I must say that if it is true that the Pope said that celibacy is "the sign of full devotion" and of an "entire commitment to the Lord," that really ticks me off. It is ridiculous, in my opinion, to think that one cannot fully devote themselves to the Lord and be married at the same time. Look at St. Peter himself! He was married! How could anyone possibly say that he did not fully devote himself to the Lord? If a married person is martyred for the Lord, does that mean that their martyrdom is less than full devotion because they were married? Ridiculous! This is bad theology, because it sets marriage up as an IMPEDIMENT to full devotion to Christ. I would think that if Christ thought marriage was an impediment to a relationship with Him, He wouldn't have blessed it.
I think the emphasis is being unmarried allows the man to devote himself single heartedly to his flock. And this is the same rational we Byzantines, Orthodox and Catholic, use for having a celibate episcopate. The Latins have simply applied the same principal to its priests as well.
Fr. Deacon Lance
Respectfully, Deacon, I have to disagree. I understand the rationale behind why we allow both celibacy and marriage. I understand the practical necessity of a bishop being celibate (and I agree 100%, wholeheartedly with it-- I do not believe in a married episcopacy). But what we believe about marriage and celibacy is that they are two different roads that lead to the same place(provided we travel them well), and that is salvation. I believe 100% in the legitimacy and importance of BOTH roads. And I'm sorry, but we do not(and CAN NOT) set one up over another. We do not set up marriage as an impediment to devoting oneself to Christ.
As a personal addition to this, I think any married priest (including my husband) would tell you that they devote themselves single-heartedly to Christ too (as would any Presbytera I know, including myself). They just manifest it differently-- by loving their spouses, making sacrifices in their marriages, and by living faithfully in their marriage, which was blessed by God just as celibacy was.
I don't want to go into the theological arguments of marriage vs. celibacy (we used to argue it ad nauseum
at the seminary, and I had quite enough of it there). I will just say that I think it is terribly dangerous to set either road over the other, to set up one as more righteous than the other. Each is valid. Each requires equal sacrifice and devotion. Each is blessed by God. Each is supported by the fathers (I particularly love what St. John Chrysostom says on the subject) and the Tradition of the Church.
Enough of my long winded soapbox now...