Celibacy and Chastity

Can a married person become a sister/brother?

Dear Tegan ,

Thank you for your question. The simple answer is 'no' - not in the traditional sense of a Sister or Brother in a Religious Order. They could only do so if they separated, divorced, and the marriage was annulled, and/or one of the partners dies.
There is the matter of dependant children as well.

Someone could only join a Religious Order once their children had grown up and were living independent lives. Sisters and Brothers take a vow of Chastity to live as celibates, meaning that instead of committing themselves in marriage, they commit to living a community lifestyle, to be of loving service to others, for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Many married people today, though, make a commitment to live a community lifestyle - in a Covenant Community. In these communities, married people, single people, Priests,
Sisters and Brothers all live, either in separate house groups or together in mixed groups.

I hope this answers your question.

God Bless,
Br Rod

I am interested in joining an order, but with celibacy vow does that mean I have to be a virgin?

Dear Maree,

Thank you for your question. In regard to the vow of celibacy - when a person joins a religious congregation they will normally take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience after they have spent 1 or 2 years as a novice. This time as a novice is a time of discernment and learning about what it means to make this commitment to Christ through the vows. The vow of chastity/celibacy is meant to help draw the person into a deep and intimate relationship with Christ - they are able to share God's love and compassion with all but choose not to have exclusive relationships with any one individual. This vow and commitment does not take place until one has joined a religious order so the fact of the person not being a virgin when they enter should not bar them from Religious life. I hope this is helpful Maree. God Bless.

Sr Monica

What has the Church done, or what is it planning to do regarding the homosexual priest that has not been, and is not intending to keep his vows of chasity?

Dear Rita ,

Thank you Rita for your question, and sorry for the delay in answering. I have not read of this case. I am not an official spokesperson, so you might be better informed if you directed your question to the Bishop's Secretary in the particular Diocese.

As a theoretical answer, a Priest who publicly declares that he will not keep his promise of chastity, is defying his Bishop, and therefore I would assume the Bishop would put in place a process of consultations / mediation, that, if the Priest maintained his position, would lead to him being removed from the ministry.

Br Rod Thomson

Why should you have to be celibate to be able to pursue your vocation with God? If its an act of love between two people then why should it be a problem?

Dear Mary Jane,

Your question is one that many people ask. You are right about love and so to understand why celibacy is intergral to religious life, you need to understand what religious life is all about. When a person becomes a Religious (brother or sister) what they are doing is expressing their love for God. They want to love God above all else ... above all people, above all material things. To achieve this goal they dedicate themselves totally to God alone. When a person falls in love with another human they do all in their power to be together and in their love for each other they dedicate themselves to each other to the exclusion of other partners. Some people hear the call to God to love God above all else and so they vow their whole self to God to the exclusion of all others. Their love will be available to be used by God. This is why we religious are celibate. It is our way of giving our all in total love to God. Celibacy is not a lack of love or a denial of love, but a very specific way of expressing love May God bless you with peace.

Sr Veronica

Would the fact that I am not physically a virgin prevent me from being ordained as a permanent deacon?

Dear Ken,

The basic and short answer to your question is NO - it will have no effect on your future committments as a Deacon. The vow or promise of celibacy is to remain celibate for the rest of your life. Virginity is not a prerequisite to making this vow. There are priests, sisters and brothers who are widows and widowers, and are parents and grandparents. What is essential is that you are committed to living your future life as a celibate, and believe that this is the vocation or lifestyle that will bring you fullness of life.

I hope that this response is helpful for you, Ken, and wish you all the best in discerning your future.

God bless
Fr Brian.


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