Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #s 100, 101, & 102: Mandatory Celibacy of Clergy?

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five* (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

This time, we’ll examine three passages that Armstrong presents as proof-texts for the justification for the mandatory rule of celibacy for Catholic priests:

#100) Matthew 19:12: “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” (RSVCE)

#101) 1 Corinthians 7:7-9: “7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”

#102) 1 Corinthians 7:32-38: (hyperlinked because of length)

Armstrong writes, “The frequent argument of Protestants on the subject of clerical celibacy is that the Catholic Church makes a requirement out of something that Paul merely recommends. Catholics, so we are told, are guilty once again of smuggling in their ‘traditions of men’ and an alleged animus against sexuality and marriage.” – p. 191. The Catholic apologist then goes on to expound on the “benefits” of an unmarried clergy.

We believers certainly accept that Christians who are given the gift of celibacy are able to devote more of their time and resources to the Lord’s work. If a single person is called to dangerous missionary work, as was Paul, we can especially see why remaining single might be advantageous. In general, being a Christian in the Roman Empire in 50 AD was a dangerous situation and not always conducive to a bucolic setting for the family that most Christians in America enjoy today.

But, in these verses, Paul IS suggesting celibacy rather than REQUIRING it as we can plainly see from other Scripture. Armstrong conveniently leaves out Paul’s letter to Timothy warning of the coming false teachers who would forbid marriage (1 Timothy 4:1-4). He also conveniently omits 1 Corinthians 9:5 which states that Peter and the other apostles were married. In another verse, Paul recommends that candidates for the office of pastor be the husband of only one wife (1 Timothy 3:2).

It’s extremely obvious why Armstrong chose not to include the above Scriptural passages. They directly contradict his arguments in favor of Catholicism’s rule of mandatory clerical celibacy.

It should be noted that the Catholic church accommodated married priests right up until the Second Lateran Council (1139) introduced a general law of celibacy, requiring ordination only of unmarried men.

Because of the Roman church’s mandatory rule of celibacy, Catholic seminaries became magnets and hothouses for sexual deviancy. But today, with Catholicism no longer able to hide its dark secrets being a curtain of privilege, we’re seeing the full flower of enforced celibacy in news headlines and in civil courts where victims of predatory priests are seeking justice and recompense.

It’s ironic that pope Francis and his progressive allies are currently considering the option of ordaining married men to the priesthood in regions where the shortage of priests is becoming severe.

As we discuss the issue of mandatory celibacy for priests, it’s important to keep in mind that the need for mediatory priests and perpetual sacrifice for sin that we see at Catholic masses were abolished by Jesus Christ by His death on the cross and His mediation on behalf of all who trust in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

*Armstrong stated that he would be examining ninety-five passages in this book. It was obviously important to him to cite ninety-five passages to match the number of theses that Martin Luther nailed to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony in 1517, but there are actually a total one-hundred-and-four passages. What happened? Armstrong didn’t number the passages in the book, so 1) he either used some passages more than once, which I believe I would have caught in my analyses or 2) he lost count and his editor didn’t catch the error.

18 thoughts on “Answering the alleged “95* Catholic Verses” – #s 100, 101, & 102: Mandatory Celibacy of Clergy?

  1. It’s always bothered me to see anyone use Paul as an example for celibacy. The order of Jewish leadership he was initiated in, before being converted, actually required marriage before a man could join. Whether he was a widower or his wife refused to join him as a Christian, the Bible doesn’t say. What we know, historically, is he had to be married at one point in time to be apart of that Jewish council. Ironic that now you have to be unmarried to become a priest in the RCC. Even more ironic that they claim Peter to be the first pope, and he was also married. This is a grievous topic to shed light on, due to the thousands of children who have been harmed by this unbiblical restriction. I appreciate you tackling this and bringing the verses that directly address what has been falsely claimed. You’re tearing down strong holds with such grace, truth, and kindness! Many online do this with a hostile tone, which doesn’t help the lost RC trying to find truth. May the Lord bless your efforts, brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks much, sister, for your kind words and encouragement in the Lord! I appreciate the information you bring up about Paul. I know there’s some debate as to whether he was actually a member of Sanhedrin (which required marriage) prior to his conversion, but if not an official member, he was definitely on that path.

      Yes, this is such a grievous topic and I’m glad you pointed that out. What we’ve seen in the headlines the last 20 years is only the tiny tip of the iceberg. Multitudes have been victimized over the centuries as a result of the mandatory celibacy rule.

      Oh, I sometimes fail the Lord in my on-line demeanor. It’s tempting to become nasty towards those who defend and perpetuate a false gospel and such evil. I must constantly be on guard against that and sometimes I fail. In this case, I was angered that the author had purposely omitted those passages and verses that directly contradict his defense of celibacy. I know he is aware of them. That’s just outright deceitfulness. But I must always keep in mind that he and others like him are deceived themselves and spiritually blinded.

      In your posts you have consistently opposed error with grace, truth, and kindness and have been a godly example. Thank you and may the Lord also bless you and your ministries!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a good post responding to Dave Armstrong! I really thought this paragraph was the torpedo that sunk Armstrong’s ship: “But, in these verses, Paul IS suggesting celibacy rather than REQUIRING it as we can plainly see from other Scripture. Armstrong conveniently leaves out Paul’s letter to Timothy warning of the coming false teachers who would forbid marriage (1 Timothy 4:1-4). He also conveniently omits 1 Corinthians 9:5 which states that Peter and the other apostles were married. In another verse, Paul recommends that candidates for the office of pastor be the husband of only one wife (1 Timothy 3:2).”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He attached links to Catholic sources which apparently attempt to minimize those passages’ clear refutation of mandatory celibacy but I didn’t have the time or inclination to dig through that stuff at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. The author was fully aware of the Bible passages that contradict his arguments but conveniently chose to omit them.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s