Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The drive to relate to others
I promised a report on the Clergy Continuing Education Seminar we have had this week. It has been really excellent. The presenter is very knowledgeable, experienced, balanced, and an engaging speaker. I obviously can't get into all the details and specifics, but the topic has been well-presented. The discussion these days has focused on human sexuality and the priest's commitment to celibacy. The bottom line is that sexuality, far from being reduced to mere genital activity, is that drive within each one of us to relate to others, to share ourselves and our talents with others, to be completed by means of giving ourselves to another. This reality of sexuality is operative in every human life and, if the priest's celibacy is to be truly a gift, healthy, and productive, he needs to integrate the reality of human sexuality without ignoring it or repressing it. Rather, celibacy is a gifted response to human sexuality because it brings about unity and community (life-giving), it serves others (self-gift), and it shares with a profoundly lonely world just how the celibate finds God present in the midst of the loneliness that he encounters within the boundaries of a sexual life lived in celibate fashion.

Well, that was probably too much to try to share in this medium and it was a pretty bad summary of the seminar days. Anyway, it has been a very good continuing education event, especially given that truly authentic talk of human sexuality hasn't always been done well in seminary, not to mention that a veil of silence hangs over the topic in many a person's family upbringing.

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