|Emil Jacques (U. of Notre Dame)|
Celibacy, then, is a gift of self "in" and "with" Christ to His Church and expresses the service of the priest to the Church "in" and "with" the Lord.
It would be entirely immature to see celibacy as "a tribute to be paid to the Lord" in order to receive Holy Orders rather than "a gift received through His mercy", as the free and welcomed choice of a particular vocation of love for God and others.
The example is Christ, who in going against what could be considered the dominant culture of his time, freely chose to live celibacy. In following Him the disciples left "everything" to fulfill the mission entrusted to them. For this reason the Church, from apostolic times, has wished to conserve the gift of perpetual continence of the clergy and choose the candidates for Holy Orders from among the celibate faithful…
To lovingly safeguard the gift received amidst today's climate of irritating sexual permissiveness, they will find in their communion with Christ and with the Church, in their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in considering the example of holy priests of all times, the strength necessary to overcome difficulties they may find along their way and act according to that maturity which gives them credence before the world.