Christ is the answer (part 2)

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I WANT to go into more detail on the issue of human relationships especially with respect to human sexuality. Christ has shown in what way he is the answer to these issues.

Recently I met a friend who told me that he believed that Christ was married and he was kind of angry that the Catholic Church denies this. He told me that he saw the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy of the Last Supper.

That painting shows that Jesus is seated beside a woman, supposedly Maria
Magdalena, and this was for him an indication that Jesus was married to her. I told my friend that in the Scriptures it doesn’t say anywhere that Jesus was married and had a wife and children. Clearly, Jesus was a celibate. Why? Not because he felt that being married was inferior to being unmarried. Jesus had a high respect for marriage; he made it into one of the seven sacraments and marriage is indissoluble. Jesus chose to be a celibate because he was totally, with body and soul, dedicated to the Kingdom of his Father. That was not easy for him to do. It is more natural to get married and have a family. In the Jewish tradition it was normal to get married.


Some sects didn’t get married because they felt that marriage would make them ‘unclean’. St. Paul was aware of the burden it takes to be a celibate. He said: ‘qui potest capere, capeat’.That means: he who thinks that he can manage to do that, let him do it. Experience has shown that many were not able to do it. They failed and violated their promise of celibacy. That is why I believe that celibacy should be made optional for those who want to become a priest. And I believe also that we can have married priests and we can have also women priests, like the pastors in the Protestant church. It gives them the advantage also that they can give counseling to married couples based on their own experience.

Another issue is gay marriage, although this hasn’t been much of an issue here in the Philippines like it is in the States and in Europe. But I believe being gay is more an issue in the Philippines because many priests and bishops here are gay more than in the States or in Europe. Why is that so? The answer to this question should come from the priests themselves. Did they feel attracted to the priesthood because priests are celibates? Clearly that would be a wrong motivation. I don’t believe that Jesus was gay but he chose to be a celibate in order to be totally, with body and soul, dedicated to the Kingdom of his Father. And that should be the motivation also of somebody who wants to become a priest: to be a servant of the people. You don’t need the title of Reverend or Monsignor for that. I hope that the Church will do away with all those titles and pomp around priests and bishops.

Pope Francis will probably be able to do that. He is a simple man. But we need also a change of structures in the Church. I doubt if Francis will do that. During the dictatorship of Peron in Argentina he had an attitude of critical collaboration with the regime, the same as our Bishops here in the Philippines. We may have to wait for Pope Tagle to do that.

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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 21, 2013.


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