Tag Archive: reading signs of the times

Second Class Priests!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all had our prophets in our lives. They are the people who are trying to tell us something. It might be the wrong time or their way of telling us is not so nice. We might simply discard their message because we already had problems in the past or simply because they have a really bad image of themselves.

Time is surely the best answer. Time waits for no one. Yet it uncovers our previous thought as accurate or as totally false. Everybody, if given the opportunity to go back in time, won’t take the same decisions or else would reverse some of his decisions. Now this happens as well in the Catholic Church. Surprisingly it has been proved beyond any doubt that the Catholic church has a notorious history of killing prophets and not listening to their message. Galileo Galilei was not just a one time accident but rather a tradition in the church where it’s so difficult to move along the times. We feel comfortable in repeating the same acts and/or thinking. We feel that we are on the right track.

Now this habit of doing the same thing for many years might be the most inappropriate thing to do. God might send us some people to let us know that we need to update our thinking. It could be a discussion with our friends which might trigger this thought or it might be just an innocent question which makes us uncomfortable…..in any way we cannot continue doing the same thing for many years because no institution can survive without updating or changing. Now in a church there are always those who wish to stay repeating the same ideas and those who wish to move forward.

There has never been an easy relationship between the two schools of thought. But surely the Catholic church has the big advantage of 2000 years of experience so it should handle differences in a mature way. Alas this is not the case as we are hearing of censure and of silencing priests who dare to voice a different opinion than that of the official church. It’s very clear that while the Catholic church condemns the communist era but it uses practically the same manner of trying to silence all opposition! Are they rebel or are they the voice of God calling for a change? Is the problem going to be solved just by silencing these ‘odd’ priests or is the problem much bigger which sooner or later it’s going to be like a time-bomb and damages the church? I think that the priests’ ideas are going to survive and one day the church has to answer for not reading the signs of the times.

The son of a priest is not afraid of labeling and he tries to make a point by showing that things cannot go unnoticed for ever. One cannot hide a problem forever. Priests are human beings. Priesthood and celibacy should NOT be forced to go together. We are for an optional celibacy.                          

Homily {in Maltese}