Argentinean archbishop says celibacy must be lived 'in the faith and in profound prayer'


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Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 9, 2009 / 06:07 pm (CNA).- During his weekly television program, "Keys to a Better World," Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata underscored that fidelity to the gift of celibacy is fostered and achieved "in the faith, in profound prayer." With the help of God, he added, "it is not only relatively easy but joyful."

"Celibacy is assumed freely, just as those who marry freely assent to marriage and commit themselves to conjugal fidelity," the archbishop said. "The reason for which the Church reserves priestly ordination to those men who have received the charism of perfect chastity from God is because he desires that his ministers, those who will serve the people of God as pastors and teachers, assume the same state of life as that of Jesus Christ," he continued.

The archbishop said the incomprehension of celibacy by the general public is because people "see these noble and healthy realities from outside, they think it is hard to live them because we are submerged in an artificially eroticized culture in which it seems that sex has become an obsession."

"Many people unfortunately live like this," he went on, "and it is true that many in the media undermine even the most basic sense of modesty, banalize the mystery of human sexuality and make a mockery of virtue."

In this cultural context, the archbishop said, it is obvious that the value of celibacy and the ability to practice it is not understood. "But most priests who live it in fidelity, and the faithful who have the sensitivity of the faith, realize that it is not so difficult, that it is relatively easy if celibacy is lived in faith and in profound prayer."

"If a priest wants to live a worldly life, if he wants to live like any other person in the world, then yes, celibacy will be very hard and difficult," the archbishop said. "But if he lives his total commitment to Christ and his brethren with self-denial, he will see that with the hope of God, it is not only relatively easy, but joyful, and it is the secret to an authentic spiritual fatherhood. For this reason, above all, the faithful can call their priests father."