TOB Tuesday: Is Celibacy a Life of Sexual Repression?

ChelseaCelibacy, Chastity, Lust, Marriage, Sex, Sexuality, Theology of the Body, TOB Tuesday1 Comment

Christopher West has a great article up at Catholic Exchange:

The difference between marriage and celibacy…must never be understood as the difference between having a “legitimate” outlet for sexual lust on the one hand and having to repress it on the other. Christ calls everyone – no matter his or her particular vocation – to experience redemption from the domination of lust. Only from this perspective do the Christian vocations (celibacy and marriage) make any sense. Both vocations – if they are to be lived as Christ intends – flow from the same experience of the redemption of sexuality.

Liberation from the domination of concupiscence – that disordering of our appetites caused by original sin – is essential, John Paul II taught, if we are to live our lives “in the truth” and experience the divine plan for human love (see TOB 43:6, 47:5). Indeed, Christian sexual ethos “is always linked . . . with the liberation of the heart from concupiscence” (TOB 43:6). And this liberation is just as essential for consecrated celibates and single people as it is for married couples (see TOB 77:4).
It is precisely this liberation that allows us to discover what John Paul II called “mature purity.” In mature purity “man enjoys the fruits of victory over concupiscence” (TOB 58:7). This victory is gradual and certainly remains fragile here on earth, but it is nonetheless real. For those graced with its fruits, a whole new world opens up – another way of seeing, thinking, living, talking, loving, praying.

John Paul II observed that the celibate person must submit “the sinfulness of his humanity to the powers that flow from the mystery of the redemption of the body … just as every other person does” (TOB 77:4). This is why he indicates that the call to celibacy is not only a matter of formation but of transformation (see TOB 81:5). The person who lives this transformation is not bound to indulge his lusts. He is free with what John Paul II called “the freedom of the gift.” This means his desires are not in control of him; rather, he is in control of his desires.

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TOB Tuesdays
Related TOB Tuesday Posts:
The Spousal Meaning of the Body and God’s Will for Man
“How do They Know? They’re Celibates!”

One Comment on “TOB Tuesday: Is Celibacy a Life of Sexual Repression?”

  1. “Transformation” is the key word. The world does not understand transformation in Christ. That is why celibacy is viewed by the world as a repression of the sexual faculty. The world does not believe there is anything to be transformed from, that man has a fallen nature due to original sin. Christ shows us perfectly how each of us, regardless of vocation, is called to live, that each of us is called to make a complete gift of self, and it is only Christ who can transform us to be able to live out God’s will for us.

    God bless,

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