One of the fascinating words today is update. It means to bring up-to-date! We want to update several areas in our life and that of material things. This applies to religion. We were once very young children. We had our first ideas about God and the church. We grew up, we made experience, attended courses..so on and so forth. We continued to update our idea of God, church etc……It means that we are understanding more about religious themes. Everybody understands better as one grows older. Not updating it means to remain with the same childish ideas, in other words being left behind or not learning at all.
Why are we focusing on the word update? Because of the wonderful call of the Pope for the church to do outreaching i.e. to go out of the temple and look for the man/woman of today. But the multi million dollar question is: how can one call for an outreach if one does not update? i.e. the church needs to update its teaching about sexuality; justice; work; rights; environment; relationships etc…..We firmly believe that outreaching without updating the present teaching would sooner or later backfire. The initial enthusiasm may soon die.
The priests (those responsible for updating and preaching the contents of the Catholic religion), have been brainwashed that the teachings of the church do not change!! So whilst people do change in many areas, in the area of the Catholic religion they have to make an exception!
This is quite insulting as it means throwing into the trash what other people have experienced about God! God speaks in everyday experience. We cannot discard what other people experience about God. The mentality that the priest knows it all in the area of religion has to stop. Adults in faith (according to the updated teaching of the church) have the right to seek God in other ways! They are Adults in faith not children to be lectured at!!
Why does this happen in the church? We firmly believe that the unmarried priest does not have a family of their own. Hence they have to make an extra effort to understand the world of today. Most of them spend most of the time closed between the protective walls during the initial formation period. They are expected to study on books. Most of them are very young. Non married priests have the most strange ideas about women where most of them still see them as a devil in disguise. Most of them had never a real and deep relationship with an adult! How can they have a healthy relationship with their parishioners? We are not surprised by some of the stories shared on this blog as it amply shows the lack of preparation of unmarried priests to meet the society of today. Consequently it will effect their ‘handling’ of people in parishes and their explanation of the teaching of the church. It will effect their focus in their parishes.
The married priest is the one who is living the married experience which in itself is part of a chain of many other experiences….a deep relationship with an adult; understanding the opposite sex; loving an adult; taking care of children; interacting with his own sons and/or daughter; taking care of his house; being a parent 24/7 for all his life…….
The married priest is at an advantage over other priests because he has his own sons and/or daughters where it’s not so easy to educate and he has to respect this often contradictory attitudes/opinion/clothes etc…..Yet they are his sons and or daughters so he has to forgive and love. He is the one who has to understand their journey in life and their right to choose the wrong path or maybe the joy of running on a ‘greener grass’. The spirit of teenagers who feel like grown ups only if they say no to their parents!!! I remember one episode where my son and I used to go shopping for clothes. He used to ask for my opinion about the choice of clothes. He used to select the clothes that I hated most!
All this experience might help him to approach people who have left the church. Surprisingly, some of the married priests too have people in their family who do not wish to go to church. Below we publishing part of the
OF THE HOLY FATHER
47. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a toll house; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems. (published on the 24th November 2013)