Tag Archive: Robert Abela


The online aspect of the Church

I never ever remember schools closed for such a long period! Teachers were teaching one day, the next day, schools were closed. Most of them felt at a loss. How can one teach online? It has become the dilemma of many teachers as they struggle to face a new and unfamiliar situation. They struggle to conquer the world of IT [online] to communicate with their students. The main sin was, that schools – including teachers, students and parents – were never prepared for such a particular situation!

What about the church? How do we expect people to come to church? Maybe they have never had a visit from a member of the parish! They struggle to belief in a God. Most probably they hear all sorts of stories ‘against’ the church. Maybe they don’t feel the need for a god. Now to cap it all, there’s the coronavirus which has transformed practically all countries into a lock-down.

Obviously it all points down to our preparation or training. Churches like schools, have barely touched the online world! The only practical point was to celebrate the mass in an empty church and to transmit it to the internet. Well, seeing such a bare and empty church won’t be a good advertisement at all! Are we happy with that? We shouldn’t. In some churches, the Cardinal/Archbishop/bishop practically took over. Indirectly it has brought forward the old idea that the church is the priest/bishop or clergy!

As they say in English: every cloud has a silver lining. For the worldwide visitor to this blog it means that every negative situation has the potential to result in or produce something positive or beneficial. (A silver lining in a cloud is an indication that the sun is behind it.)

The internet world is NOT a church. We can’t simply produce the sacraments and pour them into whoever happens to be online! We can’t simply dump into people all the documents of the church! IF we need to push forward the mass and other sacraments mentality, people need to be trained in what are the sacraments, why do we need them etc…

Besides, the internet world, like TV, uses a complete different format such as that of hot discussions! Discussion does not mean to convert the other into your beliefs or opinion! I do remember one of my university lecturers who used to make us write down not our opinion, but that of our adversary!! One had to write down the opinion which obviously one didn’t subscribe to! Yet this was the first step to get to know the other. It had already moved mountains in the dialogue method. Secondly, we had to find at least one positive point in his/her/their opinion! Thirdly, we had to device a common point from where to start discussing! Lastly, one had to retract something in order to reach a compromise!

Another missing methodology is that of contemporary Christian life. Many people would like to see how ordinary people are living their faith today. The Facebook or Big Brother mentality shows people’s obsession today in seeing something ‘live’. From another point of view, the urge to share shows people’s needs to adhere to a community. The church can work along these lines too if we tender and care in creating the community mentality in our parishes.

Recently I have just watched a film about Saint John XXIII (who occupied the chair of Peter from 1958 to 1963). It moves one to tears in his ability of reading the signs of the times.

He was the first Pope to reach out to what they have termed [at that time], the enemies of the church. With his message of peace, he found a bridge with all people including atheists. It was no surprise that he managed to stop the world from going into a full blown and disastrous world war!

Finally they found a Pope who did not speak in theological jargon but one who appealed to the common good. He was not imprisoned in his beautiful cathedral but looked forward to understand and dialogue with all kinds of people including the people who were in jail [which was unheard of at that time].

It was no surprise that he was fooled by one of his closest friends as they struggled to keep the power as they were comfortable of playing home by celebrating a liturgy which lacked meaning for the common people! Eventually, his once close friend, asked for pardon to the dying Pope as he finally realized the Pope’s winning way of working in the church!

Are we today as practical as Saint John XXIII? Speaking about this blog, some of our readers are really sensitive when somebody writes in a way which offends their inner beliefs! How many times we discuss the church and its way forward instead of protecting ourselves?! Are we prepared to go to training sessions to improve our faith and to improve our intimacy and knowledge of our Lord? What are we doing on a practical level to improve the church on a local level? Are parishes offering online courses, prayers, discussions, talks etc…??

We started the article by our reference to teachers. As teachers need to be trained in how to handle all the wonderful world of IT. We too need to train the future leaders in the church, which is no joke. It will involve many years of preparation. We need to be IN the internet. We need to talk the way the people talk today. We need to be online more and to be like a bridge over these troubled waters [moments].

As married priests, who have been deprived of a ‘normal’ church, we could give some tips in managing the internet [we have been doing so for more than 22 years now]. In this case too, as we are living a family life. As a result of our daily experience, we can point out what are the common points with today’s world.

Let’s start the ball rolling

It’s time to start. It’s time to move on. It’s time to pass into action. It’s time to show that we mean business. It’s time to be on the offensive.

Why are we writing so? One cannot continue to wait forever! There are people who are asking for more priests. We cannot simply turn our heads in another direction! Communities without priests tend to lose direction. They cannot grow spiritually! They need guidance. They need somebody to show them the way. This is the ultimate reason which pushes us into action. The doctor cannot leave a patient unattended. Jesus himself used the example of the doctor.

Obviously there would be some Catholics who would question our authority if we are doing this according to the canon law. Well, when there is an emergency, nobody would ask for papers. We give what we can to help the injured person. Christ himself broke the law when He spoke with public sinners, women and other persons who were ‘outside’ the community for religious reasons. He cured people on a Saturday etc…..He never broke the law to His advantage but to help others. He felt ok with his conscience! The law is there to serve humanity and not vice versa! Besides we are ordained priests forever. One cannot simple delete or postpone our priesthood. Our mass is valid as that of the Pope because we all received the same Holy Spirit in ordination!

Let’s unite behind our married priests in order to promote our cause. Let’s not waste our time in useless fighting! Let’s concentrate on what keeps us as one movement: married priesthood. Let’s not be so weak so as to leave this community just because of some odd comment. We need to be fighters because when we present our ideas, not all the Catholic community would agree with us. We have to face tough time as we have just recently seen with the present Pope. We lost the fight but not the battle! Time is in our favour as more and more people will join our cause and do their part to convince other Catholics of our mission.

In the meantime, if we can, how about attending mass of a married priest? Here is a link for priests in the US. In Europe one can find this list.

An open letter to Pope Francis

A long time ago, soldiers used to put their ears to the ground to listen for any noises. Normally they would know if a group of troops were approaching their land. Nowadays we expect all leaders to listen to what’s going on in the world. They have several modern ways to ‘listen to the ground’.

It’s an open secret that most people are in favour of married priests. There is no need of any proof because any survey in any part of the world will swing to one direction: married priests now!

Yet for some unknown reason you chose to go against the grain! How are the people allowed to feel now? They were sure that you had listened to their cries, yet, you chose differently! Why? Is this a listening church?! It’s surely NOT! Do you believe that God can speak through his people?

On our website we have hundreds of stories of priests falling in love with other significant ones. Besides there are many more stories who did not give us permission to publish their story. They are coming from all parts of the world. If you truly believe in the beauty of celibacy, have you ever listened to the bad side of it: ie forced celibacy on priests? Recently we had the story of two priests who forced their women to have an abortion in order to hide their sexual adventures! We weren’t allowed to publish their story. In a way you’re going to encourage similar stories even though each person has to carry his/her personal responsibility!

Another consequence of your decision is that once again we are re-enforcing the notion that sex and women are bad, or wrong or dirty! Indirectly we’re going back again to the idea that celibacy is superior to marriage. It’s useless to publish countless documents where you write that marriage is so important in the eyes of God. Well, your action speaks louder!

Another false opinion running around is that a married priest will not have enough time to serve his people. Well, could you please publish the working timetable of celibate priests? Most churches in Western Europe are empty. They rarely visit homes. So where are they working after celebrating mass?

You have emphasized the importance of the Eucharist for any community in the world. Truly it is the right spiritual nourishment for our spiritual growth. What answers are you going to give now that most communities don’t have resident celibate priests? Please, with all due respect, be aware that you’re putting a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Many people will be leaving the church without the proper spiritual nourishment!

Some Catholic interpreters are saying that the pressure of the so called ‘traditionalists’ has taken its toll on you. Well, be aware that they are never going to be your supporters! But now you lost a great majority of others who were seeing you as a ‘different’ pope. You cannot imagine the disappointment, delusion and spiritual emptiness that they are feeling with your decision!

It has reaffirmed our personal decision of many years ago when we felt the decision to leave the official priesthood because of several matters which were against our conscience. Yes, a priest does not leave simply, because he cannot tame his sexual impulses! He leaves because there are several incongruences in the Catholic church – the latest being the prohibition of married people from priesthood, although people coming from the Anglican religion can stay married and enjoy married life!

Another contradiction is that we’re going against the bible which has ample proof that most of the apostles were married. Are we going to filter the bible? Are we going to pick and select what’s more suitable from the bible?

Your Holiness you come from the beautiful continent of Latin America where base level community is way of life in the church. You truly understand that the spiritual community intertwines with their daily needs. Imagine if a priest is married and has children. What a beautiful position that would be to connect with many other married people in the church. He won’t preach with words but would rather be a living testimony to the whole community. Alas we are being deprived of such testimony…We have so many priests who are happy to make our stone churches richer but our living church is poor.

We are afraid that history is going to repeat itself! Pope Paul VI was seen in a very bad light after going against the commission who were in favour of contraceptives. It has made him appear in a different light altogether. You are a strong defender of immigrants and the poor people. Well, all that will go down the drain. History will only remember that you said ‘no’ to married priests!

According to the teaching of the church and recently affirmed by your Holiness (https://religionnews.com/2013/09/11/pope-francis-tells-atheists-to-obey-their-conscience/), we go for a different road where we feel we are being called to serve the people of God as married priests, as priesthood is forever and indelible.

According to the law of the church, no priest shall deny any service to lay people who come in good spirit! We are living in an emergency era in the Catholic Church of today. Many people need more priests not simply to fulfill their Sunday obligation but for more services, help, counselling, teaching etc…Nobody would wait for the Pope’s permission when one sees another Catholic in an emergency!Emergency is not simply at the point of death but rather the bigger flock with no shepherd, according to biblical information!

One final note: although we are not vociferous like the so called ‘traditionalists’. Please don’t take it as just an opinion of just one website. Here are some articles which clearly shows that other people are on the same bus!

https://www.futurechurchnews.org/article/pope-francis-with-all-respect-you-should-have-done-more

https://news.yahoo.com/pope-francis-sides-traditionalists-priest-celibacy-040755784.html

https://www.catholicchurchreform.org/216/

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/disappointment-outrage-over-papal-document-amazon?clickSource=email

https://international.la-croix.com/news/deciding-not-to-decide-for-now/11818

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51474009

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/lebanon-married-priests.html

Going alongside the big wave

One of the things which effects our society is that without knowing it we are living as if in separate compartments! How many times we notice people eating at a restaurant, yet they talk very little, all glued to their mobile phones? Others on a train, bus etc… all searching on their mobile phone. What’s happening to our society? In this change of humanity it’s going to be extra difficult to explain to people about any subject. We do remember nostalgically the times when we used to have arguments on a bus or any other public place. Yet, most of us are silent, reading on our mobile phones. Most probably we are just updating ourselves about the latest gossip or non-significant news!

As always, more than crying or reminiscing about the past, we have to live today. How can we turn the internet in our favour? In this sense, we are not without hope. This blog has started being unnoticed for the first few years. Where are we now? We have hundreds of followers without spending one dime in publicity! It’s the quest for information which has brought so many followers. Every women falling in love or meeting the priest who shows more than just some interest, are going to start thinking and looking for other people having similar experience/s. Although the internet was promoted for free views, there are very few spaces on the internet which openly discuss love with a priest!

Our aim is not simply to attract women having relationships with priests, but rather the general public. First of all we need the help of all our readers! Everybody nowadays has at least one social account! If one shares our thoughts on social media, we would be making our presence felt. Today we can do publicity without asking big companies to do this job. Personally we don’t like big companies not only because we have to fork out a hefty sum of money but rather because we don’t like large crowds. We need the right people instead. In other words, we need people who are not brainwashed. Experience have taught us that it’s useless to spend time arguing with some people especially in the Catholic Church.

One big asset is the big link people feel about married priests. He is married too. He has kids. He faces the same challenges! The people already feel that this change should be made possible in the church. So what are we afraid of?

Besides another great asset is the consequence of married priests. Just looking at past history in theology we see that most of the time we have discussed issues which were so important for non-married priests, yet they had little relevance in the life of the married people which always formed the biggest group in the church! The married priest does not need any conference or wake up call to investigate the family today. He is facing such challenges on a daily basis!

As we would be conducting dialogue on the internet, we expect the repetition of old ideas. Can the priest have a family and minister to the people? Well it has become a joke lately. If one just looks at churches in the Western part of the world, one cannot ignore the fact that most churches are empty. So why are we continuing this lie of a priest who has a lot of work to do??!! It’s an open secret that the sacrament of reconciliation has practically disappeared for most people! Mass has lost its attraction to so many people. In fact it’s not uncommon to hear people saying that they skip mass regularly. There are many other experiences which prove that the so called traditional work in the church is getting less and less.

The married priest movement has the power to present the teaching of the church [including some significant changes] from the point of view of a married person who is trying to teach his own sons and/or daughters who are growing up and challenging every sign of law, obedience and tradition!

In any case we are firmly convinced that nobody can stop the big wave. We can postpone it for some time, but one day it will take over. Married priesthood is a must for the Catholic Church today.

The role of lack of agreement

In the Western World we are having less children. It’s not rare to find couples with just one child. Without entering the arena of why and what is happening, most children are being deprived of fights, discussing with their peers and being exposed to different thoughts in their own family.

In the Catholic Church we were used to hear ‘the truth’. It was only a one answer approach to practically all questions! The person who used to have a different opinion was regarded as ‘heretical’ which in the middle ages meant being kept aside in all spheres of life! So having problems with the Catholic Church meant total isolation from all social activities besides being branded as ‘bad’.

Although in the 2nd Vatican council (1963-1965), the Catholic Church tried to open up to other religions, yet we are still baffled if the bishops don’t all show the one, same opinion!

We were all taken aback by the retired Pope Benedict’s comments (maybe somebody else inserted them and used the retired Pope for her/his agenda!!) about celibacy.

In any case, even if it wasn’t Pope Benedict, we are sure that somebody else would have the same opinion regarding celibacy.

Are we a church of dialogue or one of imposition? Do we leave space for different opinions? When we discuss: do we expect the others to bow their heads and say ‘Amen’?!

In 2020 we should enter any discussion with an open heart and open mind. Practically, we don’t have all the truth after all. God can use others to show us aspects or hidden truths in our own religion. Other opinions might have at least a ray of truth! What is God telling us when we meet a different opinion? The 2nd Vatican Council was a pastoral council which focused mainly on the practical approach of baptised people to other people. Are we truly changed by the council? Please remember that in the council all bishops took part together with the Pope. Theologically it has a lot of weight when studying the documents of any council which took place in the church.

Faith is a journey after all. Like the parable of the workers, who started work at different times (who at 6.00am and who at 6.00pm!), they were all paid the same amount!! This is how God sees things after all. If we’ve been longer in the Catholic Church, it doesn’t equate with being better than others!

On the other hand, although we admit that some people are not prepared to handle a married priest in their midst, it doesn’t mean that we relish our opinion or thoughts. It’s up to us to come with practical ways and means to show how the initial church used to have married priests and they managed to conduct the church to better ways!

One final point: Apostles Peter and Paul too had some deep and different explanations regarding our religion! [compare Acts 15:7–11 with Acts 15:19–20] We are different people who experience God in different ways. We were never created to live and act as if we’re photocopies!

May God Bless you all!

After a careful examination of events, with great responsibility, we announce that this year, Pope Francis will let married priests join the rest of priesthood. We will celebrate and be joyful for such event. It shows that notwithstanding the internal pressure of some particular priests and lay people, the Holy Spirit has succeeded in helping the church steer his ship in these troubled waters.

Besides the initial joy and celebrations. What will actually happen? In the Amazon, the people who are already a big asset in the church will continue to do so but now in a new responsibility: that of priesthood! One must note that these people are not coming to church just to be ordained as married priests but that their work is being recognised and given sacramental power.

Other people in other parts of the world will surely comment and feel the practical impact of such a brave and intelligent move by Pope Francis. Most probably they too would ask for married priests. This all depends in the coming days when the document written by Pope Francis will be published. Will it take into consideration other areas of the world? Will it allow freedom of thought in the church? Will it allow the ordination of married men in other parts of the world or will it be just for the Amazon? Truly, is it just the Amazon which needs married priests? What about the rich Western culture of the world besides other areas?

In today’s world we truly believe that the space for big, triumphant churches has no place. Hence the need for more priests to create small living communities. The small communities will need the presence of a priest which is vital for the church. These should not be simply for liturgical purposes but rather as a community, reflect on daily needs of their community in the light of the word of God. The best example is that of Latin American base-level communities. This will be the greatest change in the church!! In the western culture the priest has been tied too much to the liturgical movement. He rarely ventures in the other areas of priesthood. Hopefully, the fact that the priest is married will open his eyes to new realities!

In this sense we hope that married priests will bring about a new reflection in the church. A married priest will press for discussions about married life; about teens and their growing up in today’s world; about relationships; about doing 1001 jobs at the same time; about praying with lots of noises and distractions…

On the other hand, how will other priests react? Will they accept the married ones to work alongside? That we wouldn’t know.

What about the wives of priests? Do they need special instructions how to cope with their husband’s work? We think so. This in order to avoid useless waste of time and energy, or worse, unequal distribution of work. There should be a good timetable in order to balance the duties outside the family with those on the inside. This would be a good example for today’s families.

Let’s pray so that the changes taking place in the church will help the spiritual outcome for all!