To the editor:
I see that Father Richard McBrien remains a touted columnist for the Catholic Courier, despite his reputation as one of the leading dissenters in the Church and who to this day has failed to honor the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine’s request to correct the errors in his major work "Catholicism."
His posted column, "Does Jesus’ marital status matter?" is but another offensive example of the Notre Dame theology professor’s years of effort to weaken the Church’s supernatural case for a celibate priesthood. It does matter that he and Jesuit James Martin, editor of America magazine, choose to question the import of the Church’s doctrine on Our Lord’s virginity and celibacy for that doctrine is admittedly — and profoundly — linked to the Church’s legislation requiring a freely chosen and perpetual celibacy of those admitted to Holy Orders in the Western Church.
It is apparent that Father McBrien who was declared by Notre Dame’s philosophy professor Dr. Ralph McInerney to be the "worst thing that ever happened to the University," utterly fails — like many others — to grasp the mystery of Christ’s celibacy. It is true that the celibacy of Christ was not absolutely necessary. However, it was not fitting that the only Begotten Son of God should be, according to the flesh, the husband of a particular woman. Christ’s lifestyle was to be virginal and pure, manifesting his transcendence of a fallen humanity subject to Original Sin; it was dominated, moreover, by His free decision to die crucified for our eternal salvation.
The virginity of Jesus was "unto death," a sacrifice which anticipated His death on the Cross, wherein the Word consecrated to the Father the male sexuality assumed by Him and that had already been consecrated by the hypostatic union — the uniting of the divine and human natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ. The Son ceaselessly offered this sacrifice to the Father for the salvation of a sexed humanity which all too readily profanes and desecrates the gift of sexuality. The truth is that the virginity and obedience of Jesus unto death was an integral part of His redemptive sacrifice. It constitutes a truth that dissenters from Humanae Vitae such as Father McBrien find themselves especially unable to understand.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The column in question was published — online only — in October, 2012. Father James Martin is America’s editor at large, not its editor in chief.