Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Priests should be allowed to marry

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Pope Francis has come at the right time. Boy, do we need a religious leader that even Jesus would embrace with open arms. He is not afraid to get down into the trenches with the rest of us common folk. He is a pope of the people, for the people and by the people.

The critics who question his actions under the military junta in his country of Argentina should have walked in his shoes during those trying days. It is what he does now and in the days to come that really matters.

There is one very important issue that he and the leadership have to come to grips with as far as I am concerned, and that is celibacy.

This issue has all but destroyed the Catholic religion. Millions and millions of parishioners’ hard-earned money has been thrown away on lawsuits brought on by priests who molested children. If Pope Francis can’t resolve this policy of not allowing priests to marry within a reasonable time, I will have to think seriously about another religion. Celibacy is a man-made rule. It will take real men to overturn that stupidity.

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  1. Agree that priests should be allowed to marry. In fact some are. It's a double standard in the Church. A married pastor from another religion who converts to Catholicism and gets ordained a priest in the Catholic Church is allowed to stay married. In the 60's the rumors in the U.S. seminaries were that the newly ordained priests would be allowed to marry. It didn't happen. Many priests, after ordination and not being allowed to marry, left the Church. They are and remain wonderful examples of Christian life and love.

    Carmine D

  2. It's my understanding that priests were allowed to marry early in the history of the Catholic Church. Then, in medieval times, the Church became fearful that the children of a priest could inherit property the Church deemed to belong to it and marriage was forbidden.

  3. Jim et al:

    If I recall correctly, all the Apostles, with the exception of St. John, were married. When Jesus was crucified, one of his last worldly acts was to put his mother Mary in the care of John. In fact the two went to Ephesus to live after Jesus' death until Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven.

    Carmine D

  4. "If you are not Catholic then it is really none of your business what they want to do or not to do."

    Excellent point Sgt. Rock. The Catholic Church, despite the thousands and thousands of religions and sects that have broken off from it, is still as it was completely intact and the same after 2000 years. If that's the work of the Holy Spirit--God--then I ask the anti-Catholics to please tell me what is.

    Carmine D

  5. A married priesthood could be a real witness to family life, building community, as well as commitment to the discipleship of Christ.

    The logical question is one of finances. Supporting a married priest and family is considerably more than supporting one or more priests and the religious women who cook and clean for them.

    Larger parishes require more than one priest. What happens if all are married with families and housing needs?

    Personally, I support married clergy and women priests. I think the need for more than one priest could be offset by retired celibate priests for the Sacraments, and lay members of the church exercising a greater role.

    As far as women priests go, it is good to remember that the first Apostle was Mary Magdalene. She was the first witness of the resurrected Christ, and the first to take the Good News to the male Apostles. It was Jesus' choice of who to appear before first.

    As for the women religious doing parish cooking and housekeeping for priests, a married clergy would free them up to serve the needs of children, the poor, and the aged in need of care and other services.

    Much depends on the financial realities. How much the parish community will do to sustain the financial needs of the parish on up the food chain.

    Rough makes a point about "molesters", but I must add that in other denominations with married clergy, you still have the problems with human nature such as sexual affairs, and molestation, and other abuses and cases of theft and fraud. They just don't get the attention because they are local and silent.

    The large scale problem in the Catholic Church comes in part from NOT having a married clergy and making itself a haven for those seeking closeness to children.

    There are still cases of sexual affairs, etc. in the clergy.

    If one thinks celibacy is easy, ask why so few Catholics practice the rhythm method for birth control rather than using contraceptives?

    Time to get back a healthy church with healthy relationships in family and church, including in commitment and sexual issues. The Church hierarchy can lead the way.

  6. I don't believe Pope Francis will be the one to change the celibate male priesthood, especially while the Pope Emeritus is alive.

    It may depend on the make up of the Curia going forward and whether another Vatican Council is called.

    Pope Francis is conservative and most of the Cardinals have been appointed by the last two Popes, also conservatives.

    My hope is in the Holy Spirit!

  7. "It may depend on the make up of the Curia going forward and whether another Vatican Council is called."

    I think you are right and it will happen: Pope Francis will convene a Church Council to deal with among other things the scandals that have riddled and ruined the Catholic Church in recent years: Cleric abuse and Vatican leaks.

    Carmine D

  8. Help!! I'm actually in total agreement with SgtRock (10:07 a.m.)!! "If the Roman Catholic church only wants priests who are not married then in the USA that is their right to do so."

    The American freedom of religion means that you have a near-absolute right to follow whatever religious beliefs you find appealing. Celibacy? Gay marriage? Abortion? Polygamy? Polyandry? Wednesday is the true sabbath? Flogging (yourself, not others...)? Go for it! BUT - you have no right whatsoever, not even the tiniest privilege, to force ANYONE ELSE to accept those beliefs!

  9. With a shortage of priests and religious, now just now but predicted well into the future, opening the priestly vocation to qualified/ordained married men would resolve the shortage.

    I have personally known in my lifetime two priests who burned out and walked out. They are just men despite their Heavenly calling. As they age, they can not do the same as they did when they were young. Sadly, the Church is not getting the seminarians to replace them and doesn't have the priests to do so either.

    Another priest, who likely will be a Bishop, recently said to me: When you go home, regardless of the day you had, you go to your wife and family. I go home to an empty rectory. Think about that statement.

    Carmine D

  10. The battle of ideas between Catholicism and Protestantism was over a long time ago -- and both sides lost. Religiosity has been on a steep decline throughout much of Western Europe for decades, and that trend has taken hold in the U.S.

    What still separates Catholicism from Protestantism is the history and pageantry. People cling to the Catholic Church not because it is evolving -- but because of its timelessness. Its rituals provide certainty in an uncertain world. The Catholic church will never accept married or female priests because to do so would mean abandoning the essence of its brand. It's a very short, very slippery slope from grand cathedrals to a half dozen people singing in a strip mall with some guy with a guitar named "Pastor Dave."