Roll up your sleeves {edited} & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part VI

Picking up where I left off last in this series, I mentioned we would next take a look at celibacy.  A simplified explanation of this would be to say when being ordained a Diocesan Priest must promise Obedience to the Bishop (and his successors), and a promise of Celibacy.  This does mean taking no wife, in times past it meant no physical relationship.

The history of these practices is centuries old, has changed multiple times over the years and frankly – focus’ far too much on “sex”.  It seems this practice is considered in order to have the Priest place all focus his relationship with God, for the good of all.

Considering all I have written thus far, we know have seen we know this is a man-made requirement, which as I have said has changed many, many times.  This would include a time period where there was married clergy who were told they could not have spousal relations. . . . Right.  Who comes up with these rules?

Here, I am going to look past those days.  Nod an acknowledgement to the lives in which   our current clergy are living and return to stating, it is time for the church to revoke  – across the board – mandatory celibacy.  Based on all of the reasons I have written, based on the reasons I have not detailed such as the child sexual abuse that has and does go on,  the hundreds of thousands of men who have in their quest to serve our Father had to live through this, one way or another, all being emotionally and spiritually scared in one way or another, admit it or not. 

I am going to suggest once again that you go back and read through what I have written, thus allowing me to make new points.

The obvious shortage of catholic clergy is a problem.  Rather than going on the attack and saying laity is living for worldly things consider that perhaps there is wisdom in what they know that you cannot see.  I believe in my heart and soul if this could be acknowledged, the consideration for a married clergy as taught by Jesus is something that can actually strengthen both our clergy our Priests and the laity  – bringing all of us closer to God as one, no divided.

What if it this were allowed – what do I see as happening?

I know there will be human beings who are happy and whole in our Father as taught by Him.  I know that His gifts of love and life are not being turned away from.

How is it taught, that a married couple is remain open to having children – but Priests are to refrain from?  I know I am not the only one who see’s how silly this both sounds – and looks.  I have read another reason being a Priest to remain is to be so closely tied to Jesus for the Eucharist – well, that is not historical, nor is it biblical.  Additionally – what did Jesus tell us?

Last Supper Discourses. 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.  4Where [I] am going you know the way.”* 5Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  7If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  8Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.  12Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

The Advocate. 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate  to be with you always, 14-20 17the Spirit of truth,  which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.  19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.  20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”  22Judas, not the Iscariot,  said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”  23Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

25“I have told you this while I am with you. 26The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. 27Peace  I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.  30I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, 31but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.

 19     In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 

20      On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

21     Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.

And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

I am repeating this because it is important.  Here Jesus tells us when His life passes from the world that believers will know Him and see Him.  We know this now, Christians – He is in our Father, and we are In Jesus and Jesus is in us.  Everyone human who believes.

We are close to Him, we grow closer though His love.  Our Father created us – emotionally, spiritually – and physically to share this love.  Roll up your sleeves (edited) & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part III not to observe Ascetical Disciplines which include Celibacy Ancient teachings are relative today

The Roman Catholic church has taken many hits – justifiably so for its sexual scandals over the years.  Convents filled with infant skeletons, Clergy suicide (not often spoken of – very hard to research, though I have read about this in relation to the celibacy rule – rather than leave the church being told they were damned to hell, took their own life). God knows these things.  God knows of the child abuse.  Truly – how can one not consider the downswing of the church as God saying “wake up”.

What would a married clergy do for the church?  Allowing men to celebrate their lives in the way God gifted us with.  This does not detract in any way from one’s love or devotion to God.  Yes, there is a risk of a “scandalous” divorce – better that than a child being raped.  Better to be open and honest – and human.  Repeatable by all people.  So this shock and awe of scandal needs to be realized for the falseness that it is.

What would marriage offer a Priest? What it offers every other man – and more.  A helpmate, a partner in life to grow with in God, through life.  Family.  Emotional support and love – every human being deserves as is God-given!  Companionship, a close intimate relationship which challenges Him to grow both as a man, husband and Priest.  Someone to celebrate and to be celebrated though a mutual selfless loveThis Love is God-given – love.

The Pastor now Reverend that I wrote about last night, he and his wife (my friend’s sister does attend this church which is how I heard of it at the time which was within weeks of my shock at the summer retreat.  Their love of each other and family spills forth into their congregation.  People look up to them as role models . . . and that includes his honesty of thinking two weeks into his marriage that his wife wanted to leave him because she came home tired from work and wanted out of her work clothes.  These life experiences are living God and sharing God in life.  A kind reminder that we all have misunderstandings and can learn and grow stronger through them.

My grandparents, oh yes perhaps you think I  put them on a pedestal but in truth they were one of many families that live the same.  Taking responsibility for bringing their grandchildren to God, caring for the poor and widows (more people than you could imagine, and many freely mowed lawns upon granddads retirement!).  Supporting missionaries, active church members, pot luck suppers.  Protestant yes, good Godly role models.  Nana was always waiting in bed for granddad to finish “washing up” before bed, reading her bible which he would join her in.  I was often chased back to bed after being caught reading the “good-news” on the floor by my nightlight.

Married clergy would have an easy time-sharing this type of disciples in the home through homilies, talks with parishioners, group meals or a newsletter or funny story on Facebook.  Yes, this can happen from parishioners in general but you know what?  These life experiences also would help the clergy grow in Him.  After all, He is the One who gifted us with all, is He not?

What closer more intimate relationship could a human have than to be in one with another in God?  Again, God graces us with this love – Love and Joy are  Fruits of the Spirit, celibacy is not.  It’s not listed in the bible.  “.”

What about kids?  Well, here we may run into a few things.  A married couple is to remain open to children.  What happens within any house hold is between God and the couple.  The church approves of Natural Family planning,  no one is going to question a household with only two or three children.  The larger families?  It happens but if they are housed in a home with fewer bedrooms than they think they need, they need to figure out where to put the additional offspring.  Most of us have common sense.

The Catholic church is known for its assets.  It can squeeze some coins together for the overall good and well-being of man and church.  There are properties than can be sold to buy suitable homes for a clergy and family (protestants manage this and they are financially poor in comparison).  Why or how would anyone think that a parish would not be happy to bring in some extra groceries, etc. for the Pastors family?  Why would they not want to do this?  Come on guys…. come up with something else.  Poor excuse.

Education?  Well, the number of parochial schools is dwindling, people cannot afford them.  A public education is fine and I would hazard a guess that the parish religious education department stepped up and was all the stronger and better for it. 

Health insurance?  Really?  Yes, it is expensive however larger groups also pay less money.  If this is going to be one of the cards played – lets throw this back out on the table…

Parishes are shrinking, people are leaving the church, we are told there is a Priest shortage… 

Allow the clergy to marry, have stronger – growing parishes.  Learn new things and love in new ways.  There is a lot more to offer people as a whole when one is able to embrace their entire being, as God gifted us.  Additional clergy also offers more hands to share the work.

I know the idea seems out there to some clergy, not so out there to others.  The fact is clergy are men, placed on earth by God.  Basic human rights to live as God intended by his design not human concept.  Revoke the celibacy requirement for all clergy.  What is anyone really and truly afraid of?  I have read bishops say them men will all go girl crazy – really?  Please, give me a break.  Dignified Priests are not tom cats and should be treated with the respect they deserve, anyone suggesting they all run out the door from the pulpit to chase the first female they see is probably… guilty of that thought.

Some thought and planning would have to take place – of course, but this is not rocket science.  It is – life.  Teaching Courtship not dating (something I discuss with my faith formation class, that clearly they have had no example of).  We’re talking about two adults who want to be committed for life together in God, in the church.  They would be intelligent people, no?

A marriage in God is the union of three.  A married couple selflessly give to each other and in the case of returning God’s gifts allows for a stronger church through this selflessness, witness and example.

It is past time for the church to move forward with change.  It is ridiculous (yes – it really is) to allow a married converted Priesthood and not allow current Priests to marry but force them to leave the Roman Catholic church (many serve other denominations, many remain, some are active in their parishes with their wives, some teach at parochial schools (locally they do!). 

Stop preaching family without celebrating family.  There is no reason to allow one over the other to marry.  It’s all crossing i’s and dotting t’s.

God our Father – already made this clear.  He created human beings for loving, intimate relationships.

One more thing – this mornings reading of Genesis included this “

* [3:16] Toil…pain: the punishment affects the woman directly by increasing the toil and pain of having children. He shall rule over you: the punishment also affects the woman’s relationship with her husband. A tension is set up in which her urge (either sexual urge or, more generally, dependence for sustenance) is for her husband but he rules over her. But see Sg 7:11.  (Foot notes on usccb website – NABRE bible)

Song of Solmen  (Sg) 7:11

11 I belong to my lover,

his yearning is for me.



2 thoughts on “Roll up your sleeves {edited} & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part VI”

  1. Thank you for your kind note. It is true all of the 12 Apostles were married, St. Peter included. I felt inspired to write this piece but it is not my calling. I do think it is important for people to talk about this. Celibacy is neither doctrine or law so it more easily retracted as a practice. I have been called elsewhere and am grateful for His lead, guidance, blessings and love.

  2. This is a very lovely post and I absolutely agree and concur with you. This is the simple truth. Celibacy should be a matter of personal choice rather than an institutionalised yoke placed upon young priests and nuns. Paul’s celibacy was his personal choice and nowhere did he mandate Timothy or Titus to do the same. Some of my catholic friends have argued that Peter did not marry. Yet they forget that Jesus went to Peter’s house and healed his mother-in-law. Only God knows the extent of murders and abortions committed to preserve the status quo, of which these could have been avoided if celibacy was left as an option rather than an overwhelming and overbearing mandate. And I’m not surprised that there’s a shortage of clergymen. Why won’t there be?? It’s not fair on these men and women who love God genuinely with uttermost devotion to be made to choose between their faith and their love for family.
    Could it be God is calling you to arise and fight for your brothers’ cause until change comes? You have to keep praying for a pope that can change this law and bring liberation into the hearts of men.

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