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NBC looks at the possibility of married priests in the Latin rite.  Most people take the “What could it possibly hurt?” side of the question.  I advocate for considering the “How were we supposed to know?” consequences.  Still and all, a reasonable coverage of the controversy, which is a rarity in the MSM.

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  • Stu

    And then there is the “What is driving the desire for change?” outlook.

  • ivan_the_mad

    There are some hilarious errors in the piece.

    “Ninety-five of U.S. Orthodox priests are married” Goodness, 95 of them? If that’s the case, then the Catholic Church in America already has the Orthodox beat when it comes to married clergy.

    “the Center for Applied Research in the Apostate at Georgetown University.” LOL! … LOL!!!!!! Doubtless if you regard Georgetown in a certain light, this might not even cause you to bat an eye. Regardless, I’m pretty sure the word wanted is Apostolate.

    • Stu

      Father Cutie is quoted as saying, “”I can tell you everyday since I became an Anglican, the day I joined the Episcopal church, I’ve received an email, a phone call, or letter from a Roman Catholic brother who’s thinking of making this transition that I have made.”

      Really? I suppose if one reads it as the same “Roman Catholic brother” over-and-over then it may be true.

      • Brian

        It wasn’t necessary for Fr. Cutie to become apostate to get married.

  • Margaret

    I think you also have to questions the time commitment we require from our priests and how that would impact their families. Catholics require way more of our priests than protestants require of their ministers. I want a priest with me in the hospital at 3am if I”m in a car accident and could die. That would be hard with a family. I went to college with the daughter of an Orthodox priest. She was very resentful and jealous of the time he spent with his congregation and not his family. As a result she refused to go to any church. The effects on both the church and the potential family of the priest are simply unknown and possibly negative.

    • Margaret- try getting a Catholic priest at the hospital at 3 am! My husband (a Byzantine Catholic priest with bi-ritual faculties and the director of spiritual care at a Catholic hospital) has an impossible time getting priests to the hospital at any time- perhaps it is the secretary/gate keeper’s fault, but a personal visit at the hospital from a priest not a hospital employee only happens with parish VIPs -in any case- the local Roman-rite parish has 5,000+ registered families….

  • B.E. Ward

    I wish they would’ve mentioned that a change in policy wouldn’t have done anything to affect Fr. Cutie’s… shift. If the Latin Rite takes on the same policy as the Orthodox (and I’m presuming Eastern Catholic churches as well), Fr. Cutie would still have done something horribly wrong.

    This whole thing is fascinating to me (as a Protestant in process of becoming Orthodox, but sympathetic to orthodox Catholicism and hoping for an eventual reunion). If this subject does indeed end up being ‘discussed’ and the policy revised, I think socially progressive Catholics are going to have a field day thinking this could just be the tip of the iceberg. Next stop.. women priests!

    On the flip side, I’ve noticed a lot of hand-wringing just over the idea of a change among more socially conservative Catholics. Sorry, I just can’t buy the idea that this would be a horrible thing for your church. Anecdotes about Orthodox priests not being good dads or not available for spiritual crises are really only anecdotes. There’s no evidence of spiritual impoverishment of the Orthodoxy laity.

    Where I do think this could cause some harm is among current Catholic priests. I’m sure many of them wrestle with their vocations and it’s not easy to abandon the possibility of marrying. Maybe I’m weaker than most, but I would definitely feel some resentment if the policy was changed a day or a week or a year or 5 years after I was ordained.

  • There is no need for married priests in the Roman rite as a rule- allow married deacons to do what their ordination permits, this helps with the ‘shortage’

    • jeff

      Think about it. Deacons can do 95% of what a priest does. they can:
      -wedding prep plus weddings
      -visitations in the parish
      -chant the gospel
      -preach homilies
      -train altar boys
      -role of deacon is actually more involved in a high mass than officiating priest
      -day to day running of the parish
      -chaplaincy work
      -catechism work
      -spiritual direction
      -service of Vespers
      -other parish activities throughout week

  • My only quibble with people afraid of married Roman rite priests- “what about the money?!” I know that different regions have differing levels of compensation- but the priests here do fine- housing, car, insurance, housekeeping, secretaries, etc- Their salary is money free to spend however they wish- the local rectory here (housing 2 priests and the occasional guest priest) is 4 times larger than our townhouse which houses the 6 of us…we would be rattling around that rectory…or the empty convents in town- ah well

    have theological arguments against changing Roman rite tradition for celibacy…but $- yuck

    • thisismattwade

      I’ve often thought we pay our priests too much in the Latin rite anyway. Not just salary-wise, but with other benefits.

    • bob

      So, let’s see, you have a parish like Olympia, WA with 1-2 priests and 6000 laity and you wonder where money will come from? Where does it come from now?

      There have been married priests for 2000 years, ever since St Peter had a mother in law. The West has had celibacy required for 1000. It is clearly a departure from Tradition, and it doesn’t work. The Orthodox have never had a celibacy requirement. When you pick clergy exclusively from that very small number of men who will never marry, you automatically set yourself up for a higher frequency of bad idea candidates. Of that small number you find the ones who might be pious men. Of that number, the ones who *would* consider clerical life as a permanent celibate. Of that number you find the ones who *should*. Then the ones who *can*. You’re getting down to a small number.

      Consider this quick calculation.

      3 billion was spent, lost, to clergy lawsuits in the last years. Due to a TINY number of clergy. If the roughly 45,000 clergy in the US were all (unlikely) to be married before ordination, on the day of ordination that $3,000,000,000 could be made into a check for $66,000 for each one as a start on an IRA. There’s money. Very misspent, that’s all. There would still be bad apples, but you have a vastly larger pool of candidates. Saying that people simply trust God to produce good candidates out of tiny samples is very much like trusting God to change the oil in your car or fix your brakes for you. It doesn’t work, won’t ever work.

      • jeff

        yes i, too, wonder if it’s a case of “better the devil you know”. sure, married clergy come with their own problems, but celibate clergy sure have theirs as well and don’t we know it!!!

        The pros and cons of both need to be gently weighed up with prudence and sensible judgement. Even if we learn how to better look after our priests due to better understanding from the experience and nothing else changes then it will have been worth it.

  • Dr. Eric

    In internship and residency, physicians and surgeons routinely work over 80 hours per week. Yet, no one insists that they should be jobs for celibate men only. Also, every EC and EO church I’ve ever been to has ever had more than 50 people at the Liturgy, and usually there aren’t more than 30 in the congregation. It’s much easier to take care of a smaller parish.

    • Elmwood

      If you have children and are away 80 hours a week you are probably doing something wrong. Your family is more important than your career. If a job absolutely requires 80 hours/week then ideally it is best fit for celibate men and women.

    • “In internship and residency, physicians and surgeons routinely work over
      80 hours per week. Yet, no one insists that they should be jobs for
      celibate men only.”

      That doesn’t make it a good thing — talk to the children of some of these parents, or of the Wall Street investment bankers and Big Firm lawyers who work just as many hours or more. In fact, that’s why some would-be doctors decide to wait before having children, and some lawyers wait until they’ve made partner or switched to a smaller firm to start a family (the investment bankers can often retire by age 35).

      A father I know, who entered medical school after his three children were born, quit his residency because it was too hard on his wife and children.

  • Maolsheachlann

    Why don’t people ever think of how much time and effort it took the Roman Catholic Church to establish priestly celibacy? This would be a backward step.

  • Mark R

    In countries like Slovakia and Hungary with Greek Catholic minorities almost no Latin rite men change rites to aspire to be married priests. Why? The Eastern Churches require very serious fasting twice a week and have three other fast periods similar to Lent, which is observed more intensely than would a Carthusian. That kind of discipline plus a more intimate parish life might give the Latins a small fighting chance for ordaining marrieds…But the Roman Catholic uber institutionalisation and over bureacratsation get in the way…in fact they get in the way of everything that could enhance real devotion on many levels. Really, are not many of the Church’s problems today the result of what hierarchs and theologians have done?

  • jroberts548

    The parish was a non-entity before clerical celibacy was required for all secular priests. It’s the gradual osmosis of monastic norms into the parish priesthood that made the parish priest relevant.