July 14, 2006

Let married men receive priestly ordination! Do it now!

After all, priests need to experience personally the contemporary high divorce rate.

They deserve to suffer like the general population.

Priests need to have the experience of child custody battles, and need to know what a pain it is to pay alimony and child support.

The priesthood does not have enough trouble already.

Marriage is in a bad way in Western society now, and priests compassionately need to learn that by living through it themselves.

Dioceses bankrupted by paying for priestly sexual sins need to know what suffering really is. They won't know that until they are forced to support the wives and children of married clergy.

This is what we really need right now.

Right now!

Yeah! Don't be so stupid next time!


Anonymous Deacon DW said...

I'm not sure what you're saying here Father. In my diocese we have a handful of married priests--converts from the Episcopal Church. They seem to be doing fine in their marriages. Also, of the nearly 200 married deacons in the diocese, I do not know of any who have divorced, though the report available from the USCCB on the permanent diaconate in the United States does show that divorce occasionally happens. To be immune from divorce one would necessarily have to be celebate.

I'm not trying to argue for a married presbyteriate, but I think that one can make the argument without being in dissent. I only want to point out that it's possible to serve God in an ordained ministry and still be happily married.

I may be taking it the wrong way, but I feel that your post today expresses a rather pessimistic view of the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is a great source of God's grace leading to salvation and a constant witness of love in the world.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that my parish pays a staff of over 25 people. Many of them support their families on their wages earned from the Church. If a parish can support a staff of 25, why could it not support the wives and children of married clergy (which of course includes married deacons)?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Deacon DW, your words are wise.

The point I want to make is that marriage is in a crisis in our culture as is the priesthood. As you know, the difficulties in the priesthood are such that the Vatican ordered a canonical visitation of all seminaries in the U.S.A.

In the classical Protestant denominations the married clergy have as high a divorce rate as the general population.

The Catholic population's divorce rate is also the same as that of the general population.

While parishes pay the salaries of married employees, they also provide for the housing of priests-- something they do not do for employees. A general policy of ordaining married men to the priesthood would entail providing for all the material needs of their wives and children. At present a priest in the city of San Diego (eighth largest city in the nation) makes less than a waiter in a restaurant even without tips.

In principle I do not oppose the idea of ordaining married men.

However at this time with the conditions of marriage in our culture, and with the present difficulties in the priesthood, it is not wise to speak of combining the two charisms as a matter of general policy.

I have put up this post because of Archbishop Milingo's public announcement asking for a policy of married priesthood now.

What we definitely need is for a new "sexual revolution" in the Western world-- a revolution restoring sanity and morality to our sexual perceptions and behaviors. Until that happens, it is not wise to demand a general policy of ordaining married men as priests.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Deacon DW said...

Thanks for your kind words, Father.

In light of Archbishop Milingo's recent statements I understand what you're getting at.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Panda Rosa said...

This business about letting priests marry makes sense in a loopy way, you know, "How do you know what it's like to suffer?! You've never been through..."
Of course, I would also use this in favor of gay marraige; why should they be spared all the arguments over who picked up the dry cleaning and who snores in bed and did you remember to worm the dog.... Okay, I'm kidding on the last one, but you get the idea.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

Wonderful post, Father, but you had me scared at the title. Juridically, I'm Eastern Rite, so a married priesthood is not odd to me, but I totally agree that this is not the time to discuss widening it in the Latin Church.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Hey I'm a waiter!

Anyways, I think it's possible, but maybe in another era. Maybe when there's a Catholic civilization like in the Middle Ages, and when there are few heretics, then I wouldn't see any problem with the Catholic priesthood in the Latin Rite getting married. Question: Would they be able to get married after they were ordained? Or would they have to marry and the be ordained?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

The Churches of the East have not allowed men who are already priests to get married.

If the Roman Catholic Church were ever to allow the combination of marriage and priestly ordination, the marriage would have to take place before the ordination.


11:09 AM  
Blogger Roman Sacristan said...

I think people need to realize that ALL PRIESTS ARE MARRIED. They are married to the Church.

7:48 AM  

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