More on Married Priesthood

Paul Snatchko, who is always a good read at his blog posted Deacon Greg’s Patheos article on Facebook and it exploded with comments. Here’s my favorite one from Brian Barcaro, the bigwig of Catholic Match:

This article is irresponsible because the Deacon offers no facts to support the case he just says people will demand it someday. WHAT? So just because people start demanding something in the Church, the church should do it?

Um, if they’re demanding the Eucharist, we might want to at least think about it. Duh. I also don’t think he’s wrong about people demanding it.

Secondly Barcaro adds:

The primary reasons for the vocation crisis are: Smaller familes, poor catechesis, poor seminary system, lack of orthodoxy, altar girls. Married nor Women priests would solve any of those issues. Can we have married priests? Yes Should we have married priests? No (except in rare circumstances where a Anglican/Lutheran or Orthodox becomes Catholic and is married. Will we have married priests in the Latin Rite? Highly highly highly unlikely.

I’m trying not to laugh at the latter two points and want to see what sociologist in their right mind might agree with this with the exception of the first point.

Smaller families simply means that there are fewer candidates coming from Catholic families. So that’s simple math. Poor catechesis is the result of the faith not being passed down from the parents to the child and the reinforcement of religion in the home taking root in the young. I can speak from experience that because my father and mother were church goers that’s a big reason that I am and that it was a big part of my life once I left their nest.

But that’s not the only reason. I’m part of the church because men and women of faith inspired me to continue to be part of the church. Young people are called and encouraged to the priesthood because they are inspired by other priests and lay ministers in the church.

Period. And that’s not me who says so–it’s CARA. A respected sociological organization run out of Georgetown.

It has nothing to do with altar girls, or especially a rigid orthodoxy–which is actually the number one reason most people LEAVE the church. Condescending attitudes of a “I’m-more_Catholic-than-you” serve to be nothing more than an unwelcoming gesture to most. I’ve seen altar girls be quite a benefit to the parishes I’ve served and they haven’t kept the boys away from the altar—why? Because someone (probably a young priest) invited the boys just as much as someone invited the girls. Maybe someone even took special care to try to invite just as many boys and girls–even if the girls were a bit more eager. Imagine that.

Whether it’s a Campus Minister, a pastor, a pastoral associate, a religious woman, a youth minister…the main elements as I see them involved here are simple when it comes to engaging young people in even thinking about their future when it comes to participating in parish life as Catholic laity or as a priest of the church.

1) Welcome
2) Encouragement of gifts
3) Support for discerning religious life not to the exclusion or preference of other ways of life. But support in that process is important.
4) Inspiration, especially in terms of faithfulness to the parish community, service to the poor, Sunday mass and personal prayer.
5) Personal interest taken by a clergy member or lay minister in the spiritual growth of the individual.

Let’s not forget that 50% of recent ordinands said they were discouraged by someone en route to the priesthood. The support of parents was crucial to many. Would a wife or child engender support or discouragement? We don’t know for sure. Probably a mix.

Oh, and by the way. The issue of allowing unmarried to continue to consider the diaconate and still be allowed to pursue marriage is not a possibility at present. However, Deacon Bill Ditewig notes that there was a clause voted on at the Second Vatican Council when the diaconate was renewed that asked if ordination to the diaconate could be conferred on younger, unmarried men without the requirement of celibacy and the vote was soundly rejected 1364 to 839 (The Emerging Diaconate, Paulist, 2007, pg. 118). What’s amazing though, as Deacon Bill points out, is that over 800 bishops didn’t object to this!

How many bishops would object to optional celibacy today? At the 2005 Synod of Bishops they held up the practice of celibacy for priests but that meeting was held behind closed doors.

OK, I’ve blathered on too long…what thinkest y’all?

Marriage for Anglican Priests is OK…But Then Why Not for Catholic Deacons?


I’ve been silent on the Vatican’s recent proclamation about welcoming married Anglican priests into Catholicism who are disenfranchised with their denomination’s ordinations of women and homosexuals.

While I’m not sure that the reason for including these priests into our fold, is the main reason we should be welcoming them into Catholicism, I’m also excited to see what the end result is of having more men in the priesthood who do not have to exercise celibacy.

But a larger question looms, we have welcomed married men who have had differences with us into our priestly ministry, but what about offering permanent deacons the same option?

I certainly want to uphold the ministry of deacon as a distinct calling and if celibacy was optional tomorrow, I would hope that many deacons continue to be deacons and not just become priests. Their distinctiveness is something that we should honor and be joyful for their ministry. However, might some of these Deacons felt called to the priesthood and simply chose the diaconate because they had no other option when it comes to ordained ministry? I would wonder why those who have been long time Catholics not be extended the same welcome?

Might we think about those who might feel this way and offer them an opportunity to re-examine their ministry because after all a Deacon has been a loyal Catholic and perhaps have struggled with this for some time.

While I would think most Deacons wouldn’t take the option, I do think that those that would at least want to examine what their call has manifested itself into and see if they really feel called to the diaconate or if they are only become deacons because they can’t be priests. While formation is supposed to weed out these types, I’m sure there are plenty of people who discover a call to the priesthood post-ordination to the diaconate as well.

Calling all Deacons…what thinkest thou?

And by the way…nobody’s said this but does this open the door for the famous Fr Alberto Cutie to come back to his diocese?