This series on priestly celibacy began with a guest post. That was Ignace de la Potterie, S.J. And now we have another, this time on something noted by the Venerable Fulton J Sheen, this being recalled by a priest friend, a past student of mine, who has far surpassed his teacher in all things. For that, I rejoice.
That priest is presently across the pond. He’s been been distracted by this blog from time to time. He has gone to the point of sending in some Flowers for the Immaculate Conception from the patio-rooftop from which he can see the Vatican. It’s rare for him to make such an intervention. But in following this series on Priestly Celibacy he couldn’t help but rejoice in recalling what the Venerable Sheen had said. Behold:
Dear Father, [I’m always happy to see the spelled out version instead of the abbreviation “Fr.”, and “Father” instead of “Reverend” or “Rev.” Priests need to know they are Father. We need to remind priests of their fatherhood of their parish families. This is all part of priestly celibacy. Don’t use nicknames or merely names with your priests, like “Skippy” or “Jim Bob.” Remind them of their calling, especially if you think they’ve lost the plot.]
A blessed Lent to you! [Lent is about the blessings of deepened friendship with the Lord Jesus.] I have been ever so grateful for your recent celibacy posts. It is refreshing to see faithful, truth-preaching priests amidst the chaos of these days. [Thank Jesus’ good mom for dealing with the awful likes of me.] May my own donkiness* be as simple and humble as yours one day! [Already done, my friend. Already done.]
I also wanted to send along an interesting bit I heard from Ven. Fulton Sheen today. [“heard”… In other words, he’s listening to the shows and retreat conferences and talks given by the Archbishop. I think I wore out all the little cassette tapes of his talks back in the 1980s. Good memories.]
He was talking to priests about celibacy and started with the Old Testament. He said there were only 3 instances when a “temporary celibacy” arose:
 before theophanies (e.g. Moses commands this before ascending Sinai);
 in wartime (David and his men when they receive the show bread from the priest);
 and at the dedication of the Temple.
How applicable these are to us, no?
 For as priests we are constantly in the Divine Theophany of the Eucharist and the Sacred Liturgy— we are constantly in the Temple of the Church, and are temples of the Holy Spirit.  And if it isn’t clear to all and sundry that we are at constant war as priests, then they haven’t been paying attention! Spiritual warfare, war with the spirit of the world. But we have angels on our side.
Anyway, I know you refer to the good Fulton Sheen every so often, so I wanted to send this along. I look forward to the future posts about “making room” and celibacy. Know of my prayers for you. I will offer Mass for you tomorrow morning. God bless! [I am very humbled by you’re offering Mass for me, dearest Father. Thank you. I shall return the favor in just a few hours, at the parish’s Noon Mass at Holy Redeemer.]
* Donkeys are always in the midst of the Holy Family, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and all the way back to Nazareth and, years later, bringing Jesus into Jerusalem for the Last Supper and His Passion, Death and Resurrection.