The requirement of celibacy for a Latin Rite priest is one of the greatest sources of anxiety and fear in a man who is discerning priesthood. Many young men respond to celibacy with comments like these:
- "I can never become a priest because I like girls too much."
- "I am afraid that I will be lonely and not happy without a wife."
- "I have a history of sexual activity; I am not a virgin. Can I still become a priest?"
- "I have some degree of same-sex attraction and this worries me greatly. Can I be accepted to go to seminary with this problem?"
- "It is not so much giving up sex that worries me, but not having a companion. I don't know if I can live my life happily without the intimacy of a wife and having my own children."
If you have these thoughts you are not alone. Pope Francis himself admitted to having to discern celibacy very carefully as a young seminarian. "I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle's wedding … I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance … and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing."
If even the pope had second thoughts about celibacy, you should not be surprised that you yourself struggle with the issue!
Celibacy, the state of being unmarried, is not done to repress ones sexuality, but instead is a gift given by God to a man that calls him to give up a single women in order to serve all God's people. Is it radical? Yes! Does it mean that you will spend the rest of your life unhappy? No! Celibacy competes daily with a sex-saturated society and culture that trumpets the message that sex brings happiness. Here is a fact of truth that is not shared by society. There are over 400,000 celibate priests in the world, and the vast majority report great happiness and fulfillment.
From To Save A Thousand Souls