We were happy that most readers sent us quotations from newspapers about the Pope’s recent pronunciations about married priesthood. It seems that finally our readers are taking a more active role. This is the church we want to see worldwide. Baptised people are not simply receivers where they are happy to receive instructions from priests. They have a mind, a soul, a heart and a lot of experience how they experience God. Consequently, God can use anybody to bring changes in His church. This is not just theoretical but practical because the Pope is becoming aware that in most parts of the world, the church is disappearing simply because there is no one to tell people about the Good News. He has to resort to married people as otherwise the consequences could be disastrous.
This is a big improvement because now it’s coming from the mouth of the Pope. Obviously as usual some people are looking for more rapid changes in a shorter time. Some are completely against celibacy. Well we were never against celibacy. We are against celibacy when it is imposed and it is chosen at a very young age (over 18 years of age criteria is simply not enough!). Celibacy has its value in the church. We do believe that there are people who live celibacy in a wonderful way notwithstanding the sexual abuse crisis. Let’s not put all priests in one basket, although we do admit that these are very few.
Some people thought that the Pope would let his priests the liberty of choosing either to remain celibate priests or else get married. In this regard, it seems that he chose a conservative attitude by keeping things as they are. He is for married people who ask for priesthood and not priests who ask for marriage. There could be reasons for this: is he afraid that most priests would go for marriage? Indirectly is he saying that marriage might disrupt the spirituality of priests who are used to live alone? Is he afraid that maybe they need to pay more the priest because he has a family? Or maybe he is going after mature (of a certain age) married people, whose children are married and settled? Implying again that a true family (with young children) would hinder the priest from working in a parish? Again, one might imply that he is looking for mature people (of a certain age) in order to avoid more sex scandals?
On the other hand, calling people to join priesthood, means they need training. That means another challenge for seminaries (places where priests are trained). Are they going to join the celibate ones? Are they going to be trained in a separate place? What about the training years? How much do they need? So in practical terms we still have to wait for seven to eight years more to see married priests. In the meantime we have several priests who are not practising any more that could be called instantly where they can start to serve immediately. What’s wrong with going for this option?
We don’t know what’s inside the mind of the Pope but we were surprised that he let out his opinion with a newspaper. Is it the right channel to give out his views? Or maybe there are problems with the Vatican PRO system? What about the rest of the world? Aren’t there mature people who might give their opinion too? Or are we still in a pyramid where decisions are simply taken by those at the top? This is just one subject where the rest of the world thinks differently than those living inside the Vatican walls…..At least this Pope is more near us mortals, than the rest of the bishops, priests etc….
Again let’s not fall into depression. Let’s not give up! Let’s go for the hard work. We need to go out and share our opinion with the rest of the church. Let’s show them that we’re prepared. We need married priests even where there are a good number of priests. A married priest has a different charisma. He has something which others might not have. On the other hand, the needs of the baptised people are growing. People look out for God especially in dark moments. Where is the priest in such moments if they are so tied to the parish with all its activities? Like children in a family, today’s children need more attention and care then when we used to have sixes and sevens!! Same wise for the church. The church cannot do without a good number of priests, married and non-married ones in these days as the needs of the baptised people grow each day.