The oath of celibacy, often referred as the real Priesthood by the Catholic Church, has been described as a life of constant struggle.
The parish Priest of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, Idumagbo, Lagos Island, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Ekpo, admitted this much while fielding questions from our correspondent.
The Reverend gentleman, who hosted fellow Priests during the annual reunion of the ‘The Great 54’, in Lagos recently, stated that Priests are not at all immune to the temptation of the flesh, just like other members of the male gender.
In spite of their familiar sanctimonious mien, when Priests gather, they also spend quality time to discuss their feelings for the opposite sex; and the desire to explore the terrains of sexual intimacy.
But unlike other randy men, the servants of God know when to call it quits, give right direction to such discussions and used their shared experience to encourage and help each other to keep on the right track with their sacred priestly duties.
He said: “The temptation will always be there. As a human being, you have feelings; there are certain times you have feelings you want to be with the opposite sex. At the end of the day, you should be able to realize that it’s not all feelings, in biology it is called stimulus that you must respond to. That is where one must remind himself that you are a Priest.
“There must a difference between you and the common man, remain faithful. Sometimes people come to church especially in this situation, they come and get consolation from you the Priest, and to also help bring them closer to God by your ministration. By the time they come and see you on the other way side, you can imagine what it will be.”
According to Fr. Ekpo, Priests always have to fall back on the GRACE of God to keep them from falling. “His Grace is sufficient for us. Apostle Paul, when he narrated the dilemma of the human person in the scriptures says: ‘What I want to do I cannot do. But those things I don’t want to do, I see myself doing.’
“We also have our human limitations; and Paul gave us that assurance of the Grace of God which is our consolidation. So, it’s a life of constant struggle, you won’t say because you’ve done it well today and at the end of the day you will want to relax.”
“By the time you relax that is when the devil will fit in. One needs to remain steadfast and strong in faith,” Fr. Ekpo said.
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