Recently the Pope himself said that maybe he won’t visit some countries as by that time there would be a new Pope! This is no new news. Many priests are very old. Will they live beyond 100 years? Most of them will surely die before reaching 90 years, maybe 80. It’s a time bomb that we knew about it a long time ago. Most of the priests serving today are over 60. So some mathematics will help us to get to know the future. Who will serve the parishes then?
We never had any doubts that married priests will form part of the future church. This is simply because of one reason: there won’t be enough priests. Even the most dogmatic and anti-married priesthood supporter will accept the fact that most parishes will become priest-less!!!
On the other hand, it seems that most non-married priests are still resisting the idea. Is it worthwhile to launch a ‘battle’ against such priests? They are still in power and they know how to play the game of authority. It would be a suicide. Most of today’s priests are never going to leave the comfort zone. We explained the various reasons in past issues. One can go back and see why it’s so difficult for a priest to start a new life as a married person.
Any other solution? Yes. This is the biggest change we need to do. Enough with waiting a higher authority to say yes. Let’s start today. How? By looking for the right people to manage a parish. There should be a never ending of list of people who have a kind heart and are ready to serve their community. How about encouraging them to take a leadership role? The challenge today is that if a religious community dies, it will be very difficult to substitute that kind of community with something else. Our communities will become anonymous when there is no unifying factor such as religion.
In practical terms, what does it mean? Well, managing a parish, besides involving managerial skills (which they might possess already), it calls for one to be well versed in theology. How about starting a course today? There are universities which offer evening courses in theology. Obviously this might a take a long time and it needs highly motivated people! That’s why we are suggesting the idea today, so that by the time the call for married priests comes out, they would be already qualified for the job!
What about the priests who left the parish are living their love dream? Well, seeing the needs of so many people, gives them authority to continue living their priesthood. They can start their own communities which will surely include many people who had left the community many years ago. Like Jesus in the gospel they will start discovering new people who live in the periphery of the church.
In one line, we can’t be critical about the Catholic Church without ourselves dirtying our hands in the process of helping out to create a new face for the church! Let’s work!