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Cardinal: Priests Should Be Able to Marry

Oh my.

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic has said he believes priests should be able to marry if they wish to do so. Cardinal Keith O'Brien said it was clear many priests struggled to cope with celibacy, and should be able to marry and have children. The cardinal will be part of the conclave that chooses the next Pope. He spoke of his surprise at the resignation of Benedict XVI, and said he was open to the new Pope coming from outside of Europe.
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14 comments:

priest's wife said...

....ORDER of SACRAMENTS no matter what and no matter the rite- marriage first- so priests can NOT get married...but men may (sometimes...depending on the rite) be married and then ordained deacon/priest

so this man is not helping anybody

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Priest's wife, let's be honest. Celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine. Therefore, it can be changed. If it's good enough for married Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican minsters, why not for Catholic priests?

The Church declares celibacy to be a gift yet mandates that anyone seeking ordination remain single. You can't mandate a gift, pure and simple. A commitment to lifelong celibacy should be made only after considerable discernment.

Nevertheless, too many Catholics look at a married priesthood as a panacea. It isn't. Nothing is. For one thing, how many parishes will be able to afford a priest, his wife and children? Will the Church suddenly teach tithing? Can dioceses afford the extensive health insurance that such a family would need? Moreover, what if the couple divorces or practices contraception?

If a commitment to celibacy requires considerable discernment, wouldn't allowing optional celibacy require the same?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Here is some food for thought by Juan A. Marerro, commenting on a thread in "The American Conservative":

As it stands, the institution is designed to attract men who enjoy the trappings of monarchy, Renaissance pageantry, colorful costumes and an all male environment. The results would shock only those who might still think that Liberace never married because he was way too devoted to his dear mother. As Honest Abe (and Christ before him) said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. An institution cannot condemn homosexuality and yet create an atmosphere that does all but promote it–at least in its atmospherics. It must cease doing one thing or the other.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

That should be Juan C. Marrero

Sophia's Favorite said...

LOL Amazon Queen. Do you not realize that the same thing as in your little quote there is often said of the military?

Was Don't Ask Don't Tell also fundamentally wrongheaded, Amazon Queen?

Mary De Voe said...

The Roman Catholic Priest is called “Father” because he is the spiritual father to all. A spiritual father cannot marry a spiritual child without committing spiritual incest. For this reason, a man can marry before he is ordained a spiritual father and absolutely not afterwards. If the priest wishes to be married he is free to be laicized, to leave the priesthood and his mission as spiritual father. Demanding that the Church follow his immature derelictions is hardly the virtue of obedience. On the metaphysical plane, the priest is married to God through the church. One of our Holy Father’s titles is Servant of the Servants of God. A servant serves.

Mary De Voe said...

It is also scary that this ignorance permeates the soul of one in such high authority in the church.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

SF, in your rush to insult me, you forget some major differences between the United States Armed Forces and the Catholic Church: The armed forces do not have "trappings of monarchy," "Renaissance pageantry," or "colorful costumes" (except for the Marines' dress uniforms).

Mary, with all due respect, the fundamental problem with Catholic thinking throughout the centuries is that it has substituted esoteric, academic metaphysics (both "traditionalist" and "progressive") for sound Biblical exegesis and an honest appraisal of human nature.

Mary De Voe said...

"An institution cannot condemn homosexuality and yet create an atmosphere that does all but promote it–at least in its atmospherics. It must cease doing one thing or the other. " Homosexual behavior is condemned. Sacrificial love is called for.
Joseph D' Hippolito: The whole idea that man cannot live without having sexual intercourse is addiction to the world in the vice of lust, exactly what those consecrated to God and Jesus Christ are called to rise above.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Mary, let me take the argument you made in your first post:

A spiritual father cannot marry a spiritual child without committing spiritual incest. For this reason, a man can marry before he is ordained a spiritual father and absolutely not afterwards.

You're effectively saying that once a married non-Catholic minister converts and becomes a priest, he should no longer have physical children. Moreover, since the Catholic Church demands that all intercourse be open to the possibility of life, you're saying that such a man can no longer have sex with his wife!

Do you see how absurd that is?

God created sex. God created sex to be enjoyable. God created sex to be the ultimate physical expression of a husband's love for his wife. The fact that humanity has constantly ignored the idea that God restricts moral sex to a married couple does not contradict its benefits.

I do not favor homosexuality. But Marrero's point makes sense: An organization cannot claim to oppose homosexuality yet create the very conditions that attract homosexuals.

Your metaphysical emphasis illustrates the fundamental problem with Catholicism: It indeed puts its own academic, esoteric approach over divine revelation -- indeed, it puts its own intellectual traditions above divine revelation.

Mary De Voe said...

Joseph D'Hippolito:I do not know what the canon laws are for such situations and from your post you do not know either. The simple fact is that the man has freely chosen to become a Catholic priest and subject himself to the canons of the Catholic Church. You try to make it sound as if the Catholic Church is oppressive and unhealthy and ought to do as it is told by others who disagree. Thereby, it is you, Joseph D’ Hipollito, who is oppressing the undecided and those who do chose to remain according to the norms and canon of law in the Catholic Church.
With all due respect, Jesus Christ died as a virgin, entered into forty hours of darkness, and rose again because death is the wages of sin and Jesus was then, and is now, an innocent man. The Catholic priest acts “in Persona Christi” virgin, innocent, perfect mercy. There is no time in a priest’s life to be anything or anybody but “alter Christi” if the man really loves Jesus. If the priest does not love Jesus enough to emulate Christ in everything, then the man is free to leave and be married to an imperfect human being as his wife.
God, the Father, too is a perfect celibate, a perfect Spirit. Jesus Said: “The Father and I are One.” So, the priest, in his ministry, must be spiritual father to all and remain and maintain his virginity, “in Persona Christi”.
Should the Catholic Church exempt them, the Church would deny them access to a great gift. The Catholic Church supports and encourages priests in obedience and celibacy by placing off bounds, marital vows.

priest's wife said...

Joseph- this is in response to your first comment about celibacy being a discipline, not a doctrine- of course I agree with this- but married men being ordained is still an eastern tradition and we are Byzcath!

about the money....it really depends on the parish- but around here- the Roman-rite parishes compensate their priests very well (one priest owns an airplane, etc,etc)

We are miniscule so his stipend from church is very very small- he supports homself (let alone wife and 4 kids) by chaplain work in a hospital. This would not be possible if we had a typical Roman-rite 'mega' parish- but then- these priests have housing, car, insurance, food, housekeeping, etc taken care of. A family wouldn't cost much more- so it shouldn't be about money- I wrote about this sometime on my blog

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Mary, I am not making the Catholic Church "oppressive and unhealthy." Nor do I claim to be an expert in Canon Law. I simply proceeded to where I thought your logic would lead.

You effectively argue that celibacy is mandatory. The problem is that Scripture does not support your argument. In stipulating criteria for selecting bishops, St. Paul wrote that candidates must be "the husband of one wife." (1 Timothy 3: 1-13) That basically eliminates celibacy as a mandatory consideration.

Of course, Jesus was celibate. So was St. Paul. But these men volunteered to be celibate as a result of their respective callings. St. Peter was married; he had a mother-in-law whom Jesus healed.

Besides, the earliest Gospel ministers weren't necessarily celibate. It wasn't a mandatory criterion in the First Century.
Jesus Himself said that some would be called to celibacy. But there's a difference between being called by the Holy Spirit and being mandated by a religious institution that assumes divine preogatives on its own.

Celibacy is a gift from God, not a mandate from man. If the Catholic Church truly believed that, it would have had far fewer problems over the centuries.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

On another front, Mary, I must challenge your statements:

The Catholic priest acts “in Persona Christi” virgin, innocent, perfect mercy.

Tell that to those victims of clerical sex-abuse. I know Catholics are fed up with the subject but too many Catholics have had their heads in the sand for far too long.

There is no time in a priest’s life to be anything or anybody but “alter Christi” if the man really loves Jesus.

I have met priests who were far from being "alter Christi" in terms of dealing with legitimate human pain. Their callousness, shall we say, was noticed. More importantly, that callousness would anger a holy, righteous God.

If the priest does not love Jesus enough to emulate Christ in everything, then the man is free to leave and be married to an imperfect human being as his wife.

Are you saying that, by his very nature, a priest is impeccable?

God, the Father, too is a perfect celibate, a perfect Spirit. Jesus Said: “The Father and I are One.” So, the priest, in his ministry, must be spiritual father to all and remain and maintain his virginity, “in Persona Christi”.

Again, the inescapable conclusion from that assertion is that married non-Catholic ministers who convert cannot have sex with their wives, much less have more children.

Your entire approach makes the priest a demigod. That's idolatry, pure and simple. Placing anything or anyone on the same ontological level as the ressurrected Christ Who sits at the Father's right hand diminishes Christ. It also places a very heavy burden on priests, a burden that no man can carry.

Yet no man has to carry such a burden. Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate rest: "All you who are weary and heavy-laden, come to me and I will give you rest..." (Matthew 11: 28-30). Again, if the Catholic Church paid attention to the words of its presumed Founder, it would have experienced far fewer problems...


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