Tag Archive: Simon Busuttil


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.

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The priest as a manager

I’m writing this article whilst looking at a young boy who is working in his dad’s shop. The way he talks to other colleagues is to say the least, disgusting. The way he walks, talks and behaves in the shop, is, as if he built the shop from scratch with his own sacrifices and sweat! Obviously he found everything ready made so he does not appreciate the meaning of hard work, of mistakes and of trying again and again. This is the typical mistake some parents do when they simply introduce them at work as their ‘son’. They don’t realise that other employees would never accept him as their boss, if not because of being forced on by their father!

Something similar takes place in a parish. The priest finds himself in a new parish. He never worked for the parish yet he is already in an important seat as a pastor! So what does one expect from him? What does he know about the parish? How many people does he know? Most probably he would rely on the people around him (which might be heavily biased about other people in the parish!).

In the early years of the church, the one responsible for the community would be chosen amongst the same community. Obviously this is another reason why we should go for married priests! The priest chosen should have already given an example of how to lead a larger community by leading his own family! On the other hand he already knows the community in which he has to work as their pastor! From the point of view of the parishioners, they already know what he is capable of!

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems. When we present the married priesthood as a model, we don’t imply that there would be heaven on earth. Heaven is heaven. No place on earth is heaven, yet we firmly believe that on a weighing scale the advantages outweigh the disadvantages!

Earning the respect of the parishioners means a lot! Knowing the parish beforehand is an immense gift. Having a family would be a shinning example for the whole parish! The married priest although with one foot he is ‘in’ the world, yet with his other foot he is with God. He has to prove that he is a man of prayer. Only the prayerful priest is the one who continues to work against all odds! A prayerful priest knows that good work and good intentions alone won’t change a single thing in the parish. It’s God who works wonders and changes people’s heart!

Another challenge within the Catholic church is that of comparing today with yesterday. Recently I had a conversation with a friar (they live in a community but this friar owing to lack of vocations lives on his own). He was full of long forgotten dreams about the past where hundreds of people used to line up for confession (today it’s called the sacrament of reconciliation); Young people with Vocations for priesthood used to fill up the friary! Now they don’t have one single vocation!

We firmly believe that numbers won’t tell the whole story because God knows how to write in crooked lines too! We can’t be without faith (like other writers on the internet). It’s not the end of the Church! Yet God is changing it into something more beautiful. We are too tied to past traditions or criteria. God is changing the criteria too! One of them is to let married priests be a fundamental part of the Catholic Church.

It’s up to our mature readers to continue the discussion…

Emotional maturity

Our schools rarely cater for such need for students in order to be educated in emotions. We all think about academic achievements, yet the students in front of the teacher come to school with a luggage of emotions!

In school they are realising that a student is influenced by not less than 70% outside the school perimeter (family, peers, internet etc..). Just the remaining 30% is in the hands of the school (when delivered correctly!!)

Now what about priests? They rarely receive any education whatsoever when it comes to emotions. Why are we surprised that they run away when they fall in love or because they give the cold and hot attitude to a person who cares so much for them?

There are various websites which could help our readers to get some basic knowledge when dealing with emotional intelligence. One can just use a search engine to get some interesting reading.

In the meantime let’s continue debating…..priests should be helped to make them aware of emotions especially when they are attracted to somebody. First of all they need to find the assurance that nobody is going to report them to the bishop because of such feelings! Secondly they come to terms with the fact that finding attractive people is part and parcel of life. We meet people all the time, some are too busy, some are arrogant, some live on the moon but some are so attractive. There is always a reason why meet such people.

Once they acknowledge their true feelings, they can start working on them. Now, how can we go on with these feelings? We are not implying or forcing anybody to go and fall in love. But such experience could reveal a lot about the priest. One of them is the lack of friends. We mean friends who don’t look for the priest simply to find the perfect man but who can be himself and speak about his heart calmly and without fear. The priest works a lot for the others. But who takes care of him?

Another aspect which hinders the priest’s progress in emotional maturity is his position in the parish. The fact that he is the boss, he doesn’t need to convince anybody to press on with his arguments. He doesn’t need to listen to his parishioners! Nowadays most priests are simply buried with the parish work that they don’t have time to do family visiting. They don’t have time to meet some forgotten areas or difficult areas in the parish! In most of the time he is not challenged by the young teens because they stopped attending church!

Conflict is a good indicator of one’s emotional maturity! How does the priest react when facing opposition?

In other words, the priest, living on his own is simply detached from our ‘normal’ life where we are challenged in our work by our superiors or by clients or by new companies. Or where we get hurt by other people’s comments or behaviour! Just the other day I was at the seaside and an angry woman just threw a chair out of its way…..it’s a classical example of how people need to be educated in emotions. Whatever reason she had, we simply don’t throw chairs just because somebody doesn’t agree with us or maybe he or she behaved badly! If we start throwing chairs then it will be a war not a civilisation anymore!

The emotional test will be very challenging with the people we love most. One is because we live together or we see each other most of the time ie the more we see each other the better chances of hurting each other. Secondly because we expect much more from our loved ones. Our expectations are so high with people we admire and love. Consequently we are in a better position to be disappointed!

It’s up to the readers to continue our discussion…..

We were happy that most readers sent us quotations from newspapers about the Pope’s recent pronunciations about married priesthood. It seems that finally our readers are taking a more active role. This is the church we want to see worldwide. Baptised people are not simply receivers where they are happy to receive instructions from priests. They have a mind, a soul, a heart and a lot of experience how they experience God. Consequently, God can use anybody to bring changes in His church. This is not just theoretical but practical because the Pope is becoming aware that in most parts of the world, the church is disappearing simply because there is no one to tell people about the Good News. He has to resort to married people as otherwise the consequences could be disastrous.

This is a big improvement because now it’s coming from the mouth of the Pope. Obviously as usual some people are looking for more rapid changes in a shorter time. Some are completely against celibacy. Well we were never against celibacy. We are against celibacy when it is imposed and it is chosen at a very young age (over 18 years of age criteria is simply not enough!). Celibacy has its value in the church. We do believe that there are people who live celibacy in a wonderful way notwithstanding the sexual abuse crisis. Let’s not put all priests in one basket, although we do admit that these are very few.

Some people thought that the Pope would let his priests the liberty of choosing either to remain celibate priests or else get married. In this regard, it seems that he chose a conservative attitude by keeping things as they are. He is for married people who ask for priesthood and not priests who ask for marriage. There could be reasons for this: is he afraid that most priests would go for marriage? Indirectly is he saying that marriage might disrupt the spirituality of priests who are used to live alone? Is he afraid that maybe they need to pay more the priest because he has a family? Or maybe he is going after mature (of a certain age) married people, whose children are married and settled? Implying again that a true family (with young children) would hinder the priest from working in a parish? Again, one might imply that he is looking for mature people (of a certain age) in order to avoid more sex scandals?

On the other hand, calling people to join priesthood, means they need training. That means another challenge for seminaries (places where priests are trained). Are they going to join the celibate ones? Are they going to be trained in a separate place? What about the training years? How much do they need? So in practical terms we still have to wait for seven to eight years more to see married priests. In the meantime we have several priests who are not practising any more that could be called instantly where they can start to serve immediately. What’s wrong with going for this option?

We don’t know what’s inside the mind of the Pope but we were surprised that he let out his opinion with a newspaper. Is it the right channel to give out his views? Or maybe there are problems with the Vatican PRO system? What about the rest of the world? Aren’t there mature people who might give their opinion too? Or are we still in a pyramid where decisions are simply taken by those at the top? This is just one subject where the rest of the world thinks differently than those living inside the Vatican walls…..At least this Pope is more near us mortals, than the rest of the bishops, priests etc….

Again let’s not fall into depression. Let’s not give up! Let’s go for the hard work. We need to go out and share our opinion with the rest of the church. Let’s show them that we’re prepared. We need married priests even where there are a good number of priests. A married priest has a different charisma. He has something which others might not have. On the other hand, the needs of the baptised people are growing. People look out for God especially in dark moments. Where is the priest in such moments if they are so tied to the parish with all its activities? Like children in a family, today’s children need more attention and care then when we used to have sixes and sevens!! Same wise for the church. The church cannot do without a good number of priests, married and non-married ones in these days as the needs of the baptised people grow each day.