Why Celibacy?: Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest

By Fr. Carter Griffin

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Priestly celibacy, some say, is an outdated relic from another age. It is viewed by many as a lonely way of life and an unattainable ideal. The very idea of celibacy is met by many, even by many faithful Catholics, with a skeptical smile.

Fr. Carter Griffin argues in Why Celibacy?: Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest that the ancient practice of celibacy, when it is lived well, helps a priest to live his spiritual fatherhood joyfully and fruitfully. On the way, he takes up the question of optional celibacy, some pitfalls of celibate paternity, and the selection and formation of candidates for healthy, life-giving chaste priestly fatherhood. He also considers the significant gifts that would be lost to the Church—and the world—should the requirement for celibacy be modified.

This timely book captures the perennial wisdom of the Church which continues to propose the beauty of priestly celibacy in response to Jesus’s teaching that some are called to celibacy “for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”

Fr. Carter Griffin is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington. In 2011 he completed his doctorate in sacred theology with a dissertation entitled “Supernatural Fatherhood through Priestly Celibacy: Fulfillment in Masculinity.” Since 2011 he has been engaged in the formation of seminarians at Saint John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC. Fr. Griffin is a graduate of Princeton University and a former line officer in the United States Navy.

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