Roll up your sleeves (edited) & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part III

“In my judgment, the crisis is not just a crisis of religious vocations, whether Catholic or Protestant. It is a crisis of life-long commitment – the irrevocable “gift of self” – which is at the heart of every Christian vocation, including marriage and the family. People are increasingly afraid to make this gift.
To the extent that today every vow can be broken with impunity in the name of personal freedom, people become very wary of commitments. It takes more courage and faith than it once did for a person to make a lifelong commitment to marriage, priesthood or the convent. When you consider our increasing life span, there is also a realization that this commitment is not just for 20 or 30 years, but 50 or 60.”

I disagree.  What about Jesus.  Yes, I am going there, my favorite place and truly the place we need to focus.  Jesus was presented at the Temple as a Jewish child, He taught faith, was called a Rabbi – but for a man committed as a child and youth to the Jewish faith – he changed.  His way was radical – our Father called Him elsewhere.

The number of men who have chosen to  leave the Priesthood (120,000 men world wide in the past 60 years, 25,000 in the United States) does not indicate lack of commitment.  First of all – God did not call for a celibate clergy, this is all a man made idea so let’s put that right out there on the table.  We are to follow God first, why the church has managed to carry this practice on for so long without an uprising is beyond me, though I do get the “boys club” idea.  Tons of peer pressure.  Don’t tell me that pressure does not exist.  I read one article just tonight that stated when  Priest went to his spiritual advisor to discuss a woman the Priestly Spiritual Advisor told the Priest he and the woman would both be damned for all eternity.  More than a tad bit over-dramatic and completely NOT true.  So, maybe, just maybe this downturn in numbers is God’s way of saying “wake up”, do it my way!!!

God created us out of love  ~ for love. 

This mornings mass readings  (2.7.17) certainly point two things out that this “man-made rule” disregards; 


Genesis 1:27

God created mankind in his image;

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.


Let’s skip ahead just a bit, same book – different Chapter:


Genesis 2:18-25

18  The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. 19 So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.20The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.

21 So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, 23the man said:

This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.


Nowhere there, in the very first book of the bible does God say “I created man and woman to serve me, by promising Bishops or other clergy that they will remain celibate in order to serve me, their God.

No.  God tells us in this book that He created Eve from and for Adam who was alone.  He goes on to teach us that a man leaves his parents and he and his woman shall become one in Him.

Who’s confused?  Not me.

Now then – Second reading of the day – Holy Gospel according to St. Mark


St. Mark 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”


The truth is here.  It is written through many of my pages of articles.  I will continue to write more on this over the next few days.

Christians are to be committed to doing the works of Jesus Christ, serve our Trinitarian God.  No one has to promise or make a vow that actually does go against the very teachings of Jesus Christ – and as in Genesis our Father, Godhead.  here in Mark – Jesus Lord and Savior.

No one should want to be “committed” to a life of celibacy.  It is not what God wants.  It is against what God has taught.  It is time to revoke this vow or promise.  It is time for Bishops to stand up to this and do what is right.  A married clergy is what Jesus Christ taught, love and marriage are the true gifts from God.  The church add’s “Fruits of the Spirit” to their list that is not biblical.  Celibacy is not a true gift of the spirit – it is not, this is why so many struggle, hurt.  It is not kind, loving or godly to continue this practice. 

This is not about only allowing long time married Deacons to become Priests.  This is not about only about allowing Evangelicals to become Roman Catholic Priests.  This is not only about allowing married Priests to return to the altar (certainly not as a “test” as suggested in Brazil – just let it happen!). This is about human rights!  This is about allowing good, God loving men to have their “helpmate” in life, their life partner as God intended and intends.

There was a time and place where we innocently believed things we were told.  Unfortunately this is still the case for many.  I need not delve into articles and write a litany of details but it is a known fact that this is an inhumane requirement.  Being human, many fail.  The church has its horrible record of child abuse, homosexual priests, priests who seek out prostitutes, I’ve heard of one who had an affair with a married man – and children walked in on the act. There are Priests with concubines and lovers.  There are Priests who leave, marry  and still serve in an “illicit” (without permission)  manner.

Clergy are gentle, loving human beings. Committing to serve God should be enough.  In order to serve our Father as clergy, a man should never, ever have to promise another man that they will never have a wife.

God created human beings for love, to be loved and to give love.  Each and every one of us.  Have you not read Psalm 139?  God does not create to cause pain and harm.  Our Father is a loving Father.

It’s time our church became His loving church.  They way Jesus Christ Designed, with His original 12.


Reflecting since last night, on this portion of this article, I would like to readdress “commitment” .

I was married for twenty years before I left my ex husband and filed for divorce.  I went through the very long process of annulment in which I felt unsafe.  My children were also concerned for my welfare, my oldest son living out-of-state told me to get a gun and not be afraid to use it, he was that afraid.  That is something I did not do, nor have any plans on doing.  I share that in order to share the fear of my children over my welfare.  Because my request for nullity was granted, I don’t feel compelled to write more about my “marriage” today.  Clearly, I proved my commitment to making it work through my annulment and was able to show why it did not work, though that was not easy.  I feel in my heart, mind and soul that God brought me to the annulment process and through it for His good.  

I know what commitment is.  I am committed.

My role models growing up were;  my paternal grandparents, my father’s family has a very long history of loving, committed marriages.  Something we should all aspire for, something that has eluded me in life, but I know of such marriages and commitment for better or worse, sickness and good health, past till death do us part as my own grandmother did not move on after my grandfather passed.  They were forever entwined in God’s love.

Harshness  is suggested in mentioning a lack of commitment in  men who want to become priests, and men who choose to leave the altar for marriage.  The same is suggested for religious life.  I believe as we evolve as human beings, as communication has become easier (and – I offer that is provided by our Father too) we learn more about our Father, life – and love. 

A few short years ago – two now?  A classmate was visiting from France.  She had grown up here through middle school.  Her Papa moved the children back to his homeland after the death of her mother.  One thing she wanted to do while here was to meet up with a Catholic Brother whom she met and played online games with.  I was invited to join the two along with her sister over two days.  I had just recently heard of the married Roman Catholic Priests,  the girls had an uncle who was  Priest in France and conversation ensued.

Now in his early 50’s as we were, he shared his childhood, death of his mother when he was in his teens and turning to the church at that time.  He entered the brotherhood, was a teacher in a Parochial school until recently when his health became so bad he was no longer able to work and considered terminal.  He said as a young man he entered the religious life with eyes on God and not mortal life, but the realities of being a man hit him as he aged.  He remained celibate with the comfort of a bottle (which in time became the reason for the decline of his health).  He said it was a poor choice and something he was sorry for, wistful for the wife and children he never had ,and was now too sick to make any sort of change he stayed put.  A sad life.

I read a story of a woman in her late 30’s one day over the last year or so.  She had decided to become a “Bride of Christ”.  I clicked on the article and was completely appalled at the idea – you cannot “marry” Jesus.  For one thing – he may have been married.  Another thing, the man died and did not ask you to marry him.  Right?  Right.  The Bride of Christ is supposed to be the church.  

I think what is being missed here perhaps by many in the church is this – the majority of Christians are committed to Jesus at the level in which they can be.  I do not believe a woman who participates in a ceremony (wedding gown and all) is anymore mystically bound to Jesus or our Trinitarian God than I am, though we may live different lives.  Scriptures teaches us – right from Genesis on that God created human beings for each other, to mate (join with), support, love – become one in Him.

A shortage of Religious is in no way indicative of a lack of commitment to our Father.  What it is, is proof that people have grown away from medieval teachings.  Men and women no longer have to live in monasteries or convents – which going back hundreds of years, where places quite often (not always) a means of living for those  orphaned, destitute etc. 

Focus should and could be on strengthening human relationships, marriage for all who are called to it, religious, clergy etc.  Allow human beings to live as God ordained, not man-made rules.  Protestants teach single people to grow in God and pray to God to guide you to a spouse that will bring you closer to him.  This is what the church should do, bring all people together as couples in Him.  That is where the strength and growth are, for men, women, families  – and the church. 

Rather than judging human beings and their commitments,  look at what you are asking people to be or stay committed to. A woman is not married to Jesus, he is not her husband, they will not consummate their marriage in any way, have children, share a home or grow old holding hands.  A man is not married to the church (.), a man cannot really be bound to a Bishop or church.  Neither scenario offers a commitment from the other side.  We do not need to take a vow to Jesus because he brings us to the Father,the Father gifts us with the Holy Spirit (all of us!).  See – that, this vow/marriage idea (that is not with another human being as God designed) doesn’t really make a bit of sense.  Bishops change, they are not a life partner!  They offer no comfort to a man – who hasn’t read Genesis? ? ?

God does not call us to be committed by vow or promise to the church.  Our loving father certainly does not suggest anyone remain celibate for Him.  That is totally and institutional idea – and it is time to correct this, or more will walk away and follow Him.  What will be, will be.  It is not that the hierarchy has not seen this coming, will they correct their ways?


Repeating. . .

18  The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. 19 So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.20The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.

21 So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, 23the man said:

This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.

~

He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!

You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”

Nowhere there, in the very first book of the bible does God say “I created man and woman to serve me, by promising Bishops or other clergy that they will remain celibate in order to serve me, their God.

No.  God tells us in this book that He created Eve from and for Adam who was alone.  He goes on to teach us that a man leaves his parents and he and his woman shall become one in Him.

Who’s confused?  Not me.

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