Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Married Clergy As The Solution?
The BBC, when not actually bashing Catholics, likes to take little side-swipes at the Church; little comments which suggest that the Church would be absolutely fine and dandy (and perfectly acceptable to the intelligentia) if she didn't adopt such backward-looking "policies." And the BBC is very adept at trotting out "leading Catholics" (such as Cristina Odone, and Sister Lavinia Byrne - though the latter appears to have fallen out of favour since she dropped the "Sister" bit) who are happy to confirm these opinions.
The most popular little dig consists of the suggestion that clerical celibacy is the reason behind all the woes of the Church. You name it, it's because the Catholic Church insists on celibacy. Falling attendance at Mass, lack of vocations, child abuse and homosexual clergy would all stop, immediately, if the Pope would only be realistic and allow married clergy.
At this point, an "ex-priest" is often cited as being so unfairly treated (if not actually trotted out in person) compared to his ex-Anglican married brethren who have been welcomed into the Catholic Church with open arms. The little inconvenient fact that the former has broken his vow of priestly celibacy, while the latter have not, is ignored.
Fr. Longenecker is a former Anglican priest who crossed the Tiber a while back. He's also married. As he points out, the Anglican Church has got married clergy, and that hasn't stopped the problems, demonstrated by this piece in the Telegraph. As an aside, it looks as though allowing women priests has problems too...