A Modest Proposal

Silence and fervent prayer for vocations are no longer adequate responses to the priest shortage in the United States. As the church prepares to observe the Year of the Priest, which begins on June 19, open discussion about how to sustain the church as a eucharistic community of faith and fortify the pastoral life of Catholic congregations has become imperative. For making do within the limits set by present demographic trends presents a double threat to Catholic life: Catholic communities will become only infrequent eucharistic communities, or eucharistic communities will be severed from the pastoral care and public witness of priests.

In 2008 the sociologist Dean Hoge said: “We need at least a doubling of ordinations to maintain the American priesthood as we know it now. But this is impossible.” Of current diocesan priests, only 70 percent are available for parish ministry, with the rest sick, retired or absent for a variety of reasons, according to Mary Gautier of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. An increasing number of Catholics are unable to participate in a Sunday or weekday Mass. All this prompts the question, Will the priest shortage impose a eucharistic famine on the Catholic people?

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The de facto remedy already applied in many places— making the priest a circuit rider moving from parish to parish to dispense the sacraments—risks narrowing the ministry of the priest and impoverishing the Christian life of the communities he serves. A narrowly sacramental definition of priesthood satisfies the requirements of only one of the three canons that define the pastoral responsibilities of the priest, Canon 530. As a consequence the sacramental office is as a practical matter severed from its integral connection with comprehensive pastoral care. Canons 528 and 529 provide a broader understanding of the priestly ministry. The first sees the priest as one who instructs, catechizes, fosters works of justice, shows special care for the education of children and brings the Gospel to those who have ceased to practice the faith. The second requires that he should come to know the faithful entrusted to his care, visit families, share their concerns, worries and griefs, help the sick and seek out the poor, the afflicted and the lonely. Diminishing numbers make it difficult to carry out this holistic vision of the priest’s pastoral ministry.

We hope that the upcoming Year of the Priest will lead to a broader discussion of the priesthood in the contemporary world and, in particular, will open examination of the various ways the shortage of priests can be addressed honestly and with imagination. New vocations can be promoted through youth rallies, the Internet and, as always, with prayer. In addition, the pastoral needs of parishes may also be met in part by more effective pastoral assignment of permanent deacons and by increased leadership by lay men and women.

What about the recruitment and training of married men as priests? Married priests already minister in the Catholic Church, both East and West. Addressing the married clergy of the Eastern Catholic churches, the Second Vatican Council exhorted “all those who have received the priesthood in the married state to persevere in their holy vocation and continue to devote their lives fully and generously to the flock entrusted to their care” (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests,” No. 16). That exhortation now applies to the more than 100 former Anglican priests and Lutheran ministers who have entered the Catholic Church, been ordained and now serve in the Latin rite. As we face the challenges of the priest shortage, some of the more than 16,000 permanent deacons in the United States, many of them married, who experience a call to priestly ministry might be called to ordination with a similarly adapted discipline. In addition, the views and desires of some of the more than 25,000 priests who have been laicized (and are now either single or married) should also be heard.

Our plea is modest. The bishops of the United States should take greater leadership in openly discussing the priest shortage and its possible remedies. These should not be conversations in which we face a problem only to find every new avenue of solution closed. Rather, they should be exchanges fully open to the possibilities offered by the Spirit.

In March, Cardinal Edward Egan, the newly retired archbishop of New York, said in a candid moment that the topic of married priests “is a perfectly legitimate discussion.” He added, “I think it should be looked at.” The cardinal later nuanced his statement, but the need for a creative re-visioning of priestly life to sustain the eucharistic life of the church in its fullest sense can no longer be delayed.

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Leonard Villa
8 years 7 months ago
The notion that "married priests" would be cavalry coming to the rescue/a solution to the priest-shortage is a red herring. What needs to be projected is a clear masculine image of the priesthood according to Catholic teaching, which was obscured/denied after the Council because of focus on the laity and bad/false theology about the priesthood and the Eucharist. Many abandoned Catholic teaching on the priesthood/Eucharist in favor of a Protestant notion of ministry denying the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the ontological change of Holy Orders that the priest acts in the very person of Jesus Christ. How many groups have abandoned the word "priest" in favor of "presider" a word which in my view should be banned from current vocabulary describing the priest. Add to this the unwillingness by and large of the Holy See and the American bishops to confront this bad teaching on the priesthood head on and remove those responsible for it. Merely issuing documents/exhortations etc. have not cut it. Wolves have remained in place in seminaries and theological faculties. Also the clericalization of the laity as a "solution" has been a big mistake and an abuse. The Catholic Faith in the U.S. was served and spread in an acute priest-shortage by few priests/bishops putting in long hours without extraordinary ministers, priestless parishes,and bad theology on the priesthood. In fact this clericalization of the laity has exacerbated the vocation crisis insultating the faithful from the pain of the lack of priests by "discovering" more things that can be given to the laity not to mention folks using these "ministries" for extraneous agendas often at odds with Church teaching on the priesthood like the push for women priests/secular feminist ideology and the like. Add to this-and this is big-the crisis of men in society and in the Church in an era of societal and ecclesial feminization.
JERRY VIGNA
8 years 7 months ago
Bravo, America! A courageous statement that has been long in coming. A married priesthood is no panacea for the priest shortage, as you undoubtedly know; the clerical career is a demanding one. Nonetheless, you have brought forward excellent reasons from canon law, a theology of priestly ministry, and the reality of married priests already serving in the church.
DONALD CHAPIN MR/MRS
8 years 7 months ago
This request is a start, albeit a timid one -- single or married men, single or married women, as priests -- all possibilities should be discussed! So many qualfied people are ready! And one only needs to travel in France or Italy to see so many permanently closed small churches -- this is not just a U.S. problem. It is a problem in western Europe as well.
8 years 7 months ago
You've disproved your own point. The Eastern Churches are lacking for priests--even more so than the Western--and they have married priests! What you suggest doesn't make any sense. I don't know why I am always surprised to see so many teachings which go against Catholicism posted in America. After all these years, I would think I could no longer be shocked by you. What next? Ordination of women?
8 years 7 months ago
I understand your need to be cautious. The Pope and Cardinals have refused to look at any creative options and instead have chosen to blame parents and the faithful for not stepping forward. It is a delicate subject and one that must be handled with care in order to be heard. However, I MUST adress the obvious fact that you did not mention ordaining women as priests. I am disappointed that you, the Editors of America Magainze, would not take that risk.(It's appalling that it must be seen as a risk, but that is for another discussion!) How long will we be so cautious that the faithful have little spiritual leadership left? There are vocations out there if we are willing to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Please, AMERICA, don't remain part of the problem. Have the courage to speak up.
Jim McCrea
8 years 7 months ago
The times are validating one of the positions that helped get this bishop in trouble. Will the church recognize his wisdom and the error of her ways? "It is the present day mission of the Church that defines the priesthood (i.e., celibate or married), not yesterday's priesthood that defines the mission of the Church." Bishop Jacques Gaillot of Evreux, France.
8 years 7 months ago
I have long believed that the answer to the priest shortage is for the Catholic Church to make its vast resources open to all. Open the seminaries and houses of formation to all who have experienced a call to ministry and who desire to serve God and God's people. We could indeed once again, "fill the seminaries". Once there, we train all and help each person discern whether they will live out their call as a priest, sister, lay person, married, single, etc. I truly believe that we would end up with more men (and one day women) choosing priesthood if we started with the call to ministry as the central call and the details to be worked out with the beloved community.
8 years 7 months ago
We should pray about the real problems besetting humankind like homelessness, war and social injustice. Why should we pray about a shortage of vocations? There is no such shortage. There are plenty of vocations among women and married men but there is a lack of justice and imagination. If we are going to bother God with our pleas, we should be clear as to what the problem is.
8 years 7 months ago
I commend the AMERICA editors for this forthright and candid statement. Alas, my own experience convinces me that your plea to the American bishops to take a leadership position on this issue is in vain. In the early 1980s -- when the priest shortage was only slowly becoming apparent -- I served as Progam Director for Religion at the Lilly Endowment. During that period we awarded a number of grants to the Bishops' Conference to research and address this growing problem. Premier among those Lilly-supported efforts was a magisterial diocese-by-diocese analysis of priesthood numbers and ordination trends by the late sociologist Richard Schoenherr of the University of Wisconsin. When his research pointed to the conclusion that the shortage by the end of the 20th century would reach crisis levels, a number of senior bishops -- led by Cardinal Roger Mahoney -- blocked discussion of this research within the Conference and even attempted to stop its publication, stating that "the call to the priesthood is a gift of the Holy Spirit and not a matter to be discussed by sociologists." That attitude delayed serious consideration of this issue at a time when it might possibly have made a difference. I suspect, regretfully, that this is still the mindset of many bishops. I certainly do not believe that any serious discussion of the recruitment and ordination of married men (let alone women, married or celibate) is likely to happen any time soon. Anyone interested in the Schoenherr research should read his 1993 book "Full Pews and Empty Altars: Demographics of the Priest Shortage in U.S. Dioceses" and his own observations on the practical implications of his research published posthumously in 2002 as "Good-bye Father: The Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church." If AMERICA editors and readers wish to continue pursuing this issue, I highly recommend these books as well as Dean Hoge's 1987 book, based on Shoenherr's research, "The Future of Catholic Leadership." You will find them remarkably prescient. Fred Hofheinz, Retired Lilly Endowment Program Director
James Lindsay
8 years 7 months ago
The editors provide some interesting options which should be considered. Of course, per Vatican direction, they ignored the other half of the solution, which is regretable. There is scriptural support for the notion that the Church of Rome was initially founded by Priscilla, who was its benefactor - likely the original benefactor. If she were also what was called the Overseer, what we would now call the Pastor, it is sad that her successors continue in their obstinency on the question of ordaining pastors who share her gender.
8 years 7 months ago
Actually, I have A Modest Proposal of mine. It is one which I have advanced before, many times: Asking the Meek Mindless Mammals who occupay dutifully the Sundays Pews, to come forward and speak their minds! In order to validate this "Revolutionary Concept" it would suffice to point out that The Venerated Bishops (Cardinals) Geminianus of Modena (Mutina) and Ambrosius of Milan (Mediolanum) were chosen in the 4th century Vox Populi Vox Dei, with a direct Democratic Vote, pretty much the same way as President Obama was chosen by the good American Folks. Now, before scratching you head, asking yourself ... what has this tirade to do with the shortage of Priests ... I would suggest that you ask yourself if the Church has strayed off the good Path, and where it is going ...
Elizabeth Burr
8 years 7 months ago
Thank you, Editors, for taking such a sensible solution to a complex problem for the Catholic Church. I would only suggest that the pool that could be the fastest and best (in terms of training/retraining)for the Church to draw upon for this dire need, should be priests who have already been ordained and who have served, but left the priesthood (laicised) for their own reasons. There are many of these who would gladly open their arms to serve again. Elizabeth Burr, Ph.D.
8 years 7 months ago
As a former Jesuit, who married with Rome's permission, was later re-incardinated and allowed to function as a priest again, the people in the parishes I have served, San Jose, Pacific Grove, and Asia. do not notice or even avert to the fact that I have 2 daughters; I refuse all stipends, re-imbursements, and salary for work I do in the parish. A recent survey in Yahoo showed that piests are one of the happiest and most fulfilled of all professions, celebrating the Eucharist, bringing care for the sick and dying, teaching prayer, forgiveness, and compassion.
8 years 7 months ago
Your reference to the discipline of the Eastern Church is to the point. One of the great beauties of the Eastern Church is the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. Perhaps if liturgy in the Roman church were elevated to such a level that it made sense to devote your life to it the priest shortage would be reduced to a certain degree. And No, I’m not talking about the Tridentine mass, just the de-sillifacation of the one we have now.
8 years 7 months ago
The "modest proposal" is intelligent, rational, imaginative, and just. It should be considered without prejudice or fear. St. Paul tells us, "Do not block the Holy Spirit." One wonders if the Church has unintentionally been doing that for some time now. A serious and thorough look at the issue will, hopefully, ensure that the Holy Spirit is getting through.
8 years 7 months ago
The "modest proposal" is intelligent, rational, imaginative, and just. It should be considered without prejudice or fear. St. Paul tells us, "Do not block the Holy Spirit." One wonders if the Church has unintentionally been doing that for some time now. A serious and thorough look at the issue will, hopefully, ensure that the Holy Spirit is getting through.
William Rydberg
8 years 7 months ago
Discussing strategies to increase vocations via lifting current discipline is in my opinion yet another short-sighted knee-jerk half measure. The real problem is the glaring lack of emphasis on holiness of life as evidenced by the lack of adequate renewalof popular piety and devotions. Pope Leo in his letter to American Bishops about "Americanism" spoke of a stubborn contempt by the larger society, including clergy of the "angelic virtues". Speaking plainly, until we recover a reverence for poverty, chastity and deep listening (i.e. obedience), we won't make a fig of progress. Chastity isn't an extra. Happy Easter! Alleluia! Alleluia!
8 years 7 months ago
Has the author explored the possibility of ordaining women? There is another equally legitimate and viable option for correcting this burgeoning problem. The Church would be well advised to take this into serious consideration. Ordination of women would finally "permit" the Church to include women in full mutuality and at the same time help combat this "Sacramental Famine" that we are facing.
Catherine McKeen
8 years 7 months ago
A married male priesthood is what seems now to lurk under America's commentary. Wirth Abbey's Christopher Jamison said recently celibacy (which he described as the core ascetical activity of the spiritual life) is not salable in our world. And because the church is managed by men and wants to reproduce its kind, it is trying various half-way measures, for example, married deacons. To my mind one of the key offenses is to prohibit even the diaconate to women while lowering standards so that hardly any man can be turned away from serving at the altar, whatever his life choices have been. Meanwhile, the great hidden charitable work of the church continues to be done primarily by women. Catherine McKeen
8 years 7 months ago
The priesthood lost much of its appeal when priests no longer appreciated their own meaning and role in the church. Another blow to vocations was the loss of the sense of the sacred in Catholic ritual. Finally, the priestly vocation attracted more applicants when priests were seen as elite, due to rigorous training, but also the sacrifices the job entailed. In this time of apparent religious decline, we need a strong core of priests who know and appreciate their true role- not mere presiders, but the ones who make Christ truly present on the altar. We can attract these new priests by making the Mass a sacred, sublime and solemn occassion. And we need to challenge our new priests by giving them quality schooling, and demanding lives that inspire by their sacrifices. If this can include married priests, so be it. My fear is that a married priesthood will be a part of the general downward spiral that, in the end, will be no solution at all.
William Bagley
8 years 7 months ago
Nearly the saddest aspect of this debate is the certain unwillingness of American bishops to even countenance the conversation. But the part that is truly worthy of despair is the impact that their myopia has on young Catholics. Circuit riding priests are wonderful men on impossible missions... I know, the priests that serve my (former) parish serve four churches... the result (no fault of their own) is dismal. Non-native priests (also good men) are culturally and linguistically at a great disadvantage. Again, it is the young who are most impacted. To deny that the good Lord provided us with the intellegence to find smart solutions to vexing problems is to deny the capacity of God to invest us with the potential to do good. My children, now 27 and 29, brought up faithfully in the church (with a reverred uncle who was a distinguished priest) and with impeccable educations, now wonder why their church is so unwilling to create meaningful community. Married priests and priests who are women simply make sense... as do those men who choose to remain celebate priests. We should embrace those things that will make our church vital and strong... not relegate the children to an abandoned faith.
joe driscoll
8 years 7 months ago
The church allows Anglican and Lutheran clergy to remain married upon conversion to the Catholic faith, yet will not allow Roman Catholic priests the same option. Something is amiss here. We have women who receive a calling to the ministry of Christ yet they are denied a fulfillment of that calling simply because of their gender. Something is amiss here, also. We have those within the Church who call for even stricter standards, arguing that ever since Vatican 2 the Church has been on the road to Perdition. Let's make things tougher, that'll surely attract more men to the priesthood. Again, I see something amiss. Perhaps there's something to be said for the notion "The Catholic Church. 2000 years of tradition unhampered by progress."
John Chuchman
8 years 7 months ago
How can you ignore the church's discrimination against women as priests and the Treasure they will bring as ordained Catholic Priests?
Denis Quinlan
8 years 7 months ago
The responses to the article on the shortage of priests generally fall under one of two categories - wisdom or the lack thereof. It is fundamental in human resources management that the larger the pool of applicants, the more successful you will be in staffing your organization with the quantity and quality of people needed to carry on its mission. By limiting the priesthood to celibate males (a decided minority in our society) the Church has allowed a major personnel crisis to take place, one that never had to happen. There is no redeeming theological or spiritual purpose served by depriving married men and women of the opportunity to serve the Church as ordained priests. Finally, as a now laicized priest, I commend the author of letter #12 above for her sensitivity and understanding of individuals like myself. She hit the nail right on the head.
8 years 7 months ago
You have my strong concurrence with the proposal for married priests. I think the dedication of the permanent deacons provides strong indication that married priests could serve both flock and family. Let us pray this proposal receives prompt and serious consideration.
8 years 7 months ago
Thank you for not discussing women and married priests as if they are one and the same, but you have chosen the more radical of the two. Although we call them married clergy, what makes them different and less qualified is parenthood more than marriage. Abraham notwithstanding, no good person doesn't appropriately rearrange their priorities when they become a parent. I want a priest who puts Jesus first above all, whether he or she is hearing my confession or if someone is threatening them and asking "Do you believe in Christ?". Allowing women priests is a simple matter of fairness, as unmarried women are clearly as capable of resembling Christ in what matters as are unmarried men, and far better than a man who is tied by the responsibilities of parenthood. To bend the priesthood to allow the pressures of parenthood would change the institution more than allowing unfettered women, and therefore be even more an insult to women than maintaining the status quo.
CHARLES SCHRAMM REV
8 years 7 months ago
Bravo! Let the discussion begin! Open dialogue is always healthy. This would increase our bishops' credibility in the eyes of many.
Bert Monster
8 years 7 months ago
There is no shortage of priests today! There never was and never will be. Those prayers for vocations have already been answered by hundreds, nay thousands and perhaps many, many more. The only shortage that exists is the myopia in the Vatican. Look for the many gifted and devoted women and men who already serve your parish, your community, and your Church. The answer has been given us for more than two centuries. A whole town in Samaria came to know our Lord due to one insignificant, sinful, but devoted woman. Surely, there are others like her among us?
OBI OBIEKWE
8 years 7 months ago
There are two opportunities for ameliorating the shortage of priests in America that were not addressed by the article: 1. How many American missionary priests are serving in Asia and Africa, continents that do not experience shortage of priests? Can they be repatriated to save the fatherland? 2. America is 6% of the world-wide Catholic Church. In the past, the country provided missionaries to other parts of the world. Are Americans ready to receive the same blessings from other parts of the world?
Gregory Muckenhaupt
8 years 7 months ago
Your comments are especially apropos for the many dispersed Catholic communities in "mission" areas which have been and continue to be nourished primarily by catechists and in some places by married deacons. In 1984 during a conference in Rome on the topic of lay catechists, this refrain was raised by a number of participants. I wonder how strongly this remains an expressed desire in newly evangelized areas of the world.
8 years 7 months ago
This is a superbpiece -- written clearly and in a balanced way, and it suggests that only a new paradigm or a development of the arrangements with the Anglicans and Lutherans might be helpful first steps, but ordination of women must be on the table eventually to enrich the Church in so many ways.
8 years 7 months ago
Shame on you for your "modest" solution to the priest shortage. Talk about a "head in the sand" solution! In our northwoods community surrounding Eagle River, Wisconsin, we have 10 churches in our "Vacationland Ministerial Association" of which 6 are women pastors who are heading vibrant "Christian" communities. The answer is to open the priesthood to those who are called, regardless of gender or maritial status.
8 years 7 months ago
Thank you. For all those who thought the editorial too timid, please read between the lines and see what was necessarily left unspoken. We don't need any more good "former-editors" of America.
8 years 7 months ago
There are a few good ways that seem to be helping bring men into the seminary, or at least the men I know. Prime among them is like the first commenter said, present the priesthood as a manly thing to do. Also, a good understanding of the nature and power of the priesthood would help; It is a life of great joys, yes, but also enormous sacrifice, and if we are teaching our kids that there really isn't much difference between the baptismal and the ordained priesthood, such sacrifice just doesn't seem worth it. The Priesthood is SO worth it, at least from this seminarian's view. I don't think married priests are necessarily the best solution, though I do like the pastoral provision in that it allows people to realize now that they have the Truth the vocation they were seeking way back when they did not have all the Truth. In the wider world, we need to rediscover the idea of vocation in the Church. God made us for a reason and we will never be as happy as we can possibly be unless we are doing His will. Also, presenting Marriage as just as much a vocation as Priesthood and Religious Life and giving unequivocal pro-family and pro-life messages to our people will be a great boon. If any state of life is seen as a vocation, people will take them all more seriously. On the organizational end, deacons can be our saving grace. Read Acts, that is what they are there for, to help take care of the charitable work and mundane stuff. Well trained and knowledgeable Deacons really are good fits in chancery positions and as pastoral assistants. They can help extend the ministry of the Bishop and Pastors by freeing them up for more sacramental and pastoral work. That doesn't mean treat Deacons like mules, however.
8 years 7 months ago
Bravo! As many of my Protestant friends already know, a married priest can fully understand and sympathize with the daily struggles that their married parishioners (especially those with children) encounter as they try to become better Christians. My heart sinks, however, when I imagine what the Vatican's knee-jerk reaction to your proposal would be. One of my acquaintances is a married WOMAN priest (gasp!) - I won't even go there right now....
8 years 7 months ago
"Silence and fervent prayer for vocations are no longer adequate responses to the priest shortage in the United States". Lordy, Lordy, now we have the U.S. Jesuits telling the Holy Ghost how to run His Church. Not surprising as the Jesuits seem to have forgotten that the priesthood is a vocation - a calling. Not a job.
ROBERT ROWDEN
8 years 7 months ago
Bravo America! At last a major moderate Catholic publication has pushed for a dialogue on a sensible alternative to a forced fast from Eucharist. Perhaps not all of your spunk disappeared with Tom Reese after all.
8 years 7 months ago
Of course married priests are needed to staff the sacramental life in todays church........The first question is; why have the hierarchy stonewalled this for so long? answer is; they are stale. the second question is; How can the laity FORCE this change?... answer; start demanding change now.. The third question is; Why do celibates who have no children, no grandchildren, therefore a stunted generational perspective, get to shape the future of the Faith? answer;= they have fear of change and an obsessive focus on past triumphalism. To the 'radical Catholic right'.... your smaller, meaner, leaner Church hope is heresy...
8 years 7 months ago
While celibacy will continue to be a special charism given to the few, men and women, there is no inherenct connection between a call to celibacy and a call to the priesthood. Nor can a charism be "mandated" as it is a gift from God.The priest shortage in our country will be what finally prompts serious conversations about solutions that presently are not on the table, but the anomaly of making celibacy a requirement of ordination to the priesthood is the more profound and unresolved issue.
Christopher Mulcahy
8 years 7 months ago
In the minor seminary I am familiar with, 88 young men admitted in 1960. Two ordained. Run like the Prussian military. No "letters," no awards, no attention. Never was it said "you're doing well--you'll make a good priest." No mentoring. Lots of discipline. No respect. Guys quit. Seminary #2 we did Karl Rogers "community" touchy-feely sensitivity. No purpose, just American liberalism run amok. Abstruse theorizing. The food was great. Quit.
8 years 7 months ago
I converted 6 years ago, and some will say I have limited background, they will be right. Little did I know that the relatively activist but conservative parish I joined was so ideologically fractured. Far right to far left and certainly at it's most liberal, far to the right of the typical American equivalent. I see people jumping lines during sacrament to receive only from a priest and not a lay person. I see people jump lines to receive sacrament from the bishop in attendance over that of the priest's offering. In Canada, the military will take me back into military service till the age of 55 with advanced degrees, yet the Catholic church ignores one after 42. Income I don't need, yet avenues of service seem closed one after the other. Here female priests will never fly, but I see opportunities lost no matter which way one turns. Unfortunately, at the age when one must make a committment to service of one's peers, we seldom have the emotional or historical maturity to take advantage of that choice. An interesting concept put forward in the article, but history is against it and any appreciable change.
8 years 7 months ago
I am so glad that you included the laicized married priests.My husband has been in Church ministry since we got married.In every diocese in which we both ministered he was allowed to teach. (theology and scripture) He never left and is so dedicated and commited to his priestly ordinaion. May the Church leadership listen to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
Paul Leddy
8 years 7 months ago
Following is a post from the yahoo group: GAMMA (Gay and Married Men Association) "A paper was given not too long ago to the Primate's Task Force on Alternative Episcopal Oversight of the Anglican Church of Canada supporting marriage for same-sex couples. The author is Gary Thorne, Diocesan University Chaplain of The University of Dalhousie and King's College, Halifax In the USA, the argument for gay marriage is approached as a civil rights issue but there is little discussion of the human aspect of friendship and love; or little discussion of what is friendship and love and how these support same-sex marriage. This paper does explore, in some depth, love, friendship and why same-sex marriage gives meaning to them and why no one should be excluded. For the record, I don't support same-sex marriage. I certainly do support serious discussion on why, or why not same-sex marriage is valid. Cardinal Egan (retired) formerly of the NY Archdiocese, in an interview, March of this year, said that celibacy for priests ought to be reconsidered. Of course, that fired-up opinions that celibacy is an unnecessary, cruel inhuman burden on young, healthy, red-blooded Amercian men who would have entered the priesthood if it wasn't for the realization that they faced a life-time of no sex. etc, etc. Of course, this is all understood that these manly men among men are straight and would marry women. So, priests would have an option ...unless they're gay. And, what am I? chopped liver? It's very difficult to tell a guy who is gay, who is not likely to marry, who has no calling to the priesthood, that he is required to live a life of perpetual chastity, i.e. no sex, after all the arguments on why celibacy is so absolutely necessary for the priesthood are tossed aside. It's certainly no comfort to me. Cardinal Egan has done no favors for me."
Paul Leddy
8 years 7 months ago
A legitimate opportunity presents itself to comment on the reality of the unfairness that the Catholic Church absolutely opposes gay-marriage forever, but now finds that the once sacrosanct obligation of celibacy imposed on Catholic priests may be lifted for mere expediency’s sake. In an editorial “America, the National Catholic Weekly,” an influential magazine published by the Jesuits, suggests that the priest shortage may be alleviated by lifting the celibacy requirement. The editors are to be reminded that their sympathy for the “struggle” that priests endure to remain pure simply ignores and remains unsympathetic for the gay men who will always have to live a chaste life (no sex). “America” endorses the double standard; unwittingly, though as we all know, with severely damaging results, consigns gay men back into the closet and forgives those hearty, red-blooded American heterosexual men-among-men, who are too weak to control themselves. And then, there’s the added indignity of looking forward to having to pay orthodontist’s bills for Father’s children. If that doesn’t foster resentment in gay parishioners, I don’t know what will.
8 years 7 months ago
America and Europe must return to the Original Organizational frame work of the forefathers who established the states on the basis of the teaching of Holy Bible ( Old & New Testaments).Biblical teachings must be made Obligatory in all schools.As to the question of shortage of Priests, more Priests must be brought from Asia to run the churches in order and to strengthen faith. Married Priest must be allowed in the Church. Important point is a Priest must be well qualified, dedicated, devoted and the real follower of the Church.
Robert Koch
8 years 7 months ago
I notice a call for ordaining women in these comments. I for one, would NEVER go to mass officiated by a women. NEVER
8 years 7 months ago
The Holy Spirit has answered our prayers for increased vocations - there are many who are hearing the call but unfortunately the hierarchy has prohibited them from serving. It is time for the institutional Church to say yes to God and open up the priesthood to all those who are called by God to serve.
8 years 7 months ago
Modest, indeed. While it is refreshing to realize that any serious options are being considered anywhere within the confines of Catholic thought, this proposal only looks at the question from what appears to be point of view of "self- interest." The "signs of the times" are going to require much more rigorous and fundamental inquiry. The Church , especially within this area of investigation, needs to take a serious look at priesthood as THE fundamental dilemma in the Church today - globally. The concept of priesthood has to be "stripped down" to its very basic elements. Right now we are living with an institution of clericalism that so surrounds the reality of priesthood as to suffocate it or at least make it invisible. We are seeing the results of that suffocation in the U.S. and Europe right now. The rest of the world will follow. Simply patching the problem won't be sufficient. We need the courage to open up the patient, find out what's really wrong and fix it.
Thomas Snyder
8 years 7 months ago
At last! And Bravo! We and our friends have entertained this notion for decades. Several of those friends would eagerly undertake the education requisite to this calling. We also know holy and devoted women--some ordained and ministering in Protestant churches only because they are not welcome in the Church of their upbringing and preference--who would love to fulfill those three canonical mandates. One must hope that God will inspire the American Bishops--and perhaps the Bishops of Rome--to see the need, and the wisdom, of this idea.
Jim McCrea
8 years 7 months ago
He was right when he said this and he remains right today: "It is the present day mission of the Church that defines the priesthood (i.e., celibate or married), not yesterday's priesthood that defines the mission of the Church." Bishop Jacques Gaillot of Evreux, France.

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