. "Through virginity and celibacy, priests are consecrated to Christ in a new and excellent way," says a decree of the Second Vatican Council, which met from 1962 to 1965. tito

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