Thursday, June 10, 2010

Prioties and Ecumenism

As the Pope and Patriarch of Moscow move closer to a meeting, this recently came out:
Moscow, June 3, Interfax – Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes there will be time when Catholic priests would be allowed to have a family.

"I think that the Catholic Church will introduce married priests sooner or later, there's nothing new in it," the Metropolitan said on air the Church and World program on Rossiya 24 TV answering the question whether the Orthodox Church is likely to face the same sex scandal as the Catholic Church.

He reminded that priests and even bishops of the early Church were married.

According to the Metropolitan, married priests "minimize the problem existing and crucial for the Catholic Church."
You'd think that, on non-essentials like this, the Church would be willing to compromise for ecumenism. I mean, they've compromised almost everything else in its name. And this could actually help things with the Orthodox, who certainly can't be said to devalue the celibate life.

Why are they so stubborn? Why so defiant? Against almost all the voices (including of allies) calling to end the ridiculous charade of "mandatory" celibacy, they are just hunkering down and digging themselves into their old ways. They're perverse. There is no other word for it.


Tony said...

The way everyone is phrasing it these days makes it seem like the already ordained, hypothetically, become married and not just the other way around. Does this pose a problem? If so, shouldn't we preface any discussion about this with the pre-condition that any future "married clergy" be married first, then ordained?

This seems to be held as a kind of standard in the East. Seminaries will encourage those studying for the priesthood to find wives before they are ordained. Or that's what my father told me once. Do you think the reverse would ever catch on? Would that be such a bad thing?

A Sinner said...

Well, it would have to start out as ordaining married men, not the other way around. That is the tradition in the East, and the idea of letting priests get married AFTER ordination has always been considered exceptional (widowers with small children, etc).

However, I think eventually we would have to work around this, as it is cruel to make people miserable forever just because they made a choice at a time when they didn't have enough information yet.

It would also be an issue that men who are already priests, who might have married otherwise, will feel envious or ripped-off (though, strictly speaking, they arent; no one has a right to marriage anymore than ordination).

But perhaps I'd suggest something like this: a priest who wants to get married has to get laicized (but it would be made very easy, in the competence of the local bishop, with no hard-feelings or stigma attached). But then he could be readmitted to the clerical state after he was married, after a 5 or 7 year "probation" or something like that.

If the Pope were to prepare to lift mandatory celibacy, he could also offer a one time amnesty for those who have already left, allowing both the hundreds of thousands of men who already left to get married to come back, and also for those who currently are in some such situation to get married and come back immediately. He would announce this amnesty a few years beforehand to give current priests a chance to arrange their lives in such a way as to take advantage of it.