The new push to end priestly celibacy

Those who want to overturn the ancient discipline are energetic, well organized and influential
Priests lie on the floor as Pope Francis leads a Mass during their ordination ceremony in St Peter's Basilica (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)

Priests lie on the floor as Pope Francis leads a Mass during their ordination ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)

The following comes from a February 25 Catholic Herald article by Jon Anderson:

The Catholic Church is once again embroiled in arguments about whether priestly celibacy has a place in today’s world. As Catholicism in most Western countries faces a rapidly aging priesthood, a severe shortage of vocations and declining congregations, abolishing or at least relaxing the ancient rule has become a major item on the agenda of those who advocate large-scale change in the Church.

The sexual revolution did its work in the 1970s, when an enormous amount of priests left to get married. Numbers have never recovered, and the resulting shortage of priests has become one of the main pragmatic arguments for relaxing the celibacy rule. As the concept of celibacy becomes ever more marginal in our culture, it becomes much harder to persuade young men to accept that kind of discipline as a lifelong commitment.

There has also been the long-term effect of the sexual abuse scandals, which have widely, though not very convincingly, been blamed on the practice of celibacy.

While priestly celibacy is a law rather than a doctrine, it is still a very ancient one. Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI all repeatedly stood by the traditional position and said clearly that there was no reason to change it, though Pope Benedict did allow for a limited exception for former Anglican priests with the creation of the ordinariates.

Pope Francis’s views on the matter remain somewhat opaque. In his book On Heaven and Earth, published before his election to the papacy, the then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio didn’t appear to see any reason to change the existing position. However, there is persistent speculation that he may be open to persuasion on the matter. Vatican communications have done little to clear up where exactly the Pope stands.

In this confused situation, kites are being flown, especially in the wealthy and powerful German Church. Veteran Vatican correspondent Sandro Magister reports Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke of Hamburg as saying that, when German bishops met Pope Francis last November, they raised the question of married priests as a solution for areas with shortages of clergy. By this account, Francis “made no sign of refusal”. Magister also insists that the Pope is considering devoting the next synod of bishops to the issue.

There has been repeated speculation in German-language media over the last few years about Francis’s willingness to address priestly celibacy, not least the intervention of Austrian-born Bishop Erwin Kräutler, of Xingu in Brazil, who raised the problem of a lack of clergy in his huge prelature with the Pope. The bishop said the Pope responded by urging him to make “bold, daring proposals”. In 2013, Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz raised eyebrows by speculating that married deacons could be ordained as priests in the not too distant future. And as far back as 2008, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, then president of the German bishops’ conference, was speaking along the same lines.

Bishop Jaschke, in particular, has a history of calling for change. In 2010 he told listeners to German radio that celibacy was a “fiction”, and explicitly linked it to sexual abuse scandals, arguing that the requirement of celibacy could lead to an unhealthy sexuality. This, as I mentioned, has been a popular argument in recent years, but there is little objective evidence that celibacy has been a major cause of the scandals. In the secular world it is hardly unheard of for abusers to be married men – in fact, most child sexual abuse takes place in a family setting – and even in terms of clerical abuse, it’s not as if other religious communities with married clergy have been untouched. Nor is it clear that those men who are sexual attracted to children would be dissuaded by the opportunity to marry adult women. This is not to say that celibacy is completely irrelevant to the scandals, but it is obvious that abolishing celibacy wouldn’t be a magic bullet that would prevent future abuse.

There are also practical objections to Bishop Jaschke’s proposal. The main one is that, although it is presented as a practical measure to help deal with a local situation, there is hardly a country in Europe that doesn’t have a serious priest shortage. Ireland, which used to export priests around the world, now has to import them to fill its gaps. So, where at present celibacy is a norm with a relatively small number of exceptions, to loosen the discipline would effectively mean abolishing the norm in large parts of the world. If a shortage of priests is a compelling reason for change in Bishop Kräutler’s sprawling Amazonian territory, the same argument could be made in Western countries. Indeed, the shortage in Belgium has become so acute that there have been calls for laymen to be allowed to celebrate Mass.

Finally, there is the financial issue. The late Cardinal Hume once joked that, despite the theological objections to women priests, the Church could at least afford them, while it couldn’t afford married priests. The Catholic Church globally is famously asset-rich but cash poor (though this may not be a problem for the German Church, cushioned as it is by its government-collected church tax). Also, the Church doesn’t have centuries of experience of providing for married clergy with families as the Church of England does.

Ultimately, much of the pressure around celibacy comes from changing views of the nature of the priesthood. One significant shift in recent decades is that the centrality of the sacrifice of the Mass to the priest’s vocation has been eroded in favor of the view of a priest as a kind of spiritual social worker. Without denying the importance of being engaged in broader society, the liturgical tradition that sees the priest as standing in persona Christi is the cornerstone of the broader Catholic concept of the priesthood. Today, most Catholics do not know the theological arguments for an all-male priesthood, never mind the traditional reasons for priestly celibacy, so pragmatic arguments that don’t go against the prevailing secular culture are more likely to get a hearing.

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  1. A very holy priest who lives in Los Angeles recently told me that this is the next thing on Pope Francis; agenda. If Rip Van Winkle was not a fictional character, he would never recognize the Church from what She was fifty years ago. The Church is dying.

  2. I’ve never heard of a suggestion to end all celebecy in the priesthood [require priests to be married]. Isn’t the discussion about mandatory celebacy? [priest could remain celebate if he voluntarily chose to do so].
    Apparently 90% of priests have never been involved in child sex abuse accusations. It may be an open issue as to what percent of priests are 100% celebate [gay or straight] in other aspects of their life.

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    I have encountered Widowers who entered the Priesthood and Married Episcopalian Ministers who ‘Poped Up’ to:

    “The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012.

    Members of the Ordinariate are fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of Anglican heritage in their celebration of liturgy and in the hospitality and ministries of their Catholic communities…” – And they have been Fine Men Too, often with a deeper understanding of Married Couples than others.

    • A former Priest of the Anglican church who turns Catholic and goes through a seminary program is not totally unusual. I know a wonderful Priest who is Pastor of one of the largest parishes in Northern California. His wife died and after a few years he gave up the Episcopal Church and became a Catholic Priest.

      • Jim McCrea says:

        And I know a former Catholic priest who joined the Episcopal Church and ultimately became a Suffragan Bishop.

        He avers that was the best move he made in his entire life.

        That’s why there are chocolate AND vanilla ice cream flavors.

    • Elizabeth M. says:

      I think that there is a possibility of married men whose children are already raised and on their own to become deacons and then priests. I believe it would present numerous problems for young men raising children to be priests.

      • Jim McCrea says:

        Yes, all those married Protestant ministers and Eastern Rite Catholic priests with wives and families just don’t know how they have survived and thrived.

      • Ann Malley says:

        ..it would present a real dilemma with regard to the requisite need for a man to support his family. Sorry, but there is immense responsibility there, one that is negated all too often.

        To institute a married priesthood, to me, is not only to undermine the priesthood, but also to negate the very serious and singular focus required to be a husband and father.

  4. Michael McDermott says:

    BTW – I think that the article weak in terms of terminology – when it fails to distinguish between Celibacy and Abstinence; as well as Marriage versus the ‘hook up culture’, such as it is.

    Should there be Married Priests?

    In the future we can Expect Catholic Marriage Ceremonies celebrating the union of Male (XY) Husband & Female (XX) Wife to be classified as ‘hate crime’ – and punished under draconian ‘anti-discrimination’ rules being pushed through the ABA & Calif Bar Assn. even now.

    But then Prisoners Need Priests and Making Priests Prisoners is a ‘secular solution’ in line with their Pander or Perish Pogroms.

    • Hosemonkey says:

      I expect that if traditional marriage is made a ” hate crime”, there will be bloody revolution. Just sayin.’

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        “traditional marriage” is in no danger of becoming a hate crime, let’s be serious here. How could a 96-98% majority ever allow their own lives to be a hate crime? And IF 96% of people made their own lives a hate crime, who would they revolt against? Sounds like a call for harakari to me!

      • Hose..So in this fantesy of yours and Michael’s who gets arrested? Bride and Groom? Officiant? Flower girl? Guests? If I’m a bridesmaid do I get a pass because I’m gay? Inquiring minds want to know!

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Well, all the florists are already gay, so I think they should be safe too. The hair stylists too. Well, the good ones, anyway.

        • Canisius says:

          Eventually C&H those who will be arrested are the Faithful Catholics who will not bow down to the god-state that you and the rest of LGBTQREOSNE whatever crowd worships…your goal is a red martyrdom

  5. It’s important to understand what is most important for the Church today. The witness of a celebate clergy is impactful regarding understanding of sexuality in the modern world. It is impossilbe for men to remain celebate, the only chance they have is surrending totally to Christ. It’s a slow matyrdom and we hate to see or feel the pain. We want to worship and control this sacred act. It can’t be done. If we let our lust rule us we will enter the hell here on Earth as so many people have already done.

    • Elizabeth M. says:

      Well there are people who abstain from sex because their spouses are ill. It is possible. Also, there are those who are widowed, divorced, or in the single state too.l

  6. The church may get much smaller but she will be much holier for it. The church isn’t dying but she must shrink through a great apostacy or our Blessed Lord can’t come the second time. Maybe prophecy is just being fulfilled. We can only hope these evil times will come to some end. We seen them before in history and we may be seeing them again or maybe these signs of the times will bring our Lord. Come Lord Jesus Come.

  7. Linda Maria says:

    Our Church has lost her True Christ, and her true, Christ-like leadership, since Vatican II!! The true foundation of our Church, is not worldly, it is MONASTIC!! It seeks God, not the fallen, secular society, and its misguided whims and fancies! The true priest, our “alter Christus,” is a great, big holy man, seeking Christ, seeking Heaven! He gives to us the Living Christ, in all of our Sacraments, to sanctify us all, and prepare us for Heaven! Don’t try to call him a “baby,” and lessen the holy life, making it “dumbed-down” into a “fallen” secularized layman’s life– a sort of pragmatic, Protestantized, “ministry of social work,” serving a sinful, “fallen” modern world, that has lost all sense of God, holiness,…

    • Deacon John Berstecher says:

      That would be Sainthood. Jesus spent time with sinners, emphasizing to them the glory of the Kingdom.

  8. Linda Maria says:

    I will continue, with my above post! It is so wrong to diminish the holy life of a priest, as the badly-corrupted secular world has lost all sense of God, holiness, prayer, sanctification, and Heaven! Instead, we need a return to our True Church, and our True Church must lead the world— to CHRIST!! As for the child molesters, they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing!” They are NOT TRUE PRIESTS!! And NO– they do NOT need a woman to ABUSE, because they are DANGEROUS CRININALS!! DO NOT ALLOW SUCH HORRIBLE CRIMINALS AROUND WOMEN!!

  9. Linda Maria says:

    I will only say one more thing. FREUD IS A FRAUD!! A TOTALLY SICK, IMMORAL, IMMATURE FRAUD!! NORMAL men are NOT some sort of “sex-crazed,” wild animals, running around in search of mating opportunities! OF COURSE NOT!! The HIPPIES all are SICKENING, IMMATURE FRAUDS, who NEVER GREW UP TO ADULT RESPONSIBILITY!! Adult men who are NORMAL– ARE NOT FILTHY FREUDIAN GARBAGE– in need of “addictive sex,” like MANIAC CRIMINAL RAPISTS!! Our true priests, are HOLY men of God, men of unusual excellence, graced by God for a HOLY VOCATION!!

  10. Linda Maria says:

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!” (from the Beatitudes) Among the seven fruits of the Holy Spirit– are Modesty, Continence, and Chastity! A true Christian is called by God, in Baptism– to leave the fallen, corrupt, secular world, though he must live in it– and lead a HOLY LIFE, seeking sanctification, and Heaven!

  11. I believe the shortage of priest are those who teach under the Novus Ordo mass and not the Tridentine Mass. At the time of his papacy Pope Benedict stated the truth will be taught and if that means the numbers in seminaries are low than so be it. Interesting that things have changed in a short time at a pace unthinkable. Pray for Holy Mother Church.

  12. CCC: ” 915 Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every disciple. The perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called, entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty and obedience.
    It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God. “

  13. 1 Cor 7:32-33

    ” I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord;
    but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife “.

  14. Many years ago, a learned priest informed us that married clergy is not the answer to the priest shortage. The monsignor said that even though Protestant ministers are allowed to marry, those religions are experiencing a lack of ministers. The Church has become too worldly, and with all the innovations, young men want stability. No, married priests will not end the shortage. Ave Maria Purrissima !

  15. The lack of vocations is apparent. But is celibacy the problem or does it reflect a larger problem within the church. Are we afraid to mention the elephant in the room. To put it simply MEN NEED NOT APPLY. Attend your average parish and count the number of young men. Single digits the norm. Reflecting on this the number of priest ordained each year is amazingly high compared to the men in the pews. Just an after thought, the number of Catholic marriages are also declining rapidly, is celibacy the problem.

  16. I don’t have anything against married Anglican/Episcopal priests entering the Catholic priesthood. I would be open to extending this to other Protestant clergy in other communions. But I consider this push for married priests the norm in the Roman Church is a backdoor means to make the clergy more progressive than it already is. The older progressive clergy can see that they have an insurmountable barrier to taking over the priesthood: the requirement to remain single. Since progressive Catholicism is a spiritual gelding, very few straight progressive Catholic men want to become priests in the West as they lack the spiritual depth to be priests. I’ve never met a young progressive priest native to the US who was at the same time…

  17. … not gay, with all the baggage that entails. So to prevent extinction of progressive thought within the US priesthood, we have this push to remove the barrier, opening the flood gates to the same corruption that afflicts the rest of institutional Catholicism.

    • Ann Malley says:

      …thanks for the insight, Father, and for answer God’s call in its fullness.

    • Excellent post Father Michael. Thank you. It was dissenters who originally masterminded the disobedient use of altar girls. Many still deny how harmful this was but the masterminds of dismantling Church teaching surely knew. Allowing altar girls was the backdoor method that invited the natural sequence known as “if you give an inch, then you will surely go for the mile.” This is why “the go for the mile” group known as “women priests” just picketed at the LA religious ed congress. St. Augustine reminds us, “Before the devil can destroy you, he must *first* deceive you.” Inch by inch the undermining of important structures has become a cinch.

    • Michael McDermott says:

      Cardinal admits ‘scandalous’ response to abuse allegations
      http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/02/29/cardinal-admits-scandalous-response-to-abuse-allegations.html?intcmp=hplnws

      One of Pope Francis’ top advisers acknowledged he had heard that an Australian Catholic school teacher who serially abused students might be involved in “pedophilia activity” in the 1970s, but said he had no idea how rampant clergy abuse was at the time, during an extraordinary public hearing of an Australian investigative commission just a few blocks from the Vatican.

      Australian Cardinal George Pell, also conceded that the Catholic Church “has made enormous mistakes” in allowing thousands of children to be raped and molested by priests…

      “I’m…

    • Linda Maria says:

      Right after the Council, over 200,000 priests, and some prelates, resigned, and left the church! Many stated, “I cannot serve this FALSE CHURCH, and this FALSE MASS!” Many thousands of nuns left, too! We ended up with a radical, hippie, leftist, immoral, false, APOSTATE Church– and no direction, focus, discipline, nor true Catholic leadership! All true, orthodox, excellent vocations, were stopped right at the seminary doors– exactly as described, in the tragic, scandalous book, “Good-Bye, Good Men!” We desperately need a full return, to our authentic, True Church!!

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Where? Show me the source.

        Are you actually calling the Roman Catholic Church an apostate?

        You, my friend, are as schismatic.

      • “FALSE CHURCH’ “FALSE MASS” “APOSTATE Church.” These are your words, Linda Maria! You tell others to “go straight to Confession” merely for disagreeing with you. That’s rich. Maybe you should take the plank out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck of dust from another’s. Having written the above, YOU should “run to Confession”.

    • Bob One says:

      I sometimes like to refer back to the Bible to see what we are supposed to believe rather than rely of lots of other opinions. According to the Bible, Bishops should be married only once and must manage their household well, keep children under control with dignity -for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the Church of God? 1Tim 3. Based on this, then, the basic qualification for a Bishop is to be married with children? 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        “Based on this, then, the basic qualification for a Bishop is to be married with children?”

        Transparent = Bob One = easily detected or seen through : obvious

      • Steve Phoenix says:

        Ah, Bob One, the neo-Primitivist, discarding 20 centuries of the Holy Spirit’s inspired yet coherent tradition and doctrinal development in the Church, the outcome of which is that apostolic celibacy best reflects the Catholic priest’s higher calling; instead, it is Bob One yearning to return to the Bible-literalist, pure Primitive Church, as in 1 Tim, Acts, etc. Why? So we can have married bishops with children. Yay.

        You can find all this in the Southern Baptist Convention, Bob One, your new home. LDS also.

  18. Clinton R. says:

    As usual, more heresy emanating from Germany. No wonder the faith there is almost extinct.

  19. Gay priests are often opposed to allowing for a married priesthood because they know such a move will dilute the power of the “Lavendar Mafia”. The last thing gay priests want is more straight men entering the priesthood.

    • Dave N.

      You actually describe some younger gay priests I know. They don’t want the competition. But my original comment wasn’t about the young and gay priests, it was about the old straight progressive “Vatican II” priests. Despite their progressivism they aren’t particularly enthralled by the priesthood becoming a gay profession, but few straight progressive seminarians seem to finish to ordination.

      • Dave N. says:

        This is exactly my point. Whether or not one thinks of married priests as a “progressive” position, I think at this juncture, a married priesthood is the ONLY feasible way to transition out of a priesthood dominated by the homosexual lobby. But I’m open to hearing other ideas.

        Perhaps in a couple of hundred years, the Church might be able to return to a celibate priesthood AFTER the proper reforms are put into place. But as of now, there’s no one to put the reforms into motion because the homosexual lobby within the priesthood is just too powerful.

  20. Hindsight, isn’t always 20/20 vision, especially when the faith has not been properly taught for many years. It was an outright act of disobedience that introduced altar girls and then, before we knew it , altar girls became the norm. Still to this day you can hear priests who are trying to be good and faithful defend this practice because they have also been swept up in the pc wave that has undermined many structural attributes that the Church thrived upon. Instead of allowing Hollywood the opportunity to place the ‘Spotlight’ on the scandals, let us faithful Catholics go to the REAL Sacred Heart of the matter that allowed this filth to grow and thrive. The removing of Sacred Traditions, one by one. Place the ‘SPOTLIGHT’ on that!

  21. As many have noted, priestly celibacy is a law rather than a doctrine of the Church. I have known and worked with many celibate priests and respect them greatly for their holiness and the sacrifices they have made. However, due to the shortage of priests, perhaps it is time to considered married priests. Married priests could bring different gifts to the priesthood; it is important to note; however, that married priests would require a greater level of financial support from the laity! Just as Pope Benedict XVI saw the need for two forms of the Mass: Extraordinary and Ordinary; perhaps Pope Francis will see a need for two options for the priesthood: celibate and married. Let us pray for our priests everyday!

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Perhaps too, it would inspire our priests to understand what financial resources it takes to raise a family in a place like the US. Imagine, what if a priest had to feed a family of 8 – maybe Humanae Vitae would suddenly become as irrelevant among the clergy as it is among the laity. THIS is why people make economic arguments against married clergy. Practically speaking, married clergy means HV is repealed.

      • Ann Malley says:

        …priests understand the financial resource issues very well, YFC. Running a parish is a family on steroids. What you’re pushing for is a repeal of Jesus Christ and the ten commandments. Practically speaking, of course.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Priestly celibacy, even contraception, are not things that Jesus Christ ever preached about, so I don’t even understand the accusation that I want to “repeal Jesus Christ”. There isn’t even any evidence that his own Apostles practiced celibacy (the state of being unmarried, by the way), or didn’t practice some kind of contraception. In fact, the lack of any record (so far as I know) of any children of the Apostles makes one wonder how 11 married men ended up childless.

    • Ann Malley says:

      ….a shortage of priests could be directly attributed to a shortage in priests who teach the whole of Catholic Faith and Morals. Like being completely open to life. Sorry, Bob, but the humanistic approach to solving a manufactured problem is only going to lead to more problems. (…next we’ll have father getting divorced and well, maybe the experience will make him better able to deal with divorced Catholics. Or Catholics who want to remarry without annulment. And on we go.)

      Married priests “could” bring different gifts. They could also, as demonstrated in the past, bring serious baggage and a legitimate division of priorities. Even Fr. Longenecker needs to work writing books etc to support his family. Baggage and duties that…

      • Ann Malley says:

        … would make their job all the harder is not the basis of good policy. Jack of all trades, master of none comes to mind.

        We do not need a priesthood overburdened. For much like the women’s movement promised “Doing it All,” they delivered guilt, overwork, dissatisfaction, increased fighting among the sexes and within the ranks of one’s own sex, too, and rampant “need” for birth control.

        A married clergy is no rosy road

        • Anonymous says:

          Why do you care, you’ve already abandoned the Catholic Church?!

          • Ann Malley says:

            Perhaps a solid dedicated clergy who focused on teaching the fullness of Catholic faith and morals would help lift you from the land of delusion in which you fester, Anonymous. That’s why I care. I am Catholic and am very much a part of the Catholic Church. But, stuck as you are in the My Little Pony version of the Church, your swimming vision cannot recognize as much because you keep being swung around the Maypole.

      • Catherine says:

        “.a shortage of priests could be directly attributed to a shortage in priests who teach the whole of Catholic Faith and Morals. Like being completely open to life.”

        ” A married clergy is no rosy road.”

        Excellent posts, Ann Malley. All Catholic teaching and logic seems to fly out the window when men first seek out carnal solutions as the quick fix remedy for other self-induced carnal ills. The fullness of truth is not preached from the pulpit because some reject it, plus fear of downsizing the amount placed into the collection basket. Try removing the essential ingredients from a cake recipe and watch it fall every time.

        • Ann Malley says:

          “…Try removing the essential ingredients from a cake recipe and watch it fall every time.”

          No kidding, Catherine. Multi-purpose Baby Powder may at some point be more abundant than flour, but it won’t quite make a loaf of bread or bring the kiddies in from the cold to eat their dinner. Quite the opposite.

          Kind of like women seeking “equality” outside the home has left women overburdened, frustrated because they are still not men and don’t react like men, and increasingly missing time spent with what few children they have.

          Accent on few. And not necessarily of better quality – NO TIME. Would that the Church could stop pretending she’s an NGO.

          • Steve Phoenix says:

            “My Little Pony”-Catholicism. .that is great, and mordant funny, much more descriptive of the Happy-Clappy Nervous Ordeal.

  22. Abraham V. Llera says:

    IMO, that’s the Big Idea right from the start: blur the Sacraments, destroy the Church.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      I’m sure that having married priests in the Orthodox Churches has been blurring their sacraments and destroying their Church for, what, 20 or 21 centuries by now? I’m sure they are about to be cast into the sea anytime now!

      • Ann Malley says:

        …and I’m sure that having married priests in the Orthodox Churches has been increasing their burden in myriad ways your more inclined to ignore.

  23. Michael McDermott says:

    Perhaps Fr. Michael can clarify the distinction between Celibacy and Abstinence.

    Quite simply, Theological considerations aside, given the alphabet soup of Treatment Resistant STDs out there – I submit that Abstinence is a far wider phenomenon than reported, for various reasons.

    A conversation between hollyweird types in a book about a ‘sexy’ new movie posed the position that “You Can’t Legally Sell Sex” vs. “Sex (0r ‘Sex Appeal) i’s the Only thing one truly sells, all else is filler and packaging.

    Simply Buy this toothpaste, dog food, floor mop… – and you too will be Sexier than your neighbors, who use less sexy products, is a staple of marketing.

    So, the notion of a Catholic Priest on the Prowl is not unknown – as…

  24. It seems the ploy by progressives and liberals to advance the idea of married priests is in reality one more deceiving step in the disfunctioning and eventual disintegration of what most people view as the Catholic Church. Yes the press for altar girls has certainly feminized the once male only position of altar server, and that no doubt has left a grave mark. However, that doesn’t expose the real problem, and band-aids don’t fix problems. The only way to fix a problem is confronting it with what it really is, no political correctness can be allowed to mire the problem, otherwise it will never get fixed.

  25. For a man to decide to become a priest is all about his love for God, and saving of souls, that being greater than anything else in his life, in-fact it is giving up his life for God. It is an inspiration that originates from God Himself. Many are called but few are chosen says the Lord. In today’s society and especially family life, the building blocks, the formation to the priesthood disappeared over 40 years ago. Fortunately some good parents have raised their children to be religious; however, the world has also caught their eye, they became weak and preferred it. Much of the loss of religious vocations is on account of weak or no religious formation, no devotions to the Blessed Trinity, Holy Family or Saints. From stories what…

    • Jim McCrea says:

      Priests cannot save souls. Only God can save souls. And Catholic priests are NOT God, no matter what some of them think.

      • Catherine says:

        “Priests cannot save souls.” = Restless

        St. Augustine would certainly remind Mr. Jim McCrea that, “IN PERSONA CHRISTI”, the preaching of Bishop Ambrose most certainly aided in saving St. Augustine’s soul. Poor Jim, he is in great need of an Ambrose. Like Jim, Augustine’s heart was once also restless.

        ‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.’ – St. Augustine

        • Ann Malley says:

          …that’s like saying doctors and nurses cannot save lives. Wrongo. They do not put the life in or take the life out of their patients, but they are a handy tool to have around. Grace builds upon nature. But that’s something many choose to ignore.

  26. From stories what I have read on this site, the few remaining modern seminaries have ousted good seminarians and cozied up to gay men who turned into the awful and sinful pedophiles priests. Is it any wonder a good man or his parents wouldn’t want him to be in a disrespected homosexual infested “vocation”.
    But these thoughts are not the true essence for the demise of the V2 Church and especially its priesthood. It all stems from a lack of sanctifying grace! Contrarily, the true Roman Catholic parishes practicing the TLM and 7 traditional Holy Latin Sacraments are growing in missions and seminarians; they do have an abundance of sanctifying grace. Jesus said He will be with His Church until the end of time!

  27. Steve Phoenix says:

    Fr. Michaels’ Feb 29th comment illuminated something to me that I had often ,but never condensed so deftly as did he:

    “I’ve never met a young progressive priest native to the US who was at the same time was not gay…”

    Through many years of working with the St Barbara’s Franciscans in SF and the Bay Area, that encapsulates exactly their general vocation source, and for several other orders—including a well-known, very intellectual order that staffs our two “premier” universities in the Bay Area. So, the past is prologue to the future.

    • FrMichael says:

      Mr. Phoenix:

      I should have nuanced my remark as “I’ve never met a young progressive DIOCESAN priest…” I actually know one young religious priest who is progressive but apparently straight. The rest of them: gay. I’m not a “gaydar” type guy, I don’t walk around categorizing people like that and I’m not particularly intuitive. But if you’re going to throw your orientation in my face and act and speak scandalously…

      I’m a bit confused by your reference to the religious order. The Paulists staff UC, the Dominicans staff Stanford.

      Santa Barbara Franciscans: the less said the better. I met a couple good guys they had– pretty much burnout cases due to overwork and disillusionment.

      • Steve Phoenix says:

        No reason to bristle, Fr. Michael: I thought your comment (“…I’ve never met a young progressive priest native to the US who was at the same time was not gay…”) turned on the light for what I have also seen in at least two religious orders: generally, that those who are progressive and (shall we put it delicately) not particularly heterosexually-oriented, are more likely to stay. Why leave?

        You already have agreed with that observation regarding the St Barbara’s Province Franciscans (excepting some very few wonderful “old-school” Franciscans that are still left): but after all, the late Fr. Richard Purcell OFM, who has a posthumous (and confirmatory) book on his life (“The Life and Adventures of a San Francisco Renegade…

        • Steve Phoenix says:

          …Priest”, by Susan Cassian, one of his many admirers. Fr. Purcell left (in my opinion) a trail of wreckage in his wake, as he lived out his vigorously-sexualized life. You can read it for yourself. And at his funeral (d. Aug, 2011), he was treated to a hero’s truly scandalous (if you want to talk “scandalous”) farewell at St. Boniface by many fellow-travelers, both in his order and out. It was hard to keep one’s stomach contents from spilling out.

          As for “throwing my orientation in [one’s] face and speaking scandalously”, if the facts I have cited (and I can cite many others that are a matter of the public record, like Fr. Purcell’s, if need be) are scandalous, I am convicted. As for throwing my orientation around,…

          • Steve Phoenix says:

            As for throwing my orientation around, how boring can that be for a traditional married guy, to do. Although that alone will perhaps beworthy of execution a few years down the row, for now, that is just comical. So, I think you have badly misunderstood my
            observation.

            Oremus pro invicem.

        • FrMichael says:

          “But if you’re going to throw your orientation in my face and act and speak scandalously…” Oops, I didn’t mean to personalize that!

          Better said, “But if one is going to his orientation in my face and act and speak scandalously…” I’m referring to flamboyant gay priests, not any commentator on CCD!

          Major miscommunication here! I have come to admire your comments at CCD, Mr. Phoenix. You seem to know where many bones are buried!

          • Steve Phoenix says:

            No, I am sorry, Fr. Michael, upon re-reading your comments, I realized you were commenting with the “generic” “You”.

            As for where the bones are buried, how I wish I did not know; but It encourages one (“you”) to pray daily to commend to the mercy of God Fr. Purcell,and many others who will remain known only to Him. I will, however, spend many years recovering from the Farewell-Fest given him, a man who said he doubted if Jesus was Christ and said he had left the Church, and then hearing him lionized as an outstanding Franciscan at that funeral. That is where we are today.

      • Greg the Geologist says:

        Not sure, but I think there may be a bit of college humor in here that Steve may have missed. When discussing “‘premier’ universities”, Fr. Michael naturally assumed that he must be talking about Cal and Stanford. Bet he really knew which ones were referenced.

  28. Hi Anne: my proposal is not a humanistic one, it is a pragmatic one! Jesus acted in a pragmatic and decisive manner at times; perhaps, the Church should as well. I love the Church and shudder at the though of closing and combining more parishes into mega-parishes. Perhaps an option for married priests could help turn the current crisis around. Our fellow Catholics in the Eastern Church have had a married clergy for centuries. It is my understanding that their Bishops must be celibate.

  29. Bob One says:

    I watched SPOTLIGHT last night. This morning the grand-jury report out of Altoona, PA (sic) made the the national news. How can we attract young men to join a priesthood governed by such evil people?

    • Steve Phoenix says:

      Exactly the subtly cunning purpose of “Spotlight”,the film, Bob One: to freeze in people’s minds and demonize the Catholic Church as inexorably populated by “evil people”.

      “Never let a crisis go to waste. ”
      -Rahm Emanuel

  30. Steve Phoenix says:

    Now, I am always intrigued by Our Fellow Catholics nouveau-love affair with Eastern Orthodoxy (in this case, to justify married clergy), and to dismiss the Latin Church’s inspired development of a celibate, apostolic, clergy. We see this continuing pattern of going to Eastern rites, orthodox or uniate, to justify a wrecking ball against the Latin Catholic Church. Rather like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code—those medieval monks and wicked cardinals and popes secretively messed everything up.

    However, if Our Fellow Catholics want to embrace Eastern Orthodoxy as more faithful to the Holy Spirit than “us”, I know they will also want to equally embrace their absolute prohibition against homosexual behavior and activity and against a female…

    • Steve Phoenix says:

      … against a female clergy.

      • Greg the Geologist says:

        Might also want to check into their fasting practices during Lent. Not for the half-hearted! I do think we can learn much from them, mainly in the realm of what they have preserved, that we in the Western Church have abandoned during my lifetime. Another reason to be thankful for the tradition of the Eastern Churches: I have no doubt that they present an important ‘check’ to any temptation to attempt ordination of women. For the same reason that the Anglican moves in the other direction have doomed any hope of their return to full communion as a church. Speaking here of the Church as a human organization, and not specifically weighing in on the question of a married priesthood in the West.

        • Steve Phoenix says:

          Well-said, Greg the Geo: the Lenten fasting in the Eastern Orthodox are seriously challenging. I have an association with a Greek Orthodox church and know their rules.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Actually I’d prefer a celibate clergy. It’s the priestly shortage in the Latin Rite that makes me want to reconsider it, especially for priests certain jobs within the Church. I just don’t think we should demand adherance to some of the practices of that one Rite of the Church have used for some its centuries, and pretend that is what God wants for his universal – catholic – Church. The logic just boggles the mind.

  31. The more the Church is trying to change, the more deformed and ugly She will become. The Bride of Christ is turning into the Bride of Frankenstein.

  32. FrMichael says:

    Mr. Phoenix, glad to see that our miscommunication was resolved! God bless!

  33. Deacon Craig Anderson says:

    No Church, Catholic or Orthodox, going back to the Apostles allows her priests to marry. Rather, some ordain married men to the priesthood (who, like deacons, may not remarry should their spouse die). The Byzantine/Greek Catholic Church to which I belong does so. Also, Eastern Catholics value celibacy. Just look at the Fathers of the Church and the Saints! And, of course, our bishops are always from our celibate clergy. Married clergy is not a solution to the priest shortage. Celibacy is a long-standing tradition in the Latin Church and dioceses which value the Eucharist and authentic Catholic teaching do see many men respond to serve as celibate priests.

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