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The Commonweal Article

  /   Friday February 14, 2003  

By now, you have probably all already read this article by Amy Welborn. In it, she begins be describing her marriage; she has been in a previous marriage that was declared invalid, and he is a laicized priest. They are both in their forties and raising a 19-month old. Might I add that I admire them for their openess to life.

Later commentary written by Ms. Welborn suggests that her main message in the article was to show the support of the bishops towards the child abusers compared to those priests who were laicized. Many abusers receive good support from their bishops while laicized priests don’t even get to keep their earned pension. The laicized priest also has hardly any means to make a living unless they have another degree.

Many have responded by mentioning that the laicized priests chose to leave. They do have their point; backing out on the promises made at ordination is very serious. However, it just isn’t as simple as these people think. While the abusers may not have chosen to leave the priesthood, they did choose to commit heinous sin. Rather that getting a dispensation for their vows, they broke them and still intended to call themselves priests. The only difference is that many of them were not laicized.

Regarding her other points, I do believe that the discipline of celibacy is there for good reason. The celibate state, in so much as it is a giving up of a good for something greater, is a higher state of life (hence the term “reduction,” used when a priest is laicized). It requires the grace of God to maintain. I see the point in saying that celibacy is a heavenly state in that we will all be celibate in Heaven.

However, some times I can’t help but think that the arguments for celibacy seem a little contrived. It’s like they decided on the discipline and then came up with the reasons for it. If one agrees with all the Church teaches but does not agree with the discipline of celibacy, I don’t consider the person to be a dissident. I would even go so far as to say that it may be a worthwhile idea to consider using laicized priests who are still faithful to the Church to say Mass when there are no celibate priests around in an area. Ensuring access to the Sacraments ought to be a high priority for the Church. However, I will leave such judgements in the hands of Almighty God and the men he appointed to make them.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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