Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Personal Aside: CelibacyIs it Time for a Change?
The lavender priesthood which shows no signs of abating is threatening the integrity of the Catholic Churchas is plain to see. That lavenders or lavender-enablers control fifty percent of the bishops has been told to me by several leaders of the old National Review Board including one leader in Washington.
This leads to an issue that is ripe for speculation and which I would like to have you comment on. That has to do with celibacy and whether mandatory celibacy should be continued in the priesthood of the Catholic Church.
At the outset, lets disabuse ourselves of some popular misconceptions about it.
1. Celibacy was not an historic general obligation of the Church. It is not mandatory for the priesthood. During its first three centuries, it was not of general obligation throughout the Church. Up to that time it was voluntary; it was practiced by a considerable number of clergy but by no means the predominant majority.
2. It was not until the 11th century that clerical celibacy became effectively mandatory.
3. As ratified by Vatican II, celibacy is not required by the nature of the priesthood itself. This is clear from the custom in the early Church and the traditions of the Eastern churches which still exist. These traditions the Council had no intention of changing and didnt. In fact the Council encouraged those who became priests after marriage to persevere in their calling and continue to devote their lives to the service of the people.
4. Thus it is clear that the rule can be changed by the Pope with the flourish of a pen, or by a synod of bishops or by another Counciland it could be restated as voluntary, which it once was.
5. When speaking of the sacrifices a man might make to follow Him, Christ spoke of those who would give up wives and families for the sake of the Gospel (Matt. 19,29), But different practices developed in different parts of the Church. In the Eastern Church it was customary to permit ordination of married men; in the West it became the practice of ordaining only those who felt they were able and willing to lead celibate lives. Neither in West or East was a man permitted to marry after he received Holy Orders.
6. Because celibacy is a style of living rather than a fixed qualification for the priesthood, it seems to me at least that there are many reasonspractical onesfor change of celibacy to voluntary.
7. The crisis of the lavender priesthood is acute. It threatens the entire
Church. Celibacy was not intended to be an inducement for single men to become priests but it has become a specious come-hither for single men who are not interested in heterosexuality anyway to join their fellows.
8. As a practical matter it was argued long ago that the cost of supporting a priest and wife and family would be too much for the Church. That reason now is fallacious. The cost involved to the Church of the lavender priesthood involves much morethe cost of improper reasons for joining the priesthood the grave scandal that is created by so many who joined the priesthood for the wrong reasons.
Thus I submit this question to plebiscite. Would you agree that a change in the rule to change mandatory celibacy to voluntary is appropriate? Catholics, Protestants, Jews, agnostics the whole world can comment. Priests who wish to comment are encouraged and if they wish they can use nicknames but it would be good to know if they are priests. Everybody can take nicknames if they wantor sign with their own names if they prefer. Id really like to know your religion in the answers, though. Catholic: C; Protestant: P; Jews: J; Agnostics: A. Priests: Rev. Thanks.