Margaret Starbird writes on the GoddessChristians forum:
Yesterday I had an opportunity to attend an Episcopal Mass of the Resurrection (memorial service) for a friend. The Episcopal Mass is very similar to the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead–with which I’m familiar. I recognized the hymns and knew some of them by heart.
But I couldn’t say the creed in its entirety, and I noticed the very exclusive use of “he,” “him,” and “his” in referring to God…..
Which reminds me of a lovely story my mother used to tell about a little girl who went to Mass with her parents and half-way through the service she tugged on her mother’s arm: “Mommy, Mommy. I love the “hyms”….. but are there any “hers”?
I’m sure the service was very comforting to the family gathered there….. but I felt a bit as if I were in a museum…. I feel we’ve already moved to a more “life-affirming” place and the old prayers and vocabulary don’t seem to feed me anymore.
It’s a bit strange to look back and see how so many of my views have shifted in the past twenty years. I had to stop teaching CCD for Catholic children when I realized that I don’t believe in Purgatory….But just for the record, the Roman Catholic Church, while it has a doctrine of the Virgin Birth, does not have a doctrine about the celibacy of Jesus.
peace and light–Margaret
Lore Kemsley then wrote in:
I am interested in this statement, because everything I’ve read states the RCC believes he was celibate. I’m guessing the key is in the word “doctrine,” but that’s only my surmising while feeling confused.
Here are references I found after reading your post:
Although most people are at some point in their lives called to the married state, the vocation of celibacy is explicitly advocated-as well as practiced-by both Jesus and Paul.
The theological concept of a celibate clergy is based on the Church’s belief in the example of the celibacy of Christ himself.
Theologically, the Church teaches that priesthood is a ministry conformed to the life and work of Jesus Christ. Priests as sacramental ministers act in persona Christi, that is in the person of Christ. Thus the life of the priest conforms to the chastity of Christ himself. The sacrifice of married life for the “sake of the Kingdom” (Luke 18:28-30, Matthew 19:27-30; Mark 10:20-21), and to follow the example of Jesus Christ in being “married” to the Church, viewed by Catholicism and many Christian traditions as the “Bride of Christ”.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in Salt of the Earth also explained that this practice is based on Jesus’ preaching on the eunuchs or celibates “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” which links with God’s decision in the Old Testament to confer the priesthood to a specific tribe, that of Levi, and who unlike the other tribes did not receive from God any land – an essential need for one’s posterity as a wife and children are today – but had “God himself as its inheritance” (Numbers 1:48-53).
Loretta Kemsley President
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