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Carole,

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I am so sick of hearing this justification.

I am not going to pull the splinter out of Fr. Francis eye because I have a beam in mine.

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Originally Posted by Carole
I am so sick of hearing this justification.

He made promises to God and to the Church. Whether those promises are Sacramental in and of themselves is immaterial.

He should suck it up, live out his promises. Period.

It is the same advice that countless people are given.

I find very little practical difference between the two situations. The argument is one of semantics. The idea that you can go back on your word once given because you've found something "better" is pitiful and to actually do it is an act of cowardice. Courage is standing by your promises even when it costs you something.

I don't know about anyone else here, but at my Baptism, I made quite a few promises to God and the Church, and I routinely find myself breaking them all over the place, repenting, and then breaking them even worse. Why isn't there a thread on this forum about me?

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I keep wondering how many of us have broken promises ?

Fr Francis is human - and like us he falls at times.

I cannot and will not condemn him.

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I think Joe made a good point earlier about Marriage and Holy Orders being different sacraments. The Catholic Church obviously allows individuals to leave the priesthood and get married. It does not treat it as a sinful act. The difficulty for people seems to be that a priest is breaking a promise and we want to think everyone should fulfill their promises. We may all break promises in our lives, but I would think we feel some remorse for that and try to live up to our promises (if possible). In this instance, maybe it just isn't possible for Father Francis to live up to his promise. I don't like that he's leaving the priesthood and I would encourage him to try to remain in the priesthood if at all possible, but in the end, the Church permits him to leave if needed.

I think in the end we have to deal with all situations as charitably as possible. It can be hard because we feel like someone is getting away with something or getting off easy (because who wouldn't want to be married and be able to hear death-bed confessions), but we are accountable for ourselves before God. We are all sinners, but hopefully we try not to persist in our sin. Therefore, in a situation such as this, we place our trust in the Church. If the Church is to allow it, we generally must assent to the Church even if it conflicts with our intellect or sense of moral right.

But this raises another question for me. Please correct me where I am wrong on this issue as I do not want to misrepresent the views of the Church. Maybe it should be another topic, but Father Anthony said earlier that marriage is not possible because Father Francis has received Holy Orders. It is my understanding that the Catholic Church teaches that Holy Orders places an indelible mark on your soul and "once a priest, always a priest." The process of laicization simply relieves you of your authority to perform priestly acts but it cannot reverse a sacrament and render you "not a priest." Why then is Holy Orders considered an impediment to Marriage? Is it a matter of discipline and rules or is it an intrinsic barrier to the sacrament? It seems as if there are Roman Catholic priests who are subsequently married. How is this treated differently by the Orthodox Churches?

Thanks for your help.

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It is indeed a matter of discipline, not dogma. In fact, it is possible (though rare) for an Orthodox priest widower to get permission to remarry. Theoretically, it would not be impossible all of the Bishops of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches to get married and continue to function in their offices. But it is a question of disciplinary canons and I think that it is most unlikely that the canons will ever change.

My understanding about Catholic priests is that if they convert to Orthodoxy, they are given permission to marry since that was not a live option for them as Catholics. Of course, Orthodox will ordain Catholic priests anyway after their conversion.

Joe

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Originally Posted by RomanRedneck
Yes and so should women. My wife left me, not the other way round.

Frankly Carole I am offended by your comments. It comes across as a woman with an EX to grind. If the Admin feels this should be deleted then fine. But I do NOT appreciate your comments.

Jason

Jason,

I am sorry that you choose to be offended by my post. My point is that no person (male or female) who takes a solemn vow and makes a promise should ever be encouraged to or considered to be "courageous" for walking away from those promises.

The circumstances of your marriage are immaterial to my opinion. As are the circumstances of my personal life and my gender. I think you should rethink the chip on your shoulder.

Regardless of who the individual is, I find breaking one's word to not be courageous.

It has nothing to do with an "EX" to grind (I assume that was a rather lame attempt at a pun) nor do I have an ax to grind. What I am is a Catholic who is deeply disturbed by the idea of a priest with a national ministry creating a scandal like this.

I am praying for this priest. I am also praying for his order and EWTN who are obviously suffering for his actions.

What I question is the apparent belief that coming forward with this information publically and causing scandal is "courageous." I don't think it is.

I do not condemn him. He is no better and no worse a sinner than I. But nor will I hold him up as an example of courage. Courage is doing what you have promised to do, even when it costs you something. Courage would be distancing yourself from a source of temptation to sin.

Do I empathize with Fr. Francis? Yes, I do.

I just don't believe that his actions are the model of courage. Nor am I required to think so.

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I don't find it particularly scandalous. Actually, I think the fact that he has stepped away quietly and is not making a public issue out of it shows Fr. Francis' maturity. I had a discussion with an Orthodox priest I know the other day and his suggestion was that we cannot rule out the possibility that God did not intend for him to remain in the active ministry. God can call someone to be a priest for awhile and then set it aside in order to pursue other holy things like marriage and raising a family. I am not saying that this is the case here. But I don't rule it out as a possibility and the person who suggested this to me is a monk! I don't think that we should be legalistic about these things. Since none of us personally know Fr. Francis and we really don't know all of the circumstances, we should hesitate to pass judgment. We know of no sexual sin here and in fact have every reason to think that there hasn't been any sexual sin. And so I stand with those here asking for mercy and reservation in judgment.

Joe

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And I will add that you can look in the sayings of the desert fathers and you will see instances where a brother says he just can't struggle any more and the abba will tell him to go back into the city and marry. The monastics actually tend to be much more compassionate and flexible about these things then we in the world do.

Joe

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Dear Friends:

God is the God of second chances.

Yes, perhaps it would be better or "more courageous" for this priest to maintain his vows. But humans fail, but we have all sinned and have need of the glory of God.

St. Paul has some rather frank- blunt, actually- advice for one that finds he or she cannot maintain celibacy- see 1 Corinthians 7.9 and 1 Timothy 5.11-15.

The Bible has a refreshing frankness about it.

Blessings,

Lance


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Joe,

I never said anything about sexual sin. I'll thank you (and everyone else) to avoid attributing to me words I have not said and motives I do not possess.

I am having a hard time coming to grips with the idea that the Church believes that the permanent mark of Ordination left on one's soul is somehow really not all that permanent. And that God can call someone to be a priest for "a while" and then "set it aside."

Yet marriage is forever, no matter what.

That the same people who are saying that the laicization of any priest (not talking about any one situation) is "okay" are often the same people who accuse the Church of "handing out annulments like candy" and that they (the tribunals) shouldn't do it because "marriage is forever."

I'm not passing judgment on Fr. Francis. I'm praying for him and everyone as this situation must be very hard for all of the people involved.

But I am confused and concerned about the prevalence of the attitude that priests should be able to just be "priests for a while."

Gee ... I wish every time I thought I'd found something better in life I had the option of taking a "time out" and "discerning my future."

But alas. I'm not a priest. I'm married. So I'm well and truly bound by my vows. Pardon me for expecting that a priest and/or religious should be as well.

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Carole,

I didn't accuse you of anything and I didn't attribute any words to you about sexual sin. My point of saying that there is no sexual sin that we know of is that we cannot say that this is scandalous in the serious sense in which a priest caught in immorality would be a scandal. There was nothing personal in any of my comments directed toward you. And I think that passions are inflamed precisely when we personalize these things. The question of how to understand priesthood and marriage is something objectively answered by Scripture, Tradition and the Canons of the Church. It has nothing to do with our own personal feelings about the matter.

Joe

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I think that too many people are prejudging here-and they are NOT, as far as I have read, juding Fr. Francis--but judging what Carole is trying to say.

Fr. Francis is a great priest with a great persona, but he happens to be a very public one with a great deal of influence, and I would suppose that is why this thread was started.

I think that what Carole is trying to say is no different than what Fr. Aris Mitrakos, in the article I posted on the previous page is trying to say. We are becoming too lenient towards everything, and when that happens, and when we are not held to accountability of commitment in anything, that leads to a society which cannot trust and if we cannot trust, we cannot really love the way Christ wants us to. We already see this lack of commitment in businesses towards their employees today. We already see this lack of commitment in the number of divorces today. We see this lack of commitment in the sexual promiscuity of our youngest adult generations and how they put off marriage because of it. It is all really sad and rather far from what Christ desires of us as individuals in His image.

I don't want to speak for Carole, but I sense that she is very disappointed. The Holy Priesthood is something which, most especially, Roman Catholics have revered through the ages--infact, much more so than the Orthodox. When priest after priest gets knocked off their pedestal, where does that leave the state of the Church?

I am simply disappointed that Fr. Francis allowed himself to be put into such a tempting situation, and that because of it many people over at EWTN are hurt because of it. He had SO much to offer the Church. (As Fr. Aris said: 'if a priest finds himself in a situation where he is attracted to a woman he is counseling, he should send her to another priest'). That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed lately when married Orthodox priest after priest and presvytera after presvytera, in numbers too proportionately great to ignore for such a small church, leave their spouse for another. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed when any priest, Orthodox or Catholic, touches a child or adolescent. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed that we live in a culture where the thrill of sexuality with others as the media has presented it, has become so pervasive that no one can live without it the thrill, even if they are married. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed when any priest is defrocked or leaves the priesthood for whatever reason. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed when marriages fail. The Orthodox church allows it, but I am still disappointed. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed that many women today have no respect for a man's marital or clerical state. That is not being judgemental.

I am disappointed that our society does not hold a high bar on commitment. Period. That is also not being judgemental.

Let's not eat each other with condemnation. Let's not scream the 'judgemental' word whenever we don't agree with what a person is saying or how they are saying it. Let's try to understand EACH other here as much as we are being understanding to a stranger.

I think that this thread has pretty much run its course. It will stay opened, but let's try to just pray for Fr. Francis, for EWTN, and for all our priests and religious, because as the great St. John Chrysostom, whom we celebrate today, said those who are held most accountable in the final judgement will be our beloved priests, whose job it is to bring us to Christ through the Church and to save our souls.

Let's also pray for all those lay people who are affected in their faith and their spiritual life every time a priest falls off his pedestal in some way, and remember that disappointment for some can manifest itself in an angry tone.

May God bless us all and grant strength and guidance to all of us in our spiritual and earthly struggles,
Alice


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Totally agree Carole. Seems to be the message I'm getting here, is that Holy Matrimony (if Fr Francis goes that route) somehow supercedes Holy Orders. Sounds very Protestant.

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Originally Posted by Carole
Jason,

I am sorry that you choose to be offended by my post. My point is that no person (male or female) who takes a solemn vow and makes a promise should ever be encouraged to or considered to be "courageous" for walking away from those promises.

The circumstances of your marriage are immaterial to my opinion. As are the circumstances of my personal life and my gender. I think you should rethink the chip on your shoulder.

Regardless of who the individual is, I find breaking one's word to not be courageous.

It has nothing to do with an "EX" to grind (I assume that was a rather lame attempt at a pun) nor do I have an ax to grind.


Carole,

I am going to keep this very brief since anything further would likely be going beyond what is necessary and rudeness.

I do not have a chip on my shoulder. Search these forums and see for yourself that I am NOT easily personally offended. In fact, I believe your post is the first time I have responded to someone having been personally hurt by their words. I did not choose to be hurt by what you had to say, mind you. I am certain you did not choose to be hurt by Fr Francis. SO allow me the same liberty.

I think if you will take a moment and notice how many negative responses you got to your comments it will be clear that you were NOT clear in what you wanted to say. I think in principle I have to agree with you. But your manner of expression clouded the actual meaning. I think we all, especially in a non face to face cyber invironment, need to refrain from emotionally charged words.

This is all I have to say and I will not reply to any further comments.

Jason


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Is Fr. Francis beyond hope of reconciliation? I will pray that he be reconciled and grows in love and wisdom with a certitude that rests in God.

Terry

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