Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils...Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (I Timothy 4:1-5)This passage simply does not apply to the Catholic Church. St. Paul wrote this against certain Gnostic sects of his day, which absolutely forbade their adherents to marry and taught that it was wrong to eat any meat ever! The Catholic Church does not do or teach these things.
Matrimony is a Holy Sacrament
Catholicism does not forbid marriage to everyone; in fact we celebrate and bless it in the Sacrament of Matrimony. We also recognize the glory of the celibate state, as taught in the Word of God. St. Paul himself was not married during his ministry (1 Corinthians 7:7-8) and says that it is good for some people not to marry in order to dedicate their whole lives to God (vvs 1, 7-8, 32-34). And Jesus spoke of those who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:12). So the Bible clearly teaches that consecrated celibacy is a blessed state, and the Church teaches this biblical truth.
People who become nuns and priests choose of their own volition to embrace celibacy. The Church does not force anyone to become a clergyman or religious. Catholics are free to marry if they choose, and if they choose not to marry they are free to choose religious life, or even to just remain single and chaste in the world. And if a priest or nun wishes to get married, they can be dispensed from their vows of celibacy, leave religious life and marry with the blessing of the Church. No Catholic is ever coerced by the Church into taking a vow of celibacy or remaining celibate against his or her will.
Also, let's not forget that some priests of the Eastern Catholic rites are married. They are Catholic priests, just as Catholic as priests of the Roman Rite, yet they are married because their particular tradition permits it. So the Catholic Church doesn't even require all her clergy members to be unmarried!
Vegetarianism Not Required
Nor does the Church absolutely forbid the consumption of meat, but only on certain days. We occasionally abstain from meat in order to deny our flesh; it is a practice akin to fasting, which Jesus commanded us to do (Matt 6:16-18). The Church does not demand total vegetarianism of all her children, as the Gnostics did, which is what St. Paul condemned.
Elsewhere he tells Christians:
"Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:3-4).According to this Scripture, non-Catholics should not judge Catholics for not eating meat on certain days. St. Paul says you are wrong to do so!
"He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks". (vs 6)When we Catholics eat not meat, we "eat it not" unto the Lord! We abstain from flesh meats for God, and the Bible says we are allowed to do so.
| Back: One Mediator | Next: Does Jesus Die Again? | Is Catholicism Unbiblical? | Apologetics Index | Site Index | Home Page |