November 14, 2012
THE ARGUMENT AGAINST CELIBATE CLERGY:
Marriage vs. Existential Loneliness: Still More on the Christian View (Peter Lawler, 11/13/12, First Things)
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 14, 2012 6:29 PMWe relational beings are erotically directed the intimate relationship called marriage. As Pope John Paul II explained, in the absence of woman the first man was marked by an "existential loneliness." [...]So existential loneliness, of course, means more than being unable to fulfill your natural purpose as a social animal. Adam quickly realized that by naming the animals that he was alone among the animals he named. He had the freedom of the being with a name who can name, and so he couldn't integrate himself into the rest of creation.Adam's loneliness was being without woman, without a person made in God's image who can know and love him just as he is as a whole being--another being with a name who can name.We require loving relationships with other persons, and usually a spouse and children, to be who we really are as relational beings. That need is not merely physiological or biological, although it is that. It is the need of the being made to love and be loved personally. It is through personal knowing and loving that we live in the image of God. We can't be whole or self-sufficient persons all alone, even as God himself cannot.The remedy for existential loneliness is not the surrender of personal identity--as a Buddhist or Socrates might say--but the loving relationship of one person with another--whole persons shaped by bodies but not determined by bodily necessity the way the other animals are. We need to be loved by a person who complements or completes us, who's not just like us but for us, and each of us is for that other person.So marriage is, for Christians, the primordial sacrament, the sacrament that's most deeply the visible sign of the presence of God or personal logos in the world. It's through marriage, above all, that man participates in this world in the relational life of the person. It's in marriage, above all, that our logos is most properly directed to personal knowing and loving.