Tag Archive: Lent

When we were young we were submitted to various teachings. Most of the time, we read books. We tried to assimilate as much as we could. Then years passed by and somehow we re-connected to what teachers/parents/guardians had told us. Most probably what we’ve been thought was good. Yet in real life it seems that it is a different kind of fish. It’s what we call the gap between the theory and real life!

We were thought to look up to priests for friendship, counselling, ideas etc…Obviously in theory everything is in order. Yet each every human being is formed not only through teaching, but through personal experience, chemicals present in his genes etc…All this will make it highly improbable to foretell his future life as each person has a different outcome, which is based on millions of variables.

The first step is when one is asking for help. It brings the baptised person close to a priest. This is the work of the priest after all! But what happens when most of the priests feel all alone, neglected, alienated, disappointed and put aside? A normal kind of friendship (obviously there is nothing wrong), could be a tempting one for the priest. Instead of listening and comforting the person, the priest fulfils his needs for friendship, attention, love etc…within the counselling sessions. A counsellor has to listen to the client and not vice-versa, at least he can’t talk for a long period of time. The fact that the priest starts talking about his life means automatically that the sessions are taking a different path!

On the part of the person who is seeking the priest’s help, things start moving differently when they view the priest not as a counsellor but as the one who is fulfilling their dream of the ideal man! Obviously when one meets another person for a few hours weekly, it’s very easy to idolise that person! Remember that most people as viewed at work, might seem to be the ideal person. It’s when one lives with the person that one sees the complete picture! Yet, when one is hungry for love, recognition, attention and self affirmation, all other things will occupy a less important place in their lives! They just want to cling to somebody no matter what! It could be that we’re living in anonymous cities (Western part of the world), hence we desperately need friends!

We’ve been saying for quite some time now that priests who explain the word of God every Sunday (plus maybe other public meetings), are practically revealing their inner self to the general public. He is the one who speaks about a lot of values where no one speaks anymore (or at least not that often!). Speaking about such values will put more fire on a woman’s heart who is burning with desire to have a loving partner.

The priest in most cases, has all the time of the world to meet, listen and talk with parishioners. He is the one who makes his own timetable hence, he is easily available! The priest has no one to report to for his day to day running. Hence he can postpone last minute meetings without giving any real reason or hiding behind superficial reasons!

We don’t wish to give the message that it’s impossible, yet in the present circumstances, it’s getting more difficult to be a good friend to a priest. When a person is not complete (in many senses), it could lead to trouble, whether he is a priest, bishop, Pope, woman etc…In mathematics they used to teach us that a minus ( – ) with a minus ( – ), make a plus!

Our wish to have married priests will help the church to have a better system where priests are living in a relationship which will help them understand better the need for attention, love, affirmation etc…We’re not saying that it’s foolproof. There is nothing perfect. Yet on the human side of the argument, it will help them to be better prepared to work in today’s church.

Journalists, governments, laity, common people….all are thinking about who could be the next Pope.  We retain that who is going to be the next Pope is not so important. Let’s be more clear. The cardinals were chosen by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Although there is still a remote chance that the chosen one could bring the much needed change in the direction of the church, yet we feel that in the long run it is totally an alienation to expect a change from the top. Several studies have shown that changes rarely do come from top to bottom but rather from bottom (or below) to top.

It’s the common people who have to the duty to use several media to call for a big change in the church. It’s not the people who just pop in and participate in a demonstration but rather the faithful who try to live the gospel in their everyday lives and have come to the conclusion that they need to live their spirituality in a different way. It’s not much about the sound or the echo they make in the media but rather the gentle persuasion by leading a truly christian life.

Now for many centuries the laity (those who are not priests but just Christians), have been living like a young children who expect their parents to feed them, to cook for them…to provide them with all the necessary and basic needs of life. Now, especially with the diminishing number of priests, they are in a better position to negotiate a better place in the church. They are not just ‘children’ but are adults in faith.  The sensus fidelium is a very common phrase in theology (study about God), where one respects what the common Christian community thinks and how it lives its faith. This is the most basic teaching which many Christians don’t know about. Consequently they still expect to be lead instead of showing the way to the bishops (or cardinals) ! We should be looking for the emancipation of the laity by training them in the matters of the church.  This is the door to the big change in the church rather than putting all the weight on the shoulders of the cardinals! When the laity is trained, then it will be ready to govern (if necessary) in the church. But until we train the laity all hopes will be simply wishful thinking.

Now training the laity is not just an expression. It needs to be very well planned in all areas (content, choice of people, teachers, managers etc….). It’s not an easy solution and it could not be carried out in a short time. But it surely needs long term planning in order to have good leaders in the future. We firmly believe that education of the laity is the most promising solution although it has a lot of challenges too. We are disappointed that most married priests have either abandoned all interest in the church (although we understand their anger and past experience) or else they are simply happy to wed or baptize couples and stop there! We are not against those priests who are committed to couples, but if one has the big picture in mind, it is not a lasting experience and it will not change the church. Consequently the experience of a married priest in a baptism or wedding should lead to something else: how about taking charge of the church? We, as married priests, could provide the perfect teaching resource as we too have a family and daily challenges in our everyday life.

On the other hand we hope that all the cardinals should show more respect what the Christian community thinks about the Church, God etc……It’s not just a consultation with the people but rather listening to what God is telling us during these times.