Some married men would answer a call to priesthood, bishop says

  Bishops pray at the start of a session of the Synod. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Speaking to the Synod of Bishops on behalf of Belgium's bishops' conference, a bishop said he was sure some young married men would become priests if they were asked.

The vocations of Christian marriage and "celibacy for the kingdom" of God "deserve to be equally promoted by the church," Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Mechelen-Brussels said in his presentation Oct. 10.

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Just as Christians are expected to pursue another vocation out of their baptismal vocation in a way that gives "flesh" or substance to the sacrament of baptism, certain people, whether they are married or not, may hear a call to serve and be ministers of their communities, he said.

"I am convinced that some young people," who, out of their baptismal vocation, answered a call to commit themselves to "the bonds of marriage would readily answer 'here I am' if the church were to call them to priestly ministry," said the bishop who was elected by the Belgian bishops to represent them at the synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment.

The bishop's full text was published Oct. 10 on www.cathobel.be, the official French-language site of the Belgian bishops' conference.

Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, spokesman of the conference, said Bishop Kockerols had submitted his text to the Belgian bishops before it was delivered to the synod and, as such, the text was presented on behalf of the whole bishops' conference.

The bishop's brief talk focused on a deeper understanding of the term, "vocation," which begins with answering the call to life -- choosing life and choosing to listen to and love the Lord.

"For the Christian," he said, "this call to life is an invitation to be and to become a disciple of Christ, 'Come and follow me.'"

The baptismal vocation is "the source and summit" of all other vocations, he said, and people's answer to each call prepares them for the important choices to be made in life.

The church must accompany young people so that they can become disciples of Christ "each at their own pace," he said, and if the church does not become better committed to this task, "the church will continue to lose credibility."

The problem with vocations "is also a question of the credibility of faith in the world today."

Father Schotes told catholbel.be that allowing for the priestly ordination of married men could be one way to address dwindling vocations, but that it was not the only solution.

The problem with vocations "is also a question of the credibility of faith in the world today," he said, noting how Orthodox churches and Protestant communities, which allow married men to become priests, are also seeing a lack of men wishing to pursue ministry.

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Jason & Amy Rogers
8 months 2 weeks ago

I will try to ignore the previous comment which equates the idea of Catholic priests being loving husbands with Catholic priests being satanists because I think it's pretty clear this is not a valid argument against the ordination of married men.
This bishop is certainly right that some married Catholic men would answer the call to priesthood if given the chance. His way of phrasing it is obviously very careful, perhaps to avoid straight out calling for that opportunity to be given.
I desperately hope that it will.

Arthur Sullivan
8 months 2 weeks ago

I know married Anglican priests -- we have some in the Roman church, as noted -- and simply don't understand the fuss. They are caring, deeply religious men and women who live as Jesus would have them. Make celibacy optional, and let's worry more about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and welcoming the stranger.

Nora Bolcon
8 months 1 week ago

Well you have answered your own question Arthur. These bishops are not asking for married men and women to be allowed priestly ordination. They are instead seeking gender segregation, a further and extreme abuse of women's human dignity, by only seeking married men be allowed priestly ordination. This is sin and a very harmful sin being pushed and supported. Right now our church does not allow the vast majority of its men to be ordained priests and all of its women. Allowing optional celibacy would mean giving all men all authority over all women, both governmentally and sacramentally, in our church. We have never harmed women this badly in all our past because when men were presbyters in the first several hundred years of our church and no one was yet being ordained, women were presbyters too. By the time we were demanding ordination and no longer allowing for presbyters to run churches, men also had to be celibate.

Aaron Jackson
8 months 2 weeks ago

The problem with vocations "is also a question of the credibility of faith in the world today."
showbox app

Nora Bolcon
8 months 1 week ago

The answer to this is no way until there are women being included with those ordained to married priesthood in our church.

This suggestion is supporting outright gender segregation. These married men are conservative that are begging to be ordained priests and sexist. They don't support women being ordained priests and will fight against women being ordained just like our current deacon population which will not even support female deacons being ordained.

The devil is a great liar - don't support optional celibacy until women are equally being ordained priests in our church. Gender segregation of this type would represent the greatest abuse against the women of our church beyond any form of past discrimination.

Gender Segregation via optional celibacy for men does not help any women any more than racial segregation helps black men and women gain rights and equality in a world run by white people.

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