Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is Pope Francis open to married men becoming Roman-rite Catholic priests?

There have been rumblings throughout the blogosphere about the latest musings of the Holy Father. Should married men be permitted- as a norm- to be ordained Roman-rite priests?  Dear reader, you should (rightly) say, "Hey, priest's wife! You are Romanian Byzantine Catholic! It is none of your business what the Roman-rite does! keep out of it!" 
don't worry- this is an 'old country' Eastern Catholic seminarian marrying- men wear their best clothing to their marriage, and his clerics would be his best clothing 
Very well. I will keep out of it- after I share some thoughts...these old chestnuts....

Read: Throwing Priests' Wives Under the Bus (about a former Anglican priest turned Catholic priest who stated that he would be a more dedicated priest if he were celibate) 
my words: 
Everyone should accept and develop their lives depending upon their vocation and not advocate against their state in life. It is ungrateful to be otherwise. His public thoughts of being a more devoted priest if he weren't with family responsibilities is unfair. While he can advocate for celibacy in general, theological terms, the specifics of his situation should be positive only. I know these are strong words, but he is ungrateful in that he is a minuscule exception to the celibacy requirement in the Roman-rite. I understand that some married priests want to stay 'under the radar,' so don't mention your marriage at all. We all have misgivings and frustrations with our state in life. 

Have you ever met a mother who is vocal about her preference for the opposite sex that her baby turned out to be? The baby is all dressed in blue, and the mom sighs that she's disappointed that she doesn't get to buy all the cute pink ruffly clothes. I must confess that I find that attitude really disturbing. It's one thing to say 'a girl would be fun' before the sex of the baby is known, but when that sweet baby is in your arms, he needs your total acceptance and love. 

What if your husband was having second thoughts about being married to you? What if he fantasized about being married to the girl he dated before you met him? What if he published a Facebook status update like: "I would be a more devoted husband if I didn't have to deal with Sarah's lupus. I could have devoted more to my career if Maria had married me." Devastating, no? 

Read: Sad Days (about Roman rite commenters who want Eastern-types to shut it) 
my words:
WHY OH WHY do people think that by accepting the East's 2,000 year tradition of married men priests and their dignity and worthiness leads to....married men being ordained de facto in the West, altar girls, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, women 'priests,' clown masses, blessings with bubbles and sage, embracing divorce and remarriage, birth control, abortion, meat buffets on Fridays, abandoning Holy Days of Obligation, global warming, etc and etc...We just want our sui juris church to be respected. We love the Holy Father and the Catholic Church. Let me be a broken record for a bit; the Church is bigger than my microscopic rite and the Roman rite- no matter the majority the Roman rite has.

Read: Sex & the Married Priesthood: Ceasing Marital Relations within Marriage a "Praiseworthy Thing"? (a former Episcopalian priest announces that he will no longer have relations with his wife after being ordained a Catholic priest)
my words: 
I say that it is impossible for a loving married couple (a couple not in an extremely rare Josephite marriage from the beginning) to be perfectly continent because marital relations is much more than intercourse. It is an emotional intimacy with another person that a celibate person does not experience. Marital relations is to receive a cup of coffee lovingly from your wife, as you can see from the video of Deacon John. If he entered a monastery, a housekeeper or a fellow monk giving him coffee would be a completely different thing. Marital relations is to be frustrated together over the latest mistake a child has made. Marital relations is to buy the stinky cheese that he likes so much. Marital relations is to clip coupons and soak beans cheerfully. To reduce marital relations to simply sexual intercourse (the lack of intercourse being the perfect continence required supposedly by canon 277) is to reduce us to animals who rut without thinking.

and here is the last blog post I could find about the subject...The Challenge of Celibacy: Let's NOT talk about Sex  (it's about the single life and selfishness) 
my words:
We all know amazing celibate priests who are always thinking of the other person. He might golf on Monday morning as a hobby, but his cell phone is open to calls and he doesn't allow a gate keeper secretary to be a barrier to contact with his parishioners. Celibacy and continence are challenges, but Roman-rite priests know what they are getting into and, I suspect, focus on protecting themselves from sin in these serious matters. Selfishness is a much smaller sin, but it tends to creep in and make itself at home. A selfish person who is also a giver- like I was- work, work, working for God but then ignoring that call that they know is a hospital call. A selfish person insists on his hamburger super-rare (just pass it over a lit candle) even when the waitress says the health board won't let her sell it rare. A selfish person needs, even while complaining of burn-out, to choose all the music selections and flower arrangements so that things will be perfect (for him/her).

agree? disagree? any other thoughts? leave a comment! 

13 comments:

  1. I know of another married priest who would agree with Fr. Longenecker.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Christ is risen!
    ok- so.... should his wife enter a convent? or should he lay aside his priesthood until she so kindly dies? Is this married priest you speak of a former Episcopal priest that 'took advantage' of the Roman Church's offer? Then- I say that he is ungrateful and that he should ask to set aside his priesthood. and HOW does his marriage diminish his priesthood? - thanks for answering... if you stop by again....

    ReplyDelete
  3. He comes from those in union with Bartholomew....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow- so a married clergy was not a 'bait and switch' - I'll be praying for him (and all priests and families- we all work hard and try to be holy and fall short!

      Delete
  4. I believe the disciplines (and traditions) for the priesthood should remain as they are for Roman/Latin and Eastern-rites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know lots of married deacons in the Roman rite who are great at what they do- and who are 'content' to remain deacons. so I agree with you- BUT I think increasing married deacons would be helpful and also to make a celibate priesthood more monk-like (living in community, more simplicity)

      Delete
  5. I am actually currently reading a book, published in the 1930s, written by a Roman rite priest to educate "Latins" about the various Eastern rites. It's fascinating! Not only to learn more about other rites than my own, but also to hear the perspective on these things so many years ago.
    One of the things he insists upon is neither rite insisting upon its customs being forced - or even offered! - to the other. He insists that it's a matter of respect to each tradition, and the validity & importance of each, to respect and maintain their traditions. He also argues that it makes reconciliation with the Orthodox more possible if they see that the RCC really is a big tent, that we can show we are truly catholic (universal) and be united around necessary articles of faith, not uniform liturgy.
    Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow- very interesting. A bit earlier, Bishop John Ireland had completed his destruction of the married priesthood for Byzantine Catholics- so this author you speak of is extremely tolerant. It is very true that we Catholics (of all sui juris churches) must be a 'big tent' if we want to be unified in faith. Why would Orthodox want to be in union if their traditions would be stifled and not respected? I would be very interested to read that book!

      Delete
  6. I posted this on Facebook in response to some thoughts over there:
    it comes down to this- is marriage sinful? Are the acts within a lawful marriage sinful? 'To the impure- nothing is pure'- perhaps these lay people who are so violently against married men being ordained priests do not have chaste marriages themselves. We are all sinners- but I do look askance when some lay people are so virulently against married priests because of the 'marital debt' (being 'against' married priests for other reasons- money, time, theological differences is different)- are these lay people using artificial birth control? Did they use IVF to conceive a child? Do they use pornography? Are they unfaithful to their spouse? because if their marriages are not chaste- they will have a difficult time believing that other marriages can survive the stress of a priestly vocation as well. (I have no opinion of married men being ordained priest for the West- I speak from an Eastern perspective)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh me, oh my. I was raised a Roman Catholic and, with my family, came to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Eparchy of Stamford. I have no objections to a married priesthood. My parish priest, Father Robert Moreno and his wife Evelyn have 8 wonderful children. I met Father John Cornelius a couple of years ago. He was the high church episcopal priest in Cuba, new York, and my then priest Father Dennis Mancuso, who is bi-ritual, helped bring him over. I find his desire to be celibate within marriage unusual, but perhaps that is what the Holy Spirit is calling him and his wife to. Who knows. Speculating with inadequate understandings of Father Cornelius's spiritual motives is not helpful.

    Is marriage sinful? NO. Have their been celibates, who denigrate marriage? YES. This is the real problem. No one should build up the case for celibacy or virginity by disparaging marriage, but this seems to have be a longstanding problem, east and west. I have had Orthodox married priest confide to me that they have been treated as second class citizens, at times, by priests who are not married.
    Ultimately, it means that there has been a long time troubled understanding of the mystery of marriage, and this inadequate understanding of marriage has contributed to our modern problems of shacking up/pornography/divorce and other sexual sins.

    God bless you and Father, and your children.

    I have been asked to become a subdeacon (I have been in training for some time) and one of the things I learned was that after ordination, should my wife die, I could not remarry. I am fine with that, but I would miss by beloved wife terribly. My wife pointed out that if I died first, no similar ban was placed on her, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I mean, I would miss my beloved wife terribly.

    Let me add that Roman Catholic priests have stated the biggest practical issue to a married clergy is the monetary support necessary to raise a family. I have personally witnessed many celibate Roman priests struggle along in dire poverty, using their income to subsidize their parish. As one said to me, "This parish can barely support me. How could they expect to support a family?" This is a struggle in our church, and as a lay person, I try to give more money. Some people do not get it, that is, that priests, their wives and children cannot live on wind pudding and air sauce.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Long-time reader, first time commenter here! I’m a Latin Catholic consecrated virgin and canon lawyer. I admittedly don’t know as much about Eastern Catholicism as I would like, but I do appreciate that the fact that married clergy in Eastern sui juris Churches is a venerable custom.

    However, I think a normatively celibate priesthood is actually an important part of our Latin spiritual patrimony. Unfortunately it seems that discussions on married priesthood often get bogged down with purely practical, “budgeting” concerns—whether that be augments about how married priests would support their families, or discussions on whether a celibate priest might or might not have more time/emotional energy/interest/freedom for ministry. These concerns are not nothing, of course, but I think they are very secondary.

    That is, one central theological value of priestly celibacy is that celibacy is by its very nature a much clearer eschatological sign than marriage. While of course matrimony is a great good and a sacrament, ultimately marriage is something that only exists in this passing world. The idea of priestly celibacy (and celibacy in other states of life) is that the celibate becomes a living anticipating of the life of all the blessed in heaven, where “there is no marrying or giving in marriage.”

    I think Latin Catholics instinctively value priestly celibacy for this reason (and that may be why Latin Catholics—especially those who never had the opportunity to learn about other Catholic traditions—can at times get defensive when the topic of married clergy comes up). We don’t really have a tradition of icons in our liturgy, but for us the priest himself becomes a sort of living icon of our ultimate goal and destiny. I think it would be a real loss for us Latins if all of our celibate priests were pushed into adopting a monastic lifestyle, because—whether most Catholics would articulate this our not—it’s important for us to have secular clergy living among us as mystical reminders of our future life with Christ among the saints.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Contribute to the conversation so I am not talking to the ether! (posts older than 2 weeks will be moderated & posted ASAP)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...