Tag Archive: Pope Francis and deacons


The present battle regarding married priests is facing a normal challenge throughout the world. In what sense is it normal? Let’s dig deeper to see what it entails.

First and foremost it’s a battle of media. Who shouts louder? Who gets the most coverage? It is apparent that some newspapers are reporting it as though there is going to be a great change. Normally when such announcements are made there is an immediate response of resistance. Change? Why? In what sense? In fact many of the so called conservative media outlets are saying that the changes proposed by Pope Francis are going to damage the church. It’s going to disconnect from its roots!!

Unfortunately some of the media have short memory or loss of memory! Because married priest were present in the beginning of the church and they have been so for the first thousand years of the Catholic church! So is it truly a change? Or is it going back to the roots? It’s very important in ecclesial narrative that we are not actually inventing the wheel but it’s rather removing what’s clogging the wheel! All things and traditions which built up during the centuries which actually are harming the church! This is an important way to win back some of the so called conservatives members of the church.

Another move would be to cancel once and for all the idea that a married priest works less for the good of the church. How about mentioning the present married priests and how they can use time management wisely? There are so many examples to be picked up by the media! Can we help the media?

Another case is that of the many people who have left the Catholic Church but they truly believe that married priests are truly a magnificent asset for the church today. What are they saying about the advantages of having back married priests? Can we reach out to them to hear their honest thinking and opinions?

Consequently this would lead to the greatest change: our view of sexuality. Sexuality might make them feel human and vulnerable. Is our church ready to make a complete change over when it comes to sex? It’s been the joke of the century that most celibate priests dictate what happens between the sheets of the greater percentage of married people in the church!! Shall we continue this living lie? This is one of the areas that is helping people decide to leave and walk on its own. Sexuality is the common link which we might use in order to have people back in the church, if we are truly human and spiritual at the same time!

Deep deep down there is a hidden hatred against women! Although many centuries have passed since the incredible middle ages, yet the effects are still felt. The fact that the church has been dominated by male thoughts for this long, signals the writing on the wall. We allowed this to happen when practically in most families it’s the woman who is in charge for the spiritual well-being of the off-springs! Are the male ones afraid that if we’ll introduce married priests, indirectly, women will be governing the church? It has been proven that it’s more difficult for a celibate priest to say no to a higher authority then a married one…

Another hidden asset in the recent Amazon synod [meeting], was that the Pope gave the voice to the local people who without hesitation pointed out the many multinational companies who are offering some kind of service in exchange of their invaluable piece of land. Does this mean a new change in the Catholic church in how it deals with challenges and how to formulate new teachings? Did the media measure such effects on the world today? Or is some media using the conservatives’ ideas in order to try to break down Pope Francis from protecting the poor and the people without a voice? All in all, all media, what is their hidden agenda? In other words, when we are hearing the media, who pays the journalist who is in front of camera, or teh journalist who is inside a newspaper’s building? The same goes for the blogger or the commentator who floods the internet with his/her comments.

The ‘Amazon’ Synod

We are so enthusiastic about the synod being conducted in Rome. We saw several women together with indigenous people from the enchanting and unique area of the amazon. It is another attempt to re-live the second experience of the Second Vatican Council which was celebrated some years ago [1963-1965].

We all know that the Council of around fifty five years ago has been relegated to just a past document. Surprisingly even Popes passed legislations which went against the spirit of the council!! But this is the church after all. One can imagine how difficult it is today when discussing something in the family especially with teenagers! Now it consists of just a few people who all live under the same roof. Now imagine discussing hot issues with millions of people coming from all parts of the world. We saw it on this blog too that when some people do not agree. It’s not a bed of roses!

All in all we are more optimistic today because contrary to the times of the council where the majority of the people were still brainwashed, now the majority had the guts to think differently from the people in authority in the church! The Catholic Church has lost so many people. It cannot afford to let go more people!

The fact that the church is going to let married priests [hopefully] celebrate mass, will bring about the much needed oxygen in the church. Married priests, should start their participation by reflecting on their daily experience. Especially in the amazon area where it will bring a shift in the mind of the church. We shall discuss environment issues as they concern not only the local people but all the people of the world where the amazon is defined as the lungs of the world!

Environment issues should become central teaching of the church. It should investigate the modern ways workers [modern slaves] are treated especially when multinational companies enter into so called poor countries and dominate the lifestyle and the economical well being of so many people!

It’s an open secret that we need married priests in the Western World too. How about the difficulties being faced by young people today? Mental illnesses, relationships, finding the right job or no jobs at all, difficulties of buying a house/flat etc…As already stated in the council, one starts with the normal and daily experience of the people in order to create the necessary trust which might lead to God. A married priest can give a first hand account of such difficulties and hopefully will be reflected in more up-to-date documents issued by the Vatican!

Contrary to the Council of some years ago, the married priests will remain a living testimony to the present synod and there is no danger that it will be put under the carpet in order not to create ‘waves’ in the church!

We are hopeful too that those contrary to married priests, by time will realise the great step forward which will benefit the whole church. Any change in the church should be done not to become a modernised church but to put people nearer to God. Now living amongst the majority of the people, will be a special occasion to show them the way to the Lord!

The difficult art of dialogue.

Many people have different ideas about a relationship. They might read books, ask other people, attend seminars etc…but the real test starts when one enters a true and deep relationship with another person. At the beginning of a relationship everything is smooth sailing, until the first storm takes place. Then the true colours of some people come out, vigorously!

The same happened with our married priest argument. At the beginning many people were all united until different opinions have emerged. The situation, like in any other subject, has shown the need for people to become true dialogue practitioners!

Let me say clearly: this is not the end of it! It’s a common crisis where with the help of the Holy Spirit we will come out of it, more mature and more filled with faith! Obviously, everybody has to do his/her part.

First of all we have to admit that not all our readers like to express themselves in writing! So unfortunately, we are never going to read the opinion of all followers. Many others are still afraid to write, as if we’re going to tell their parish who is writing. To tell the truth I don’t know if one is writing from USA, South Africa, Chile, Canada, Europe or the Philippines! Let alone give away their secrets!! We’ll deal with them on a one-to-one basis. It takes a long time and it does not lead to success automatically!

A very small section are comfortable with writing. These are the ones who ‘make a lot of noise’ as we say in jargon. Yet this section does not reflect the opinion of all of our readers!

If we need to convince the rest of the population about married priesthood, we have to start practising dialogue skills between ourselves!

One enters a dialogue with the right mentality: ie I don’t have all the ideas or answers. I’m here to learn and maybe change my opinion. I do use a kind of prayer which helps me see the others not as an adversary but rather as the one who might make me see the hidden side of the argument. It’s not a question of who is right or wrong but rather seeing both sides of the same coin! It’s a question of seeing it from all sides, angles and possible consequences.

I do remember at the University where a lecturer used to listen to our opinion and used to put us in the opposite group (one which was totally opposite to our honest and personal choices!!). In this way we saw our ‘adversaries’ in a completely new light and she made sure that we would truly listen and understand their opinion!! In common English we would use the expression to walk in somebody’s shoes.

In the course of life’s experiences, one meets people who use the dialogue tactics simply to feel the power to manipulate people. Either by one’s nice way, or by other more brutal ones!! One common assumption used by the Catholic Church throughout the centuries was that of fear: either you accept or you’ll be condemned! We cannot use these tactics in the 21st century! Even if the others don’t accept our ideas, it doesn’t mean that they are going to be condemned! It doesn’t mean that we are better than others! In this light, we unfortunately admit that a church document published around 1965 is still largely unknown by many Christians (Gaudium et Spes – The Church in the world today).

In faith, we express differences in a slightly different way. It’s like starting a journey. One starts today, others have already started their journey and others are still at home, not thinking about starting a journey at all! The stage of the journey [beginning, halfway, end], puts us all in different positions but it doesn’t translate into who is better or worse!

Before deciding to embark on a dialogue on some hot potatoes, I would rather enquire about one’s journey of faith, because it makes all the difference before we start our dialogue! One is not expected to forgive one’s enemies if one has never experienced the love-without-conditions of God! This what we mean by a ‘journey in faith’!

We have to over emphasize once again: married priesthood is not going to solve all the problems in the church! It’s not suitable for all priests! It doesn’t mean that we throw away Celibacy.

We are simply indicating another way that it could be another important asset in the church today, taking into consideration what many people think and wish for!

One final condition: many church goers and other sections of society have only listened to one boring and repetitive answer to married priesthood: NO. They still need to hear our fresh and daring opinion: the married priest will find a practical and direct God in his relationship with his wife and children. As the document in the Church in the world today [mentioned earlier], it makes the church more near the people of today who live in the trenches of one’s life!

We either grow or die!

Children are easily noticed when they get taller. All of us do notice the rate of growth of the young ones. We, as adults, we are growing up very day! It seems so obvious that most of us don’t notice at all! What’s natural and happening everyday seems to get sandwiched between our 1001 jobs we have to do daily.

How do we grow up? Obviously not getting taller! But we are making experiences and reflections in our daily journey. As spiritual beings we tend to look beyond the experience. We are humans who ask many questions.

It has become obvious that as a spiritual community all of us have different ideas, characters, upbringing etc…But lately the going is getting a little bit more challenging. There are some who are not open to change [like in many other sections of the population]. Others who would like to take a commanding role [either you do as I’m telling you or I’m quitting]. Some others go on a rampage by labelling others [including myself]. A few have chosen their role: to be judges!

Can we move forward in this way? Well, in the moments when I feel it’s getting dark, I would grasp the bible in my hands and look for inspiration. Yes, Jesus Christ could have started and set everything ready made in His church. Yet He didn’t do it! He wished to have 12 frail men to command it. Where they the best people on earth at that time? Definitely not. It’s not me who is leading his church. It’s the Holy Spirit who is continually cleaning and sanctifying His church. Do we truly believe this?

This is the biggest change in teaching. We are bombarded by negative news. It’s so easy to fall in the prey of today’s so called journalists. It seems that there is negativity all around! How can I believe in the ‘nuclear’ news of the gospel? From this aspect, we are seeing what we DO NOT AGREE IN. In this way we are undermining our community. We have to believe that as a community we are obliged to take care of each other.

This is like friends. When we are young we tend to think that our best friends seem to be our photocopies. As we grow older, we notice many areas were we disagree completely! We are best friends not because we agree on all subjects, but rather for other reasons! The same goes for our community. We are trying to give a message to the world: married priesthood will be a blessing to our wider Catholic community. Now if we remain separated or everybody in the comfort of his house but disregarding the calls of his brothers/sisters, then we fall down. All of us. The entire community.

I did my doctoral thesis on the role of the community. I lived in a community 24/7. For some time, I lived in an international community of nearly 200 people. I know what it takes to live in a community. I know all the pros and cons. I do distinguish though, the online community from other communities. In fact some people play the bully role simply for the fact that they are behind a screen and they think nobody can get their true identity!

I never told anybody to leave. I hope I will never do that. But some people seem to abandon the community because the community is growing. Growing means taking a different path in our journey. Now I know that most human beings are so diffident with change. Yet, looking out of the window and seeing the wind blowing, I realise that it’s not the most ‘strong’ tree that will resist the wind but the most flexible one. The flexible ones seem to be so frail as they are going in all directions when the wind blows heavily. Surprisingly those who seem to be so strong are the most likely ones to be uprooted! Technically because they try to stop the wind, which of course is unstoppable, like change!

One final note: I have been there many times when there was discord amongst a community. I do feel that God is telling us to move forward, with or without these members. It’s up to them to either get on the bus again or risk of being left behind!

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.