Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Opinion concerning Ophrases like "priests are sexual beings" and "celibate intimacy"
I have a bone to pick with the language of "sexual" and "intimacy" applied to priests—that all men and priests are "sexual beings" and are ordered "not to deny their sexuality". I understand that this language was constructed to stress the humanity and completeness of life lived in celibacy—celibate life is not, as Coleman says, “sadly incomplete and unfulfilled.” Yet using the language of sex, sexual-ness, and intimacy to describe the authentic maleness and male identity of the priest, or the close friendships that the priest has with women and men, arising out of his relational human personhood, seems to me to obscure and soft-peddle something. This is the unique, strange, difficult, transcendent, testamental, counter-cultural, and sacrificial dimension of celibate life. Why water down the stark fact that this man, or this woman, has given him/herself totally to a God who is transcendently mysterious yet intimately immanent, and for this reason alone is available to give themselves to all people in a unique way?