Recently in conjunction with a Prayer Vigil for priests, the Holy Father took questions from five priests. Here is his response to a question about celibacy:
“A great problem of modern Christianity is that we no longer think of the future of God: the present moment of this world seems sufficient. … In this way we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy – as an anticipation of the future – is precisely to open these doors, … to show the reality of the future which we must live here in the present, and in this way bear witness to our faith. We truly believe that God exists, … that we can found our lives on Christ and on the life to come”.
On the subject of worldly criticism, the Pope noted how “for the agnostic world … celibacy is a great scandal because it shows that God is considered to be real and is lived as a reality. … Celibacy is a definitive ‘yes’, it is allowing oneself to be taken by the hand of God, giving oneself into the Lord’s hands, into His ‘self’. Thus it is an act of faithfulness and trust, an act which presupposes the faithfulness of marriage, … which is the biblical form, the natural form, of being man and woman, foundation of the great Christian culture and of other great cultures of the world. If this is lost, the roots of our culture will be destroyed. Thus celibacy confirms the ‘yes’ of marriage with its ‘yes’ to the world to come. This is how we wish to proceed and actualise this scandal of a faith which founds all of existence on God. … We pray to the Lord to help us free ourselves from secondary scandals, to make this great scandal of our faith present: the trust, the power of our life founded in God, in Christ Jesus”.