Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The host, too, can assimilate

Don't put it beyond the scope of possibility that the influx of Anglican clergy making their way into Catholic ordination may act as a catalyst for the removal of the celibacy pre-requisite on Catholic clergy. Just because the Catholic Church is the host, it doesn't mean that some of what is inherently Anglican can't rub off on the Catholic majority.

I am aware that the Vatican is setting up a new structure to allow Anglicans coming into the Church the ability to retain their practices and identities. This does not mean that as new Roman Catholics, former Anglicans will be segregated from mainstream Catholic communities or operate disconnected from traditional Catholic circles. But it does mean that Catholic laity will see more and more married Catholic priests than ever before, and such a customary encounter might lift the taboo connotation such an arrangement has within some Catholic coteries.

Now, I know that for a change like this to occur the numbers of Anglican clergy coming back home will have to truly be significant. But you never know. On the other hand, Eastern Catholics have ordained married men but that's never changed anything in the Roman side of the house.

Should we be prepared for a possible shock?


Shirley said...

In one of my former parishes there was a married Anglican priest who became Catholic, and was ordained a Catholic priest. It always bothered me, I considered it a subversion of the priesthood, and would not go to Communion at his Masses. Now, that may be wrong of me, but I really had a strong physical aversion in his presence.When a priest has to keep his wife happy, how can he concentrate on the duties of a priest? How can he be there for his flock when his family must come first for him? A priest married is just a man divided, and NOT the image and representative of Christ. In my opinion. I hope the Catholic church does not allow many of the Anglican priests to also become Catholic priests. It can only be devisive and detrimental to the unity of the Church.

Rita said...

I don't know about a shock. Where we live, over 50% of the priests are Anglican converts, and the vast majority of those are married!

The Vicar of Christ has been generous beyond measure. The world will never understand his reasons for doing what he does, because the world is not interested in eternity and the salvation of souls.

What worries me is that in some parts a certain Catholic triumphalism is creeping in. We must remember that, now more than ever we are called to holiness and obedience to Our Lord whatever our vocation.

The structures and legal wranglings that will undoubtedly follow and cause consternation for some, must not distract us from our sole task of knowing and loving Christ more.

Hence Chastity, Celibacy, Virginity, Continence and Modesty
will always remain treasures; gifts from and for God.

The Church ever changes, yet ever remains the same.


ps. How did the exams go?

Adrienne said...

We already have Anglican use parishes and former Anglican married priests that have converted. I don't think this will make a bit of difference. At least - I hope not.

Test results????

Tom in Vegas said...

Well, I inadvertently wrote my response on a new post and published it, instead of writing it on "response" of this post. what can i say, my day began today at 2:30 a.m.


Thank you for your input. I knew this would not sink very well with you:0) Personally, I'm ok with it- always have been. Primarily because I can't walk up to a married Catholic priest, look at him in the face, and say to him that his ministry is inadequate simply because he is married. I think (from my perspective) that that would be terribly unfair to him.

I know where you are coming from, and I very much value your insight. I'd like to do a post on what the future Church may look like, obviously from my perspective, and with a high degree of error. I'll start working on it soon.


Right on the nose!!! I could not have said it more eloquently. The Holy Father is truly being generous and I for one will follow his lead.

Auntie A-

I think to some extent you are correct. As I mentioned on the post, Eastern Catholics have ordained married men and such a reality hasn't caused any waves in the Roman rite. However, the Anglican clergy will be much more associated with Roman Catholicism, which means that as married men they will be more visible to Roman Catholics than married Eastern Catholic clergy.

The test result won't be made available until some time next week (thank God) ;0) Actually, I'm pretty sure I passed, I just don't know by how much. The proff is a real jerk (I haven't told him this).

Terry Nelson said...

I'm guessing you passed.

As for the married priest thing in the Latin rite I doubt it will change - why should it if reunited Anglicans can marry - as well as the soon to be reunited Eastern rite Catholics. (Fingers crossed on the last group.)

portal said...

I don't think it will change a thing, it never has in the past. The Church already HAS married priests in both the eastern catholic rites as well as with the Pastoral Provision. And still the Latin rite requirement stands. And will likely continue to.

but the church is free to change it if she sees fit as it is not an integral component of being a priest. It is not needed for either the validity of Holy Orders NOR the adequate fulfillment of the priestly vocation.

MY hope personal hope of what WILL happen from all this is a deeper reexamination on what the priesthood really is on the part of the laity. As there is a lot of ignorance, personal bias and superstition out there. We need to get back to orthodox teachings being presented to folks in the pew on what priesthood really is and why the church has fostered certain (man made) disciplines. And has done so with good reason.

If its usefulness (celibacy, that is) and its purpose reached an end the church could abandon it. I don't see it happening though as the married priesthood is already represented within the church. And we need both. Some more married priests won't change that equation.

...and my understanding was that ALL Anglican priests and bishops would be Catholic priests, married or not. But the married bishops would NOT be bishops as long as their wife was still alive, as neither east or west has ever had a tradition of married Bishops.

which, to all of this, I say HURRAH!!! what an awesome witness to orthodoxy!! what a positive story about the church for a change!!! yayyyy!

Tom in Vegas said...


Nice to hear from you again!!

You make some very good points about what is currently taking place within the Church. I agree with you- I don't see the celibacy prerequisite changing anytime soon, but I think down the line (I hate to speculate when) some BIG changes will occur in this field. As father Tony once told me, “The Church moves slowly, but it always moves forward.”

I don't see, for example, married monks in the future Church. But married parish priest will be the norm (in my humble opinion)

Thanks for stopping by!