Being human

being human

Catholic laity are generally understanding about priestly indiscretion.

We know that a hungry man cannot be judged for stealing a loaf of bread.

But for some reason, many lay people believe that the tradition of celibacy for priests, goes back to the apostles.

That is not so.

Paul tells us that he apostles, including Peter, had wives who helped them in their ministry. (Cn 9:4)

Until the 11th century, the church had married priests, bishops and popes.

But humanity being what it is, church property was being handed down to families.

Mandatory celibacy solved that problem.

The solution was more about finance than holiness.

Mandatory celibacy is not pro-life, and it has never worked.

For centuries its failure has been hidden. Now it is very public.

I agree with Daniel O’Leary SJ. Mandatory celibacy is a sin.

Perhaps we should look at other Orthodox traditions we regard as extended family.

Celibacy is for religious/monastic orders. A diocesan priest must be a married before he goes out to a parish. Mistakes happen. A priest may be divorced once. But not twice.

This system seems to work without too much failure, for the Orthodox churches.

Our system has failed, and we won’t admit it.

Instead we play the “blame game” with the help of media that feeds on sensational negative news.

An American friend has a term for this kind of media. He calls them “shit-house flies.”

There has been a lot of prayer this week. The past few days have been tinged with sadness.

  • I am sorry that a reputable magazine connected with the church, should send emails to subscribers giving details of Bishop Charles Drennan’s resignation.
  • I am sorry that Pope Francis didn’t offer his famous response: “Who am I to judge?”
  • I am sorry that the church will lose a very fine bishop.
  • I am also sorry for the women concerned. But I have seen how young women flirt with priests. Do they think that a vow of celibacy guarantees immunity?
  • Most of all, I am sorry that the church maintains a suicidal resistance to married priests.

Over the past few years, when I’ve read about a priest charged with sexual abuse, I’ve known that both abuser and abused are victims.

The Greek playwright Aeschylus put it another way:

“Who is the slayer and who the victim? Speak!”

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.
  • The views and opinions expressed in CathNews’ opinion pieces belong to the author.
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