Newly-minted ‘pink’ saint prompts an article about celibacy

Newly-minted ‘pink’ saint prompts an article about celibacy October 13, 2019

THE headline above a piece penned by Dorothy Cummings McLean for LifeSiteNews yesterday reads ‘Married priests? “John Henry Newman wouldn’t understand the reasons”.

Image via YouTube

That’s because, in all likelihood, “Pink Cardinal” Newman, above, was as gay as a lark.

But McLean doesn’t go there. Not even close. Instead – ahead of Newman being made a saint today – she quotes Fr Ignatius Harrison who petitioned for the English cardinal’s canonisation.

To be perfectly frank, I don’t think [Newman] would understand the reasons [for married priests].

The Provost of the Birmingham Oratory observed that Newman had friends among married Anglican clergy and that he counted married men and women among his Catholic friends.

But for Newman himself, the 100% commitment to serving Christ, which he saw as the essence of the priesthood: he didn’t understand how that would be compatible with having a family. I don’t mean for any moral reasons but, apart from anything else, the practical reasons.

For as St Paul says, a married man is concerned with his wife and children – quite rightly – whereas the unmarried man can devote himself exclusively to the Lord.

Harrison added:

I think there was also … a strong spiritual component to his commitment to chastity in this sense: chastity wasn’t simply [about] something he couldn’t do, it was part of his personal love for his Savior, his personal love for Christ. He wanted to live for the Lord alone, completely.

Image via YouTube

In a piece I posted about Newman in July, I quoted the Rev James Martin, above, a Jesuit priest and author of My Life with the Saints as saying:

It’s not unreasonable to think he might have been homosexual. His letters and his comments on the death of one of his close friends are quite provocative … It is church teaching that a gay person can be holy, and a gay person can be a saint. And it’s only a matter of time before the church recognisaes one publicly.

When Ambrose St John, Newman “companion” for 32 years, died in 1875, the cardinal was devastated. He wrote:

I have always thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or a wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that anyone’s sorrow can be greater than mine.

Just before his own death, Newman made a strongly worded request – not once but three times – that he be buried in the same grave with his lifelong friend.

When James Martin posted about the canonisation of Newman on his Facebook page yesterday, this comment appeared:

Hat tip: BarryJohn (BBC report).


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  • barriejohn

    I was wondering myself whether his boyfriend was being canonised as well!

  • Broga

    “whereas the unmarried man can devote himself exclusively to the Lord.”

    This is a obtuse refusal to accept the reality of human nature. It is the deprivation of sexual satisfaction that causes men (and he refers specifically to men) to obsess about it. Far from devoting “himself exclusively to the Lord” celibacy has the opposite effect. Not much evidence of the paedophile “celibate” priests, or the priests with sexual partners, male and female, devoting themselves “exclusively” to the Lord.

  • WallofSleep

    “… whereas the unmarried man can devote himself (and his wealth) exclusively to the Lord Church.”


  • Luis Gutierrez

    The church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,” but not necessarily patriarchal. Rather than perpetuating the ecclesiastical patriarchy by ordaining more married men, it is time to ordain celibate women to act “in persona Christi capitis.”

  • I’m sure you don’t mean to deny the very real existence of asexuals.

  • smrnda

    The Catholic church is facing a shortage of clergy, but yet it isn’t willing to budge on the issue of celibacy, or restricting the priesthood to men.

    And however ‘dedicated to god’ enough people – including many Catholics – have a hard time taking clergy seriously when they lecture on marriage simply because they know nobody from the priest to the pope is speaking from experience.

  • Broga

    Of course not. My knowledge of the extent and variety of human sexual or non sexual experience is very limited. I will have to ask you to excuse my ignorance.

  • barriejohn

    Asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy; and does “asexuality” really exist in the animal world? Obviously, degrees of sexuality exist, and it would appear that those with very low libido are well compensated for by the more highly sexed members of human society! It seems highly likely to me that all animals are potentially bisexual, as evolution might lead one to believe. As a gay man myself, I disagree profoundly with the view of Gore Vidal and others that “there is no such thing as homosexuality; only homosexual acts”. That seems pure nonsense to me. The subject is extremely complicated, and many are following their own agenda, which muddies the water.

  • barriejohn
  • Steven Watson

    Gore Vidal’s view is probably true – for Gore Vidal. We nearly all think ours is the default “right” view; we are nearly all wrong.

  • Steven Watson

    He sees himself as becoming the Defender of ALL Faiths… Someone should quiz him on whether that extends to …and None.

  • Douglas Bailey

    Marrying would be something weird like being like the rest of humanity, that they say their god created. And of course they know how peculiar those other christians, like protestants are. Actually, celibacy means not to marry, which was put in place to protect the wealth of the church from inheritance. So priests still had women, just didn’t legally marry. Abstinence from sex came later.

  • ShaLaLa

    Yes, asexuality exists in animals both in terms of asexual reproduction (both obligate and occasional – check out honey bees for a pretty cool example of the latter) and in terms of the sexual orientation, which is what the person you responded to was presumably referring to, and which (I would think) only exists in animals. Of course, some asexual people are not celibate – they are, as you point out, different things. Have a link! :]

  • Ingeborg Nordén

    I’m asexual and pagan myself — a hard-to-find combination, but not every polytheist conversion is about rituals being used as an excuse for a roll in the proverbial hay.