Tag Archive: listening to the living word of God

Second Class Priests!

In the absence of love stories between priests and women, we are sharing our reflections regarding the latest news in the Catholic church.

In a March 2017 interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis used the term viri probati – in this context, religious married men of proven character – in saying he was open to the idea of a married priesthood, as is allowed for deacons, in remote areas where the priest shortage is particularly serious.

We are still not 100% sure of the outcome of married priests as we are still receiving conflicting news! Read this article

In any case it seems that all newspapers are agreeing that married priesthood is again in the news. Mulling all kind of news to look for positive news, we see some troubling ones. In the quoted statement made above, we have one single question: So are married priests just fillers? That is: are they being allowed as if they are necessary evil? Are they being allowed simply to fill in the blanks? Are we sort of second class priests who are allowed to work as priests simply because there is lack of?

Many people point to married priests because they think that will stop sexual abuse of children. People focus on sex because for news agencies it sells a lot of money! We do notice many priests who are living a solitary life. They are practically moving bodies but dead in their minds. Others who travel most of the time. Some who embrace luxuries. Others who are simply walking study books which amply shows the negative effects of forced celibacy. The list goes on and on.

Our main point of view has remained the same. Most of the apostles were married. Are we going to follow the bible or are we going against it? They do quote the bible profusely in other moral matters, yet about this one they are so silent! Why? If the apostles did it, why not the priests of today? Or are we like a supermarket: we pick up what we like in the church?!

Having married priests we hope it will bring the focus of the church on new challenges. One might be the complete overhaul of the relationship teaching (and not sex!). Strong and stable relationship calls for consequences which will help the priest to mature as he faces different challenges in life. One glaring example would be children. Taking care of your own children will bring a new insight in the life of the priest. Married priesthood will help the priest to reconnect with normal life with all its challenges. Consequently, the whole church will change. This is the revolution which we are looking forward to experience. In the end there will be winners all the way. All would feel much nearer to God. Everybody will experience the Emmanuel – God is with us! It would be interesting to visit a priest who has kids crying, eating and dirtying all the house whilst he is trying to communicate with God! It would be a good example of how to keep God in the centre of all activity!

It’s up to our readers to continue our reflection.

When a person is afraid, that person gives the power to others to control his/her life, but once he/she is not afraid anymore, he/she regains control of his life. This is what is happening in many parts of the world where many people observed the church in the past because they were afraid of burning in hell. Today people have changed in many ways. One of them being their attitude about God and the church. It’s useless to try and use old tactics of fear or warning about hell. The Catholic Church, which is still a big asset in the world notwithstanding some shortcomings, needs to practice really dialogue skills. Most of the priests or bishops need to shut up and listen to the word of God which is not simply a book but the living experience of the community. If so many people are agreeing on something, can’t they take it as a sign of God? Do they really understand that God may use any person to give us a message?     The present attitude in the church where it stubbornly refuses to accept criticism unmasks the real Pope who is coming out after more than 7 years!

It’s not a solution to dump one priest who was courageous enough to admit getting married, but rather think if the time is right for married priests. But it’s not only about married priests but rather a general view about religion and God which needs an overhaul change!! If we don’t listen to the people of God, maybe we’ll find empty churches and no communities!

Another bishop is giving the reason why the churches should be changed…in a radical way! ‘Arrests are not arrests anymore,” Packard said as we talked Friday in a restaurant overlooking Zuccotti Park in New York. ‘‘They are badges of honor. They are, as you are taken away with your comrades, exhilarating. The spirit is calling us now into the streets, calling us to reject the old institutional orders. There is no going back. You can’t sit anymore in churches listening to stogy liturgies. They put you to sleep. Most of these churches are museums with floorshows. They are a caricature of what Jesus intended. Jesus would be turning over the money-changing tables in their vestibules. Those in the church may be good-hearted and even well-meaning, but they are ignoring the urgent, beckoning call to engage with the world. It is only outside the church that you will find the spirit of God and Christ. And with the rise of the Occupy movement it has become clear that the institutional church has failed. It mouths hollow statements. It publishes pale Lenten study tracts. It observes from a distance without getting its hands dirty. It makes itself feel good by doing marginal charitable works, like making cocoa for Occupy protesters or providing bathrooms from 9 to 5 at Trinity Church’s Charlotte’s Place. We don’t need these little acts of charity. We need the church to have a real presence on the Jericho Road. We need people in the church to leave their comfort zones, to turn away from the hierarchy, and this is still terrifying to a lot of people in the church and especially the church leadership.

We surely agree on one point, many bishops and priests are living in the comfort zone. Consequently they are never going to ask for a revolution. Many of them still cling desperately to the power game and this what hinders their true conversion to the voice of the Holy Spirit. It is the laity (those who are not priests nor nuns), who should start the ball rolling. It’s very difficult for a big organisation or corporation such as the Catholic Church to change its thinking.

I think that the National Catholic Reporter has hit the nail on its head with a powerful and exact wording……

For decades now, the power of the Catholic monarchy to control the social, spiritual, and political lives of its members has been in decline. While Humanae Vitae, the 1968 papal encyclical that upheld the church’s traditional ban on artificial contraception, placed Catholic dissension (or perhaps spiritual maturation) in relief in the late 1960s, the sexual abuse crisis returned it to center stage throughout the past decade. In fact, Humanae Vitae was only superficially about birth control and the sexual abuse crisis was only partially about sexual abuse. Both crises were fundamentally about power: who holds it, over whom, to what extent, in what areas of life.

When a large group’s identity is threatened and power is lost, the healthy group will mourn before reworking their sense of self to accord with a new reality. When mourning goes well, there is a cleansing of mind, spirit, and psyche to go on after loss; to reconstitute self, relationships with others, hopes, dreams and beliefs in a renegotiated engagement with the real and the possible. There is self-examination about our own contribution to the control we are losing, perhaps ending in a rueful recognition that we never should have had that much control. The crisis of mourning well done can morph into a kairos leading to deeper connection with self, others and the Divine.

Rather than mourn, the Catholic nobility send their minions out to battle against SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, a powerful voice for those harmed by the bishops. While the attack on SNAP may have legal currency, it is awfully tough to find the Gospel passages that undergird it.

Rather than mourn, the pope appoints a trio of lords to rein in those galling daughters of Eve, the nuns who dare to take the Gospels seriously, thinking they focus mostly on service rather than control.

Rather than mourn, Benedict lashes out at his weary priests who shout that others than celibate men might be needed and effective in spreading the Good Word.

Rather than mourn, Bishop Daniel Jenky pours venom, twisted history, and incoherent verbiage on a president who appears to think the poor need as much of a break as the rich guys.

Homily {Every Sunday}