Tag Archive: Maltese European Elections


Painfully slow

In English we have the expression of taking a short cut. A short cut may help one avoid a lot of traffic, gas and time. Nobody would like to spend so much time in traffic when a shorter route exists! Is there a short cut in life? Before we answer such question, we are aware that there are various aspects of life. We have in mind the much needed reform in the Catholic church. Unfortunately there are no short cuts!

It seems that some of our readers would like to wake up one fine morning and find the necessary changes in the Catholic church! The mentality of the short cut is embedded in those who wish to change things in the church. Well it never happened that way. That’s not the natural way. If one just takes a look at creation especially the growing up of a forest, it takes a lot of years. We do understand that a fallen tree is much faster and it makes more noise than a whole forest growing up!

The longer route is: who is going to take care of so many parishes without a resident priest? Whether we’ll have married priests or not, we still have to face this growing challenge! If married priests join officially the clergy, it still might not be enough (not all married priests will accept the call by the way!), to provide the necessary basic services in a parish.

What we really need is for the so called ‘lay’ people to take an active role in the parish. Obviously to train people, again, it’s not an overnight job. It needs a lot of training. Who is going to take the role?

The problem is that we are comfortably enough to hide behind a computer screen but not daring enough to make the first step towards the actualisation of our dreams!

Maybe the first excuse that comes up is that we don’t feel that we are the right person to do the job. If we truly read the bible, there were many people who complained to the Lord to go and pick up another person. Finally they had to give up! They accepted the Lord’s invitation with humility. Your sins, lack of faith, lack of skills etc…will be compensated by the Lord!

Besides the acceptance, one has to pull up his socks and starts the hard work ie to prepare ourselves professionally so that we can take care of a parish. On the internet there are many courses nowadays which can be followed in the comfort of one’s home! One can find a solution to juggle around other duties to leave space for such a course.

During the course, one meets several people. Don’t be taken aback if you meet some so called old fashioned friends. That will be the testing ground. One needs to train oneself in dialogue. These will be repeated in other occasions such as when one is responsible for a parish. There is no perfect community in the world! One has to work with the people that come to the parish, whether they are old fashioned, greedy, alienated, rebellious or whatever. I do remember the first time I was introduced to a parish where old aged people where the absolute majority. As a young priest, at first I didn’t want to stay there. But then, the old people brought other people for some special occasions and there I met other kind of people. So one needs some time to understand God’s call.

The same can be said of our call as married priests. I never thought that I would practice priesthood again. But the call from the people and the internal reflection made me realise that one cannot discard God’s call. Of course it’s very easy for a married priest to stay in the comfort of his family (without judging anybody though), yet God’s call is there for all.

Will you take up the challenge?

The Pope surprises everybody

The Pope has surprised everybody by announcing new measures to combat sexual child abuse. We are very happy because finally the church has started to project itself differently. The pope has proved that he does listen to his critics. He did something tangible to create a new image of the church which is fundamental after the tragedy of sexual child abuse. The effects will surely put the church in a good light in the long run.

Is it enough? Well, some people are still not 100% happy because any law which does not state what kind of punishment could be given, is still not a good law. We don’t know who is going to supervise all the dioceses of the church to see if it’s being put into practice or not. It is quite demanding to have an eagle eye on such a gigantic organisation!

Our point is still: why force celibacy unto priests? It is not enough to cure people after an accident. How about avoiding it in the first place? We are not against celibacy. We are only stating the obvious: make it optional. The enormous number of priests would immediately suggest that not all of them will observe celibacy whether it’s with a young child, woman, man or whatever!

The priests are practically NOT trained to live a celibate life. They are not trained how to accept and direct their emotions. They live with other boys or men especially in the initial years. They don’t have a family to take care of; they don’t have to face violent, critical or drugged teens in their house. They just go out and preach! All this will have an effect on their work in a parish.

In many seminaries (training grounds for priests), priests are simply used to the liturgy and how to observe in a meticulous manner, the laws which command public worship. Yet outside the mass hours, are they trained to do a truly pastoral work? Do they know how to plan work in a parish? Do they know how to deal with adults? Are they trained for Adults’ Catechesis? Are they ready to leave the ‘home’ advantage of working in the temple/church and visit people in other environments? What about working alongside the so called ‘laity’?

Although there are many answers to the questions we have just raised, yet the married priesthood could be another asset for the church today. Although there are many baptised people who a see a value [rightly so] in celibacy, there is a large number of people who are actually put away with this undemocratic enforcement of celibacy. Are we going to send the latter away? Are we going to insist that we are right and they are wrong? Where is the spirit of the Church in the modern world where it listens and looks for the hidden writing of the Holy Spirit?

We firmly believe that if we want our priests to be involved in our daily lives, then a married priest would already be with both feet ‘in’. It could be a catapult to help him work better and offer a better service to the parish!

The secret hand of God

Children would like to win when playing games. Adults want to come out as intelligent and mature persons when conducting a project at work. The Jewish people too wanted a superman in order to get rid of the then so powerful Roman Empire! In any case, everybody wants/wanted to come out with flying colours!

How come then we’re celebrating the death of a man nailed to a cross? Is this the promised victory? What kind of victory is that? It seems that the so called bad people had won!

Although we’ve been brainwashed [at times] in the Catholic church, there are moments when one is all alone. One can’t do what others did. It’s a personal situation where each individual has to give a personalised answer!

The married priesthood is another subject which cannot be judged on a yes or no campaign. We don’t say it’s possible or not. We firmly believe that it’s in God’s hands for the future. Now God, the way He handles these projects is in a different manner. If we just look at one of His extraordinary projects [the church], he didn’t select the very best [according to our frame of mind]! Yet no one can deny that it was another wonder of the world! Companies get dissolved after a few years or in other words, no company has withstood 2 centuries though!

As married priesthood is aimed for the future, it links with another group of people: the prophets. Prophets in the old Testament [Bible], used to talk in a strange language. They used to see things that others didn’t. No prophet knew how far away was the actualisation of his words. Though they firmly believed that one day it would have been put into practise.

The signs that make us believe that it will happen is that the number of candidates for priesthood is getting the lowest record. We’re speaking in a general manner because in very few countries they are still having an incredible high number.

The church can’t survive in such an environment. I do mix with people and many times when discussing religion, I realise how little do they know about true religion! How can they learn if there is no one to teach them? What about their daily lives? Do they turn to God? Well, we can safely say that the old prayers are gone forever. Even though people can surely meet God in other areas and circumstances, we firmly believe from daily experience that if we don’t have a timetable, most probably we turn to God [maybe] when we encounter a negative experience!

As usual, when discussing any subject in the church, there should be a dose of prayer. It’s not just the sharing of ideas. We are walking together on a journey to discover God in the futuristic church where married priests will be present.

Just to make our ideas more clear let’s make an example: discussing forgiveness. One can discuss at length about the subject but finally one has to pray a lot in order to practise it in one’s life. This is because one needs God’s help to be able to live it!

Let’s not see married priesthood on its own. It’s just one project alongside others which finally will enhance the church to be able to be again an important player in society in this century.

A different approach

I still remember some of the so called good old days in the church where people used to be afraid of breaking tradition in Lent by eating prohibited food or to exceed the exact quantity of some food! Well we had a particular formation where tradition used to occupy a central place. Fasting was a way of life in a Christian’s perspective. It was tradition.

Today, when walking in a city, there is rarely a sign of people who fast! Most people broke with tradition. People do not feel that tradition is a reason why we have to continue the same way of life. People feel that they need a change. Some of them are looking for a direct communication with our Lord, in or outside the church. If they don’t fast, it doesn’t mean that they do not believe in God or that they are far away!

The direct approach is their meaning of prayer. They ask any kind of question especially those outside the box because they are looking for something honest, caring, understanding and meaningful. If one asks, one expects an answer. Some people do not find answers. How is God going to provide answers to some curious questions?

God works through us. We are the ones who have to provide an answer to these thirsty and hungry people for God!

If we compare statistics, we might become pessimistic of how many people are not attending church any more! There are many people who are so alienated that they do not know that it’s the Lent season! On the other hand, if we are truly living this Lent, we might see things differently.

The rush to buy more or to get more rich, is a request to find God ultimately, according to St. Augustine’s philosophy. We might be the link for others to show them where God is. Maybe it’s not the time for fasting, but it’s time to go and look for others and help them contact God.

This applies especially when discussing married priesthood. It’s the link that people are looking for to find a humane church where it understands their daily challenges to live a normal life! It is the link that they are looking for. Whenever I’m discussing this issue amongst people who have left the church, I always see a smile and a genuine interest to come back to church.

The other side of the coin shows people who are still attending church ceremonies yet they are strongly in line with tradition. Taking away tradition means taking one’s life in their own frame of mind! We have to explain the reason maybe of breaking up with the tradition of celibate priests. We have to pray together in order that the Lord will illuminate the challenges facing the church today, especially that of lack of priests!

In our frame of mind too we have to let God move us towards new pastures! Although the hurdles seem insurmountable, yet we do believe that God can move mountains! At times, we don’t need a very large following. Maybe we might need just one prophet who with the appropriate words can bring the necessary changes in the church for the good of all! In this sense, this week, there have been some positive and significant changes in order that priests could get married!

Another article is found here. Have a spiritual and meaningful Lent!

We met in 2001. I worked in a hospital, but Vladislav came to a Christmas event for the patients as a priest.

We have been in a relationship for 16 years and have 2 children. It was very clear to Vladislav, that at the beginning of the relationship, I was looking for a family and not just some amusement. I hold family values very high. I have always thought of him as my husband and he has been calling me his wife.

Fifteen years ago, when we were expecting our first child, incredibly his provincial [The head of a religious order] advised him to leave the family, because “She’ll find someone else”. Vladislav was moved to another country!

When we were expecting our second child he wanted to convert to Eastern Rite Catholics, but his brother, a Roman Catholic bishop didn’t allow that. His brother also told me that Vladislav would be happier without me!!!

The elder child, our son, was very attached to his dad. When Vladislav left us, the son started having health problems.

During these years I have been forced to leave my friends, my job in the school and the university, just to be able to pay the bills. I worked illegally – without holidays for years, because Vladislav’s financial contribution was unpredictable.

In the period when we didn’t meet each other, Vladislav fell to the final stage of alcoholism.

When I met Vladislav – he was like a slum, not a living person. He couldn’t move or sleep normally, he talked like an insane person.

Immediately I led him to a detoxification, to narcologists. Vladislav started having epilectic seizures. At the moment, any amount of alcohol can go fatal to him, causing a psychosis, which would turn him into a “vegetable”.

Because of the risk of having an epilepsy attack, he must not stay alone – not even a minute. Vladislav also had severe memory impairment. He had been living at home. Our children and I helped him return to life, regain his memory and intellectual abilities.

I persuaded him to go through the Minnesota program for addicts. According to the doctors, a situation of Vladislav remaining in the ministry would leave a very bad impression to the children.

Unfortunately, when he lived at home, in family, he received messages from his brother (bishop): “Your only choice is to run away secretly. You must remain sacred even against your own will !!!!!”.

His sister persuaded him to leave by inventing lies. He said to our little daughter: “I’ll be back in 3 days, and we will go to a pizzeria.” It’s been two years since that day but he is yet to come back!

I wrote to the Order and turned to an international organization for help.

The General Father of the Order didn’t allow him to leave the ministry. He said that my request was ‘not well grounded.’

I was presented with a contract in which the father could meet with the children 4 times a year – according to them!! Is that how to bring up children?!!! In this contract I was named ‘a nuisance’.

I believe that the way the RCC behaves towards me, the children and Vladislav, is a crime.

Please be careful with your comments as this is a very sensitive case of a The Roman Catholic Church abusing a woman. Let’s show our practical belief by helping and not judging a person who had the courage to write her story on our blog. Let’s keep her in our prayers.

Why is Pope Francis hesitating?

Most commentators speak or write about the Catholic Church as outsiders or as people who don’t know what’s going on. It’s like when you hear that a couple has just separated! For all those who do not form part of their inner circle, it’s a big shock! Surprisingly, the couple itself may have been thinking of separation for many weeks or perhaps years!

Why is Pope Francis so hesitant? Well after so many centuries of biased teaching against women how can he reconcile the idea of priests living 24/7 with a woman? We have witnessed for many years that intelligent women were classified as if having a special connection with the devil! There couldn’t be an intelligent woman, if yes, then there was witchcraft somewhere, somehow!

Priests on their own will be more easy to control. Having a woman alongside might present problems as she might speak truthfully and directly contrary to many priests who still value obedience above justice or retribution! And what about divorce? What if the relationship gets sour? What will happen? Will the priest divorce? Will he live with another woman? That will be too much to accept!

Priests, although they speak about marriage, makes them the most vulnerable people in marriage because they have no experience of a true, deep relationship. Nowadays they used to being transferred after some years. From our point of view, married priests, if helped to meet the right partner and grow up in emotional maturity, might bring a new reflection to divorce and all that pertains to marriage!!

Priests

[like politicians]

occupy a central position in society. They are surrounded by people who practically adore them. They find most of the work done by others. They simply have to come in and finish it themselves whilst taking all the glory! Having a family will destroy his free time and his free roaming around at will. How can a priest submit himself to another human being [woman]? Or how can he take care of child 24/7? That will be too much!

Another reason which tops it all is that of priests who are married. They are still seen as lepers! They have left because they were not capable of living the priestly life. How can he let them back again? If they are allowed to come back, other priests might protest that they have remained ‘faithful’ to their call whilst they have to work with others who have simply betrayed their calling!

We know that these priests who have left have not betrayed anyone because they have been faithful to their conscience because they couldn’t hide their spiritual and emotional growth. They didn’t want to live a double life. On the contrary, other priests might have stayed because they were too afraid to make the big decision or because they found the normal life too threatening!

In the meantime, if the Pope doesn’t make this bold step forward, he might be condemning the church to just a few followers as many have chosen to vote with their feet. We had already many issues in the church (most popular at the time of the council was the ‘no’ against contraceptives), which made most of the flock to leave! Shall we have the situation where priest celebrates mass on his own or with very few people?

The Catholic Church is in no position to dictate what other people have to do especially after the Pell trial in Australia! Married priesthood would be the first step in the right direction to start building people’s faith in the church once again. Married priests will surely bring about other significant changes. At the same time we have to realise that a change never comes from those who are leading a happy life! It’s the people who are suffering who push for a change. Those areas without a priest should seek married ones. No priest can deny spiritual help to baptised people (that’s a law of the church!). Let’s start the change by knowing where married priests are and ask for their services! Just have a look at these websites: USA; Europe.