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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SOLT Seminarians Receive Formation in the Gift of Celibacy

Living Celibacy with Joy

Pick up a newspaper or engage someone in a conversation about clerical celibacy in the Catholic Church today and you are bound to see or hear the discussion continually bounce around words such as “unfair,” “unhealthy,” “requirement,” “antiquated,” and “restriction.”But if you had been a fly on the wall in the SOLT House of Studies in Rome from February 22 – 24, you would have heard a radically different outlook and approach to the topic of celibacy from men who are not just talking about it, but living it with joy and generosity.

The Gift of Celibacy

In this house men view celibacy preeminently as a gift from God and as a unique reflection of the resurrected life in heaven, where the children of God “neither marry nor are given in marriage...” (Mt 22:30)  It is with this conviction that the SOLT formators and seminarians welcomed into their midst Msgr. Ross Shecterle, Rector of the American College at Louvain (and licensed psychologist), who had travelled to Rome to speak to the men on a full gamut of topics concerning priestly celibacy.

A Gift for Others

Prior to his position in Louvain, Msgr. Shecterle,who hails from the Diocese of Milwaukee, had served the seminarians at the North American College here in Rome for several years as the in-house psychologist. To say the least, this House of Studies was excited to learn more profoundly from him the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dynamics behind a healthy and fruitful life of celibacy. What is more, the talks offered a step forward in pastoral savvy for the men, as much of what was learned is applicable to the universal call to holiness and chaste love.  Msgr. Shecterle’s visit definitely marks one of the high points in this year’s in-house priestly formation program.