Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What's Wrong with Welcoming Back Married Priests?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

What's Wrong with Welcoming Back Married Priests?

Article excerpt

The February Sounding Board by married priest John Horan called on the Catholic Church to welcome back married priests. The following is a sampling of reader's responses to the article.

"LET'S WELCOME BACK married priests" is a practical solution to the growing, if not dire, need for a sufficient number of ordained ministers to serve the People of God. Every poll of the faithful offers clear proof that the people are eager for this to happen, that they see no God-given reason for the limitation of the priesthood to single, celibate, male members. It is the papacy and hierarchy who are disinclined to heed the wisdom of the faithful. Perhaps they believe the Holy Spirit is reserved for their number and enlightenment.

I do believe it will change, but don't hold your breath waiting! The swell for change continues to build, but it is not a tidal wave and shouldn't be, for such a powerful force is destructive. No, we need to pray the change--really, the changes (women)--will come about out of conviction, not necessity.

When people (government, church, society) resist change long enough, the situation becomes a crisis. When delayed further, it becomes panic.

Supplying post-change rationales lacks the true energy convictions ever rely on. This change must come from conviction, and that is the purest gift of the Spirit.

Father Mark Franceschini, O.S.M. Denver, Colo.

The problem in this country is not lack of priests, but lack of vocations. Instead of applying a Band-Aid to the problem, why not go to the root? There may be pros to a married clergy, but I think the cons by far outweigh them. If you are totally true to your chosen vocation, how can you juggle two? If a priest chooses to leave his vocation for marriage, then apparently there was not enough love for his job.

If we Catholics sincerely prayed for vocations, there wouldn't be this problem. Are we truly praying for vocations--or are we too busy complaining? Think about it.

Michael J. Arellano Houston, Texas

Horan contributes to the discussion, which is going on throughout the world, on the need to look at the rule of obligatory celibacy in the light of the divine command to eat the flesh of the Son of Man. We all believe that the Eucharist is at the center of our Catholic faith and life.

I for one believe that the gift of celibacy is given to some and that should be honored and supported. At the same time there are many who are called to the priesthood but who do not feel the call to a life of celibacy.

Bishop Raymond A. Lucker Diocese of New Ulm, Minn.

The first or second ecumenical council determined that a married man may be ordained to the priesthood, but a priest may not then marry after ordination. If he wishes to, then he must be released from the ordination vows to return to a non-priestly state. To reject the canons of the church's ecumenical council would be to reject all of our history, bending it to whichever cause is popular.

The Protestant ministers were never priests, regardless if they were Anglican or not, until ordained by the Catholic Church. I support the pastoral provision extended to married Protestant ministers who request to become Catholic priests, but we should keep in mind that not all such men are accepted.

Daniel Joseph Barton Fayetteville, N.C.

A heartfelt thanks to Horan for his thought-provoking article about our married priests, the tragic loss of their gifts to us, and the sinful wrong that is done to them (and us) in having to choose one call over another. Thanks to Horan and all our married priests who suffer this separation while working for ordination of all people who hear God's call to priesthood. …

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