National Directory



greater freedom to serve God and man. The choice of celibacy is not an expression of contempt for marriage nor of flight from reality but a special way of serving man and the world.” 70 76. The celibate commitment remains one of the most fundamental expressions of Jesus’ call to radical discipleship for the sake of the Kingdom on earth and as an eschatological sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. 71 “This perfect continency, out of desire for the kingdom of heaven, has always been held in particular honor in the Church. The reason for this was and is that perfect continency for the love of God is an incentive to charity, and is certainly a particular source of spiritual fecundity in the world.” 72 77. If the celibate deacon gives up one kind of family, he gains another. In Christ, the people he serves become mother, brother, and sister. In this way, celibacy as a sign and motive of pastoral charity takes flesh. Reciprocity, mutuality, and affection shared with many become chan nels that mold and shape the celibate deacon’s pastoral love and his sexuality. “Celibacy should not be considered just as a legal norm . . . but rather as a value . . . whereby [the celibate deacon] takes on the likeness of Jesus Christ . . . as a full and joyful availability in his heart for the pastoral ministry.” 73 78. In one way or another, celibacy affects every deacon, married or unmarried. Understanding the nature of celibacy — its value and its practice — is essential to the married deacon. Not only does this under standing strengthen and nurture his own commitment to marital chas tity, but it also helps to prepare him for the possibility of living celibate chastity should his wife predecease him.Tragically, some deacons who were married at the time of ordination only begin to face the issues involved with celibacy upon the death of their wives. As difficult as this Celibacy Affects Every Deacon

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