We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide.

Chris • 7 years ago

Dropping the doctrine of celibacy for clergy would go a long way to making the church look more normal and acceptable. It just doesn't make sense that holy matrimony is a gift from God - and that the clergy are left out. Even St. Peter had a wife: Matthew 8:14
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever;

Benedict Carter • 7 years ago

Oh dear, do we have to face such drivel from people who haven't got a clue? It is not a "doctrine".

An onlooker • 7 years ago

That makes it all the easier to drop it, as it clearly isn't working.

Benedict Carter • 7 years ago

Why is it clearly not working? Evidence please.

An onlooker • 7 years ago

I feel so crushed by the weight of evidence that I haven't got the strength to spell it out!

Julian Lord • 7 years ago

"I feel so crushed by the weight of evidence that I haven't got the strength to spell it out!"

Translated into normal English --- "I have no evidence whatsoever".

An onlooker • 7 years ago

Resigned sigh!

rodlarocque1931 • 7 years ago

actually celibacy for the clergy is an apostolic tradition and can't be dropped as easily as people think. This is why even in the orthodox their bishops must be celibate, their clergy are allowed to marry under certain conditions by way of exemption - Like communion on the tongue is the rule and tradition - on the hand is an exemption from the rule, but the rule is always the correct way.

Fr. John Hogg • 7 years ago

Not at all. Our clergy marrying isn't allowed "under certain conditions, by way of exception." It's no exception at all. The majority of our priests and deacons are married.

Also, for the record, communion on the hand was the Apostolic tradition. Communion on the tongue (or in our case, via intinction on the tongue) was a later development, adopted for good and laudable reasons.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

Nonsense. In the Orthodox (schismatic) tradition, a celibate priest cannot marry after ordination, and a non-celibate priest cannot remarry and remain a priest, after the death of his wife.
And wrong again about Communion in the hand being the "apostolic tradition" - that it was permitted for a time, is not the same thing at all as "apostolic tradition" and the "good and laudable" reasons you mention are the same good and laudable reasons why it is not permitted now as the norm - it is a dangerous liturgical abuse, from just about every angle you care to name. Anyone who believes that Christ is present whole and entire in every particle of the Host (Catholic doctrine) would not dream of taking Communion in the hand.

rodlarocque1931 • 7 years ago

Agreed! And also the kind of communion in the hand the early Christians practiced is not the same as now, they used a cloth over their hands.
Spiritual practise and reflection on the great gift of the Eucharist naturally lead to prohibition of this practice rather quickly in the history of the Church.
The current practice is clearly an abuse and step backwards in faith in the Eucharist, just check in any parish if people even heard of let alone believe in transubstantiation.

Andrew Young • 7 years ago

Sigh.

Fr. John • 7 years ago

That's all true, that one must remain in the state that he's in at ordination (married or celibate) and that a widowed priest cannot remarry. However, that doesn't mean that marriage clergy in the Orthodox Church is a special exemption. It is, far and away, the norm for parish clergy.

And in terms of communion in the hand -- please understand, I'm not advocating for a return to that practice. However, that it was the earlier practice really isn't up for debate. It's abundantly clear from the writings of the earliest Church Fathers and from early canons that originally, everyone received communion in the hand.

The practice was stopped for good reason, though. The time when people received in the hand was a time of early fervor, when there was an ever-present danger of persecution, and so, as a result, people were generally a lot more pious and careful and could be trusted to be careful in how they handled the Eucharist. After Christianity became both legal and popular, and all sorts of people, of varying degrees of faithfulness, started attending Church, steps were taken to safeguard the Lord's body, and communion in the hand ceased to be the general practice for any except clergy

I think, given current conditions, it would be very unwise pastorally to return to communion in the hand.

Julian Lord • 7 years ago

It's abundantly clear from the writings of the earliest Church Fathers and from early canons that originally, everyone received communion in the hand

In fact, it's abundantly clear from those writings that this argument has been ongoing since Antiquity.

firstparepidemos • 7 years ago

Fr. John, Thank you for your very courteous response to a rather rude post by Editor CT

Peter • 7 years ago

Mathew 19 clearly explained and encourages celibacy.

Deacon_Augustine • 7 years ago

Very telling that after Jesus healed his mother-in-law, Peter denied Him three times!

rodlarocque1931 • 7 years ago

This is the whole problem in recruiting new priests, the fact that the Church no longer promotes what it used to promote, the superiority of the single dedicated life for the Kingdom. This was always, from the beginning the Christian ideal, Christ himself said so.
No wonder celibate priests don't look normal anymore, the modern world's idea that sex is one of the most important aspects of life, has been swallowed by the Church and thus rendering its structures impotent (no pun intended).
Just return to tradition and these problems will sort themselves out because the traditional Catholic life puts everything back into its proper relationship with everything else - that is the wisdom of tradition, it had the benefit of trial and error sorted out over generations.

mr ed • 7 years ago

What Protestant church you belong to? I hear that from protestants too often.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

Yes, "mother-in-law" - nowhere does it mention a wife.

Mercydivine • 7 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Peter leave his wife to follow Jesus?

Peter • 7 years ago

Read Mathew 19 about Celibacy.

Tom_mcewen • 7 years ago

In the house serving her mother in law would have been the wife, no wife to serve the Lord nor Peter, it was not until the Lord healed the mother-in-law that she rose and was able to served them. It seems to be more reasonable that Peter was a widower, with only his mother-in-law to order his household because his wife was dead, or the dog that did not bark.

Guest • 7 years ago

The Apostles "left ALL" and followed Christ. The Sacrament of "Holy Orders" is the marriage of a man to the church. A priest sacramentally represents Christ who is married to his bride, the church. "Matrimony" is the sacrament where a man and woman are joined to each other. They are very similar sacraments where two are joined forever, So the clergy are NOT "left out", both Sacraments are a "gift from God" The priest is to love his bride (the church) and remain loyal to her (celibacy) just as a husband is to not cheat on his wife. "Normal and acceptable" constantly changes, so that is not a good reason to alter anything. The church only needs to "look" (be) holy, not necessarily "acceptable". By the way, did Matt. 8:14 say Peters wife was still alive?, or are you just assuming it? One can have a mother-in-law and be a widower. The bible leaves many things "wide open" which is why Christ gave us the Catholic church as our living guide and official interpreter of Holy scripture.

firstparepidemos • 7 years ago

Actually, Chris, mandatory celibacy is not Church doctrine, but a human discipline. Celibacy, whilst praiseworthy, is not integral to the Priesthood; this is why our Eastern Rite Catholics and Orthodox brethren have mostly married priests.

teigitur • 7 years ago

Probably a good idea, though I wonder about it coming from someone involved in the German Bishop's conference. Anyhow, outsiders generally have no axes to grind.
" Arrest the Church's decline". Indeed, but many of those in power are the cause of that very decline.

Hermit Crab • 7 years ago

http://www.praytellblog.com...

has the following quote from Dr von Mitschke-Collande:

"From angry Catholics will come courageous Catholics. For something to start rolling, we lack perhaps only a charismatic figure like Francis or Martin Luther."

WG Grace • 7 years ago

The Catholic Church doesn't another arch heseriarch. She has plenty of Her own.

firstparepidemos • 7 years ago

Along with many self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.

Tom_mcewen • 7 years ago

God save us from another Martin Luther, this man was poison. Any Priest like Luther who says if you do not have the mistress of the house, you always have the maid, or sin big, if you murder one, murder thousands, why because you could not lose your salvation because the blood of Christ covers your sin. That is making God into a slave. No more Martin Luther, if one's actions served the Devil it was him.

Benedict Carter • 7 years ago

"Actually, the Church should be booming. More than ever, people are looking for spirituality, community, and a direction.”

So true. So why isn't the Church booming?

It's not just a question of weak cash flows or Balance Sheets. There's something very rotten in the State of Denmark. Fifty years of rottenness.

kentgeordie • 7 years ago

Not rottenness, just normal human fallenness. And more like two thousand, not just fifty.

WG Grace • 7 years ago

No, Geordie, what's happened inside the Church these last decades is the bursting inside of a great pustulant ulcer which has given the entire organism blood poisoning.

kentgeordie • 7 years ago

Colourful metaphor, but unconvincing. When I look at the Church I see all the bad things you see, and it's awful, but there is also a huge amount of goodness, at all levels, of countless varieties.
As the recent tv documentary on Rome reminds us, sin has been around for some time.

Mark • 7 years ago

"So why isn't the Church booming? Fifty years of rottenness." Yeah, right Benedict, people are abandoning any belief whatsoever in the sacraments and Christianity because of some bad priests they read about on the internet. People barely have lukewarm faith in the first place and are just waiting for something or someone to blame so they can assuage their consciences after blowing off the sacraments for their Sunday barbecue rituals. Nice try, doesn't wash.

LocutusOP • 7 years ago

I'm not impressed but I'm willing to give the whole proposal the benefit of the doubt.

mr ed • 7 years ago

I could make a whole litany of qualities I just love about Pope Francis –
his obvious humility, his solidarity with the poor, his outspokenness
and presence are already making his new papacy a memorable one. Because
His Holiness makes headlines EVERY. DAY. he’s pretty tough to ignore,
even for non-Catholics. God is clearly using this man to draw people to
Himself and it’s exciting to experience!

LocutusOP • 7 years ago

I haven't seen much of Pope Francis's humility. His humility certainly does not compare to that of his predecessor.

I do however admire his simplicity.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

Nothing "simple" or "humble" about paying big bucks to a company to do his job for him.

Peter • 7 years ago

He doesn't want to be blame for any failure arising from the changes.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

I wonder what the poor will think of him employing a management consultant to do what every pope in Christendom did himself from the time of St Peter.

LocutusOP • 7 years ago

Glad to have you back!

firstparepidemos • 7 years ago

"Every" pope?

Florin S. • 7 years ago

June 13th: I'm sure Pope Francis is doing what is best for the Church. "The Church...reaches fewer people...with all their hopes and needs." In order to meet the hunger of his flock, I hope that at some point Pope Francis will turn outward towards his universal flock instead of just facing inward to those nearer to him...yes, he is the Bishop of Rome but he is primarily the Vicar of Christ to the whole world to a vast number of people hungering for the Vicar to guide them and nourish them when their local Bishops do not.

mr ed • 7 years ago

I believe Pope Francis is doing whats best for the church.
I'm impressed with everything about him. He is truly far from an egotist and down to earth with all his actions. A HOLY Man.

Please pray for him and the church.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

Well, so far all the signs are that he desperately needs prayers, so I'm with you on that one.

Behappyann • 7 years ago

This pope and the last two have been such incredible men, such great gifts to us. It should be obvious by now God knows what He's doing.

Guest • 7 years ago
firstparepidemos • 7 years ago

"an entire generation of useless, heretical and homosexual bishops and cardinals"? Gosh, perhaps you need to cut down on your wild generalisations.

EditorCT • 7 years ago

Well, that will all depend on what the management consultant thinks is "best for the Church". I doubt if he'll think a pope running loose and upsetting people by demanding orthodoxy and discipline will be "best for the Church" - image being everything these days and "gentle" meaning only one thing; don't annoy anyone!