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Facing Opposition

When facing some opposing factions in the church, one of the known weapons is the one to put the opponents way of thinking to ridicule! If we are promoting married priesthood, expect them to say that married priests will now solve all the problems in the church, obviously, ironically! [See link]

One expects that they will mention the challenge of divorce plus the challenge of having atheist teens etc…Besides they will mention ad nauseam the fact that there will be less time for the church once the priest has to take care of the family too!

We shouldn’t be afraid to put forward our ideas. Just let’s start preparing for the Advent season especially when the Pope’s final report about the Amazon synod will be published around Christmas. In the festive season of Christmas we will be celebrating the greatest mystery of them all – God the all powerful chooses to become a small, fragile baby born in the most poor and risky areas of them all. Couldn’t we debate why God become so small and risked everything? Yes, if we just see things with human minds. I could imagine security people nervously running around looking for possible trouble outlets or suspicious people around. Yet this was the will of God, the most powerful! Pope Francis too would like to mingle with common people and hear what they have to say. He does not live in an ivory tower!

Married priesthood, like Christmas, would like to bring to one common meeting point both the priest and all the married people by suggesting married priests. It will surely be a testimony to all married Christians as to how live the gospel in today’s life. It’s another help in the life of the priest to preach a more contemporary Christ to the listeners of today’s life! He won’t be simply preaching to others how to maintain a stable relationship in love, nor how to educate young people, because he would have his own personal challenges!

We are not dreaming because if we study the beginning of the Catholic church, that’s how it started. Most of the apostles were married and had children! (see the Gospel according to Matthew: 8:14-15) Somehow along the way we decided not to follow the apostles example! How can we justify that?

Promoting married priesthood in the Catholic church we know that it will create a lot of tension. Some people can’t handle it just because they have been brainwashed for quite a long time. They can’t escape their long years of repetitive teaching! Others will feel at a loss as to how react. Their implant that sex cannot mix with spirituality has been radically rooted in their spiritual welfare! They feel that the church is going down the hill and maybe all will be lost! Some of them might go all out to lash out on people their misogynist trends!

All believers should strengthen their faith that Our Lord is never going to leave His church alone to succumb to fatal injuries or sins! It’s His church. It will stand the test of time plus other challenges. Whether we see God’s writing in the history of today or not, we firmly believe that nothing happens without His Will. Many times it’s us that we can’t see his weaving of today’s new church emerging from the previous old skin! As humans we are accustomed to compare with what we have witnessed years ago when we received the first holy communion! Well our bodies have changed too. We have lived change not only to what concerns our outside image, but all our inside, including our spiritual experience. If we don’t grow we can’t live!

Whatever happened since that faithful day, we have progressed to become adults who have to face new challenging situations. Now it’s up to us to answer in a mature way. We can’t copy our past life when we were so young. Life has changed. Not just our lives but that of other people too. We have to find new answers for today’s challenges. We are presenting the married priest as a new way forward!

Hello! My name is Laura. I want to share with you my relationship with my priest.

I’m a separated woman. I had to leave my husband of 5 years. He had betrayed me and now has another family, though we are still not divorced officially.

First of all let me be very clear: The priest is the one who started the relationship. I knew him for over 6 years at that time. Because of our mutual friendship, we got closer. Once after dinner, we went for a walk. Suddenly he held me and kissed me. He did admit of having feelings for me. At that time I was still struggling, but he told me that he wasn’t going to force me to have a loving relationship. He just wanted to stay close. After around 2 months he showed that he cared for me a lot. At that time I had some feelings too towards him. He told me I could trust him. He showed many signs that he really loved me. Time passed by and we became closer and knowing each other more. I fell in love deeply. He introduced me to his mother and to his family

Then sex happened. It has been going on for these last 2 years, till a few months ago. I got pregnant. As soon as I gave him the wonderful news, he astonished me by saying that we couldn’t keep this baby. I was so depressed hearing him say such a thing. I plainly told him that I couldn’t accept. At last he changed his mind. He considered to keep the baby. However I had a miscarriage. Could we keep our relationship I pondered silently…?? We had some serious arguments.

He suddenly said that maybe it was God’s sign to stop having sex outside marriage! We needed to stop having sex and keep our friendship platonic. He told me that he had confessed already, and that he loved me so much. His wish was to stop having sex. Consequently we couldn’t sin any more.

We could keep our love relationship but just without sex…. I asked point blank: Why not leave priesthood and get married? It’s so weird…He emphasized that he loved me so much, but that he couldn’t leave priesthood.

Since last January, something happened. We keep arguing about something trivial. We argue about some family affairs about his sister..?? He has now turned to be an emotionless person, with less hugs, kisses and less dating with me. I try to talk to him, but he says that everything is fine. He gives the excuse of too much work and that he feels tired. He continues to say that he still loves me. He just brushes me aside with the expression that he loves me so much. He urges me not to worry.

On the other hand he thinks that the fighting is God’s sign to show him that he is wrong, but he does feel his love for me. The priest thinks that he needs to follow his vow of celibacy, because he did promise to God that he will be faithful to his promise. But celibacy is not a divine law, it’s a human law after all!

I don’t understand…I feel so confused. What can I do? I really love him and I cannot live without him. What should I do? What should I tell him???

I would like to write about a whole book about this story but I prefer to let the readers air their views. Please let’s not blame the person who was/is in a frail situation. Let’s walk in her shoes.

The pope has truly started an incredible wind of change in the Catholic Church. Is it because he is a pastor who mingles with the common people ? We might never know. What we know for sure is that the word impossible is not to be found in his dictionary!! For many many people this issue is more relevant than married priesthood. Yet if priests are not married, can they put forward the issue of divorce? We stronly believe that married priests bring forward many more issues which are still under the carpet of the Catholic Church.

In the second article that we are publishing, we are stating black on white that the bible is NOT so clear on divorce. Please ignore many homilies done by priests who are not well versed in the bible. Many of the priests are simply brainwashed and they are repeating what they’ve heard in the seminary. Very few of them did profound biblical studies!!! Please note tha the second article was published BEFORE the pope commented about divorced persons.

Enjoy your reading once again with some incredible stories and thinking……!!!!

Pope Francis has phoned an Argentine woman who is married to a divorced man to tell her she can take Communion – something that most priests do not allow following the Catholic teaching.

According to The Telegraph, Jacqui Lisbona wrote a letter to the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, saying her local priest had declined to give her Communion, because she was married to a man who was previously divorced.

Lisbona and her previously divorced husband had a civil wedding ceremony, because they are not allowed to be married in church.

“[The local priest] told me that every time I went home, I was going back to living in sin,” Lisbona wrote in the letter.

In her letter, Lisbona, who has two teenage daughters with her current husband of 19 years, expressed her apprehension that if she received Communion from a priest who is not familiar with her marriage background she would be violating the Catholic Church teaching.

Pope Francis phoned the letter sender at her home in the central region of Santa Fe on Easter Monday, April 21.

The Pope reportedly told Lisbona: “a divorcee who takes communion is not doing anything wrong.”

“There are some priests who are more papist than the Pope,” Pope Francis reportedly said in response to the priest who denied giving Lisbona a Communion.

Scripture’s not so clear on divorce

The debate about whether those in so-called “irregular marriages” should be readmitted to Holy Communion is a hot topic. People, including some of the cardinals, are weighing in on all sides and if we are not careful, it could become a singularly unedifying spectacle. We would do well to heed Paul’s warning about the dangers of forming factions (1 Corinthians 11:18) when we come to the Eucharist. My own involvement with the discussion dates back to the early 1990s when I produced a report for the Marriage and Family Life Committee of the Bishops’ Conference, before going on to complete my PhD at Heythrop College on the question of pastoral care in this field.

I am greatly encouraged that Pope Francis has invited the whole Church to prepare for and contribute to the synod in the autumn. Surely this requires that we listen to one another in charity and try to discern what the Lord wants? The fact that Cardinal Walter Kasper was invited to address the College of Cardinals at the recent consistory is significant, because he has long advocated that we ask ourselves whether the present discipline is a true reflection of what the Gospel envisages. Using scriptural quotations out of context to back up established positions – technically called proof-texting – is one of the pitfalls that awaits anyone who enters into theological dialogue, and that’s why I sincerely hope that eminent Scripture scholars play a significant role at the synod in October.

When I was undertaking my research I met those who condemned the bishops of England and Wales for inviting me to undertake the work, arguing that the Scriptures and the Church’s unbroken tradition were unambiguous.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, Matthew (5:32 and 19:3-9), Mark (10:1-12), Luke (16:18) and Paul (1 Corinthians 7:10-16), all make it clear that Jesus clearly taught that divorce was not part of the Father’s plan. However, in Mark 10 and in Matthew 19, the teaching is a response to the Pharisees’ challenge over the fact that Moses allowed divorce, so Jesus is offering guidance relating to all marriages of all time, not just what later came to be defined as Christian marriage.

It is worth noting this because much of the debate and some of the uncertainty comes from the so-called “exception clauses”. They occur in both of the references in Matthew and in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Matthew’s Greek word, porneia, is variously translated in English as “fornication”, “adultery” or even “unchastity”, but there is no agreement among the scholars as to the particular group of people for whom Matthew is seeking to interpret Jesus’ teaching.

On the other hand there is no doubt at all about the situation Paul has in mind when writing to the Corinthians: those for whom the conversion to Christianity of one of the partners is the cause of an irreparable breakdown. It came to be know as the Pauline Privilege and was ultimately extended to embrace any marriage in which one of the partners was not a baptised Christian (this is now known as the Petrine Privilege).

Therefore in practice the Church has found and can find ways of dissolving any marriage bond which is not between two baptised people – in other words the majority of marriage bonds in human history.

Add to this the Church’s willingness to adopt Roman jurisprudence and annul even supposedly indissoluble sacramental bonds when there is deemed to be sufficient evidence to suggest that there was something defective in the consent of the couple – and you have an added complication in trying to present to the wider world an uncompromising position on the consequences of marital breakdown.

Many Catholics are dismayed and confused by the Church’s teaching and pastoral practice and in some cases they feel abandoned by the Church and therefore rejected by Christ. How does this square with the fact that throughout his public ministry Jesus sought out and dined with all the wrong people, especially those who had been rejected by the religious leaders of his day? The teaching Church has much to ponder at the forthcoming synod. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us reverently to listen to one another and discern a way forward.

Fr Timothy J Buckley is a Redemptorist and parish priest of Our Lady of the Annunciation (Bishop Eton) and St Mary’s, Woolton, Liverpool. An edited version of Fr Buckley’s thesis – What binds marriage? Roman Catholic theology in practice – is available here. He has recently sent a copy to Pope Francis.