When I was in college, the leader of a young adult group told me something like, “While the particular vocation a person is called to is the best vocation for them, the priesthood and consecrated vocations are objectively greater.”

At the time I was dating or engaged, so I was pretty annoyed by that comment. So I approached the guy afterwards and challenged him about it. He was like, “I’m just saying what the Church teaches.”

So, being me, I went digging. I found this infamous comic from the Baltimore Catechism:

While the Baltimore Catechism isn’t magisterial teaching, it’s based on this passage from the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.”

That pretty much stopped me in my tracks. For years this teaching never sat well with me, but I accepted it and tried my best to understand. However, after reading Amoris Laetitia, I realized that Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have thankfully clarified and developed this teaching.

Dominic and I use Amoris Laetitia as a jumping off point for our personal reflections on how married people live out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

This episode is available now on Youtube and on your favorite podcast app.

In this episode, Dominic and Paul talk about what the universal call to holiness can look like in the married vocation. Both of us grew up being taught that the celibate vocations are better than the married vocation. This idea can give the impression that holiness is for the “professionals” and lay people are exempted from living the radical life Jesus invites all of us to. However, since Vatican II, the Church has developed her teaching in this area.

“Those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union” (Amoris Laetitia 316).

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Paul Faheylives in Michigan with his wife and four kids. For the past eight years, he has worked as a professional catechist. He has an undergraduate degree in Theology and is currently working toward a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling. He is a retreat leader, catechist formator, writer, and a co-founder of Where Peter Is. He is also the founder and co-host of the Pope Francis Generation podcast. His long-term goal is to provide pastoral counseling for Catholics who have been spiritually abused, counseling for Catholic ministers, and counseling education so that ministers are more equipped to help others in their ministry.

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