Ask a Priest


Aug 12, 2016

Hi Father,

Today’s reading, Matthew 19:3-12, mentions that “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so”. Can you please elaborate on that, I read the foot note and it mentioned eunuchs, and castration, can you also clarify what these mean.

Thank you,

Asked at 04:37 pm on August 12th 2016

Hi Ines, castration means an intervention that makes males incapable of procreating children, and ‘eunuch’ generally refers to a castrated male. In Mt 19: 12, Jesus mentions some ‘who have been [eunuchs] from birth, and…eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men,’ referring first to those born impotent, then to those who were castrated. Finally he adds a third kind of ‘eunuch’-those ‘who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven,’ referring to those who chose virginity or celibacy as a witness on earth of God’s love.

St Thomas Aquinas notes that if there were no sin in the world, this witness wouldn’t be necessary, but that in our fallen state, we need some who witness to their devotion to the highest value, God, without in any way disparaging the excellence of the sacrament of marriage. Surely this is why Jesus, in his humanity, was celibate, as was Our Lady and St Joseph. Paul Riceour, one of the greatest French 20th century philosophers, and a Calvinist, recognized the great value of this witness of celibacy/virginity for married people like himself, since it proved that sexuality itself wasn’t a blind passion, but could and should be activated only within the context of Christian purity. Very best, Fr Brendan

Replied at 04:59 am on August 19th 2016

So, those who cannot procreate, weren’t born for marriage?

I am 22 and do not quite feel capable for marriage in the sense that I am a selfish person, and knowing that this is a sin, I know that either in marriage or consecrated life I would have to be humble and generous.

Thing is, I haven’t found my vocation and I’m confused about everything.

Replied at 04:59 pm on August 23rd 2016