Priestly Celibacy Today



Priestly Celibacy Today, by Thomas McGovern, is one of the most comprehensive treatments of an aspect of Church teaching which is widely controverted today. It will clarify many doubts about celibacy but, above all, it will confirm priests in their conviction about the supernatural richness of this gift of the Spirit.

In his 1992 document on the priesthood, “Pastores Dabo Vobis” John Paul II encouraged a presentation and explanation of celibacy “in the fullness of its biblical, theological and spiritual richness.” This book responds to that concern.

After reviewing the historical development of celibacy in the Churches of the East and West, Fr. McGovern examines the scriptural and theological foundations of this charism, highlighting the spousal dimension of celibacy, a key concept in “Pastores Dabo Vobis”.

Drawing on John Paul II’s extensive catechetical teaching on “the nuptial meaning of the body”, the author also explores in some depth the anthropological aspect of celibacy and its implications for priestly formation and priestly holiness.

Fr. Thomas McGovern, a priest of the Opus Dei Prelature, is chaplain to Carraigburn University Centre, Dublin, Ireland. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarre, Spain, and is a frequent contributor to “Homiletic and Pastoral Review” and to “Position Papers” (Dublin). In his pastoral work Fr. McGovern preaches regularly to priests, and has for many years carried out a work of spiritual guidance with them. He has written extensively on different aspects of the priestly life, and will shortly be publishing a book on this topic: “Priests & Priesthood”.