Skip to comments.Use Deacons as Priests
Posted on 06/28/2007 7:33:54 PM PDT by tnarg
The number of priests is declining. The Pope however cautions his congregations not to put in place of priests the laity for that could lead to an over reliance on laypersons and finally fade out the priestly presence.
However, parish after parish is discovering that it is forced to call upon laypersons to act on behalf of the church. The reason? There simply is no priest within miles.
In some cases, nuns are doing much of the priestly spiritual work. When nuns are not there, to whom can the congregations turn to but their own laypersons?
In other words, the Vatican still proclaims the historic Catholic ideal a church led by ordained priests. The reality however spells out another paragraph in local church life, that is, laypersons are left without ordained priests; but they are not left without their own lay commitments to the church.
The number of permanent deacons has increased from 11,371 in 1995 to 15,027 in 2005. The United States has more deacons now than the rest of the world combined.
A lay person, with the bishops approval, can conduct prayer services and distribute the Eucharist that a priest has previously consecrated, while deacons have the further ability to preach homilies.
Canon law gives preference to the deacon as parish leader and, Some bishops use deacons as the first line of replacement in priestless parishes. And the fact that they are ordained has ecclesiastical significance.
Deacon John Bresnahan of Lynn, Mass., said, What needles deacons in some dioceses is theres a push to use lay administrators rather than tap the diaconate.
One of the biggest arguments you hear for ordaining women is the shortage of priests, he said. Well, the number of deacons is up. Lets look at this positively and use them, per Gail Besse via National Catholic Register at http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=20205
Feminists are itching to take over Catholic pulpits. The Vatican resists their moves at every turn. Therefore, the reasonable turn is to ordain deacons to see through the work of the priests, that is, utilizing the commitment of ordained deacons as fully recognized priests.
It could very well be that future reality of priests diminishing to practically a zero level will force the hand of ordained deacons acting out all the duties of the ordained priests. Why not?
According to Stephen Bates of the Guardian: Father Radcliffe, now a monk in Oxford but tipped by some as a leader of the Catholic Church in England, said: It is clearly the case that in many parts of the world celibacy has actually largely broken down in many countries in Latin America, parts of Africa, to some extent in the United States.
"If it turns out to be the case that it is being largely ignored or bypassed, then a very negative witness is being given; and so we have to ask is it possible now either we have to provide celibate priests with considerably more support or we have to explore the possibility of them being married."
In addition, I have another suggestion. It is that ordained deacons be permitted to become the married priests.
"Id bet a nickel to a donut that youre a priest-wanna-be," I offered the newly ordained Catholic deacon.
We were seated in his dining room. His wife sat alongside him, smiling knowingly.
It did not take long for this Maine Lakes Region college professor to respond. "I guess you're 'right on'," he laughed heartily. With that, he showed me his ordination photos prayers by clergy, congratulations from friends, priests greeting family. John surely was one proud fellow.
When I came upon Ken, another ordained deacon, both he and his wife were exceptionally pleased that in his retirement years he could serve his church as a deacon.
Since then, John has become Catholic chaplain at Maine Youth Center. Ken has become executive of the Knights of Columbus in another state. Both are beaming with fulfillment.
So there you have it, I thought. They are ordained to ministry. They are married.
A Lakes Region practicing Catholic shared with me: "With what's going on in my church, I wonder what's going to be the end result."
I posited that with the statistics of priests taking a downturn, it just could be a practical move to see those ordained as deacons becoming full-fledged priests. "Seems like history is taking a stand on this issue," I suggested.
The next time I attended Mass, I read Father Richard P. McBriens candid column, "Gays in the Priesthood." It was published in Maine's Catholic weekly, "Church World" (April 4, 2002, page 16).
This popular Catholic university professor stated forthrightly: "In recent weeks (there has been) increased expressions of antipathy toward gay priests, of whom there are surely thousands in the United States alone. Even though prominent psychiatrists and psychologists have been reminding us on television . . .that there is no necessary link between homosexuality and pedophilia, the popular view to the contrary still holds sway in many parts of the Church and in society at large. In such precincts the solution is easy: Get rid of gay priests and well finally be rid of this horrible problem of sexual abuse of children.
"Surprisingly the starkest expression of this view emanates from one of the highest sources in all central administration of the Catholic Church: Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the popes official liaison with the media and psychiatrist by training. The Vatican spokesman has questioned whether homosexuals can validly be ordained, comparing the situation of a gay priest who may not realize that he is gay to that of a gay man who marries a woman while also unaware of his sexual orientation.
"Dr. Navarro-Valls pointed out that just as such a marriage can be annulled on the grounds that it was invalid from the start, so, too, the ordination of a gay man might similarly be declared invalid. A few priests have privately observed that, if this were actually to happen, the Roman Catholic Church might lose two-thirds of its priests under the age of 45 and some bishops as well. At the same time, many of its seminaries could be emptied of all but a handful of students."
Well, I mused, all the more it sounds reasonable to celebrate ordained deacons as full-fledged priests, thus alleviating the dwindling priest supply while at the same time putting into full-time ministry dedicated married servants of the church.
It would also open up the priesthood to more consecrated heterosexuals who presently shy away from the calling due to scandal attached to the priesthood.
Copyright © 2006 by J. Grant Swank, Jr. http://www.truthinconviction.us/weblog.php
So, as a non-catholic, can deacons be married? If so, why not Priests? Not to push a point, but allowing Priests to be married would solve some of the problems. There is nothing Biblical that requires a leader of a church (priest) to be celibate. The Bible suggests that if a person can be celibate, be celibate, otherwise marriage is acceptable.
Educate me ... please.
As a convert to the Church, I’d be more than happy to “educate you.” ;-) In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church (i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, with which you are, no doubt, most familiar), the tradition is for deacons to be drawn from the married or single men of the Church, while priests and bishops are drawn from the single (and widowed) men of the Church.
In practice, the Latin Rite does allow (as an exception) the ordination of a few married men to the priesthood, but these men are given a special papal dispensation from the normal priestly promise of celibacy. This happens when a married man who has been ordained in another Christian church (usually from an Anglican/Episcopalian or Lutheran church) converts to the Catholic Church and specifically asks to be allowed to seek ordination as a Catholic.
On the other hand, the tradition in the Eastern Churches (read Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches) is for deacons and priests to be drawn from the married and single men of the Church while bishops are chosen solely from among the single (or widowed) men.
Hope that helps!
It won’t happen, thank God. The priesthood is alive and well, the same can’t necessarily be said for families who attend the Catholic church and contracept and/or discourage their boys from the priesthood or parishes that encourage altar girls and are sissified in their liturgies.
A remnant will be preserved. The rest will starve for the Eucharist until they return to the faith and traditions that produce the priesthood, imho.
“Biblical evidence for the discipline of celibacy can be found in both the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old, Jeremiah was forbidden by God to take a wife in order to enable him to fulfill his ministry better. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place’” (Jer. 16:1-2).
Also in the Old Testament, God asked even married couples to practice celibacy on certain occasions. For example, Moses asked the Israelites to abstain from marital intimacy while he ascended Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:15), and Jewish tradition attests that he remained celibate for life following the command of Exodus 9:15 and Deuteronomy 5:28. The Lord also asked that the priests refrain from sexual relations with their wives during their time of service in the temple. In yet another example, the priests ordered King David and his people to abstain from marital relations on the occasion of eating the holy bread (1 Sam. 21:4).
In all these instances, there is a theme of abstaining from marital relations due to the presence of something very holy. It is not that the marital act is sinful, but that when one is in such proximity to God, it is right to offer him an undivided mind, heart, and body. If it was fitting under the Old Covenant to serve the temple, to approach God, and receive the holy bread with a consecrated body, it is no surprise that permanent celibacy is fitting for a Roman Catholic priest, since his priestly service is continual.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus states, “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (19:12 NAB). This is an invitation from Christ to live as he did, and there can be nothing unacceptable in that.
Paul recognized the wisdom in this, and encouraged celibacy in order to free a man to be anxious about the things of the Lord and to serve him undividedly (1 Cor 7:8,32-35). In his words, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. . . . 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, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. . . . he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (1 Cor. 7:8, 32-35, 38).”
Lot of biblical suggestions, but no requirments.
Still looking for a biblical requirement that all church leaders be celibate.
As a person that believes and trusts in the Bible, I need biblical references, not references extra- biblical.
The Permanent Diaconate is a separate vocation from the priesthood. Decimating the deacons ranks is not an answer. Moving from the ranks of the Permanent Diaconate to the priesthood must remain the exception, rather than the rule.
I'm stilling looking for a biblical requirement that all Christian religious belief and practice must come from the Bible.
As a person that believes and trusts in the Bible, I need biblical references, not references extra- biblical.
Belief and trust in the Bible is not the same as Bible only.
you are so right re biblical data.
there are no biblical references that all clergy be celibate. none.
Yes, deacons can be married. However, if a wife dies, the deacon cannot remarry. At that time if the deacon would like to pursue the priesthood he may.
The diaconate is the first in a series of Holy Orders in the Catholic Church — ordained positions.
diaconate — deacon
presbyteral — priesthood
epicopate — bishop
Our archdioces has several married priests who were grandfathered in after attending theology classes. Both were former Anglican priests.
The western part of the Catholic Church has always interpreted St. Matthew 19.27-29 ("everyone who has left house ... wife, children ... for my name's sake", etc.) as obliging celibacy on the clergy. See also St. Luke 18.28-30.
Similarly, 1 Corinthians 7.7-8 ("I would that all men were even as myself ... I say to the unmaried ... it is good for them if they so continue, even as I"), 1 Corinthians 7.32 ("He that is without wife is solicitous for the things of the Lord", etc.), Romans 8.8-9 ("They who are in the flesh cannot please God" etc.)
The Catholic Church interprets 1 Corinthians 9.5 ("Have we not power to bring about a woman, a sister" etc.) to refer to woman about whom there could be no suspicion of scandal if travelling or living with a priest. Thus the Council of Nicea decreed in its 3rd Canon which officially interprets this verse: "This Great Council has strictly forbidden any bishop, priest or deacon, or any member of the clergy from having a subintroduced woman unless she be a mother, sister, aunt or person who is above suspicion." Notice the absence of a "wife" being mentioned.
Similarly, the Church has interpreted 1 St. Timothy 3.2 and St. Titus 1.15 ("The husband of one wife" etc.) as imposing celibacy, as the requirement in the verse was not that the man be married, but rather, that being married only once he would be able to observe continence after ordination, whle diagamists were automatically disqualified by their remarriage after the death of the first spouse, which indicated an inability to control and master their sexual desires.
In the Old Testament, the Levites were compelled to stay away from their wives during their time of service in the Temple. The Christian Priest has an indefinitie and permanent appointment of service to the Church, not a temporally punctuated one. Therefore, he should always abstain from sexual intercourse.
OK, another thing on the education.
Deacons can perform the Sacraments of Baptism and marriage. They can also preside at a funeral severice.
Priests alone can perform the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Annointing of the Sick, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. (along with the other three, of course.)
So deacons can not say a Mass. What they can do is preside at a Communion Service and distribute the hosts already consecrated by a priest. So a priest still has to visit these parishes.
A married man can receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. That is true in both Eastern and Latin Christianity (whether the particular church is in communion with Rome or not). A man, once he has been sealed with the Sacrament of Holy Orders, may not receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. Again, both in Eastern and Latin Christianity.
As far as whether this is Biblical or not, I would ask you to show me a Biblical example of where a man who is identified as a deacon, presbyter (priest), or bishop, has been married after he has been ordained.
OK, so we agree on that so far, right?
As far as a married man receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that is a matter of practice. You’ve already in earlier posts seen guidance suggesting that being single is the best way for somebody to live in the life of full-time service.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody may be ordained into the episcopate (bishop) who is married. That applies to both Eastern and Latin Christianity.
To the best of my knowledge, married men may be ordained into the diaconate (deacon) in both Eastern and Latin Christianity.
To the best of my knowledge, married men may be ordained into the presbyterate (priest) in both Eastern and Latin Christianity; however, as a matter of practice, the Latin Church does not send married men to seminary and strongly supports single men for the priesthood. As others have pointed out, though, there are dispensations granted when deemed necessary allowing married men to be ordained into the presbyterate.
But the above is a matter of practice. It is not directed in either Holy Scripture or Holy Tradition. It is a good practice, though. In fact, if you were to check with ordained people in both the Eastern and Latin Churches, I believe you’d find that it is considered a gift.
As others have pointed out, the reason why there is a shortage of priests is not celibacy, but is a narcissism that has taken over our society, including many Catholic families. This narcissism causes parents to neither display nor encourage self-sacrifice...and the one thing that is required for ordination and to have a successful ministry after ordination is a complete abandonment of self to and for Christ. It’s sort of hard to do that when one has a family to deal with.
The reason there’s a shortage of priests is that they keep replacing them with deacons, EEMs, nuns, and just about anybody who can breathe. Dioceses where there are good bishops who have a genuine understanding of who and what a priest is do not have a shortage.
This “use deacons as priests” thing is yet another attempt to push priests out the door.
Also, you need to use the original publication date, not the date you finally stumble across it on a blog. Joaquin Navarro-Valls retired in July of 2006 and this piece was written in June of 2006.
Here’s a thought though... BAck in the day if a young man became a priest he made his mama proud. Would she really be proud of him for being a priest now? Have they presented an image that many young men would want to emulate? Would not a parent worry that they might be persuaded to become homosexual in Seminary or service? Is a priest of sexual age not regarded at best as an eunuch and at worst as an ipso facto homosexual?
I’m not saying the above is universal, but we need more priests like Father Corapi who would likely kick your ass if you called him a homosexual.
Please don’t lump the eems in with Deacons and especially Nuns. Deacons go to years of training in seminary before being ordained and Nuns have made a lifetime comittment to the church.
Married Men can be Ordained Deacons, but they shy away from Ordaining married men in the Latin Rite. Among the obvious practical reasons: such as increased Salaries, 24 hr availability and the like there are several Theological Reasons, such as the ancient Jewish Purity requirements.
While I don’t know if it is still enforced, (one of the myriad of reasons) Celibacy developed in the Latin Rite because Clergy were required to abstain from relations for a period of time prior to confecting the Eucharist (kind of like the old pre-V2 midnight Fast) and as the custom of daily Liturgy Developed it became basically impossible (or I would hope undesirable) for a married man to maintain this abstinence.
I fully support a Celibate presbyterate but there are many “Chancery jobs” that married Priests could fill, especially since they need not say their own personal Mass daily.
This is overall a good discussion to have, but the Permanent Deacon argument doesn’t hold water, as it is a seperate and distinct Vocation.
Most of the nuns involved in running parishes want to be priests, and so, alas, do most of the deacons (or at least they want to get up and preach). It’s true that most of the EEMs don’t.
My point, however, was that bishops of no-vocation dioceses have that situation because they think that the priest is actually no different from the deacon or the sister, not to mention the EEM, and this is the message they give to the priests by “replacing” them with nuns and deacons (and EEMs).
146. There can be no substitute whatsoever for the ministerial Priesthood. For if a Priest is lacking in the community, then the community lacks the exercise and sacramental function of Christ the Head and Shepherd, which belongs to the essence of its very life. For the only minister who can confect the sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest.
151. Only out of true necessity is there to be recourse to the assistance of extraordinary ministers in the celebration of the Liturgy. Such recourse is not intended for the sake of a fuller participation of the laity but rather, by its very nature, is supplementary and provisional. Furthermore, when recourse is had out of necessity to the functions of extraordinary ministers, special urgent prayers of intercession should be multiplied that the Lord may soon send a Priest for the service of the community and raise up an abundance of vocations to sacred Orders.
154. As has already been recalled, the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest. Hence the name minister of the Eucharist belongs properly to the Priest alone. Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christs faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.
156. This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not special minister of Holy Communion nor extraordinary minister of the Eucharist nor special minister of the Eucharist, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.
157. If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.
158. Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.
I like for Nuns to have opportunities because I want to young women to see it as an attractive option for themselves. But I have to agree with you about the wannabe priests — that’s the thinking we have to get away from. I’m reminded of what Paul said about we are one body with many members, and how can you say an arm is better than a leg, but what good does it do for a finger to suddenly decide it would rather be an eye?
and Jesus wasnt a shepherd, teacher, exhorter, consoler? and you refer to the catholic church as "man made?" How so? I think the protestand church is more man made with its sola scriptura(which I am still trying to find in the Bible).
Yes. It's purely intentional. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura, by the virtue of not being provable solely by Scripture, is contradictory.
As a side note, in my opinion it isn't quite that simple to brush off Sola Scriptura, even though I do reject it.
I dont see how I am invoking SS. Besides, Martin Luther came up with the idea of SS.
Sinkspur, is that you?
Martin Luther was a schizophrenic, paranoid drunk who couldn’t control his libido and told his folllowers to “sin boldly.” You gonna tout that as well?
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OK, hold up there a minute, I see no problem whatsoever with altar girls, if there can be female ministers of the word and female eucharistic ministers, then what on earth is wrong with altar girls?
I think the problem with altar girls is that when there are altar girls, then boys tend to not be so eager to serve as altar boys. In the past, some of those altar boys, grew up to be Priests. With the introduction of girls, I think it has diminished what in the past was a role in which boys could think about the Priesthood.
i read a while ago on FR about catholics in nigeria who WALK up to 8 hours one way to go to mass. If catholics can;t be bothered DRIVING a few km’s further than usual to go to mass then they deserve having nuns running their parish.
the biggest thing that discourages me from (and i am sure many other guys) from considering priesthood (as a Novus Ordo priest anyway) are ALTAR GIRLS!!!! Its a job for guys only. Its like going hunting, or playing NFL with a girl- it’s just something you DON’T do.
you see all those bad statistics about why people like ME aren’t answering the call, well i am telling you.
besides, its in canon law that girls can only serve if there are no guys available.
“The number of priests is declining?”
This is inaccurate.
“According to the ("Annuario Pontificio") yearbook newly compiled stats for the years between 2004 and 2005, the number of Catholics increasing in the world from 1,098 million to 1,115 million, a growth of 1.5 percent.”
2007 edition “Annuario Pontificio,”
And I know I will probably be flamed for this but I am against all these “Eucharistic ministers” distributing Holy Communion. If it takes an additional ten or fifteen minutes for the priest to distribute Holy Communion then so be it.
Flame on, I have my asbestos PJ’s on. LOL
Happy Saturday, ya’ll.
I really enjoy Father Corapi’s program on Sunday nights.
Kind of reminds me of the old Fulton J. Sheen shows of days gone by.
Perhaps on some continents, the number of priest is increasing. Just not on this one.
That said, there is no biblical prohibition for denying sacramental ministry to ANY Christian.
This is always pointed out by any denomination I know of, when it comes to an extreme circumstance. For example, “If there were a nuclear holocaust and you and your neighbor were the only 2 people surviving in your area, and he becomes a Christian, can you baptize him, and can the 2 of you consecrate Holy Communion?
Everyone always answers “yes” to that extreme condition.
“Perhaps on some continents, the number of priest is increasing. Just not on this one.”
It never has been.
There is a reason why the parishes and schools of America were JAMMED with Irish priests, brothers and nuns for DECADES. And God willing, the Americas will start contributing to the cause.
I should have more correctly said...
And God willing, the Americas will start contributing MORE to the cause.
The real reason for discounting married priests is more likely financial and legal.
“Marriage might just provide the best means for administering teaching and administering.”
We don’t need to lower the bar, if anything we need to RAISE THE BAR and start doing a better job of screening priests BEFORE they are admitted.
If marriage is lowering the bar...Than marriage is inferior to the priesthood and we wouldn’t be here.
DogwoodSouth gave a good response. To take it one step further, here is a commentary made by Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.
Speaking to the 11th General Synod Fathers, gathered for their eighth meeting at the Vatican, Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, who is Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in Lebanon--a Catholic rite which allows for married priests--addressed the issue, which has been brought up by many, particularly in light of the U.S. sex abuse scandal, of commonly permitting married priests in the Roman rite.
Vatican City, Oct. 07, 2005 (CNA) - The Cardinal defended the practice of the celibate priesthood and discussed the beauty of the tradition, calling it the "most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church."
While pointing out that "the Maronite Church admits married priests" and that "half of our diocesan priests are married", the Cardinal Patriarch said that "it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious."
"A married priest", he said, "has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family.
He noted that "married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist."
"On the other hand," he said, "celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church,"
Lamenting a culture which is all but outright opposed to purity, the Cardinal asked: "How can [celibacy] be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity."
Suggesting that their are no easy solutions to the problem of priest shortages in the Church--an oft brought up point during the Synod--he noted that, "Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."
Since these men take a marriage vow before ordination, their first responsibility is to their family. This, as the Patriarch points out, poses a new set of problems when assigning them to parishes. In the Maronite Catholic Church, only celibate priests are assigned to the diaspora - USA, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Africa and Australia. Their total commitment of service to our Lord is evidenced by the work they accomplish. My Maronite pastor, who is bi-ritual, also assists the RC Diocese by saying Mass at priestless parishes and serving as Chaplain at a local area hospital. His total dedication and devotion to serving God keeps him active in ministry, 7 days per week. He has often said he could never do this with a wife and children. BTW, despite the fact that his grandfather was a married priest, he chose the celibate priesthood.
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“Than marriage is inferior to the priesthood and we wouldnt be here?”
Your logic is almost as “inferior” as your grammar.
We are HERE because of GOD.
and grammatically “than marriage” should be “then marriage...”
The generation of priests who’ve gone soft on sin and make sniveling comments about their own leadership is the same group of priests not being able to retire in their old age. Spiritual advisors who play with hellfire will get burned. Young men aren’t attracted to lackluster followership. Men are led by loyal and hard working leaders. What does it say of American Catholics that much of our religious leadership is “imported” and that so much of the world gives up their priests to be in America?
American (and Western) Catholic clergy will have their seminarians and novices when they stop hassling young men and women with worldly whims (like human politics) and start witnessing to Spiritual Obedience. IOW, “Save the bedroom olympics for after marriage and never contracept!” will net more clergy membership that will more than fill the nets.
Will this present generation of clergy have to die before the lowest levels of parish leadership converts to basic Catholic doctrine?