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This is a tricky one.

On the one hand, the number of priests will always be kept artificially low by the Latin rule for a celebate clergy. I do not speak for all Christian men, but I for one would enter a seminar at the drop of a hat if celibacy was not a prerequisite. Partly based on recent events, among those men currently in the priesthood, I think a number of them do not have a vocation to celibacy. Rather they have "bit the bullet" and suffer a state they're not called to in order to become Ordained.

Is it not possible men have a calling to the priesthood but not celibacy? That's a question worth asking.

Some poster commented several months ago on this topic. He posited that retired men, where their children were grown, could be trained to be for their local parish as associate pastors. This would generally reduce the problem, for instance, Protestant clergy complain of (and one of the chief reasons the Church insists on celibacy): a man who is overstretched raising a family and caring for a church. With lifespans nowadays, it would not be impossible to count on 20 years of active ministry for these men.

Of course, one is quite reticent to support a married clergy insofar as this places one in rather shady company (FutureChurch says is all).
There is no special calling for celibacy. Anybody has obligation for the chastity. For the priest, and for those who are not living in marriage this is without marriage, for the others this is in the marriage. Neither that is easy.

In Central Europe since the early sixteenth Century there are Greek Catholics  (whole areas) where the rule is that bishops can be only unmarried men,  but those who don't mind to remain as priests, can marry before the ordination. Usually the candidates are from families of priests, they get a year sabbatical to marry before ordination.  Neither the married priests nor their parishes are inferior to those lead by celibate priests.  This was true even in the time of persecution during the communist years.

The catastrophic lac of vocations brings up the need to talk about change. Married priest are better than the active homosexual ones, and even better than those having concubines Imho the main problem is not the scandal but their own conscience, the denial of the vocation to chastity.

laszlo




(05-11-2009, 07:27 AM)Credo Wrote: [ -> ]This is a tricky one.

On the one hand, the number of priests will always be kept artificially low by the Latin rule for a celebate clergy. I do not speak for all Christian men, but I for one would enter a seminar at the drop of a hat if celibacy was not a prerequisite. Partly based on recent events, among those men currently in the priesthood, I think a number of them do not have a vocation to celibacy. Rather they have "bit the bullet" and suffer a state they're not called to in order to become Ordained.

Is it not possible men have a calling to the priesthood but not celibacy? That's a question worth asking.

Some poster commented several months ago on this topic. He posited that retired men, where their children were grown, could be trained to be for their local parish as associate pastors. This would generally reduce the problem, for instance, Protestant clergy complain of (and one of the chief reasons the Church insists on celibacy): a man who is overstretched raising a family and caring for a church. With lifespans nowadays, it would not be impossible to count on 20 years of active ministry for these men.

Of course, one is quite reticent to support a married clergy insofar as this places one in rather shady company (FutureChurch says is all).
For what it's worth, John Paul II said, in his Theology of the Body, that most men called to the priesthood realize firstly that they are called to a life of celibacy, and THEN discern a vocation to the priesthood. Of course, this would only be in the Latin Rite of the Church, since not all priests are unmarried. I like the idea of a celibate religious life, as much as it is not my calling. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians tells us "32 But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. 33 But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. 34 And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. "

Of course you are all familiar with that passage, but I return to that a lot when I wonder about priestly celibacy, and also because my husband feels he may be called to the deaconate, so I wonder how that will work within our marriage as well. There is a shortage of vocations, yes, but I don't think it's because of the celibacy requirement per se. After all, while it was not a universal discipline of the Church from the time of the Apostles, it is an ancient discipline in the Latin Rite, and the real problem seems to have come since Vatican II (what a surprise.) I think the problem is poor catechesis and a lack of a firm understanding of the role of the priest. If we put an effort to properly catechize our young, and encourage all our young boys to discern if they have a calling to the priesthood (or religious life- or our girls for that matter, if they are called to the religious life), BEFORE they look towards marriage and a family, then maybe things will turn around.

But that's just MNSHO.
For me I think both Credo and Laszlo are on the point. Why not give seminarians a sabbatical to be married as some of the Apostles were. Some may not want it. Credo's mention of a better use for retired men is also worth discussing especially here in America, where some retire early and have been already partially trained.  The one thing I have not heard discussed is the example both would give to the laity, as chaste spouses and Priests. As Laszlo has said it is tough for all in their state in life, but with strong examples and faithful witnesses wouldn't that slowly turn around, not in the difficulty but in the actualisation. We have never been in my life so over sexed as now. It permeates our existence and faithful witness to chastity is highly desired.
tim
(05-11-2009, 11:13 AM)glgas Wrote: [ -> ]The catastrophic lac of vocations brings up the need to talk about change.

Exactly.  Change back to traditional practices, the TLM, etc.  Reinforce holiness and sanctity in the young men in the pews that they may have a disposition to receive a vocation if God wills it.  "Phat Masses" are not going to do that, neither is advertising in Playboy.

A vocation means that God has called someone, not that they found the priesthood appealing because they can now get married.

Reducing the priesthood to a "career choice" based on if one can get married or not desanctifies it and I find the concept repugnant.
There can be some practical problems though with a married clergy--  what if a parish is too poor to support a priest's family (especially if it is a very large family of seven or more children)?

What happens when a priest is torn between family problems (health, etc) and the needs of his parishoners?  A priest has to be able to jump up in the middle of the night and see someone who is dying-- can he do that when he's already been up with a crying infant?

What happens when a wife gets tired of having to share her husband with hundreds of other people, and needs more help at home?
(05-11-2009, 12:08 PM)timoose Wrote: [ -> ]For me I think both Credo and Laszlo are on the point. Why not give seminarians a sabbatical to be married as some of the Apostles were. Some may not want it. Credo's mention of a better use for retired men is also worth discussing especially here in America, where some retire early and have been already partially trained.  The one thing I have not heard discussed is the example both would give to the laity, as chaste spouses and Priests. As Laszlo has said it is tough for all in their state in life, but with strong examples and faithful witnesses wouldn't that slowly turn around, not in the difficulty but in the actualisation. We have never been in my life so over sexed as now. It permeates our existence and faithful witness to chastity is highly desired.
tim

Because a vocation is a call from God, not a career choice.  The lack of vocations is due to a lack of proper disposition to either receive the vocation or answer to it.  Building sanctity in youth through traditional Catholic practices that are proven to yield vocations is the proper response rather than another "Spirit of V2" social experiment.
(05-11-2009, 12:19 PM)ErinIsNice Wrote: [ -> ]There can be some practical problems though with a married clergy--  what if a parish is too poor to support a priest's family (especially if it is a very large family of seven or more children)?

What happens when a priest is torn between family problems (health, etc) and the needs of his parishoners?  A priest has to be able to jump up in the middle of the night and see someone who is dying-- can he do that when he's already been up with a crying infant?

What happens when a wife gets tired of having to share her husband with hundreds of other people, and needs more help at home?

I agree, and I think that is what St. Paul is getting at when he speaks of someone's loyalties being divided. I can't remember his name, but there is this married priest in the Latin Rite (he's a convert from Anglicanism), who actually preaches the benefits to priestly celibacy. He spoke about how when he was an Anglican that a fellow "priest" friend of his was torn about giving a sick patient the last rights because he didn't want to bring the sickness to his family.
They're just replacing one set of perceived problems with a new set of problems.  Divorced priests would be more scandalous than priests who have had an affair.  
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