Pontifications

Pontifications


Jesuit weekly: Church should consider married priests

posted by David Gibson

America magazine, the Jesuit weekly that has taken serious heat from Rome (and in particular Joseph Ratzinger) in recent years, this weeks shows again that in the year of its centennial, it remains a rare venue for serious discussion of sensitive topics.

This week’s editorial, “A Modest Proposal,” uses the impending opening of the Year of the Priest (June 19) as an occasion to call for an “open discussion” on addressing the vocations crisis, including the possibility of ordaining married men:

Married priests already minister in the Catholic Church, both East and West. Addressing the married clergy of the Eastern Catholic churches, the Second Vatican Council exhorted “all those who have received the priesthood in the married state to persevere in their holy vocation and continue to devote their lives fully and generously to the flock entrusted to their care” (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests,” No. 16). That exhortation now applies to the more than 100 former Anglican priests and Lutheran ministers who have entered the Catholic Church, been ordained and now serve in the Latin rite. As we face the challenges of the priest shortage, some of the more than 16,000 permanent deacons in the United States, many of them married, who experience a call to priestly ministry might be called to ordination with a similarly adapted discipline. In addition, the views and desires of some of the more than 25,000 priests who have been laicized (and are now either single or married) should also be heard.

Our plea is modest. The bishops of the United States should take greater leadership in openly discussing the priest shortage and its possible remedies. These should not be conversations in which we face a problem only to find every new avenue of solution closed. Rather, they should be exchanges fully open to the possibilities offered by the Spirit.

The editorial notes that Cardinal Edward Egan, in a farewell interview, was the latest ranking prelate to say the possibility was a “pefectly legitimate” point of discussion, and that is the consensus everywhere–laity to hierarchy–expect in the one place that matters, the papal apartments.

The problem is not one of “liberalizing” the church–it’s not about sex or doctrine. It is, as the America editorial notes, about the Eucharist:

“Catholic communities will become only infrequent eucharistic communities, or eucharistic communities will be severed from the pastoral care and public witness of priests” the editors write. “All this prompts the question, Will the priest shortage impose a eucharistic famine on the Catholic people?”

Good question. Will this editorial help spur some real discussion? The entire editorial is as good and succinct an argument as you’ll find. Read it all here…



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Your Name

posted April 26, 2009 at 10:05 pm


I must say I wavier on this topic. I am working towards joining the Carmelite Sisters. I simply can’t imagine dividing the time and commitment it requires to fully serve our Father. However priests are human beings with a desire to share their life with someone meaningful. If and when I become a sister I can only imagine serving one.



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John Q. Catholic

posted April 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm


The editors of America Magazine should be fired for treason.



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Recovering Catholic

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:34 am


I suspect the Catholic Church will disappear in the developed world if it does not mature. Catholics in any country can no longer tolerate bigotry, prejudice against gays, women, divorced people and the enabling of pedophile priests. We need a clergy who are educated, empathetic, worldly individuals (male and female) who can marry if they desire and shepherd the faithful in the modern world. Until that happens, Catholicism will continue to shrink into oblivion.



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Ed Gleason

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:41 am


Married priests are here already.. what’s needed is more.
A delay will close parishes, short the sacramental life of the laity.
More yelling is needed.. more bishops need to speak up.. Get with it and do so now…



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Cindy

posted April 27, 2009 at 7:53 am


And don’t forget the ex-Baptist Minister who was ordained as well… not just Anglican and Lutherans.
http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2008/08/married-ex-baptist-minister-to-become.html
I hope this does indeed lead to fruitful conversation.



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Bob Schwiderski

posted April 27, 2009 at 7:54 am


Identify all the known Jesuit sex offenders and those within the Order before jumping onto the married priest subject.
Spring cleaning the Jesuit house by removing the dirt swept under the rug. Then host the public debate about married clergy.



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An interesting comment

posted April 27, 2009 at 8:26 am


Married priests and women priests are already here. Neither are recognized.
In responsed to Sunday’s ordination, Philadelphia’s Cardinal Rigali was quoted as saying that “Jesus ordained only men.” Cardinal Rigali knows that that statement is patently untrue. Jesus did not ordain anyone, not the twelve, not anyone.
Saying so doesn’t make it true and neither does wishing.



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alex

posted April 27, 2009 at 8:52 am


I love my bishop. No, I mean, I really love him. (wink)



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MBD

posted April 27, 2009 at 9:38 am


I have mixed feelings on this. I love the celibate priesthood, and find that celibacy is one of the most attractive things about being a priest – it is heroic. It also has an eschatological meaning, that would be more obvious is the Church were better catechized. But, I say this all as someone who would seriously consider entering the priesthood as a married man (I’m getting married this year).
I hesitate to bring in the status distinctions that will come with a married priesthood. Will unmarried priests believe themselves more holy? There are very official pronouncements that a celibate state is just that. Will married priests hold it over their bachelor colleagues? Will the Church pay priests more just because they have a family to support? Will parishioners, many of whom feel they give enough in money to the CHurch, be willing to support Father, when he has seven or eight children to educate? How will parishioners handle it when they see their pastor out on a date? Or on a few?
I worry about alienating priest’s wives form the Church. How often do wives feel that their husband’s career is competing with them? How much more when their husband is offering the sacraments? Or their children? Many evangelicals can tell you about the distressing phenomena of “Pastor’s Kids.”



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Maryanne Linkes

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:22 am


How very sad that these chosen representatives of Christ are not satisfied with their God given vocation. How sad that when they are not obedient to our Holy Father and Holy Mother Church, they are really being disobedient to Jesus Christ. They have taken their eyes off of Jesus and the evil one has deceived them. We must pray for them. It is with a heavy heart that I say, it may be best that they no longer be an active priest since they do not accept the vocation as it is. Pride has entered their hearts where they think they are God. No wonder the Jesuit order is not growing. But please remember, there are still faithful Jesuits. May God continue to strengthen them during this tough time and may He help those unfaithful to come back to Him.



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DML

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:28 am


The America magazine article is making a small and timid step towards the issue of who should be a priest, personally I think that married men, women and gays and celibate people should be able to become priests. Most of us know that doctrinal rhetoric mocks the reality of our situation, both past and present for our male priests. We needn’t bother ourselves with splitting hairs over whether this is doctrine or discipline, Jesus freely choosing twelve men, etc, you know the verbage.
I’m not sure why some are committed to maintaining discriminatory practices. We will look back in fifty years and be ashamed. Of course, we know that the majority of the Apostles were married. Paul even refers to a female apostle (Junias) and deacon (Chloe).



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:30 am


There is only One Priest, High Priest, and that is Jesus Christ. All Priests in The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church are representatives of the High Priest, Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is ludicrous to even discuss the option of marriage for priests. Of course, if you are in America with the illusion that the Roman Catholic Church is a Democracy and that you, as a priest ,should have the option of marriage,you are a want-to-be -priest-. No authentic Roman Catholic Priest thinks he should be married, because he is already married to The One and Only Authentic Catholic Church, which is the Bride of Christ. The “Real Representatives, the Priests, of Jesus Christ” knows that he is already married, to the Church and it is a full-time Job administering the Sacraments and Teaching the Word.



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Guy Selvester

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:43 am


There are two things I would like to point out with respect. The comment about imposing a Eucharistic fast on people if there is a continuing shortage of priests seems, to me anyway, to indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the Eucharist. We can still be a Eucharist-centered people even if the shortage of priests becomes so bad that mass cannot be celebrated every Sunday in every parish. Going to mass is not just about “eating” the Eucharist. We can still gather in churches to worship in Thanksgiving (which is what Eucharist means) even when it is not possible to have a celebration of mass. I just throw that out there for consideration. The misunderstood “need” to receive Communion every week as the only point in going to church should not become abused as the reason for changing the centuries-old discipline of the Church.
The second thing is the very practical obstacle to having married priests. American Catholics don’t want to pay for them. If we returned to having widespread married priests in the Church the same system that is employed by the Orthodox would be used. Namely: married men would be ordained to the priesthood but no one who is already a priest would be allowed to marry. This is the same for Permanent Deacons now. So, all married priests would be coming into priesthood already married and possibly already with children. These men would need to be paid a living wage and their families benefits would have to be provided for as well as the priest’s. Their salaries would have to provide enough for them to educate their children. In addition, housing separate from the housing provided for celibate clergy would have to be provided, etc. etc.
None of this is an insurmountable obstacle but it is rarely ever considered when people say that we should just have married priests. Right now, the average Catholic can’t afford them! Catholics in the pew would have to be willing to start contributing significantly more money to the Church than they are now (which is already considerable amounts) in order to pay married priests. In addition, many parishes would only be able to afford having one married priest where before they could have paid two (or more) celibate ones.
In addition, as in the ancient Church, the bishops would only be drawn from among the celibate clergy so a caste system in the priesthood would emerge as has happened in the Orthodox Churches. Again, this isn’t the end of the discussion but it does need to be considered and rarely is.
One final thought: how come no matter what David posts about on this blog there are always commenters who try to steer the discussion in the direction of clergy sex abuse? There are OTHER THINGS to talk about in the Church as well as that topic and not everything comes back to it.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:50 am


Whether or not to have married clergy is a practical question. As someone who has been in a parish with married clergy (ex-episcopal priest ordained in Latin rite) I don’t agree with it. Parishes need all of the attention of their pastors. This priest left during the Easter triduum to be with his family. He got substitutes during major feasts, never attended stations, etc.. I am not sure he did the wrong thing or not, but in the end both his family and the parish were shortchanged. It shows a lot when they are not there for Easter. People feel unloved enough by the clergy as it is.



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No Brainer

posted April 27, 2009 at 11:52 am


To DML, You have no clue. To say that the majority Apostles were married is a blatant lie. No where does it ever mention any wifes except for Peter and he was asked to leave her. Of course, Jesus made sure that she and her Mother were provided for while Peter was traveling all over preaching the Word and having Mass all the way to Rome. (Peter did not take his mother-in-law to Rome) It is obvious that you have no understanding of the Real Roman Catholic Church. You sound like an “American Catholic”. I would even guess that you voted for Obama, because you thought that it is Democratic.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm


The Jesuit’s seemed to have become too pre-occupied with sex and not enough on prayer. (Some form of liberation theology, I guess?)
Perhaps more time in prayer would help with vocations.
According to The Society’s General Adolfo Nicolas Pachon: The Society was born within the Church, We live in the Church,we were approved by the Church and we serve the Church. Going against the Pope is living up to that statement..St.John ” we are in the world not off the world.
The things going on at Georgetown University makes one wonder if the Jesuits are still Catholic, Lord Save Us!!



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Petrina

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm


If we hadn’t have had the gays and the women doing the admissions to the seminaries to begin with, we’d have no priest shortage problem.
Many good men were turned away because they adhered to the teachings of Rome. This is the tragedy, and I hope Rome is finally starting to turn things around. Unfortunately, we still have many problems with those who think the Church is a Democracy and not an institution founded to preserve and propagate the teachings of Christ.



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PNP, OP

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm


Married priests/ministers in the Protestant denominations have done nothing to increase vocations or congregational size and activity. Most of the mainstream churches are hurting for vocations and declining in membership. The assumption that men are essentially put off the priesthood by celibacy is bogus. Men welcome the arduous challenge of celibacy as a contest in faith.
The push for married clergy among some in the RCC is really about advancing the sexual agenda of the Catholic left. They simply cannot countenance the notion that there are men out there who willingly, eagerly, and lovingly embrace a healthy chaste chastity in order to serve God’s people. So long as these examples of holy sexuality exists, their libertine agenda for gutting the moral tradition cannot proceed. How can they argue that the Church should embrace the sexual revolution as a good thing when so many live lives directly inimical to the basic assumptions they hold dear?
Make no mistake: this is not about the Eucharist nor is it about inclusion; this is about debasing our moral tradition (by indirectly attacking the possibility of selfless priestly service) and it is about revolutionizing the governance of the Church to fit a liberal democratic model. The goal here is change just one thing, just one little thing, and then begin to chip away at anything else that stands in their way, using the abandonment of required celibacy as their precedent: “Hey, the Church got rid of celibacy, so obviously we can get rid of X, Y, and Z as well.”
Thankfully, the Holy Father and the next generation of young priests understand this fully and will not budge.
One question I have never seen addressed by the pro-married priest crowd: what will happen to religious orders if priests are allowed to marry?
Fr. Philip, OP



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freelunch

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm


Fr. Philip,
Your claims are interesting, but the facts tell us that there are far fewer men in the next generation of young priests.
Mainline Protestants are losing members, but they don’t seem to be having many problems filling their pulpits, certainly not to the extent that the Roman Catholic Church is.
Petrina, why do you make those claims about men being turned away? What evidence do you have to support it?



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Recovering Catholic

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm


Guy Selvester – I beg to differ, the Catholic Church is the richest organization on the planet. If every other Christian religion can afford to allow their ministers to marry and have children, then so can the Catholic Church. The hierarchy of the Church live in luxury. Our former Archbishop had to have all of his vestments (right down to his stockings) custom made in Italy and he flaunted it! The local catholic supply store was not good enough for him! The Church can certainly afford to pay priests a living wage.



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Kathryn Schutz

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm


You all miss the POINT of MARRIED or CELIBATE PRIESTHOOD: it is HOLINESS, ACHIEVED BY A SINGLE-MINDED CONCENTRATION ON CHRIST AND THE THINGS OF CHRIST.
Your citation of eastern rite priests misses the point that the eastern rite married man who is ordained deacon or priest is supposed to be so absorbed in his prayers, ministry, that he lives with his wife as with a sister (although I know one who doesn’t do it that way).
I’m the godmother of a very holy married priest who passed away a few years ago. What makes the difference is two things: (a) orthodox doctrine and spirituality (seriously lacking in many of priests pushing married priests), and (b) a sound profound prayer life (also seriously lacking in many of those pushing a married priesthood). The priests who push married priests in the western rite have a seriously flawed vision of the priesthood, of Vatican II, of theology and spirituality. I’m Jesuit educated and would give many of them an “F”. They taught me all kinds of nonsense — then I reread the documents of Vatican II and found one thing after another they told us was required was, in reality, repeatedly forbidden.
There’s a 5th column here undermining the Church, betraying the Catholic people.
Underlying the push for married priests is the group who are pushing women priests, birth control, homosexuality, not the good of the church or the people of God.



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Philip doesn't have a clud

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm


One can see how poorly Fr. Philip, OP understands the “call” to celibacy and how adolescent his appreciation of it actually is.
It is not a contest as Philip so naively states, “Men welcome the arduous challenge of celibacy as a contest in faith,” it is a call and he who can take it, does.
In the Roman Rite, at present, unlike every other Rite in the church clibacy or chastity, is a pre-requisite for ordination to the priesthood. One does not go without the other.
His statement:
“One question I have never seen addressed by the pro-married priest crowd: what will happen to religious orders if priests are allowed to marry?”
really shows that he does not have a clue about the difference of the two vocations.
As far as the next generation of young priests understanding this fully? They do not now but the will begin to in the next ten to fifteen years.



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john

posted April 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Well the Jesuit”s are with the world Government so who cares what they say huh?



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Stella

posted April 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm


Obviously, the Jesuits turned a deaf ear to the Holy Father’s plea to return to their original charism of defending the Faith, not railing against it or the Holy Father. Dying order? I think so.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm


I’m not familiar with all the arguments for or against married priests but as a married woman of 40 years I would like to offer a comment. In Genesis God says ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ – some Jewish friends of mine tell me a rabbi has to be married – and many of my fellow parishioners and I have discussed the fact that most priests haven’t a clue what it is like being married and would therefore not feel that they can be as helpful as they could be if we had marital/family issues with which we might need advice.
Add to that the need of married couples to listen, change, adapt and modify their ideas, needs and desires to blend with their partners and the mutual support we become for each other I would think married priests would be a wonderful asset to the church as a whole. It would decrease the ‘good old boys’ club and exculsivity and allow the church to be a relational interactive and growing community.
I am not saying that there wouldn’t be problems – some of which might lead to divorces and/or annulments – but life is messey and it is in working through the messey things of life that we grow. I don’t think we should be afraid of life. After all if life was so bad why would God have created us and given us the free will?
So as an average lay woman in the pew I guess I would like to have a married priest as my pastor. Not every priest needs to be married like the rabbis but it should be a choice.



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PNP, OP

posted April 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm


Dear No Name,
Having lived a happy celibate life for about 12 years now, I think my appreciation of the challenges is rather keen. What I refuse to concede–and what messes with your worldview–is that men are not capable of living celibately. The whinging and whining of the Catholic Left betrays their inability to conceive of a spirituality that takes seriously the demands of a life lived without sex. So thoroughly possessed by their libidos are they that they are constitutionally incapable of imagining how anyone–let alone men!–can “go without.”
My concern about the religious life is genuine. Will those religious men who find themselves struggling in their legitimate vocations as religious take the easy way out and simply incardinate into a diocese in order to marry? A lot will. I’ve spoken to a number of friars and monks who say that they will be sorely tempted to leave their vows behind if they find themselves tempted by marriage. The result will be parishes pastored by diocesan priests who are neglecting their call to religious life. Not a good scenario for the parish.
Now, I say all of this as a man who joined the Dominicans at 35. I wasn’t a fresh-faced 22 y.o. right out of college nor was I romantic about the celibate life. I knew what I was giving up. And from what I have seen in the meantime from the Catholic Left is a constant drumming on the Pelvic Issues as a means of fomenting radical institutional change. Fortunately, this drumming is coming from the Dinosaur Brigade and our biological solution is just around the corner.
As a liberal Episcopalian I often argued for the very sorts of reforms that America magazine pushes. Well, the Episcopal Church has become the church America magazine wants the RCC to become. I might be wrong…but it’s not working out so well for them right now.
Here’s what’s REALLY pissing the Catholic Left off: orthodox Episcopal priests are running as fast as they can to the RCC–with their wives–and seeking ordination and employment as pastors. So, rather than ordaining the Geriatric Left, the Church has chosen to welcome orthodox married men into the Church’s service. But…but…(you hear them whine)…WE were supposed to be ordained! JPII knew and BXVI knows exactly what that would mean: the first wave of married men seeking ordination would be the ones who abandoned the Church in the 60’s and 70’s b/c they didn’t have the guts to fight for their vocations…now, later married vocations would probably be run-of-the-mill Catholic guys. But the activists would just HAVE to be the first ones in…how else could they foment their revolution?
Fr. Philip, OP



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R. Brown

posted April 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm


Is this just heterosexual marriage or is gay marriage included? And if not, how many billions more in legal costs is this going to cost the Church, I mean parishioners?



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm


The wrongo ideas posted here are something else.
1. there are over 100 married Catholic priests in the USA now. [converts from other Christian churches]in full recognition by local bishops.
2. there are thousand married Catholic priests in Eastern Catholic Rite fully recognized by the pope..
please get informed before posting what you learned from ‘sister’ in the 6th grade..



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Cindy

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm


I can’t believe that I’m seeing actual Catholic priests on here discuss this issue as if there aren’t already married priests!
We HAVE married priests in the Roman Catholic Church.
They are HERE. They are not going away.
The real question is: will the Catholic Church ordain Catholic married men, or only let in Protestant converts?



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No Brainer

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm


To your name about wrong ideas..
Yes, in the Eastern Catholic Rite they have married priests, however, once their wife dies, they do not get married again. Also, if the Eastern Catholic Rite priest is married, he can never be a Bishop in the Eastern Rite. Maybe if you learned from the 6th grade sister what you were suppose to learn, you might know what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.
There are very few accepted married priests that were converts, there are “not thousands”. Get your facts straight. Only on very special permission they were able to participate as priests. The local bishop does not have that power, only by the Pope,s consent, and I question some of the moves by the US Bishops. Notice the “fruit” that has been a result of US Bishops actions.



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Francis Jenkins

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm


Am I to understand that PNP, OP is a Catholic priest? If so, statements like “the whinging and whining of the Catholic Left betrays their inability to conceive of a spirituality that takes seriously the demands of a life lived without sex. So thoroughly possessed by their libidos are they that they are constitutionally incapable of imagining how anyone–let alone men!–can “go without” are hardly appropriate. Fr. Philip, are you really willing to stand by that characterization of an entire group of Catholics?
He sounds like a very angry and defensive man. Were he to be convinced of his own arguments, I doubt he would need such sweeping statements or such vitriol.
Also, if he’s in his mid-40s, he might want to cool the talk about “biological solutions” and the “dinosaur brigade”–fat guys approaching 50 are not exactly long-lived themselves!



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No Brainer

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm


Cindy, there are a lot of married priests, however, they are not in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church. Their faculties have been taken away so do not be fooled and think that they are okay.
Just remember Judas of Iscariot was a disciple who betrayed Jesus, he thought he knew better than Jesus. Remember he hung himself, just like the people that think priests should be married or women should be priests. Again, there is only one priest, High Priest, and that is Jesus Christ Himself. All the priests are representatives of Jesus. Jesus was and is not married and He is, without a doubt, a Male. He only chose men, understandable to represent Him, because standing at the altar when He comes as Victim and Priest, the Priest standing their has to be Male. The Church is Jesus’s Bride. Please do not insult Jesus by insisting on priests being married or women priest.



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Kathy

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm


As a woman, I would NEVER, EVER want to marry a priest. He already has a ‘parish family’ of oh, say, 3000+ people!!! How is he gonna find time for his family at home? Much less be able to help
pay the bills?
“Sorry honey, I can’t pick up the kids from soccer practice, I have to go hear confessions. ”
“Sorry honey, I can’t go to the grocery, I have to visit 12 very sick patients to administer last rites at the hospital. ”
“Sorry honey, we’ll have to celebrate our anniversary next week – I’ve got 8 baptisms to do today.”
….and on..and on….
With the exception of the diaconate (and even then they usually wait to become deacons when they’re older and their kids are grown) – a man’s life vocation choice should be either married, single, or religious.



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John Ryan

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm


While celibacy will continue to be a special charism given to the few, men and women, there is no inherenct connection between a call to celibacy and a call to the priesthood. Nor can a charism be “mandated” as it is a gift from God.The priest shortage in our country will be what finally prompts serious conversations about solutions that presently are not on the table, but the anomaly of making celibacy a requirement of ordination to the priesthood is the more profound and unresolved issue and which has nothing to do with a “left or “right” orientation to the fundamentals of our faith.



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Guy Selvester

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm


Recovering Catholic: You said, “I beg to differ, the Catholic Church is the richest organization on the planet.”
We’re all really getting sick of that old bromide. There is no big coffer of money which “the Church” keeps hidden away someplace. The money to pay the clergy comes from the people in the pew. If they don’t give it then it isn’t there. At present Catholic congregations for the most part do not contribute to the Church enough to pay a married clergy with children a living wage. Period.Other Christian churches give WAY more per capita to their church. That’s how they can afford to pay their clergy.
STOP the nonsense of thinking that the Catholic Church is only interested in bilking people out of money. You cite an example of an archbishop who has his vestments made in Rome. How do you know he didn’t pay for those things out of his own pocket? Did you see the receipts? Do you have personal knowledge that Church money was used to pay for those items? Are you just one of those people who assumes that’s the case? Even if he absolutely did all you’ve done is point out the bad behavior of ONE clergyman and that makes them all bad?
Let’s see…there’s a name for that kind of thinking but what is it? Oh yes! It’s called BIGOTRY. If you stop being a “recovering” Catholic and go join a Protestant church I can guarantee you they will expect and demand that you contribute twice to three times as much as your tossing into the collection plate now in a Catholic church. In addition, in future if you want to comment in a forum like this one only to end up spewing ignorance and hatred then you should at least have the guts and the courtesy to use your own real name.



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PNP, OP

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Hey! I’m not THAT fat!
Fr. Philip, OP



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Kyle

posted April 27, 2009 at 4:44 pm


Those arguing for married priests have two primary arguments:
1. There are already married priests who became ordained in the Church from other faiths.
2. The Church could use more priests.
Argument against #1 is the exceptions do not define the rule. They are exceptional cases.
Argument against #2 is the Church can always use more holy priests. Quality should be a goal that exceeds quantity. The Church had more priests at one time, but too many fell unfortunately to serious sin. If you think marriage is a remedy for that, it would be best to reexamine the purpose of the vocation of marriage.
Those arguing for celibate priests have two primary arguments:
1. The priest is already married to the Church, and he is guardian over Jesus’ children, the parish.
2. Celibacy is a biblically based Church discipline.
It’s hard to argue against these points because they are true. Parish needs are demanding for the attentive parish priest. While marriage is honored in the Bible, celibacy for singles and religious is preferred. The Church has chosen the preferred path.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm


kate, you are wrong on both counts in your argument for celibacy.
1. No one can be married to an institution.
2. Celibacy is not a biblically based Church dicipline. It is a dicipline, but it is not based in Scripture.
http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu143.htm “Celibacy is a discipline of the Catholic Church practiced universally in the West. Although it is highly valued, Pope Paul VI states that celibacy “is not, of course, required by the nature of the priesthood itself. This is clear from the practice of the early church and the traditions of the Eastern rite churches.” Bishop Dolan Arcbishop of Milwaukee 2008



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm


There is no connection between celibacy and priestly mission based in the Holy Spirit. It should be up to the individuals. There could be different groups for each, those married and those celibate, with in various religious orders.
It MUST be taken into account however that any one of them that was married would have to find a suitable spouse to support his ministry. If any of you have talked to the wives of ministers of any faith, they will tell you how much of their husbands ministry they are part of. The two are totally linked. The minister is stronger for her support IF she is indeed moved by the Holy Spirit to walk with him in his ministry. I could only pray to be that good a Christian and find such a man to work with AND be my spouse as well.
God bless, Sincerely Dianne



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David - midwest

posted April 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm


Good post David! – 40 Comments and climbing. I have no standing to talk on this subject – I answer both married and divorced on questionnaires as I render unto Ceasar and to God. I’ve gone both
ways on this topic over the past 40 years and at the moment wonder
if the real



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm


I’ve gone both ways on this topic over the past 40 years and at the moment wonder if the real solution might be a celibate female only priesthood!! (Sorry – the comment got cut due to expiration of the ‘captcha’)



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Maria

posted April 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm


What matters most Christianity or the Hierarchy?
Who matters most a man or a woman?
Who is more fully human a priest or a layman, married or single?
Now, why did Christ come?
When will we ever learn…when will we ever learn…



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Little Bear

posted April 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm


St. Peter and the rest of the Apostles were married and so were popes, bishops and priests for centuries after. In fact, St. Paul describes the ideal Bishop of his time was ‘a man, who was married only once and had well disciplined children.’Until Peter Damian (Saint) wrote a very nasty description of women in general and the wives of priests specifically. Pope Gregory the Great (around 1200), made it a law, that priests, bishops and popes would not be married.
There is no treason in the concept of married priests—this is a human law made by the Church—not Jesus. And back in St. Paul’s time, churches were ‘home churches’ with the women as presiders. In his letter to the Romans, the 16th Chapter, Paul writes a greeting to about 30 people–half are women who held very high positions in the churches.
If one looks at what would happen in the church without priests—married priests would be a great help. But as one poster already stated—the Church must start moving rather than doing it’s usual dragging of its collective feet.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm


This was right in 1991 and remains so today.
“The Western Church, under St. Augustine’s influence, developed a stronger doctrine of the Fall than the Eastern Church, and a much stronger emphasis on the resulting corruption of the sexual appetites. The fact that the Western Church developed, and the Eastern did not, a rule of clerical celibacy was surely related to this difference. When Pope Damasus in the late 4th century, in one of the earliest official pronouncements on the matter, wrote that “sexual intercourse causes impurity, and the priest ought always to be in a state to perform his heavenly duty of interceding for the sins of others”, or when St. Ambrose wrote in the same period that “the ministry must be seen to be unhampered and unspotted, and undefiled by conjugal intercourse”, it is vain to pretend that promotion of celibacy is not linked to the notion that sex is unclean. And in the Christian context this is not entirely a matter of some very limited cultic purity that stresses the oddity of cult rather than the imperfection of marriage, for it involves as well notions that sexual activity is incompatible with the single-minded service of God and entails an indulgence of the passions that is contrary to the highest moral ideals … The findings of psychology have made it clear that sexuality is at the heart of personality, and from this the conclusion has been drawn that psycho-sexual fulfillment is an essential part of personal fulfillment. If the latter is the case, that would be incompatible with a continuing discipline of obligatory priestly celibacy. So the Church has to show that it is not. This it can do if it can establish celibacy as a symbol that a human being is sovereign over his or her sexuality, in such a way as to enlarge the perception of human freedom.”
The Question of Celibacy (editorial), The Tablet, January 19, 1991.



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ed

posted April 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm


Why did this blogger “convert”?
Most of the responders belong with Nat Cat Reporter & the other woman priestesses.
“Get Back to where you once belonged!…”
Jo Jo was a man who thought he was a … Get Baaaaaaa aaa ack to where you once belonged.



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Your Name

posted April 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm


To Little Bear
You do not know what you are talking about. You must be getting your information from a wayward Jesuit. Please do not say things about Saint Damian that is not true. Saint Damian wrote to the Pope to throw the homosexuals out or the clergy. We need a Saint Damian today in the United States.



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Your Name

posted April 28, 2009 at 2:33 am


why is there a shortage of priests now where there was none before? Let’s look for causes and fix them before jumping into new experiments. Vocations are down and seminaries are closing. But wait, but wait …. have you been to an SSPX seminary lately? They are expanding because they are out of room for new applicants.



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Your Name

posted April 28, 2009 at 11:52 am


Since I can remember the issue of married priests has come up as a way to handle the shortage of priests in America. This is like abortion is a good way of managing overpopulation in america.
I have been Catholic all my life and even spent a year in the seminary. My decision not to become a priest was do to the strong desire to raise a child in my beliefs and carry on the traditions of my family to the next generation of americans. I realized that being a priest was going to be a full time job and raising a family was a full time job. In order to be great at one would take away from the other. Why is it so hard for some to realize that married priest is not the answer. It’s creating a new problem.
Why don’t we stop filling our childrens heads with trashy movies and magazines and daily barrage of comments about the justification of gay marriages and abortion and start bringing back the moral and ethics that this country was founded on. Then we will have more priests in america. Married Priests is not the answer. Well brought up children in a good wholesome society is the answer.



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Your Name

posted April 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm


A young man (in his early forties) who is a deacon in my parish lost his wife to a terminal illnes this past year. A requirment of becoming a permanent deacon is that one remain celibate for the rest of his life under such circumstances. This requirement, along with the requirment of celibacy as a condtion of ordination to the priesthood in the Latin Rite, is one that is purely arbitrary and one that has no inherent connection with ordination to either the diaconate or the priesthood. It is well known, or it should be, that a good number of our current priests struggle mightily with this requirment, and that there are more breaches than we would like to believe. In the case of our good deacon, with three young children to boot, tell me how the church will be better served by requiring his lifelong fideltiy to this requirment. The National Working Group for Priest Support of Voice of the Faithful (www.nwgps.org) has been advocating for a serious exploration of these and other areas relating to our priests and the priesthood. We invite your particpation in these conversations.



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Your Name

posted April 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm


I apologize to Your Name and those reading these posts for mistakenly posting the previous message under the name Your Name. John Ryan is resposible for that post.



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Francis Jenkins

posted April 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm


I notice PNP,OP didn’t answer my questions. If he’s this kind of hit-and-run artist, God help the Dominicans he lives with.



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Your Name

posted April 29, 2009 at 9:47 am


As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I would remind you that the tradition of the Church requires any married man who wants to be ordained to get married BEFORE his ordination. Thus, Roman priests who were ordained and then got married are in an irregular situation even if the Roman church ended up accepting married clergy. My priest is married and has three sons. I have not experienced this as causing him to short-change the parish in any way. On the contrary, his family life contributes a lot to the life of the parish. I was Roman Catholic for many years, and worked with quite a few Roman priests. My experience with them tells me this: celibacy is a charism. It is a charism given to very few people. The Roman church, if it insists on celibate parish priests, needs to try to recruit from a pool of men (and only men obviously, none of this ridiculous call to ordain women) that feel they are really called to celibacy. I don’t know if enough of those men exist to provide enough clergy in so large a church. Many idealistic young men take on the discipline of celibacy because they want to be priests so badly. As time goes by, some of them settle into this in a very healthy way, even if it wasn’t really something they were called to. Others, however, fall-and they fall in ways both big and small. I worked for a lot of priests-most of them were dysfunctional emotionally or sexually. They were dysfunctional enough to cause serious problems. One of the most common problems I saw was the Church’s willingness to ordain very effeminate men. Even if the man was not gay, he was a “soft” masculine, a type of man that would appeal to very few other men. Having been Orthodox for a while, I experience more truly masculine men in the Orthodox church (and clergy) than I did as a Roman. The Roman church may need to look at what model of manhood their priests present.



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David

posted April 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm


The Roman Catholic Church ALREADY allows for married priests. In my area, there is a Roman Catholic Parish with an Assistant Pastor that is married and has 4 children, who, by the way all attend Catholic schools. This man entered the Roman Catholic priesthood by an alternate route. He was raised Lutheran and converted to Catholicism after he was married and became a Lutheran Minister. Church law allows for this to happen. It is highly hypocritical to allow this and not allow someone who was baptised and raised in the Roman Catholic faith NOT to be married. To those of you out there who want to be a priest and be married, join the Lutheran Faith, become a minister, get married, then return to the Church!



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OP, OP

posted April 29, 2009 at 8:26 pm


Francis Jenkins,
Don’t worry, Father Philip is busy demanding his readers purchase books for him–It’s not easy being unemployable.



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Jadrian

posted April 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm


You should consider being Catholic for a change.



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Mars Melnik

posted May 2, 2009 at 2:52 am


Some good points made by “Your Name” ;-) the Eastern Orthodox Christian (here “EOC”). As a convert to the Catholic Church (Roman rite) I have seen many priests less than masculine in presentation and demeanor. Prior to conversion to Catholicism, I was strongly anti-Catholic (i.e., Catholic Church = whore of Babylon, antichrist pope, etc.), and usually imagined a homosexual hiding behind the collar most priests. Not fair, I know. Truth is though, I have seen man less-than-manly Roman priests – maybe not homosexual, but definitely “soft”. Nevertheless, with the passage of time, I have begun to appreciate the discipline of a celibate priesthood. However, EOC makes what seems to me a valid point about celibacy (i.e., non-married priests) being a charism. His reminder about the Eastern Church is worth repeating, that a man must be married *before* becoming a priest. And if I remember correctly, even a married Eastern priest may not become a bishop — only celibate, unmarried priests. Perhaps a small first step, were the Roman priesthood to open up more for married men, would be to allow for non-divorced men whose children have already left the nest to receive priestly ordination. At any rate, becoming Roman Catholic is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I love the Church and our Catholic faith, and I greatly appreciate our Eastern brothers, who with the Divine Liturgy beautifully express the Mysteries.



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Bren Kryg

posted May 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm


I think that if the law of clerical celibacy become optional, it should be retrocative. Our current struggling faithful celibate Latin Rite Catholic priests were not given a choice to be married or single priests before ordination like the choice given to those Eastern Rite Catholic seminarians. It would be a grave injustice to our current Latin rite priests if the proposed optional celibacy law will not be retroctive.



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Your Name

posted May 24, 2009 at 6:57 am


The Church is loosing out in all front. we have lost a lot of good priests for various reasons and they have taken with them their expertise and experience. Many of those who are still priests are old, out of touch and out of touch with reality. We are even employing priests from other countries who know nothing of our community and our aspirations and values. We are made to adjust to their world view and often temporal aspirations. It is the Third World countries like India, Philippines and churches in these areas that are overcrowded with priest. Why do we not recognise our local community and let us be responsible in our communities, and be disciples in our communities, and the leaders in our community. Why bring a person from different place to break the bread in my house?



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Your Name

posted June 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm


Rome must be so tired of these Jesuits never taking NO for an answer.
But Rome is also aware that the last decade has been a terribly humiliating period for the Catholic Church, with numerous molestation trials, bankruptcies, priests leaving their vocation for greener pastures, closures of churches, seminaries with homosexual overtones, and a rapidly dwindling number of newly ordained priests.
Rather than receding to a prior status quo when the world seemed intact – yet festering the ills that then surfaced – this difficult time offers an opportunity to open the church to implement changes that are healthy and timely.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with celibacy . . . as long as it is voluntary. While being celibate may be a heroic stance for some, for others it is a huge stumbling block to follow their vocation to the priesthood.
There are two options for the future of the Catholic church:
1. Continue the status quo with more and more Catholics in the First World turning their back to the church, or
2. Put an end to the celibacy requirement for priests AND finally accept women as priests. Only these two changes will ensure a future for the Catholic church.



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