Tag Archive: Pope Francis and deacons


Pluralism of thought

Walking along a main street in any city today, gives one the impression of today’s civilisation: everybody seems to be walking all alone as most people are not looking sideways, forward or backwards but are busy reading their tiny screen held in their hands!

Are we becoming islands? Generally speaking, in most writings on our blog, it seems that some people think that they are living on an uninhabited island! This is because like horses, they only see one view. Obviously the one that counts is their view!! Like the person looking onto their mobile phone who is blind to other happenings, one cannot see other views because one is cut off from reality.

When it comes to emotions, it’s already so difficult for a person to understand what’s going on, let alone somebody else from a different country with a different background, upbringing etc…

In a way, as Christians, we remember that only God sees in the darkest areas of our lives or other unspoken realities of which we may be totally blind! He is the true Judge who sees what others cannot see or imagine!

Falling in love is the most complicated form of action taking place in our bodies. We are first speaking from a chemical point of view. Same wise for emotions and human growth. What happens in our lives is not that easy to explain. We might put it into words, but words alone are not enough to experience what other people are experiencing. Our blog is becoming more popular because we are discussing something which is not allowed in most other Christian blogs!

But allowing people to air their views, emotions, experiences etc… does not automatically make mature readers! It’s easy to fall into temptation in condemning or labelling one’s opinion! In this area, we do feel that we need to grow. We can only present our experience and let the person decide, even if it’s against what everybody thinks or wish for. When we hear people, in some cases we are directing them to a particular conclusion. In other words we would be telling what to do. This is a very old idea of counselling which however surfaces every now and then.

We insist again, letting priests becoming biological fathers will help them too in this area. It’s not easy to tell your own sons/daughter what to do. In today’s world they need a real dialogue. Dialogue does not mean converting your own son to your own ideas, but to explore more ideas together. Finally, our sons and/or daughters are becoming adults with the right to go for a different choice then the one we discussed about!

On the other hand, those who are brave enough to share their loving experience with a priest, should not be blind and deaf to what others have written about. Experience is something which one cannot achieve in a short time. Time has to pass by in order to gain some experience. There is no fast forward button! In this sense, a dialogue has to be practised on both sides. They too need to truly listen to others although they have the right for a different solution.

Another important principle: if I have a particular experience about women-priests relationship, it doesn’t mean that all experiences are going to pass through the same path! Every person is different. Every priest is different. Every country is different. Time is changing too. What was taboo for some parts of the world, now it now longer holds water. They are in fact opening up to new ideas. This is our greatest asset that most Catholics do understand that a married priest is in a good position today to evangelise other people. It’s a missing link which might add to a multicoloured church with various experiences, traditions and people!

There are various studies about the role of the priest. There has been several contributions in this field. It adds to our golden treasure in the Catholic Church. We should be aware of the contributions of several people at the Universities who in silence and great patience try to discover what’s in the Bible and beyond. They bring about a silent revolution. Unfortunately, their works remain hidden in libraries and very few people will get to know about their sterling work. Here we are providing just two links: the priest in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

On the other hand, a book cannot tell people what to do in various particular situations. In other words, although we need to know our past, yet the present and the future call for a new solution. Why is this? It’s for one simple reason: the role of the priest revolved around the temple or of offering a sacrifice to the Highest One. Now we all know that most churches are becoming simply museums. They have a glorious past, but there aren’t any more people!

In this case, shall we continue to focus on the temple [church], when people aren’t coming? In old medieval cities, all life evolved around the temple. Nowadays, the temple is just a building. There are a lot of people who are not aware of having a church in their neighbourhood. This is because the importance of a church in their lives has greatly diminished!

In this sense our call for married priesthood is a link to the outside world. The priest, having children, has to follow his sons and/or daughters in their lives. Consequently as a parent he has to face all the challenges facing young people today. It’s a way to invite the priest to leave the comfort zone of the temple and go out and meet today’s world where the criteria are completely different!

Meeting other parents, the priest may recognise the need of family visiting where he meets people in their own comfort zone. From personal experience, I know that people talking in their house are completely different than people who speak in a church! On thing leads to another. So the image of the priest cannot be that of one who leads the congregation in a church but more of somebody who would like to give a personal invitation for a reflection about life and offering a different choice.

We are not implying that liturgy [public worship] is not important. But we cannot administer the sacraments if the people don’t know anything about them. It’s time to reinforce the catechumenate where people spend some time preparing themselves before being admitted into the Catholic Church. Statistics prove that the people attending church are becoming a diminishing minority. Shall we focus on this small part of the cake and leave the majority like abandoned sheep? Jesus Christ was prepared to leave the 99 to go for the missing one. Are our parishes looking for the missing oneS [plural on purpose].

One surprising reflection on the New Testament is that Jesus Christ celebrated mass only once in his entire life on earth although there is a written record of attending the synagogue. He spent most of his time teaching people. Are our parishes giving so much energy in teaching and helping the faith of all the parishioners?

One stumbling block is that priests in a parish are calculated according to how many masses are celebrated during the weekend. This leads to a total disaster because the priest is not simply a celebrant or administrator of the sacraments. This is just a small slot in his busy timetable. We would be discarding an important part of his mission. On the positive side, this could be the reason by which married priests might be introduced in the Catholic Church.

All in all, it points to one direction: we need to reflect on the bible about the priest’s role to be more faithful to our Catholic tradition, yet we need to adapt to today’s changes where the priest is practically an unknown person in the modern cosmopolitan city.

Easter Sunday

The gospels are interesting to read from several points of view. One of them is for contrasts. The people next to Jesus who have witnessed the most astonishing miracles, walked side by side with Him for some years. They are so proud of their master. On Good Friday they are nowhere to be seen. They are terrified of anyone associating them with Jesus. Peter made a solemn oath of not knowing Jesus!

The leader is gone. All the followers run for their lives. They are nowhere to be seen. But they have witnessed the most extraordinary events in their lives??!! This is because fear took over. One of the biggest threats to faith is fear. Fear of what the others might say. Fear of being judged. Fear of being different. Fear of showing your true faith to others. Fear of loosing friends. Fear of being fired. Fear of the future. Fear of others. Fear of the immigrants. Fear of…….The list goes on and on.

Are we afraid? Afraid of what? The fact that I don’t have more stories (for the time being), means that people are afraid of sharing their intimate story with a priest, even though we promised not to reveal real names nor geographical position!

If we wish to see change in the church and yet we are not ready to jump, then maybe we are procrastinating change in the Catholic Church. Maybe like the apostles we are still experiencing Good Friday but not Easter Sunday!

Jesus has won death itself – our greatest enemy. What are we afraid of, exactly? Why is this fear keeping us from transmitting our message? When discussing with others, it’s the others who might be afraid of change, not us!

We have to start the ball rolling as we don’t expect others, especially the priests to speak in our name! On the other hand, it might be interpretated as Pharisaic because whilst we demand the priest to leave everything for the name of love, we are so afraid to touch the hot potato subject of married priests. Myself, I have lost the ‘comfortable’ job of working at the university. Other priests had to emigrate. Others receive a very low pay. Others are still shunned by most of the people, family members included! A few of them have committed suicide. I wish I could reveal the many emails/communication that I receive. Unfortunately, everybody seems to be a victim of fear as they don’t give me permission to publish!

One of the tactics used by most bishops, is that these are very few cases! This is not true. But how can I explain that I have so many cases on my hands if I cannot disclose any information about many stories?

I truly believe that everybody can do something small but with great love and determination. One can send messages through many parts of the world in different ways. I can’t give a general formula for everybody! It’s up to each person to study it’s own personal life and act accordingly.

May the Risen Christ give you enough courage to be bold enough and strengthen the church by suggesting married priesthood.

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.

I am Petra, my friend/priest’s name is James. We first met in our place where he was invited to celebrate mass, since after that he was already close to our family. He even brought us to his hometown and met his family there, it was such an experience to be able to know him better as a person. Many days have passed; we were consistent in our communication like every day. If he wasn’t busy, he would call/text until we were actually seeing each other and when the time came he confessed his love for me. We secretly meet once every week. We went out at some private place where we were free to express our love to each other; we kissed, held hands and made love. Our relationship got deeper and my family had a suspicion of us being so close to each other.

There was a time that I forgot to log out my account on my laptop and left it on. I didn’t know that one of our family member tried to use it, and accidentally saw our conversation, including our pictures, and printed all of it as proof. I was unaware that they started to investigate my schedule every time I stepped out from our house and there was a parishioner as well who reported to my family when my priest was not around at the church, so they would trace us to see if we had met.

After what happened we’ve talked about it we both admitted that we felt guilty of what we had did; we lied to them just to have our own happiness without knowing that it would have hurt other people immensely; he told me that he was willing to sacrifice his love. He told me that we would have stayed as friends and nothing would have changed. At that time I thought that it was really over between us but fortunately, later on, he was sorry for things he had said to me because he was stressed and confused at that moment. We are still fighting for our relationship. It has been 2 months since we last met. We are not meeting just to avoid the issue for the meantime and I don’t know until when we are doing this.

I describe my family as religious and conservative type; I can obviously tell that they can’t accept him because of his status, his age (we have a big gap, he’s much older than me) and they don’t want to lessen their dignity as well. In our country priests here are highly respected people. They think that once a priest they can’t commit sin, they are not supposed to hang out with girls, they can’t enjoy, they can’t drink in public, etc. I don’t think it is a sin to marry a priest but in the eyes of the people it is already a sin.

As long as we love each other we can survive the upcoming circumstances, I am not afraid and ready of what people will be saying about us nor about me because I know what kind of situation am I into.

Sometimes I asked him about his plans if he would leave or continue. He has no answer yet but he was happy that we’ve come this far. He had mentioned the idea of having a business and sometimes he had mentioned that he wanted to have a family in the future. There are some cases where he’s having a problem on dealing with his superiors; based on my observation I don’t think he’s happy anymore. Well in fact he requested the higher official to give him a break from religious life but unfortunately they gave no feedback about his request, so it’s still pending.