BONUS EPISODE! Consider this episode a little lagniappe, as they like to say in Southern Louisiana. On March 23, 2019, I gave a presentation on discerning the celibate priesthood to seminarians at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, MN. Thanks to Fr. Marty Schaefer and their Rector Fr. Robert Horihan for, who invited me to lead their “Vir in Christo” weekends this academic year. That is the name they give to their retreat weekends focused on human formation. The theme for this year was on masculinity and this presentation is on how celibacy is an authentic expression of their sexuality. It was my fifth lecture over the course of the two weekends, but it stands alone and barely draws on the previous four presentations, which is why I’m sharing it on the podcast.
In this lecture, I hit hard the beauty and challenge of discerning the celibate vocation. I reflect on Jesus’ words in Matthew’s gospel about the purpose of celibacy. I talk about the complementarity of the celibate life and married life. I draw distinctions between abstinence, chastity, and celibacy. I encourage the men to be honest with their hearts and feelings, urging them to develop a real friendship with Jesus and each other. And I end with a warning of what happens when celibacy is motivated by something other than Love.
While this is a talk specifically geared to seminarians, it will bless anyone who wants to better understand the importance of the celibate vocation, especially in a time of scandal.
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