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Quodlibet 7: Is priesthood a higher, better, more spiritual calling than marriage?

Monday, November 19, 2007
Essentially it is not good to start considering the sacraments in terms of a hierarchical order: each of them has its particular role and function in the life of the Church. The seven sacraments touch the important moments in the Christian life, and this reflects a resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of spiritual life.

The sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony are directed towards the salvation of others, and so if they contribute towards personal salvation also, they do so through service to others - the priest in his service of the faithful, and the married person in the service of their spouse.

Through these sacraments, those who have already been consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation for the common priesthood of all the faithful receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in the name of Christ to feed the Church with the word and grace of God. Those who are married are consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament.

Ordination is not therefore a higher, better, or more spiritual calling than marriage. Nor, indeed, could the reverse be argued. Both are sacraments for the channelling of God's grace to all those who require it.


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