Ross Douthat and Tough-Guy Calvinists
From Ross Douthat, in The New York Times,
The rhetoric of anti-Catholicism, whether its sources are Protestant or secular, has always insisted that the church of Rome is the enemy of what you might call healthy sexuality. This rhetorical trope has persisted despite radical redefinitions of what healthy sexuality means; one sexual culture overthrows another, but Catholicism remains eternally condemned…But at the same time, the way the “healthy sexuality” supposedly available outside the church seems to change with every generation offers a reason to be skeptical that all Catholic ills would vanish if Rome only ceased making “unnatural” demands like celibacy and chastity.
The difference between the secularists of today who believe that priests need to be sexually liberated, and the Protestants of the past (and present), is that the Reformed believe Rome insisting on clerical celibacy goes beyond scripture and even violates it. This twists the gospel by concluding that celibacy is necessary for a better spiritual life.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:1-5:
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife,[a] as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
No man may vow to do anything forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise of ability from God. In which respects, popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.
These are significantly different kinds of critiques from the modern “love is love, do whatever what fulfills you sexually” criticism.