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No logic behind this marry leap (Fr. Andrew Greeley)
Chicago Sun Times ^ | October 10, 2003 | Fr. Andrew Greeley

Posted on 10/10/2003 9:50:37 AM PDT by american colleen

The priests in Wisconsin who recently voted for a married priesthood to respond to the shortage of priests won for themselves what our Protestant brothers and sisters would call cheap grace. They did something that addressed a serious problem, which made them feel good, and earned for them a lot of public attention. Hence they earned ''grace.'' However, it accomplished nothing, and required no effort. Hence it was ''cheap grace'' -- grace that was easy to earn but had no impact on anything or anybody.

I wonder how many of the priests really thought that the Roman Curia, which is trying to decide whether to banish young women acolytes from the altar, would be inclined to listen to them. I wonder also how many expected their bishops, in this time of priest shortage, to take action against them. As president of the hierarchy, Bishop Wilton Gregory had no choice but to defend celibacy. This seems to be the only price the Wisconsin bishops had to pay for their ''bravery.''

I would like to put to those priests and to every other priest who is worried about the shortage of priests the following questions:

How much time do you spend each week in preparing your homily?

How much money does your parish spend on creating good liturgy?

The laity give you an hour of their time every week; what do you do to make it a grace-full hour?

How active are you in work with your young people and teenagers?

How sensitive are you to women?

How ''user-friendly'' is your parish -- that is to say, how hard does it struggle to say ''yes'' rather than ''no'' to people who come to seek help?

How often do you deny the sacraments to people who have the right to them? How often do you refuse to marry people who are not registered in the parish or do not contribute regularly to the parish?

How often do you deny baptism to the children of people who are not registered or have not contributed to the parish? How often do you refuse to baptize the children of those who are not married in the church? How often do you make the sacraments an obstacle course to run through?

Do you impose exorbitant stipends on people who wish to receive the sacraments?

(Be it noted that all of these behaviors are violations of canon law, from which the laity have the right to appeal to the bishop for relief.)

How often do you dismiss your laity as secularist, materialist, consumerist, weak in faith, uneducated, confused -- and poor Catholics?

Would your lay people -- and especially your young lay people -- look at you and say, ''That priest is a happy man''?

How often do you seek out young people who would make good priests and talk to them about the possibility of vocations?

Have you ever preached to your congregation about the sexual abuse crisis and admitted the mistakes the church and priests have made in dealing with this crisis?

If you can give positive answers to all those questions, then you have worked with ''hard grace,'' and I have no complaint against you.

The truth is that celibate priests are the happiest men in America, happier than lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors and Protestant clergy. Indeed, the research data show that celibate priests are in general happier than protestant ministers and that celibacy is less a problem for priests than marriage is for ministers. I realize that many -- lay and clergy alike -- will say that I'm dead wrong. Everyone knows that celibacy is the reason there are not enough vocations to the priesthood. Priests are miserable, frustrated, unhappy men.

Well, folks, I have news for you. I have 2,000 cases in national probability samples that say I'm right and you are dead wrong.

I am not necessarily opposed to a change in the celibacy requirement. However, before the church makes such a change, I would like to know whether, if priests were willing to modify their style of dealing with the laity, this reform might lead to more vocations in Wisconsin and everywhere else.


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: andrewgreeley; apostate; celibacy; frandrewgreeley; greeley; milwaukee; vocations; wisconsin
Sometimes Greeley is really clear headed - it's his novels that throw me.

I am in the midst of reading Greeley's 1971 "Priests in the United States" and I was surprised to find Greeley a stauch defender of the celibate priesthood and a critic of the jettisoning of many of the traditional Catholic teachings/education - particularly in the seminaries (almost to a one) that occurred in the late 50s and in the 1960s.

If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, it is quite in depth and well researched.

1 posted on 10/10/2003 9:50:38 AM PDT by american colleen
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2 posted on 10/10/2003 9:53:12 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: sinkspur; ELS; BlackElk; Aquinasfan; NYer; Catholicguy; Desdemona; maryz; patent; narses; ...
For your reading pleasure ;-)

Gotta run for a coupla hours... be back later.

Don't forget that Cardinal Arinze is on "World Over Live" at 8 PM EST tonight. You can listen and watch on the Internet if you don't have EWTN on your cable lineup.

3 posted on 10/10/2003 9:55:30 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
**Hence it was ''cheap grace'' -- grace that was easy to earn but had no impact on anything or anybody.**

BTTT!
4 posted on 10/10/2003 9:59:19 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: american colleen
Thanks.
5 posted on 10/10/2003 10:05:08 AM PDT by sitetest (Remember to pray for my mom.)
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To: american colleen
Greeley wrote that?!?!?! Wow. Amazing. I didn't see anything in there I disagree with.
6 posted on 10/10/2003 10:23:01 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: american colleen
I've always been a half out of the closet Greeley fan. I am glad he printed something totally,unequivicably Catholic that I can print and give to acquaintances who have taken issue with some of my positive comments about him.

I heard him defend chaste celibacy in an interview on the Art Bell show about five years ago,but since no one I know listens to Art Bell,nor me for that matter,my support has been like whistling in the wind.

I think he confuses people because he just may be a moral conservative and a fiscal liberal,maybe the inside out of Arnold,who seems to be a moral libertine and a fiscal conservative. Not sure,but I think I am on to something there,who knows?

In any case,thanks for the article!!

7 posted on 10/10/2003 11:08:34 AM PDT by saradippity
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To: american colleen
How often do you deny baptism to the children of people who are not registered or have not contributed to the parish? How often do you refuse to baptize the children of those who are not married in the church?

I actually know people to whom this happened. I didn't realize it was a violation.
8 posted on 10/10/2003 12:27:47 PM PDT by Desdemona (Kempis' Imitation of Christ online! http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/imitation/imitation.html)
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To: Akron Al; Alberta's Child; Andrew65; AniGrrl; Antoninus; apologia_pro_vita_sua; ...
PING

Andrew Greeley writes something for a change that shouldn't be on the Index Librorium Prohibitum or in a plain brown wrapper.

9 posted on 10/10/2003 12:40:55 PM PDT by Loyalist
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To: american colleen
Of course, Greeley could have written another rather insightful article pointing out that certain Bishops seem to have extraordinary problems attracting vocations--while others have them flocking to their doorsteps.

But that's another story.

Nice article, although some of his questions leave me a bit cold, e.g., "...how much money....creating good liturgy?"

Psssst: Andy: it's been created. It's called the Roman Missal.

10 posted on 10/10/2003 12:45:43 PM PDT by ninenot (Democrats make mistakes. RINOs don't correct them.--Chesterton (adapted by Ninenot))
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To: american colleen
Greely sums up: "I am not necessarily opposed to a change in the celibacy requirement."

True to the new-age Church mentality, the long 'orthodox' statement ends up watered down at the end.

11 posted on 10/10/2003 2:57:44 PM PDT by TheCrusader
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To: TheCrusader
Greely sums up: "I am not necessarily opposed to a change in the celibacy requirement."

He's not opposed to women priests either.

Greeley likes celibacy because he's a bachelor, with apartments in Chicago and Phoenix (and God knows where else).

For all his sexy fiction, he knows good and well that there's not a woman in the world who could live with him.

He's so damn weird.

12 posted on 10/10/2003 3:41:57 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter! You'll save at least one life, maybe two!)
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To: Desdemona
Some parishes have policies that a child will not be baptized in a family that doesn't attend Mass.

The rationale is that the child has little chance of being brought up Catholic, and to baptize reinforces the idea that sacraments are magical conveniences.

13 posted on 10/10/2003 3:44:22 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter! You'll save at least one life, maybe two!)
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To: sinkspur
He's not opposed to women priests either.

I think Greeley ticks off and delights the progs and the trads and everyone in between equally, but I have never read where he states he's open to women priests... can you give a link or a book where you've read this?

Greeley likes celibacy because he's a bachelor, with apartments in Chicago and Phoenix (and God knows where else).

Just those two places, from what I've read - he does teach in Chicago and Phoenix, so I would assume he needs a place to stay depending on where he is at the moment.

For all his sexy fiction, he knows good and well that there's not a woman in the world who could live with him.

Well, he's obviously smarter and more self aware than most men! ;-) Have you read that he's said the above somewhere or is this off the top of your head?

14 posted on 10/10/2003 5:00:09 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Have you read that he's said the above somewhere or is this off the top of your head?

Off the point on the top of my head.

I heard Greeley on Phil Donahue ten years ago say that he saw no reason to exclude women from the priesthood.

He might have changed his mind since then.

15 posted on 10/10/2003 5:15:21 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter! You'll save at least one life, maybe two!)
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To: sinkspur
His apartment is not in Phoenix,he teaches at the University of Arizona and he lives down in Tucson.
16 posted on 10/10/2003 5:20:53 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: sinkspur
Well,I would say it's more because the Amchurch doesn't believe in Original Sin they see no need to baptize.You know,sin?What's that?
17 posted on 10/10/2003 5:24:53 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: saradippity
Well,I would say it's more because the Amchurch doesn't believe in Original Sin they see no need to baptize.You know,sin?What's that?

What about marriage? You think the Church ought to just marry anybody who shows up at the office door?

Canon Law says they should.

18 posted on 10/10/2003 5:38:54 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter! You'll save at least one life, maybe two!)
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To: american colleen
greeley is wearing his sociologist's hat in this study. YOu see, despite certain chicago ex priests stating that priests are immature etc etc. Greeley has the actual data, showing most priests are no more immature than the average American man.

and if you read his X rated novels, you will notice that the priest, by their celibacy, are more valuable to those around them.

And knowing how he portrays prayer, liturgy, and God's love in his novels, I am happy that he is willing to tell his Chicago readers that prayer etc. is more important than being PC...

(Greeley says his sociological studies show that couples who pray together have a better sex life. I didn't read the data, but it works for me....)
19 posted on 10/10/2003 6:00:40 PM PDT by LadyDoc (liberals only love politcially correct poor people.)
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To: TheCrusader
He makes a very good case (theologically and socially) for celibacy in pieces that he's written (like the book I am reading now "Priests in the United States") but he doesn't believe celibacy is intrinsic to the Catholic priesthood and he wouldn't have a problem if the Church changed it.
20 posted on 10/10/2003 6:15:58 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: sinkspur
He might have changed his mind since then.

Maybe he's a chameleon... he didn't advocate or see how women could be priests when he wrote "Priests in the United States" in 1971 and he doesn't now in 2003 from what I read.

21 posted on 10/10/2003 6:19:49 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: LadyDoc
YOu see, despite certain chicago ex priests stating that priests are immature etc etc. Greeley has the actual data, showing most priests are no more immature than the average American man.

I read this study as well - interesting in light of the fact that the above is not what Sipes or the media present.

and if you read his X rated novels, you will notice that the priest, by their celibacy, are more valuable to those around them.

Excellent and true point! I've read a couple of his novels years ago... but I have a 78 year old (1st cousin 3x removed) in Newfoundland who sends his read Greeley novels to me, so I probably have most of them. He's corresponded with Greeley on and off through the years and thinks the world of him... I have several copies of Greeley's replies to my cousin... and Greeley comes across as a very nice, sincere Catholic priest.

(Greeley says his sociological studies show that couples who pray together have a better sex life. I didn't read the data, but it works for me....)

Well.... my husband is an agnostic.... uh.... ;-)

22 posted on 10/10/2003 6:25:46 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: sinkspur
Canon Law says they should.

Sounds like Canon Law has changed? But I guess it depends on the interpretation of Canon Law. Last week the DRE in my parish told us (and the candidates for Confirmation) that a Catholic no longer needs to be Confirmed in order to be married in the Church.

23 posted on 10/10/2003 6:30:17 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Here's a link to a review of Greeley's latest book.

Some quotes:

Father Greeley, a balding, 72-year old who wears a priest's trademark black, Roman collar, has often found himself at loggerheads with the Catholic Church; on a broad range of matters -- from the Church's opposition to artificial birth control to its objection to women priests.

Another:

At the same time, Father Greeley favors -- as he puts it -- a "relaxation" of the celibacy rule in the Catholic Church to attract more seminarians.

"The truth is that, for most of the Church's history, it was a vow that wasn't really enforced. It probably is going to have to be relaxed -- maybe even in the next papacy. Because there are so many bishops in the world that think that and keep quiet about it, and because priests are needed. We need more priests."

Greeley favors celibacy, but's not really opposed to married or women priests.

24 posted on 10/10/2003 6:36:37 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from a shelter! You'll save at least one life, maybe two!)
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To: sinkspur
Greeley favors celibacy, but's not really opposed to married or women priests.

That's the thing about Greeley. He ticks everyone off evenly. For as often as he hints that he favors relaxing celibacy, he cites the theological and socialogical reasons for keeping it and then, right here in this column, he places at least a portion of blame for the dearth of vocations on mothers and priests not encouraging boys to enter the priesthood and this is in the context of him chiding priests for publicly calling for a married priesthood. He never really encourages female ordaination (the link you provided is someone else's idea of him, not his own words about himself) but then he asks a lot of "socialogical questions" about female ordination for his "work." Giving the impression that he may favor it... and then in yet another study he calls educated Catholic women who disagree with Church teachings "dissidents" but says it's the Church's fault for encouraging the education of women starting @50 years ago - he says when you educate people to think for themselves, then they no longer need authority (and backs that up with yet another study).

He's not weird, but he's kind of a conundrum - just like he likes it.

25 posted on 10/10/2003 7:48:27 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
They could consider in Scripture if there is the possibility of creating another type of overseer to minister to the congregations in the absence of a full fledged priest... some kind of higher up deacon position, which allows the individual to be married while holding said office.
26 posted on 10/14/2003 12:06:12 PM PDT by Terriergal ("multipass!")
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To: american colleen
Very surprisingly interesting.

Thanks for posting it.
27 posted on 01/27/2004 8:12:34 PM PST by heyheyhey
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