The culture assumes celibacy is unhealthy, repressive, and gamophobic, but is it?
Canadian priest Father Harrison Ayre says no, which is why he started the trending Twitter hashtag #celibacymatters.
“The common misconceptions people have about celibacy: sexual repression, the confusion between celibacy and chastity, and that [priests] didn’t want or couldn’t handle marriage,” Father Ayre told CNA.
“No, this is a healthy lifestyle. It’s the way Jesus lived. If Jesus can live it then with his grace we can live it too.”
The hashtag began after the priest read a tweet from comedian Joe Rogan, a frequent critic of the Catholic Church. Rogan tweeted on March 6 the question: “At what point are we going to realize that forced celibacy is unnatural and unhealthy?”Father Ayre, the pastor of Holy Family Notre Dame parish in Port Alberni, British Columbia, lamented that authentic human sexuality has been misrepresented in popular culture today, and that the importance of sexual love has been over exaggerated.
The culture has “this overemphasis on sex, like it’s the ‘end all, be all’ of life,” said Father Ayre. “When you see something like Joe Rogan’s tweet, they are trying to tear down the Church to its level.”
Society, he said, considers celibacy an impossibility, and views celibates as people sexually repressed or afraid of marriage. Rather than repressing their sexuality, he said priests “are actually sexually free in a good way… living our sexuality in a beautiful healthy way.”