A Yes to God?
In his 1979 essay, "Celibacy: Exquisite Torture or a Yes to God?"
Ravindra-Svarupa dasa (Dr. William Deadwyler) writes about his speaking
before Catholic seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in
"...I knew some of their problems. I knew that the Church was losing priests at an alarming rate, and that there was agitation among the clergy for a married priesthood. Indeed, I had seen some of this turbulence at an appallingly close range: while I was doing graduate work in religion at Temple University. I had watched as one Catholic
religious after another abandoned their vows to take up secular life.
Some got married; others simply hit the streets...
"...After years of lecturing, I could get just about any audience to chant, but this chanting was exceptional; this chanting was robust, spirited, with none of the sectarian reluctance I had feared. It was alive. These were clearly not ordinary men...
"...with much bitterness and resentment, they began criticizing the rule of celibacy. The Krishna consciouness movement, of course, has married priests. (I'm one.) But I told them that even married couples restrict sexual intercourse to once a month; and then only if they are trying to have a child. ('Rhythm' we regard as another form of cheating.) One of them said that it sounded *worse* than celibacy; they clearly didn't want marriage on those terms, either.
"I was appalled by the amount of sexual frustration these men were giving voice to. It was wrong. So I started to question them about their life in the seminary, and it soon became quite clear why they were having such immense difficulty. To begin with, they had large stretches of idle time on their hands. Moreover, they freely read novels and magazines, habitually watched television. All these activities certainly agitated their senses. And there was nothing spiritual about their eating habits. It was strictly for the tongue, and they were accustomed to drinking beer and smoking. This was their plight: they had lots of idle time, their senses were kept continuously under the bombardment of materialistic stimulation, and then--they were told to be celibate!
No one could be celibate under those circumstances. They were being cruelly, exquisitely tortured. Then I remembered the monsignor with his perverse syllogism: 'Everything God has made is good. God has made alcohol...' (He made arsenic, too, but you don't ingest that!) I became angry. It was criminal to do this. These seminarians were not ordinary men: they wanted, and wanted very badly, to dedicate their lives fully to God. But nobody was showing them how. They were living in a way to agitate all their senses, and then commanded to be celibate! Of course they were always falling down, always laboring under a huge load of guilt. No wonder they were so cynical, so bitter and resentful. I wondered why nobody was teaching them. They didn't even know the ABCs of spiritual life. They were being criminally betrayed.
Of course, Ravindra Svarupa dasa comments on Bhagavad-gita 12.10 in the
November 1991 Back to Godhead: "...there's absolutely nothing wrong with the
movement's having all kinds of people who aren't following the strict
regulative principles. Where we have a problem is with people who have at
one time or another taken formal vows to follow the
principles of the second group and then found themsleves unable to keep them.
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