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As a latin catholic who is interested in eastern christianity, I often discuss this with friends.

Just a few thoughts...

1)Conservative catholics dislike the idea of a married priesthood partly because it is seen as a "liberal cause". So they hear married priests and understand "married priests, women priests and condoms".
It's a reflex reaction which is understandable but unfortunate.

2)Married priests should not be presented as a quick-fix for priest-shortages.

3) I believe it is wrong to take for granted that the vocation to priesthood and the vocation to celibacy are one and the same. The East shows us that this is not the case.
By confusing (in my opinion) the two, the Latin church has placed a burden on the shoulders of many men. Some follow the call to serve the church with their lives and struggle, sometimes unsuccessfully, to live a celibate life-style; others, wisely in my opinion, decide to forego the call to the priesthood and marry. These can always serve the church in other ways, but there is always that feeling that they somehow turned their back on a special calling. This can be very painful.

4) Allowing the ordination of married men of proven value does not mean that suddenly all catholic priests will be forced to marry. The celibate priesthood is a tremendously valuable gift that the church has been given, and it should be cherished. I sometimes feel that it is diminished by being imposed on all.

5) Finally, no matter what one personally believes, the Holy Spirit will guide the church to the truth and to the best path. We can pray, but don't count on me to picket churches or support schismatic groups that decide to take the solution into their own hands.

Just some thoughts that could help.

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Filipe,

I enjoyed your post, but I have one issues with point #1; I do not think it is understandable reaction, to associate married clergy with women's ordination and use of contraceptives; I think it is a reaction of ignorance.

Peace in Christ,
Ed

Erie Byz #323785 06/01/09 08:15 PM
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. . . to associate married clergy with women's ordination and use of contraceptives; I think it is a reaction of ignorance.


Erie Byz:

Christ is in our midst!!

And I think Filipe would completely agree with you, as would I. So we're all on the same page with this. Unfortunately, in the minds of many they all hang together and I think he makes a good point.

BOB

theophan #323789 06/01/09 08:30 PM
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I think that he makes good points too...

Too many liberal changes exist together in the mind of the public...

I am afraid that changing one will not silence the others but only add fuel to it, and that is unfortunate...

Allowing but not encouraging a married priesthood would probably be a positive thing, but even that would not sit well with many.

I can't tell you the looks I have seen our Orthodox priests get when they have been out with their wives, especially some of the prettier wives/presvyteres I know.

The celibate priesthood was always something that was highly respected and rightly so, I believe...To dedicate one's life to one's ministry and one's flock exclusively is no small deed.

I am wondering, however, if the scandals which have surfaced over the past five or so years have changed public opinion...

BOB, do you think that public opinion has changed on this topic of a married priesthood among your Latin peers?

Alice

Alice #323790 06/01/09 08:34 PM
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I'll answer for the UK

'Proper' priests are celibate .

And that was said to me by the mother of an RC priest who knows I am EC.

BTW our Priest in Edinburgh is celibate - but he's a priest's kid and a priest's grandson smile

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Originally Posted by Filipe YTOL
Conservative catholics dislike the idea of a married priesthood partly because it is seen as a "liberal cause". So they hear married priests and understand "married priests, women priests and condoms".
It's a reflex reaction which is understandable but unfortunate.

What we have here is a confusion of categories. "Progressivists" and "Conservatives" are both guilty of failing to distinguish that male priesthood is an ontological issue, while the issue of priestly celibacy is a disciplinary one. One could expect the "progressivists" not to make a distinction, because they are not serious thinkers in the first place. They just emote. They are "liberals". But, shame on the "Conservatives" for falling into such a trap.

Dn. Robert

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Originally Posted by Our Lady's slave
I'll answer for the UK


BTW our Priest in Edinburgh is celibate - but he's a priest's kid and a priest's grandson smile

...who obviously were not!!! wink

Alice #323798 06/01/09 10:11 PM
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BOB, do you think that public opinion has changed on this topic of a married priesthood among your Latin peers?

Alice


ALICE:

Christ is in our midst!!

I'm out here in the middle of nowhere, so whatever I might observe may not be representative. OTOH, people my age and younger seem to think that whatever is needed to fill the shortage should be done. That being said, there aren't a lot of men who would consider a second career because of the way the celibate priests are often treated by the bishops--again, a limited range of opinion because of the area. Part of that problem is that one can start with a bishop who is supportive and encouraging and then have him replaced with a tyrant who rides roughshod over his clergy and destroys their morale.

But all of this is moot since the Holy See held a synod of bishops a few years ago and the consensus was that they did not want second-career men who are married and whose children were raised. So no matter what the people in the pew may think, the hierarchy has its own views and will continue to act on them.

I can see a problem with the married clergy issue in the Latin Church if the canons relating to priestly tenure in a parish continue to be applied as they are presently. If a spouse obtains employment and the priest is transferred suddenly there can be a problem. Currently a priest is appointed for six-year term and may be reappointed to a second, but supposedly he has to move on after 12 years.

BOB

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theophan #323800 06/01/09 10:19 PM
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theophilus said: Apparently, there have been academic studies across Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox that have shown that celibate parish clergy have the most mental problems and addictions. Celibate monastics have a mental health that is far superior to the 'normal' non-religious population. Married parish clergy have a slightly healthier psychology than 'normal' married couples.

Oh, dear. What is your point? I assume you have one, or else you wouldn't have posted this. May I ask where you got this information, and what the point of it is? That celibacy is somehow mentally unhealthy?

Alexis

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Celibacy outside of the context of a supportive community is indeed spiritually dangerous. The many scandals, as well as the many problems identified within the Latin priesthood like depression and alcoholism point to this. This is why in the East monks were not often given care of parish that removed them from their monastery. Now the problems are not a reason to end celibacy, but it is a reason to require priests to live some sort of communal life, which the Congrgation of the Clergy already recommends and some priests are already doing this voluntarily.

CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY

DIRECTORY ON THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PRIESTS

29. Common Life.

A manifestation of this communion is also the common life always supported by the Church, recently emphasised by the documents of Vatican Council II (82) and of the successive Magisterium,(83) and applied in many Dioceses with positive results.

Among the diverse forms of this (communal house, community of table, etc.) one must look highly upon the communal participation in liturgical prayer.(84) The diversity of forms must be encouraged according to the possibilities and practical situations, without necessarily emphasising models proper to religious life. Particularly praiseworthy are those associations which support priestly fraternity, sanctity in the exercise of the ministry, and communion with the Bishop and with the entire Church.(85)

It is necessary that parish priests be available to encourage common life in the parochial house pastoral care. with their vicars,(86) effectively considering them as their cooperators and sharers of the And the vicars, in order to build priestly communion, must recognise and respect the authority of the parish priest.(87)




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Father Deacon Lance,

Isn't that how it always was traditionally in the RC church? What happened, if anything, to change that?

It certainly makes absolute sense that unmarried priests should have some kind of communal life with other priests...otherwise loneliness can drive anyone to some sort of mental instability.

(forgive me if my questions are ignorant and/or incorrect)

Alice


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The Eastern tradition allows for married priests, but requires celibacy for bishops. Could not the Latin Church allow for married priests, but require that pastors of parishes be celibate?

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Alice

Over here Prists used to live in the Parish houses - the Parish Priest and his curates [ note the plural ]

Most parishes had at least 3 clergy .

Nowadays very few Parishes have more than one priest living there , some even have 2 and those parishes are getting fewer and fewer.

Young priests now [ those with perhaps 2 or three years experience ] are finding themselves in Parishes as the Parish Priest -- even three or four years back the norm was 12 years experience before they were given their own Parish .

One young priest I know was sent to a parish on his own just a few months after ordination - there was no-one else who was available.

In the countryside in the North of Scotland many smaller Parishes do not have their own priest - the one who is there is possibly looking after 3 or more Churches.

How has this come about - lack of Vocations - pure and simple - men are not offering themselves

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Alice,

I don't really know. Obviosuly as Anhelyna points out the thinning of priests has had an impact. But in my experience even when you have a pastor with assistants they all go their own way, they do not share a communal prayer life, some don't even eat together.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Bob, Thanks for the reply-I can honestly say that I personally have never heard the argument that a celebate priest is more effective in ministry than a married. The arguments I hear are more towards the opposite. example:Christ instituted 7 sacraments as a source of grace--why do some feel that the reception of a particular sacrament should bar the reception of another-Christ had no problem with married Apostles--They were just as rich in ministry as John. I hear that a lot of Roman catholics would back and support a married priesthood--wives provide an approachable buffer zone or bridge for the laity. Speaking personally my wife is tremendous in the support of my ministry a real God sent--She knows more parishioners than I do by name and has asked me to approach some at their request-they just felt more comfortable with her at first.MOst of the RC I talk to feel celebacy is a personal and beautiful gift but should be chosen not mandated to the individual. I have been told that an affective minister--priest and/or deacon is one who gives of themselves for others and this shows in the real world in the type of relationship a minister has with a spouse. Then they end the discussion with-"the Eastern Churches allow it,but we resist it--"The Eastern Churches have shown it can and does work".
But as you indicated we have what we have.
Personally, I feel that the Holy Spirit guides the Church. If celebacy be reconsidered in the RC Rite, It will happen in His timeframe--Right now in the universality of the church, we are richly blessed to have both represented so well by the Eastern and Latin Rites God Bless

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