Crescat from the Heart

The Crescat speaks poignantly and powerfully from the heart about the condition of being single. I think C.S.Lewis calls it a ‘severe mercy’. Go here.

Sometimes people see Fr. Longenecker as the married priest and think, “It’s okay for him. He has it all. Priesthood and marriage.” It is true that I have been mightily blessed. Undeservedly so. However, there have been times in my past. I was a celibate Anglican priest for seven years before marrying. Then there were the ten years I longed to be a Catholic priest but it didn’t happen.

Maybe someday I will tell the tale. Suffice it to say that I hear you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10503510474554718305 Just another mad Catholic

    But to be fair Father you do have it all.Two Qustions I'd like to ask:Firstly why does has a two-tier system existed in the Latin-Rite over the past 20 or so years? First with Pope John Paul's Pastoral Provision and now with the Personnal Ordinate whereby former anglican clergy who are married can be ordained yet a cradle Catholic who is married cannot? In my diocese where 1/5 of the clergy are married former anglicans, many of the cradle Catholic Clergy who were fine with being celibite until these 'johnny come lately' anglicans came along with their families and got themselves ordained are extremely resentful of it.(especially since many of the ex anglicans were parachuted into senior roles within the diocese)Secondly wouldn't it be better for the Latin-Rite of the Church to adopt the discipline of our Eastern Catholic Bretheren? Again I think that its a bit hard for the Church to ask a young man to aspire to the priesthood to give up all hope of a family and then to say to him that these married former anglican clergy (many of whom are in their mid to late twenties/early thirties) are an exception- in my circle of friends its put nearly all the young men (including myself) who once aspired to the priesthood off the idea alltogether.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    OK, but the point I'm making is that it has been a long road to this point.As to the church adopting the Eastern discipline, I can see good arguments for it, but it is not my place to campaign for this.Finally, I hear you and am sympathetic to those who are resentful. I think the Vatican has now established a rule that any diocese is not to have more than three married former Anglican priests.

  • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

    You might equally say you've missed out. Celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of God isn't some kind of punishment. My first spiritual director used to say that a vocation to the enclosed contemplative life was a jackpot win in the lottery of life – but any religious vocation (and in this respect the Latin rite priesthood, exceptions apart, is a religious vocation) is a win.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

    JAMC said,"But to be fair Father you do have it all"How on earth can you make a statement like that? How do you know what father has, or doesn't have? And you call your assessment fair.Stop being so romantic in your view of the priesthood for starters. The devil attacks priests day and night, he hates them. He never sleeps (he can't) and he never lets up on Our Lady's sons. Start praying daily for Priests, your eyes will be opened. You are wrestling against flesh and blood only at the moment. Father is warring against the powers of darkness on our behalf, every minute of every day. No let up. You want some of that? It will be the God who calls you that will carry you, not the wife and kids and home in the country.Father is doing a good job, I don't envy him it though. I couldn't do it, not for a minute.Our Lady and the Saints watch over and protect him, Amen.Start saying your rosary JAMC, it alters your attitude, honestly, it altered mine.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10503510474554718305 Just another mad Catholic

    ShadowlandsA)Please do not presume to know the state of my prayer life, that is between me, God and Our Lady.B) How on earth is my view of the Priesthood romantic?c) my original comment was ment to encapsulate that a two-teired system has existed in the Latin-rite of the church for around 20yrs, and that married ex-anglican clergy such as Fr L seem to have quite a good deal vis a vis cradle Catholic clergy. This is because they can be priests whilst being family men at the same time, something that is denied to cradle Catholics, hence my suggestion that perhaps the Latin-rite of the Church adopt the Eastern-Catholic discipline with regards to clerical celibicy (personally I think that the Eastern clergy deserve their families given that their lenten fasting makes the practises of the latin-rite look like a joke).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

    JAMC said"B) How on earth is my view of the Priesthood romantic?"Cos you reckon Father has it all.You are asking me NOT to do, what you, DO do.Kettle, pot, black.

  • http://doctoreric.wordpress.com doctoreric

    Just another Mad Catholic,I have a friend who is a priest in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. If you really envy married priests, you should switch Sui Juris Churches, get married, wait your required 5 years in the Church, ask the bishop to send you to the Seminary (which you will have to pay for out of your own pocket as the Eastern Churches don't have the funds), get ordained, work your own parish while trying to keep your family fed. You should expect a paltry salary (once again not much funds to go around), your wife will have to work (I hope you marry a physician or surgeon), and you will have to evangelize like crazy to even keep your little ethnic church open. You will have to worry whether or not your kids will even keep the Faith as PKs are usually the worst of hellions. Also, with only about 50 parishioners, don't expect too much help around the parish either, especially when most of them live about 30 miles from the church.Yes, married priests have their cake and eat it too, but usually it's carrot cake not Schwarzwälder-Kirsch-Torte.Maybe, just maybe, God is calling you to be a priest, but in the Latin Church and quite possibly He is calling you to be a Bishop. No Apostolic Church has married bishops.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10503510474554718305 Just another mad Catholic

    Shadowlands a) I was speaking of the priesthood in general.b) from a certain point of view FR L does have it all he is after all both a priest and a family man e.g. the priest who baptized me put a brave face on when we talked about the TAC a few years ago but one could tell that he resented the fact that as a cradle catholic he had given up any chance of a family when he became a priest whilst the bishop was ordaining former anglicans with families left right and centre.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    I don't mind JAMC speaking his mind on this matter. It is a hot topic. I would only make a couple of point–which I accept do not answer all the questions:First, while the celibate man does not have the comforts of marriage and the joys of family life, neither does he have the trials of marriage and the sorrows of family life. It is easy to idealize the married state and overlook the genuine difficulties, trials and sacrifices of being married.Second, while the celibate man does not have the joys of marriage, neither does he have the responsibilities. He has an enviable freedom. He has no one else to spend money on. He can be his own man.In my experience the joys and sorrows of both married and celibate life are about equal. Both entail sacrifice and risk. Both involve trials and difficulties. Both can be joyful vocations or terrible burdens.It is up to us what we make of them. (and God's grace of course)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

    "In my experience the joys and sorrows of both married and celibate life are about equal"Exactly my point.


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