Father of two, US Catholic bishop quits. This is another sad story where a valid bishop had to hide his love story until it was discovered and had to resign. Why all this emphasis on celibacy? Why do all priests have to be celibate? Who really knows how many priests are not celibate at all? In fact most of them prefer to live a clandestine relationship. Is it right to deprive human beings from getting married?

God created the sex organs to be used. One of man’s purposes is to pro-create. To deny a person the right to marriage is against human nature. Let’s start telling the truth. Many people do freely choose not to get married but it is a free choice. Not legislated by a church or anyone else. Let’s go back to the beginning when Jesus chose his apostles — as far as we know most of them were married. No conditions were imposed by Jesus for his disciples and apostles about marriage except that a bishop should be the husband of one wife. So why do we go against the bible ?

The fact of accepting Anglican priests (who are married) is helping people asking the one million dollar question: why are they married and other priests have to leave if they fall in love and get married ? The family life is not a hindrance to his work but a great help. We can testify to this because our children and wife provide the best feedback to our homilies and to understand people in the parish. Sometimes our wives help us see other angles of a challenge! We can’t preach lies when our families are listening!! They know us inside out as we live together. They give us what they think about our work. They help in all projects and works to be done in the parish. Mostly it becomes the work of all the family. It is surely a great witness to all the parish.

We still think that the Catholic church has a unique asset in the last Vatican Council which was started by Pope John XXIII. Let’s see the impact of it on the Catholic church.

The Impact of Vatican II (celebrated in Rome, Italy between 1962-1965. It was a meeting for ALL catholic bishops)
(From a Talk by Robert Blair Kaiser with permission).

Before the Council,
we thought we were miserable sinners
when we were being nothing but human.
After the Council,
we had a new view of ourselves.
We learned to put a greater importance on finding and following Jesus
as “the way”
(as opposed to what we said in the Creed,
simply giving voice to a set of doctrines we may or may not have
understood). What mattered was what we did:
helping to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and find shelter for the
homeless. That’s what made us followers of Jesus.

Before the Council,
we were told we were excommunicated
if we set foot in a Protestant Church.
After the Council
(where Protestant observers were welcomed,
given seats of honor, and spoken of no longer as Protestants,
but as “separated brethren”),
we stopped fighting the Methodists and the Presbyterians
and conspired with them in the fight for justice and peace
and marched with them to Selma.

Before the Council,
we thought only Protestants read the Bible.
After the Council,
we’ve seen a new Catholic appreciation of the Scriptures;
they’ve been given a more prominent place at Mass;
and in many parishes, we have groups gathering every week for Bible study.

Before the Council,
we took pride in knowing that we were the only people on earth
who could expect salvation,
according to the centuries-long mantra,
“There is no salvation outside the Church.”
After the Council,
we began to see there was something good and something great in all
And we didn’t think we had all the answers.
We started thinking of ourselves not as “the one, true Church.”
We were “a pilgrim people.”

It was a phrase that summoned up an image of a band of humble travelers
on a journey who, though subject to rain and snow and high winds and
subject to thirst and starvation and pestilence and disease
and attacks by leopards and locusts,
keep on plodding ahead with a hope and a prayer
that we will someone reach our destination.

The image was calculated to counter an old self-concept
that hadn’t stood up to scrutiny
a triumphal Church that had all the answers,
lording it over humankind.

Before the Council,
we identified “salvation” as “getting to heaven.”
After the Council,
we knew that we had a duty to bring justice and peace to the world
in our own contemporary society,
understanding in a new way the words that Jesus gave us
when he taught us to pray, “thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Among the most influential figures at the Council,
we encountered two humble souls,
one a woman, Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement,
who wasn’t allowed to speak to the assembled bishops at Vatican II
(no woman was), and a bird-like figure, Dom Helder Camara, the archbishop of Recife, in Brazil.

Both of them went around Rome telling individual bishops
and those who were putting together the Council’s crowning document,
Gaudium et Spes: please don’t forget the poor.
The Council did not forget the poor,
Quoting Gaudium et Spes :
The joys and the hopes, the grief and the anxieties of the men of this
especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted,
these are the joys and hopes,
the grief and anxieties of the followers of Christ.

Before the Council,
we were sin-obsessed.
It was even a sin to eat a hamburger on Friday night after the game.
After the Council,
we had a new sense of sin.
We didn’t hurt God when we sinned.
We sinned when we hurt somebody else.
Or ourselves.
We had a new holy hopeful view of ourselves,
redefining holiness as the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton did:
to be holy is to be human.

Before the Council,
we were told we were condemned to hell if we made love to our spouses
without at the same time making babies.
After the Council,
we knew we had a duty (and the God-approved pleasure)
to make love even if we could not afford to have another baby.

Before the Council,
we thought God spoke directly to the pope
and that he passed the word down the ecclesiastical pyramid
to the bishops, the priests, the nuns,
and, properly filtered, to us.
After the Council,
we learned a new geometry.
The Church wasn’t a pyramid. I
t was more like a circle,
where we are all encouraged to have a voice.

We are the Church.

We have a right and a duty
to speak out about
the kind of Church we want.

The hierarchy is busy trying to convince everyone
that Vatican II really did not change anything.
Those of us who lived before Vatican II
know otherwise.

by John Chuchman

Homilies [in Maltese]