Tag Archive: the Pope and the synod


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

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?

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!

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.

It’s so easy to see yet so difficult to hear about. The church (in this case we refer to the bishops and the Pope), is trying to listen to what families have to say during this synod  (meeting between a selection of Catholic bishops from all over the world). It unknowingly implies that ‘family’ is coming from outer space! What happened that made priests so alienated and far away from the today’s families? Why were some families ‘forced’ to tell the bishops everyday happenings? Is it so difficult to hear the same messages from people in their own diocese? (diocese is the physical area where the bishop is responsible for all Catholics) Or is it Pope Francis who took off the lid from the boiling kettle? In our opinion we are simply amazed why such common stories are making the round of the world as if we have discovered a new planet!

All this could have been avoided, if there was a permanent link between the priests and the family. In this case we make a fresh appeal: Why not introduce married priests in order to have the family an integral part of the church, permanently? There won’t be all this effort to make the family part and parcel of the church! In this case, then we would focus on only one aspect at a time. In fact some bishops are trying to tell journalists that it’s not just about divorce and living with somebody outside the sacrament of matrimony. Obviously all the married people of the world know that marriage is much more than those two issues. It’s the Catholic Church which is simply discriminating against people who are LGBT; divorced and unmarried people. All other people (murderers; bankers; blasphemers; perjurers; corrupters etc…..it’s an endless list) could receive Holy Communion and be seen as part of the community!!! So it’s not the journalists who are focusing into just two issues!!!

Secondly if the people feel that these two issues should come up for discussion……who is going to refuse? Who knows if the voice of the people is being gently touched by the Holy Spirit? We should thank these people, that notwithstanding the harsh treatment from the Catholic Church, they still seek reconciliation and communication with God!! Do we make a difference between a person who does not recognise authority and a person who is seeing the reading on the wall? We feel the need to define the Word of God. We’re afraid that we’re still stuck to the book. We firmly believe that the Bible is the word of God. But we firmly believe too that God is not in a prison (bible). God could use anybody to send us his message..including the common people who although they have not studied theology, yet, like small children, they can listen to the soft murmurings of the Holy Spirit.

In Sundays’ readings during the celebration of the Eucharist, we notice that they rarely mention the married life, a common reality for most of the people in the pews! When will we have a revision about the choice of readings during the Eucharist to reflect the married state of most Catholics?

The church of Jesus was all inclusive. He never put somebody away….He knew beforehand about Judas and his evil intentions yet he didn’t put him away!! So on what grounds do we intend to put people away? And why some and not all sinners?! Who would be in the church if we start to put people away because of their sins? This is the question we humbly ask to people who still insist that divorced people should stay away from the Eucharist (spiritual food).

One of the families simply said: our son asked us to bring over his boyfriend for Christmas. We couldn’t say no because he is our son. Sorry for coming back to the same argument. Married priests live these issues day in day out. Some married priests have gay sons or lesbian daughters. In that case they are not just simply delivering a homily for others but they do live all the excitement and trouble of such a challenge. Married priesthood will ensure that the priest focuses on real issues in time and not wait for a synod to discuss what other people (us included) have been saying for many years!!

We just invite you to visit the links provided as they help you in your spiritual journey. We encourage other readers to send us their love stories with priests in order to make the whole world aware of what really happens when some priests amply prove that celibacy should not be mixed up with priesthood. Let’s make it optional!