Tag Archive: pope john xxiii


The concept of a team

When one is watching TV on his/her own, one can watch any station for any reason. Once the person is joined by just one single person, the scenario changes completely. One cannot watch any station in the new situation. There are two people now. They have to discuss what are they going to watch. Most probably two people have different tastes and ideas about what to watch.

In the church we are still individuals. Most people think about themselves and God. Whenever one starts meeting others for faith talks, one starts seeing cracks. The others don’t understand me; they label me; I feel threatened. This is just some of the comments that we priests witness when trying to gather together a flock. I thought that it was only when it comes to face to face meetings. No, it’s online too. When we don’t see eye to eye we start fighting!

Some people might think that they have lost their faith as they see Christians fighting each other. Well, let’s be blunt: fighting between Christians is not a good publicity at all and under certain principles it shouldn’t exist at all. Yet, if one reads the bible regularly and in a prayerful mode, one discovers many instances where fighting becomes the order of the day; whether it’s physical, emotional or on any other level!

There is never a dull moment in the bible. It happened to Christ himself. He wanted to start His church. He could have done it all alone with no mistakes, perfect method and perfect publicity. Maybe it would have progressed with no hiccups! But that’s our human mind who does not want to face any difficulties, sicknesses, challenges and different opinions then the ones held in our grey matter.

Christ himself chose Peter. He was surely not the diplomatic or ideal person at all with no academical qualifications! Sincerely, who would have chosen Peter out of all people? From the practical point of view there were others who were more qualified for the job. Yet Christ chose Peter. We can never comprehend God’s will 100%.

Reflecting on such events one may come to some interesting points. Is the job of Peter so important after all? Who is in command of the church: Peter or God? Who can perform more than humans: Peter or God? If the church were to be based on human beings, it would have already collapsed! Yet it has a unique long history of at least 2000 years. Is this not a miracle in itself?

Some people might have lost faith after the sexual abuse scandal which turned out to be incredibly universal. Yet it’s not the first time that the church has faced such difficult situations. If one mentions the case when the Pope had six illegitimate sons….when we had two Popes at the same time…when the Pope was more similar to a king than a real shepherd and had attacked and conquered other nations…. when the Vatican was going to be attacked during World War II…

In the bible we have one of the earliest quarrels in the church when both Peter and Paul had totally different opinions about the process of joining the church itself!

We have just seen one aspect: the lack of cohesion and agreement in the ‘crowd’ mentality. How about advantages? Could one have all the ideas of the world in his mind? Could one have all the talents, the spiritual power, the will to help the church? Surely not. That’s why we need the others. Besides there Christ’s words that when two or three people are gathered in his name, He is there, present.

The idea of a team is that a good coach studies each and every member and puts him/her in the right place. It’s useless if we start pointing out the bad side of each person. Jesus is in command of His church. We have to pray more in order to see things from God’s point of view. He knew about his apostles’ weak side, yet He chose those twelve in order to kick start his greatest project on earth – the church. Shall we start dissecting his apostles to look out for defects? Or shall we accept them as God’s messengers?

When facing other people in the church, yes we’re going to meet with sins, fragility, incompetence, hard headed people etc…..yet they are all in God’s wonderful hands who can transform a cemetery into a living group of people! He is God of the impossible and not just of that which is possible!

From our experience, being responsible of a parish, we always tried to find people for particular jobs whilst having a blind eye for their defects. One who talks a lot might be used to transmit quick and urgent messages in the parish! One who was good in projects undertaking was used to conduct projects in the parish. One who was full of peaceful thoughts was brought in when having arguments etc…

If one wants to meet the new baby Jesus in the coming months, why not make a list of positive aspects about your ‘enemy’!!! If you want to dig deeper, why don’t you go for the second step: how can we use your positive side and his/her positive side to the benefit of the church?

It seems that most of our readers are busy praying for a better advent this year as practically nobody is writing any more!

I would like to make an appeal so that more women would come forward with their story dealing with falling in love with a Catholic Priest. We promise that we’ll hide their true identity and country.

Our readers would prefer to read and pray on such stories. Obviously, they are more interesting than reading a theological reflection on married priesthood or on how to present our ideas in the church.

Till then, May God Bless you all!

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!

It seems that most of us are on a holiday mood as fewer readers are writing these last days. Well, enjoy your holidays! In the meantime let’s continue praying for our most important wish: to have married priests. We know that it’s going to be a true ‘battle’ for the Catholic Church to allow such an important move, but prayers move mountains. Let’s be men or women of faith. Yes, we can change the church through Jesus Christ. Let’s not be without faith. Let’s not talk like they do in talk shows, newspapers or the internet. We do profess our faith in Jesus Christ: the one who resurrected Himself.

In the meantime I wish to make a public call so that more women come forward and let me publish their story. Although we never force anyone to publish their story, yet we are short of stories. People need current relationships with priests in order to prove our point that you’re not alone in this world. Many others are leading a hidden relationship. If we all raise our hands, then all the world will hear us. In that case, the change will be easier. One story might inspire other women to come forward and spill the beans!

May God Bless you all!

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.

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.

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.