Some people are trained to follow the rules. They wait for higher authorities in order to move one step forward. Well even the most antagonists against married priesthood have to bow to the Pope’s wish. Actually we are NOT inventing anything new but rather following the old example of the apostles. Most of them were married after all!
We are following the bible. We are not re-inventing the church. We are being more honest with the bible. We are not at the supermarket choosing what we like (as some Catholics describe us!). We are being faithful to the original message which unfortunately has been changed owing to superficial reasons (like not passing the financial gain of the church to the priest’s family!!).
We are happy for various reasons but there are two main ones:
ONE: the fact that in many parts of the world there are no priests to celebrate the Eucharist. This is no joke. Baptised people need to be taught. They need the sacrament to nourish their soul. They need someone to guide their community. They need spiritual assistance. They need to know more about the bible and about the teaching of the church; they need to be taught how to pray; they need strength when facing the cross in their own private lives.
There could be many spiritual people but nobody can take away the role of a priest in a community. With such a lack of priests we are risking the annihilation of the Catholic church from many communities. The loss would a great disservice to humanity because the church’s role in the world has become more urgent. Who could talk about peace if not the church?
TWO: A married priest is closer to the people. This effects his way of working with people. The priest has been working in a comfortable zone. He is well served and protected within a powerful institution. In many societies he has become an untouchable. In most cases he preaches from the ‘theoretical’ point of view.
Being a married priest, he is well embedded in today’s world. Most probably he has children so he is not simply preaching to others what to do, but he himself is living the message that he preaches to others. He is not afraid of living 24/7 next to his wife and facing all challenges. Most of all, in his congregation, there is a public witness by having a family alongside his ministerial role. People can see the way he animates his family. It’s a kind of preaching by example rather than by the word. This is essential in today’s world.