Priests' "wives"?

ABC Online is reporting Priests’ ‘wives’ speak out against celibacy (HT to Matthias):

About a dozen women have written an open letter to the pope challenging the Church’s position that priestly celibacy is a sacred commitment.

“As far as I’m concerned, celibacy is completely useless,” said one of the signatories, Stefania Salomone. Ms Salomone, 42, had a five-year relationship with a priest. She argues celibacy was introduced for financial reasons, alluding to the fact that clergy without family were less expensive to house.

She also points to the Church’s earlier history for evidence of marriage. “People forget that there were 39 married popes,” she said. [Quick quiz: name them!]

The letter was partly a reaction to recent comments by the pope upholding the nearly 900-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests, calling it “the sign of full devotion” and of an “entire commitment to the Lord”.

Written in March, the letter was initially kept confidential, but late last month it was leaked to news website GlobalPost, and the women decided to tell their stories. “We told ourselves it was time to react,” Ms Salomone said. “Only three women agreed to sign the letter by name, because of the fear that if a woman goes public with her story, her companion priest would break up with her.”

Well, I am sure that that will make the Pope sit up and take notice. It is probably even now in the “for further attention” pile along with Hans Küng’s recent open letter…

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77 Responses to Priests' "wives"?

  1. Peregrinus says:

    Well, I am sure that that will make the Pope sit up and take notice. It is probably even now in the “for further attention” pile along with Hans Küng’s recent open letter…

    I’m surprised, David, at your lack of charity towards a man to whom you are normally very respectful. You seem to suggest that in forming his views about the discipline of celibacy he disregards the experience of those affected by that discipline.

    I very much doubt that he does. Canon law recognises the right and duty of the faithful to manifest their opinion on matters pertaining to the good of the church, of which this is certainly one. If you have some reason to suppose that the pope thinks their opinion irrelevant, and the canon assuring them of their right and duty to express it a piece of cynical tokenism, now would be a good time to give us that reason. Otherwise, I think you should in charity assume that the pope does take this seriously.

    I’d also point out that this letter is hardly a lone voice crying in the wilderness. They are, after all, contributing to a discourse recently opened by Cardinal Schönborn, and contributed to by other bishops. A pope who has cardinals, bishops and lay people all saying variants of the same thing to him would be a very stupid man if he decided simply to ignore this, or arbitrarily to exclude the lay voices from his consideration. And, whatever other criticisms might be levied at the pope, he’s not stupid.

    • Schütz says:

      The letter was not written by people who were simply asking for the celibacy rule to be changed, but by people who have actually knowingly violated the law of celibacy and are now appealing for their act of violation of this law to be regarded as valid and lawful. Strictly speaking, they have committed grave and serious sin in carrying on such relationships. THAT’s why I don’t think that the Holy Father will pay attention to such a letter.

      • Peregrinus says:

        What, only the perspectives of the sinless are relevant to this debate?

        It’ll be a fairly quiet debate, so!

        • Gareth says:

          In this case, I think it was an important thing to note what people’s true intentions were seeing it appeared that the concerns highlighted here didnt appear to be coming from those of members of the church who appeared to be doing or trying to do the right thing, unless you consider sleeping with a priest and then asking the Pope that he consider making this optional doing the right thing.

  2. Tony says:

    No Pere, I think David is right. Benny will take one look at the signatories and put the letter in the bin (to be dutifully emptied later in the week by a woman).

    More seriously (and at the risk of getting your back up!), there does seem to be a barely hidden contempt in your reaction, David.

    The post makes an interesting juxtoposition to the story about the married priest from the Ukraine. Without commenting on the link between celibacy and abuse, the story does show that married priests can be a ‘normal’ part of a worshipping community.

    Is the priest depicted in the Lateline story less than a ‘sign of full devotion’ and of an ‘entire commitment to the Lord’?

    Slowly but surely the discipline of mandatory celibacy for some priests looks like the Emperor’s new clothes.

    • Schütz says:

      Actually, Tony, I once knew a woman who was very deeply involved in a relationship with a priest. Not a Catholic herself, the anger she expressed to me concerning the Church’s celibacy rule was very high. I see where the writers of the letter are coming from, but they are not disinterested in the matter.

    • Gareth says:

      But Tony, it hasn’t been explained yet just who is going to finance all these married priests…

      Raising a family these days costs all lot of money and all these people clamouring for married priests dont seem to have any answers on just how the average parish is going to add an extra salary to its yearly expenses?

      I think the truth is cracks are starting to appear in the arguements for those that clamour for a married priesthood without any justification or fully thinking the issue through.

      • Tony says:

        Gareth,

        If you regard the church’s oppostion to married clergy as, in essence, financial then it may be useful to point to how it happens now (with ex-Anglicans or other rites) as models for the whole church.

        But that’s not, as I understand it, an issue that is essential to the church’s discipline.

        Notwithstanding that, if you saw the Lateline program you’d see that a community that is not rich can find a way of supporting a married priest. I don’t actually know how they’ve done it but, clearly, it can be done.

        • Gareth says:

          No I consider the financial aspect only a very minute part of why the church has celibate clerics.

          In any case, I do not think comparing the financial situation of Anglican ministry to the Catholic priesthood to be relevant at all. It is like comparing oranges to apples and not to mention that Catholic families are forbidden to use artificial contraception to be a major issue to consider that a married Catholic priest is going to have twice as large a family to support than an Anglican one. Have you considered this?

          If you want to argue for a married Catholic priesthood I also suggest that you put better put forward a better business case than watching a stupid Lateline program and imagining it can be done.

          From my perspective, my parish can not even afford new carpet, how are we going to afford to support a whole large Catholic family?

          • Tony says:

            No I consider the financial aspect only a very minute part of why the church has celibate clerics.

            So do I. Hardly worth a mention really.

            In any case, I do not think comparing the financial situation of Anglican ministry to the Catholic priesthood to be relevant at all. It is like comparing oranges to apples …

            Really? In terms of the issue — ie, celibacy and Catholic priests — it’s really like comparing apples with apples. The former Anglicans are afterall Catholics now, they’re priests, and they have families to support. What’s not to compare?

            … and not to mention that Catholic families are forbidden to use artificial contraception to be a major issue to consider that a married Catholic priest is going to have twice as large a family to support than an Anglican one. Have you considered this?

            No. Probably because it’s totally irrelevant. An Anglican priest who becomes a Catholic is just as bound by Catholic Church rules as a cradle-Catholic priest.

            If you want to argue for a married Catholic priesthood I also suggest that you put better put forward a better business case than watching a stupid Lateline program and imagining it can be done.

            Business case?

            Did you watch the Lateline program?

            From my perspective, my parish can not even afford new carpet, how are we going to afford to support a whole large Catholic family?

            I don’t know, but (apparently) we’ve agreed that the financial considerations are ‘minute’.

  3. Ok fine, some priests have mistresses. This isn’t anything particularly new.

    Yes married men were priests in days of old. Looking over my medieval Church history notes I see that St. Patrick’s father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. Wonderful.

    The reasons celibacy was required then may not be the reasons today. If it was introduced because of finances or at least in part. Well that is a reason that could be understood. Is that the reason we are keeping it today?

    Maybe. But if you look at any of the Popes’ discourses on the topic you will see reasons as to why it is kept TODAY. It is for those reasons that he gives. History is important, I believe that a thorough knowledge is required, the reasons we do things today have a historical foundation, but why we continue to do so in every day and age can change and be explored and the ancient reasons can be examined and elaborated and critiqued FOR today.

    Honestly, those who advocate for its change should save their breath, and instead say some prayers. Support the Church. Go evangelise for crying out loud. Stop bickering, accept that there are some things that you cannot change and spread the Gospel.

  4. Tony says:

    Quasi,

    Things have changed though.

    There was no such thing as a married, former Anglican, priest in my parish — let alone diocese, let alone state, let alone country — when I was growing up.

    There were no deacons either, married or not.

    We had no idea that there were other rites with married priests.

    The notion of a celibate priest seemed like something that always existed and would never be changed.

    Now the cracks are appearing and, as glacial as change is, some people think it’s worth advocating for.

    So, with respect, if you have a problem with that you might like to take your own advice?

    :-)

    • Schütz says:

      Now the cracks are appearing

      I would prefer to say that now the great variety that has always legitimately existed in the Church is appearing. That’s a different perspective.

      • Tony says:

        I am speaking personally, David.

        In my lifetime celibacy for priests has been like a wall and alternatives were vaguely rumoured if thought about at all.

        Now we have priests in many parishes who will weave their relationships with their wives and families into a sermon and ordinary Catholics wondering, ‘why the wall?’.

        • Gareth says:

          Again Tony you are talking naively,

          If you perceive something as a ‘wall’ when most ordinary Catholics (including myself) have no issues, then this says something about you rather than anything on the Church’s behalf.

          Also, how do you know married priests are weaving their experiences with their wives into Sermons or that married priests actually have good family experiences.

          For example, a married priest in my own Diocese who was one of the first ‘exceptions’ to clerical celibacy own family had massive issues. As a matter of fact his daughter entered into an adulterous relationship when she entered adulthood and this brought great shame upon the church. After the priest passed away, his son took his own life. Now imagine that married priest weaving that experience into his sermon?

          I know of some of my mates that were the children of Protestant ministers and absolutely HATED the experience of growing up and being singled out as a ‘model’ family or ‘example to the rest of the parish’ and dealt with it later in life by totally rebelling against their parents faith.

          Have you heard from Australian married clergy on the matter such as Father John Fleming who argue that the church discipline should be kept as an exception because they felt that people that clamour for married priests have a false viewpoint of what being a married Catholic priest raising a family is really like.

          Also your statement does not make sense as most Catholic priests that happen to be married are found in ministries outside suburban parish’s because Bishops know there is greater difficulty in assigning a married man to a normal parish church with his family and then asking them to move again in four years time as opposed to this being an easy task for a celibate man

          Please think through your responses.

          • Tony says:

            Again Tony you are talking naively,

            If you perceive something as a ‘wall’ when most ordinary Catholics (including myself) have no issues, then this says something about you rather than anything on the Church’s behalf.

            Possibly. And vice versa no doubt!

            Also, how do you know married priests are weaving their experiences with their wives into Sermons or that married priests actually have good family experiences.

            On the first point: I was there (NB, remember I was relating a personal experience?)

            On the second point: Why would I defend an argument I didn’t make?

            Now imagine that married priest weaving that experience into his sermon?

            I could imagine that fodder for some great sermons that would engage the congregation with stories that they could relate to in their own lives.

            I know of some of my mates that were the children of Protestant ministers and absolutely HATED the experience …

            I know kids of politicians or doctors or teachers or any number of other professions who HATED the experience. That doesn’t make for a good argument for those professionals being celibate though. Does it?

            Have you heard from Australian married clergy on the matter such as Father John Fleming who argue that the church discipline should be kept as an exception …

            Probably. There are lots of arguments. In the case of Fr JF, his concerns weren’t enough to stop him from applying for and accepting the role of Catholic priest. QID.

            Also your statement does not make sense as most Catholic priests that happen to be married are found in ministries outside suburban parish’s …

            Assuming the statement is true, what’s the problem? Don’t we need priests outside suburban parishes?

            • Gareth says:

              Tony,

              It is pointless having a conversation with you.

              The Church states that we are to have a celibate priesthood.

              There is nothing wrong about the decision

              It would be better that if you just accept the umpires decision and start living the faith.

              Because going on and on and endlessly arguing about it isnt going to change anything.

            • Tony says:

              Because going on and on and endlessly arguing about it isnt going to change anything.

              That’s strange Gareth given, as you said yourself, it takes ‘two to tango’.

              I think there is a point; you don’t.

              I’ll act on what I think and you, of course, are at liberty to act on what you think.

              OK?

            • Gareth says:

              Tony

              If you waste your time going on and on and on and on about something that isnt going to change, then it doesn’t bother me.

              There could be better things to do in life, but what you do with (or waste) your time with is none of my business.

              I as a Christian aim to do more productive things with my time.

            • Tony says:

              If you waste your time going on and on and on and on about something that isnt going to change, then it doesn’t bother me.

              It ‘bothers’ you enough to go ‘on and on’ yourself in response.

              There could be better things to do in life, but what you do with (or waste) your time with is none of my business.

              Like not wasting your time on a discussion where you see no point?

              I as a Christian aim to do more productive things with my time

              Be my guest!

  5. Most readers here are sophisticated enough to know the difference between comments grounded in denotation, whereby history is the final hermeneutic, overriding even Tradition and connotation, where Tradition, Scripture, Council Statements (the sources of revelation for those cafeteria catholics lol), where the dynamic pneumatic movement so beloved of Newman and the Church Fathers seek the accommodation so required for fidelity to the deposit of faith.
    For more. . . I invite you to wjholland.wordpress.com Peace. William

    • Schütz says:

      Hi, William. Welcome to the SCE Commentary table (Bishop of Norwich etc.). I’ve had a brief look at your blog. Looks interesting!

      • I think it necessary to acknowledge that this blog has taken on serious cultural, canonical, systematic theological questions. Most blogs don’t even try to be either this fair or earnest! Keep up the good work in Christ.
        Peace,
        William
        wjholland.wordpress.com

  6. Gareth says:

    What sort of woman would seduce a priest and then have the tenacity to even have an opinion on married priests let alone pull a media stunt by writing to the Pope.

    People that take such stories should be ashamed of themselves.

    The hard truth is that the Pope’s have genuninely looked at the issue and put forward good and valid arguements of why it is not in the Church’s best interest.

    Not only this, Catholics are obliged to support the Church’s teaching that celibacy is looked upon favourably by God.

    Catholics need to read and accept these arguements and start praying for more holy priests that are willing to give themselves totally to the church instead of being in some fairyland based on wild opinions of dissenting priests who have abandoned their vocation.

    It is proven that a commitment to orthodoxy will bring vocations not a anything that comes from the mouth of Hans Kung or women that stoop so low as to go for a man dedicated to God

    • Tony says:

      There are many questions worth following up on your post Gareth, but I’ll start with just one: How do you know that it was the women who seduced the priests?

      • Gareth says:

        Takes two to tango –

        If people want equality and to be treated on equal ground, then they should take equal responsibility for their actions.

        • Tony says:

          So I guess that means you don’t assume it was the women who seduced the priests?

          • Gareth says:

            Nope – if the priest was in fault, then this would have been reported.

            The women in the article willing engaged in a relationship with a man dedicated to God.

            They knew they were doing something wrong but went along with it as a woman that engages with a married man.

            They should take responsibility for their actions.

            • Peregrinus says:

              “Nope – if the priest was in fault, then this would have been reported.”

              You think the priests were not in fault?

              The mind boggles!

            • Gareth says:

              twisting, twisting, twisting……

              In ths context of the whole conversation, “if the priest was at fault” was written on my beahlf to mean if the priest was the one guilty of being labelled of seduction (if this was the case I then suggested the woman if she was so innocent would have reported the priest’s advances before it went any further) not that the priest was not guily of doing anything wrong, which you have implied.

              It was clear that both parties are at fault, but the woman may be labelled as guilty of seduction seing she willingly engaged in the scandal.

              Like David’s comments above that he supposedly meant only being without sin can comment when he didnt mean anything or the sort – words have been twisted to make them mean something they do not.

              The mind boggles at why anyone engages in conversation with people that engage in such childish behaviour?

            • Tony says:

              Nope – if the priest was in fault, then this would have been reported.

              Well, you’ve answered that question I guess. With that standard of proof it seems pointless to ask anymore.

            • Gareth says:

              Well do me a favour and don’t

  7. Tom says:

    It should not be surprising that celibacy is attacked – the Church has always known that sexuality is very close to the center of the human person. Any time our sexuality is played with, it can destroy us, that’s why the Church speaks so firmly on the issue.

    It seems to me that the problem with people who attack celibacy is they think that celibacy is something done on their own strength (at least, that is the impression I get). My pp says that his being celibate is a gift from God, and that it was never something he could do by himself. For him, chastity is a sign that God’s hand is on him; if God were not with him, chastity would not be possible.

    This means if people want to live their life in a certain way, such that they have the power or strength to arrange their lives, then yes, I can see that the concept of chastity would be overwhelming. If chastity is chastity with Christ, then doesn’t that mean that living differently is possible?

    • Tony says:

      Tom,

      You start with ‘celibacy’ and finish with ‘chastity’. I’m not sure how that transition happened.

      To me the issue is not celibacy or chastity it is mandatory celibacy.

      • Tom says:

        Then the question is not about mandatory celibacy but rather why holy orders and holy matrimony are mutually exclusive. If you want to take issue with that, you will have to engage the question in terms of sacramental theology. The question cannot be addressed in terms of what seems to be ‘common sense’ or ‘point of view’ – the reasoning behind the sacramental theology will be very specific and have explicit meaning.

        Saying that you have a beef with mandatory celibacy as opposed to celibacy in general re-orients the entire question. I imagine the catechism, or some encyclical, or some such will give you the answer you want there. I’m no expert in sacramental theology, couldn’t even tell you where to begin really. Mind you, it does fairly directly exclude the line of reasoning that you have been using. Saying ‘cracks are appearing in the wall’ and that the ‘common experience of Catholics is different’ are valid within a certain philosophical framework. Theologically though (and if the beef is with theology, it must be argued on these grounds) you need to address specifically what the Church says on this matter. In fact I seem to recall JP2 writing something about this? I don’t know – it’s never really been a concern of mine. Priests not being able to marry doesn’t seem to make the priests I know unhappy.

        • Gareth says:

          Priests not being able to marry doesn’t seem to make the priests I know unhappy.

          Ditto

        • Tony says:

          Then the question is not about mandatory celibacy but rather why holy orders and holy matrimony are mutually exclusive. If you want to take issue with that, you will have to engage the question in terms of sacramental theology.

          I don’t think so. I know that holy orders and holy matrimony are not mutually exclusive because I see it in the form of former Anglicans who are now married priests and the priests in other rites.

          Priests not being able to marry doesn’t seem to make the priests I know unhappy.

          I think that’s great, I also know many priests who seem to have found genuine happiness in their celibacy. But, on the benchmark of ‘happiness’, I also know many former priests who cite celibacy as one of the reasons they left.

          • Tom says:

            When holy orders and holy matrimony are mutually exclusive it is (as far as I know) only within the Catholic communion. There are, as you point out, (within Anglican and other communions) married priests. There are exceptions within the Catholic Church, but they exist as exceptions, not the norm. The Catholic Church has a sacramental theology that goes along with each of the sacraments and explains the nature of those sacraments.

            What I meant to say was that if you want to argue about the mutual exclusivity of these two sacraments within the Church, you need to engage with the arguments of the Church – you can’t point to Anglicans or others, because their theology is a different theology.

            All I’m saying is, for this argument, you need to engage directly with the teaching of the Church. Find documents, or encyclicals, or papal works that actually state what the Church is teaching on the subject and argue with them. It is insufficient to simply say others do it; this is not a debate or argument, it is simply ignoring what the Church teaches and then saying it is wrong. Included in this, it seems, is the necessity of engaging with the debate about Papal Exceptions. I’m just saying, you can’t argue this the way you are, you need to find out exactly what the Church teaches to debate this particular topic.

            It’s not like politics or philosophy on which one’s opinions can be tested against the weight of their own argument and the reasonableness of their premises. Theology has a different source for its premises, and if you want to engage with the argument you’re going to have to see exactly what it is the Church teaches on these matters.

  8. Louise says:

    I do not believe a man can be a good Catholic priest and a good husband and father at the same time. That’s my main objection to married clergy.

    (I do not think this necessarily applies to Protestant ministers, btw, but I cannot articulate why).

    • Gareth says:

      Probably because to many Protestant ministers – there ministry is simply putting on a cassock each week and talking for one hour about a sermon they probably have copied and paste from the Internet.

      Catholic priests (apparently – not sure what some of my parish priests have been doing though) are required to put in hours upon hours and be on call 24/7. For example they are required to administer rites to the dying at any time.

      • Tony says:

        Surely you’re not going to let this go through to the keeper, David?

        • Peregrinus says:

          Tony, letting it go might be the most charitable way of handling it.

          • Gareth says:

            I am willing to hear your soppy stories about how the Protestant ministry has one – seventh of the workload of the Catholic priesthood and yet how we should degrade the priesthood by comparing the two.

            • Peregrinus says:

              “I am willing to hear your soppy stories about how the Protestant ministry has one – seventh of the workload of the Catholic priesthood . . .”

              That’s [i]your[/i] story, Gareth, not ours. It runs directly contrary to my experience and observation of Protestant ministers (which is probably greater than that of many Protestants). Why should [i]we[/i] be expected to produce facts to support [i]your[/i] prejudices?

              Bearing in mind that you are writing on the blog of someone who was for many years a (married) Protestant minister, don’t you think you need to back up such bizarre, far-fetched and offensive claim with something like, you know, evidence? Some facts? That kind of thing?

            • Gareth says:

              I am all ears – let’s hear how Protestant ministers say daily Mass, the rosary, the Divine Office, spends one hour before the Blessed Sacrament and takes confessions daily.

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers on average are asked to celebrate Mass four to fives times on a weekend across sic different parish’s which takes hours upon hours to drive to.

              Let’s hear how they are asked to administer to parish congregation numbers in their thousands across a wide structure of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers have to prepare two to three funerals per week.

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers prepare two couples for marriage involving an extensive marriage preparation program and then expected to conduct the weddings on the weekend. .

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers are called upon at 4 a.m. in the morning to administer the Sacraments to the dying on a regular basis.

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers have to prepare all food for themselves daily.

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers as part of their parish duties are required to administer to five different nursing homes .

              Let’s hear how Protestant ministers are expected to visit hundreds of its parish’s sick and elderly members on a regular basis.

              And after all that, let’s hear how Protestant ministers are put on a pedestal after slaving their guts out 24/7 year in and year out and expected to be holier and closer to God than anyone else.

              The Catholic priesthood being compared to anything else – I DONT THINK SO.

            • AMBurgess says:

              As a Protestant minister, I could begin to tell you why you are wrong, but you don’t seem to be the type who would listen. You know, casting pearls before swine and all that.

            • Schütz says:

              I have been busy and only just came back to this comment string this morning. I have deleted Gareth’s last comment which I think was abusive, and I apologise to Pastor Burgess on Gareth’s behalf for his intemperance – I think he might want to do the same personally?

              I also intend to take Gareth’s comments above up in a separate blog. The discussion on the similarities and differences of protestant and Catholic ministries is worth having, with input from the Protestant ministers who read this blog. But please remain respectful of one another!!!

          • Tony says:

            No fair Pierre!

            You advise ‘letting it go’ and then take the words out of my mouth!

            ;-)

  9. Louise says:

    Yes, and this “open letter” is more about wanting the Church to sanction the sins of the women who’ve had affairs. Pere, I agree that debate should not centre around the sins or lack thereof, of the people debating, but in this case it just looks like sour grapes and little more.

    There probably are good arguments for married clergy (e.g. the example of the Eastern Rites), but “I had an affair with a priest and we were not allowed to marry” just isn’t one of them.

    • Peregrinus says:

      I’m not saying it’s a good argument for married priests. I’m saying the experiences of these women (and of the priests with whom they had relationships) are interesting and relevant, and cast light on the reality of celibacy and how it is experienced and lived, and what they have to say casts important light on any discussion. To suggest that the pope will dismiss what they say because he doesn’t like what they did is to portray him as a petty, small-minded man. It’s neither charitable nor, I think, accurate.

      • Gareth says:

        Pere: I’m saying the experiences of these women are interesting and relevant, and cast light on the reality of celibacy.

        Gareth: But considering David’s comments that – “Strictly speaking, they have committed grave and serious sin in carrying on such relationships” just how precisely do we the Church who are trying to do the right thing willing to such viewpoints…

        • Peregrinus says:

          Hi Gareth

          I don’t mean to be smart, but can you rewrite that last sentence in English?

          My point in this thread has never been “we must find out what these women want and give it to them at once”. It is “their experiences cast light on how the celibacy rule plays out in people’s lived experience, and are pertinent to the pope’s thinking on this matter, and I think he is smart enough to see that”.

          • Gareth says:

            I think if the Pope was really smart he would be smart enough to know you are not smart about saying that some women that werent smart in having committed a grave and serious act would then be so un-smart in thinking that the very smart Pope would in any way be smart enough to take their unsmart opinions into account.

      • Louise says:

        Pere, these women’s (and the priests’) “lived experience” involved Mortal Sin, which is not countenanced by the Church, nor should it be.

  10. joyfulpapist says:

    I found an interesting 2007 article on a survey of Orthodox and Catholic priests – it covers many of the issues raised above, including the cost to the parish, the level of personal support available to the priest, the strains of marriage vs the strains of celibacy. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_17_43/ai_n27161981/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

    One point that came out was that Catholic diocesan priests fear that optional marriage would put pressure on them to marry. Orthodox priests agree this is an issue. Certainly, from what I remember of my youth as an Anglican, single curates were the target of every single woman, and every matchmaker of either gender.

    • Peregrinus says:

      “Certainly, from what I remember of my youth as an Anglican, single curates were the target of every single woman . . .”

      Really? I wish I’d known that when I was younger!

    • Clara says:

      I know a married Orthodox priest with five children. He has a full time secular job in addition to his parish duties. . . . who would want to buy into that situation?

      I have two friends who are daughters of Anglican clergy – they hated growing up in the glare of the congregation – one of them became quite rebellious during adolescence. The other is now a Catholic and quite opposed to married clergy. Both tell me their mothers worked harder for the Church – without remuneration – than any curate and are still quite bitter about the intrusion into their family life.

      We are also friendly with a former Baptist pastor, also married with five children. The practice of his church was to pay him for 3 days work – the rest of the family’s income was from Centrelink in the form or Family Tax Benefits. Yet he was still on call 24/7. They guy had a breakdown and then the parish tried to argue that work did not contribute to it so they would not have to pay Workcover. His wife now supports the family.

      Married clergy? No thanks! It is a lousy deal for women.

      • Tony says:

        Trouble with this anecdotal approach, Clara, is that it works both ways.

        I can tell you dozens of similarly tragic or negative stories about how men have handled celibacy and draw a similar conclusion, thus:

        Celibate clergy? No thanks! It is a lousy deal for men.

        N’est-ce pas?

        • Gareth says:

          No-one is asking you to be celibate Tony so save us your supposed anecdotal evidence from your imaginary priest friends.

          The priesthood will be in Christ’s image, not yours

  11. Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

    Oh Wandering One, that was a great comment of the kind I wish I had made myself — the accidental misreading thing!

    This discussion is utterly amazing.

    For one thing, the cost to laymen forbidden artificial birth control of the families they will have is apparently no objection at all, but it is for priests.

    For another those who exempt themselves from all such matters forbid it to themselves then lay down rules for those who don’t. Not to mention, are defended here by one who also exempts himself. Falls on pretty deaf ears to someone who daily has taking care of a family within what he makes to deal with.

    Kind of like taking driving lessons from someone who can’t or at least doesn’t drive.

    The notion that Protestant ministers work and hour a week or so is beyond addressing. I would only speak on behalf of LCMS pastors, but I will say, having worked with a bunch of them, the characterisation of what ministers do given above is so at variance with reality as to be beyond worth addressing.

    • Gareth says:

      I take your word Past Elder – you have convinced me now that Protestant ministers are worked off their feet administering to embittered former Catholics.

      No-wonder so many Catholic priests have so much spare time on their hands to spend their day off playing golf when their separated bretheren in Christ are taking up the good fight of such an important apostolate.

  12. mrs doyle says:

    Taking an extreme example, this letter is like someone who has committed murder writing to the DPP and asking for the offense to be struck off the Crimes Act giving the reason that ‘they did it’, so the prohibition of it isn’t working or shouldn’t be applied to them.

    Tom’s on the money with this one – celibacy is a gift, and I’ve always noticed that with the amount of work my pp has, he’s married to the Church.

    I also have a best friend who is the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and her gripe is the fact that her father can’t minister properly to a parish and provide (materially and in other ways) for his family. She totally understands the Catholic teaching on celibate priesthood.

  13. Past Elder / Terry Maher says:

    Perfect — make it about me rather than the issue.

    Clearly, Gareth, you haven’t the slightest idea of the daily lives of Lutheran pastors, or for that matter of men providing for families they are raising, or, for that matter, of celibate priests. You may be celibate, but that is your choice and not made because of the priesthood your defence of which seems embarrassing to other Catholics on the blog — and to former Catholics.

    • Gareth says:

      Terry,

      Why don’t you do something productive with your life?

      Obviously your bitter rants here on what you think is going on in the Catholic Church are not achieving much.

      I am proud to belong to the only church established by Jesus Christ and nothing you will say will convince me otherwise – I don’t why you go on about Lutheranism because in many Catholics eyes Martin Luther was a fat slob who couldn’t live up to the true faith.

      Wouldn’t be better if you saved people your diatribe and go and tolded people that care

  14. Schütz says:

    I am closing this discussion. I will open it again in a separate blog about Protestant and Catholic ministries.

  15. Schütz says:

    I will just add, for Gareth’s sake and for Tony’s and PE’s and all others: BE NICE!

Comments are closed.