Holy Longing

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul" Therese of Lisieux.

Some weeks ago a friend drew my attention to this story about a former priest, who (brace yourself) "left the Catholic clergy in 1971 to marry Jackie, a former nun."

My thoughts went immediately to two men of my own acquaintance …

The first of them left seminary in the 70s, halfway through, and married a dear friend of mine. This couple have since been actively involved in parish work, leading group after group of "lost lambs" (myself included) into the fold of the Good Shepherd and His Church. They are eager to see a time when the Church does away with the "celibacy requirement" for her priests. However, whenever they voice this opinion (it tends to crop up when I'm around), my mind immediately returns to an encounter with the second man — a certain Jesuit priest I know.

I met this man for the first time as he was about to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. He had spent much of that time as a seminary professor, raising spiritual sons who would follow after him. During the interview, I asked him if he had always wanted to be a priest.

"No, not at first," he replied softly. "There was a young woman, you see, who I loved very much…" His eyes grew soft, remembering.

Fiona was a very good girl. But I was resigned to be a priest, and I never doubted that this was God's will for me. Before Fiona entered the convent, I wanted to marry her. I knew this wasn't what God wanted for me. Still, I bargained with God, "Now let me marry Fiona, we can have ten children who can be nuns and priests." But He didn't take me up on it, and I understood what God wanted me to do. I would be a priest.

God said to me, "Do you love this girl, you want to be with her? You love her, and always want to be with her? I want you to give her back to me, and I will be your love. I am infinitely more loving, I love you more than she could ever love you, I know you through and through. If you will accept me as your love, I will give myself — all that I am — to you."

What I had for Fiona was a selfish love, a self-indulgent kind of love. I enjoyed being with her because it made me feel good. But it would not be that way for me. There would be no emotional, no physical consolation. "You will serve me — I will teach you to serve me — with a true love, without those sensible pleasures." And so I said yes, and I received such grace. I was accepting in the dark, a life without any particular joy — that was how it was going to be. When God let me know I was going to be a priest, I immediately wrote to Fiona and to my parish priest, telling them — I burned all my bridges, there was no opportunity to back out.

Fiona entered the convent the following September. Later, I had an opportunity to talk with her older sister, who told me about this Carmelite nun, Teresa of the Child Jesus, and urged me to read her biography. When I went to the library, I couldn't find Teresa (of Avila) but I did find Therese (of Lisieux). I opened up "A Story of a Soul" and I began to read.

A shower, an indescribable shower of love and tenderness rained down upon me. I was just overwhelmed with feelings of tenderness and love. I had never felt this love of God in my heart before. In the book Therese said she felt a shower of graces coming down, and I knew that this is what I was experiencing.

 When Father finished, we both had tears in our eyes. I did not doubt that he had suffered greatly — there is no pain greater, I think, than inflicting pain on someone who loves you. But oh, what a prize he had won!

I think about Father L. often, when I hear of this one or that one who has retraced his or her steps along a pathway of intention. Sometimes it involves a broken promise, other times a broken heart … a shattered dream, or weak resolve. We human beings are frail creatures, and there are times when the moment comes and (God help us) like Peter we falter.

And then the cock crows.

In His mercy, God often redeems even the poorest of our choices in unexpected ways. He blesses us far beyond anything we have reason to expect. That's just His way.

And part of that mercy includes never knowing the many blessings that might have been ours, that could have been others', had we simply stayed the course.

Jesus once said to a would-be disciple, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Just as a plow horse wears blinders (only God, the Great Sower, sees infinitely ahead), we must orient ourselves always toward the present. What is God asking of you now?

In this moment, there is grace enough for the next step. But if you break your focus, if you set your sights either backward or too far forward, disordered longings can grip you and keep you from embracing all God wants you to have and do, right now.

Have you ever experienced this? I have. I remember a time about three years ago, when it looked as though our foster children (who had been with us over two years) were going to be returned to their birth family. I spent three days in bed, unable to cope with the prospect of losing them. I let myself get too far ahead … and it paralyzed me. For those three days I stopped plowing, straining vainly to see (and yet fearful of what I might find).

We do it all the time, don't we?

"If only I could be with _________, then I would be truly happy."

"If only I could have ________ (a child, a spouse, a better job, a healing), I'll never ask God for anything else."

"If only I didn't have (or had) __________, I could serve God freely."

Enough. We must place these longings into the hands of our Heavenly Father, that we might be free for the work at hand. One day, one step, one furrow at a time, trusting that when the time is right, each of these longings will be fulfilled in infinitely better ways than ever we could have imagined.

Jesus, I trust in You.

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  • Guest

    A priest from a religious order was part of a Parish Mission in a church where i used to be a parishioner in the 1980's.He told a story of a young man who was dumped by his girl friend because she was a catholic and he wasn't.When they parted company she gave him half of a Brown Scapular.At the end of the homily,this priest held up his half of that Brown Scapular.

  • Guest

    This is just ridiculous.  The priest did what he thought was right, but the Church goes to extraordinary lengths to maintain celibates, and it's not right.  The Church can be downright cruel in keeping men in the fold

    God wants us to pass on our genetics, and to derive comfort from each other

  • Guest

    So these thousands of years of tradition, that it is greater to sacrifice the love of a marriage so that one can give all of one's love to Christ and his Bride, are based on absurdity and cruelty?

    I suppose mortification and penance are cruel and ridiculous as well. 

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

     If mortification and penance are cruel and ridiculous, and self-sacrifice (celibacy) of the priesthood is cruel and ridiculous , then Jesus' sacrifice and death on the Holy Cross cruel and ridiculous? Afterall, Jesus is God and would it make sense to just change the hearts of the people and forget about suffering?

     I don't know what's in the hearts of those people who oppose the celibacy of the priesthood but if you know well what you are saying, you will know too that you are the ones being cruel and ridiculous!

     May God bless you and grant you wisdom!

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

     Deirdrew, read the article again and pay attention to the part where the priest had a conversation with God. Did God tell him to marry this girl and serve Him too? Did God tell him the the Church is wrong? NO!! He told this priest that God's love is far better than any human being could!

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

    Mt. 19:12 – celibacy praised by Jesus who was celibate "…some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."

    Jer.16:1-4  – Jeremiah was told not to take wife and have children

    1Cor.7:8 – St. Paul was celibate

    1Cor.7:32-35  – celibacy was recommended for full-time ministers

    2Tim2:3-4 – no soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits

     

     

     

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

    1Cor 7:32-35 – St. Paul preached to the Corinthians, "An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided….I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction."

     

     So, why NO to celibacy??

     

     

  • Guest

    Let's remember that for about the first 1000 years of Catholic Church history priests where allowed to marry.  Does that mean they made less of a committment?  Does that mean that all the Sacraments celebrated up to that point were invaild?  I don't think so!  I don't get this article.  It seems people go on what they personally think is holy and pious.  People like that make me a bit nervous.  "Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once . . .  He must manage his household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity . . . (1 Timothy 3-5).  This passage makes a clear distintion between personal household and congregation or church.  Instead of pursuing what we personally think is holy and pious perhaps we should go to Scripture and Church History.

  • Guest

    A priest once explained the calling to religious life to me in this way. He said, "Everyone is called to marriage. You're called to marriage, I'm called to marriage–marriage is a natural calling inscribed in our hearts. But the priesthood is a supernatural calling that supercedes the natural calling."

    The supernatural calling of the priesthood is protected by graces that specifically help the priest remain true to that calling and to his vow of celibacy.

    Priestly celibacy is a beauty and a joy. Without the ties of an earthly family, 9-5 job, etc., a priest can truly dedicate himself wholeheartedly to God and to serving his flock. It is also wonderful because the pure of heart shall see God; celibacy gives priests a true clarity that enables them to be spiritual directors and to rightly see all men and women as God intends them to be seen–as His children.

    While I see the celibacy of the priesthood as something good and beautiful, I also pray for priests constantly. I know they must yearn for human intimacy at times, as we all do. But it is in picking up that Cross and carrying it that they are given the strength to live their vocation and to serve in persona Christi.

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

    The Catholic Church does not teach that celibacy in the priesthood is evil. There are Catholic priests who are married like those former Protestants who felt called to the priesthood but already married. Celibacy in the Catholic priesthood is not dogmatic. It is the dicipline of the Church following St. Paul and Jesus Christ in the Bible. Historically, it was neither a mandatory requirement for priests to be married. From the very beginning, it was recommended for priests to be celibate but if they cannot control the desires of the flesh, they could marry.

  • Guest

    I believe it is only the Roman rite that requires celibacy, as a friend if mine is the son of a married Byzantine priest; I believe it is not required in several other rites as well?

  • Guest

    Praise be to God Most High!

     You are correct candeo! The Eastern rites does not require celibate priesthood, only the Roman rite. But in the Eastern rite, I was told that only those who are celibate become Bishops.

  • Guest

    Daffodil,  your first comment made me smile. One of the reasons I'm in the Church today is because of a former boyfriend, a Catholic, challenged me to look closely into what the Church was about.

    As for you, bswearingen@stp, I couldn't agree more with your statement "It seems people go on what they personally think is holy and pious.  People like that make me a bit nervous." People who assent to what the Church teaches about celibacy and live out their vows do not fall in this category. However, you might want to talk this over with your confessor.

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    Celibacy is a discipline of the Church (similar to fasting, no meat on Good Friday) that could be changed.

    However, celibacy is a huge gift that the Catholic ordained priest gives to the people.  For those who have a spouse and children, caring for the family is their first responsibility and the Church follows.  The celibate priest can give 24/7 to the people of God.  The priesthood is God’s special gift to the people of faith.  Our Lord said, “I came to serve and not to be served.”  The priesthood in every age was to be a ministry of service…a service of love.

  • Guest

    If priests were to marry women then they would, theologically speaking, be polygamous.  Priests are married to the Church – in a mystical way.  Catholics should stop being so base and literal about marriage and sex! Read Theology of the Body people!

  • Guest

    Oy vey…In times like these we especially need signs that contradict the selfishness and egoisms of our age. See : "It's all about Me!"

    Virile strong Manly Priest who are Signs of Hope, Fidelity and Sacrifice. Celibacy is a sign to call back us to a higher love. It is manly, beautiful and holy. Doubt it ? Look up Fr. John Corapi or Fr. Larry Richards

     

    "The priest did what he thought was right" – so did the mob when they shouted "Crucify Him!"..so do I when I give into sin. I do not place too much stock in what The Age or the mob or even what I think or feel.

    Personal opinions and conscience are subject to formation and capital "T" Truth and that is revealed to us by Christ through His Church not Upper West Side New Yorks Times Journalistas.

    "But the Church goes to extraordinary lengths to maintain celibates," – no the church goes to extraordinary lengths to save a man's soul if even it cramps his "style".

    "and it's not right. " – translation : "And I don''t like it".

    "The Church can be downright cruel in keeping men in the fold" – Men of every vocation can damn their souls in a myriad of ways – that aint freedom – its the worst form of slavery.

    "God wants us to pass on our genetics and to derive comfort from each other" – I'm told 'Lebensborn' had a similar ideals. ;)

     

    Is it "fair" that the Church requires me to take an Oath to be faithful to one and only One woman? For the rest of our lives? How could the Church be so cruel? Even despite how I feel ? or think ? or if she is unable to pass on my "genetics" or is on a given Monday morning unable to provide me with comfort ? or tapioca pudding ? or bread fruits or Xboxes or whatever the Age tells me "I Need".

    I swore before God and Family to love her and sacrifice my very self for her. You see the celibate and I are in the same business. We are called to total Love and that calls for death to my very self.

     

    As our culture passes into lore and oblivion future generations of the faithful will wag their heads, click their tongues and smile in mild bemusement at our foolishness. </rant> 

  • Guest

    Reply to Heidi Hess Saxton:  Perhaps I struct a nerve.  You seem to imply that I am in a state of sin since you suggest that I "talk this over with my confessor."  I don't get it? I don't think that I stated anything inappropraite or inconsistent with church history or misquoted Scripture.  It's sad one has to endure self-righous attacks because you take issue with an article someone makes public.

  • Guest

         Well in reality celibacy is a discipline not a doctrine.  This can be seen in that if for example an Eastern Orthodox priest converts to the Roman Catholic rite he is allowed to stay married.  This is in fact a part of the Roman tradition that IS changeable (unlike having female priests which is unchangeable) just like some pointed out that it was changed TO the celibacy.  The real question is whether or not it should be changed?

          First of all, it has very good biblical support from the letters of St. Paul that encourage the disciples to remain single and to instead give themselves fully to God. 

           Second of all, it makes very good pastoral sense as a priest who does not have the worldly requirements of supporting and raising a family is more free to focus on improving his parish and focusing on his own spirituality.  I personally felt this first hand when I was formerly a full-time missionary with my only salary being food and a roof, but when I got married this was then impossible.  If priests were married the financial burden involved would go to the parishes.

            There are of course also a myriad of benefits in the sense of the sacrifice to God and the mystical marriage to the Church, but the two first reasons given I feel are the most important.  There are of course the other benefits of avoiding the possiblity of a priest having a romantic relationship with a parishoner and other uncomfortable possibilities.

            There is really only one benefit that I can think of to preists not being celibate which is that they could possibly give better counseling to married couples.

     

    God Bless,

       

  • Guest

    The closer I came to ordination the more ready I was to be married. It is a paradox that it is the Church that holds up the beauty and dignity of marriage, while at the same time pointing to something even greater, union with God in heaven. Celibacy is a sign that points toward eternity. At my ordination an old priest told me. You just gave everything to God. Don't spend the rest of your life trying to take it back. Celibacy makes no sense when preists use their freedom to play golf and go on vacation and buy nice things. My sister and her husband have four kids. They don't go on vocation and they can't afford nice things. My life as a priest should be more sacrificial not less. Those who embrace the fullness of married life are a constant reminder to me to deny myself and draw close to Christ. 

    Matthew 6:33

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    Of celibacy in the priesthood and among Religious . . .

    For my early years in school, I went to the Notre Dame du Chicago parish. The teaching Sisters were of a French order, which institutional name I never heard. The parish priests belonged to the French Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Saint Peter Julian Eymard. Our pastor was always, simply, ‘Father Aimé’, which is ‘Beloved Father’. I heard a lot of French chatted about, let me tell you.

    But, of interest is that we called our teachers ‘Mother’ – Mother Saint Armand, Mother Saint Anthony, etc. Their title reflected that they needn’t marry a man for family, when they could marry Jesus Christ and become ‘Mother’ to hundreds over their Religious life.

    So, too, as many priests have informed me, they ‘marry and have family’ in whole parish congregations. To think to saddle one wife and their children with so many ‘rivals’ would be unconscionable. I note, too, that a few of the best Protestant Bible teachers I have encountered (usually in advanced Bible study) have remained celibate, as well.

    For Religious women forced to be ‘Mothers’ only in (back then) forty-child blocks for a year and priests to take to their bed in solitude all their years cannot be easy with so many wedded and familial households all about them. Their lives attest that the will of God can be harrowing. Many – virtually all of us! – struggle with God’s will, even when we might think that it is ‘only the Church’ through which He issues His will. That struggle marks at least some of the suffering each of us must endure and undergo at the hands of God in His will. After all, He will test me, and test you; refine us to saintly ‘gold’, as we live, and move, and have our being in Him.

    But, greater than His will is His love – that love that made each of us from Himself for Himself. He does not have that-very-each-of-us endure temporally that which is meaningless eternally. From His love, God subordinates His will for one thing: He will save you, me and anyone and everyone through His redemption.

    I think of the great Protestant anthem – ‘How Great Thou Art” – and realize that for me and for you and for each of us, His greatness is expressed in wonders of His love, even as love would have us suffer, sacrifice, stand by in Faith, stand up in hope, stand still in Love’s embrace. ‘Why’ is nearly always great mystery, ‘how’ greatly difficult, seemingly to our weak spirits impossible. But the great ‘what’ of God’s love is unquestionable. Out of His great love, His great will – His call – is all each of us has to bank on, now and forever.

    Remember, I love you, too

    Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Priestly celibacy is a gift in my opinion.

    Although I am a life long Catholic I have many friends that belong to a Protestant congregation.  I have also been affiliated through the school at this church and seen first-hand the conflicts of interest that come up when your Pastor has a wife, kids and even grandkids.  The church is not their first priority.  If the wife is unhappy with the politics or the sermon or anything else it can cause a ripple effect that can cause so much harm to the congregation.  How would the priest handle this?  Kids need the time and attention from their dad.  How would the priest handle this?  Raising a family and being committed to a marriage is really hard work.  When would the priest have time to hear confessions…..?

    We are blessed with celibacy.  Believe it!

  • Guest

    Rockin' good news Heidi!

    Thanks again. 

    Christ on the cross is a stumbling block.  Christ in the Eucharist is a stumbling block.  Celibacy is perplexing to those immersed in our culture of "freedom" above love.  You can't blame these loving souls, since the culture is everywhere.  Heck the culture barely understands sex and marriage … they have no real good reasons to keep it between a man and a woman.

    Christ did and said many things.  Some were small things but in retrospect and through the lens of the Holy Spirit, actually are large and important things (they can be seen as key things).  Celibacy was chosen by Christ, over and above marriage.  Not because he hated marriage and sex, but because in His kingdom, there is no sacrament of marriage.  He went beyond and gave us the gift of Celibacy for the Kingdom.  The world cannot understand that, even if it gets many of the other small things that Christ did and said. 

    Yet if the world would pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give it understanding, the world would receive this grace and more.  Gifts and signs and sacraments that all point to heaven and Christ's kingdom.  They are precious realities that remind us that there is more to life than our senses tell us.

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Ave Maria!

    Many folks in this 'its all about me' society can NOT understand the total gift of self that comes with the consecrated life; many think that you can do the 'job' and still have all the other things of life. Only the priesthood is not a job (even though I know some who treat it as such). I liked what Fr. Francis wrote! And I know a priest who says he is indeed married and to the church and he wears his wedding ring around his neck.  Unfortunately I also know a priest who takes a minimum of a week off every month and is gone during the week and will not offer daily mass and has a 40G vehicle and a new rectory and does not like to hear confessions. He is not living a sacrificial life. It shows in many ways.

    But the total gift of self finds joy in the sacrifice and the love of God supercedes all others.  Celibacy is a great gift given to the church as a foretaste of heaven where we will not be married. And celibacy is not sterile for there are spiritual children of that union with God.

  • Guest

    I don't understand what all the arguing is all about.  When I reverted back to our Catholic Church over seven years ago, eventhough I had my own opinions of certain moral issues, I decided to accept without question the teachings of the Magisterium.  It was as if my eyes were open and I had let Jesus take on my yoke of life.  I submitted myself to the teachings of our Church which is priest celibacy, and until the Magisterium changes this tradition–that is what I believe. 

  • Guest

    Thank you, mothership. That is exactly what I was trying to say (apparently not as clearly as I'd hoped) in my previous post. There can be tremendous freedom in submitting, rather than second guessing.

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    Rev. John E. Mikalajunas

    My friends we are not weighing here the value of celibacy verses a married clergy.  I have been a priest for 38 years and treasure the gift

    of celibacy. I am a Roman Catholic Priest. It has freed me to work for Jesus and the Catholic Church.

    I believe the real issue is optional celibacy.  Let us be honest as churches close for a lack of priests and people, would it not be better

    to have married clergy in these very lonely rural parishes.  Most priests are

    not from rural areas, but have come from the city.  They do not understand the rural culture, and loneliness and alcholism take over.

    Priests are human beings not saints.  Let us look in american catholic

    church history, when the Roman Catholic Bishops of the  US petitioned

    Rome that in the USA, Byzantine Catholic Priests should not be allowed

    to be married in the US.  1929 Rome issued its letter denying the Eastern Catholic Church to have married priests.  From the 1930ties the American Carpatho Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese was born

    led by the widowed priest now Bishop Orestes Chornock, followed by

    Bishop John Martin a former Byzantine Catholic Monsignor, now led by

    Bishop Nicholas Smisko, baptized Catholic but raised in the church by

    his parents.  55 Independent Parishes 150,000 faithful lost to Orthodoxy. In Europe Married Byzantine Catholic Men are ordained to

    the Catholic Priesthood in 2007.  Let us look at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in

    the US whose Catholic Priest Median age is 38 in the dioceses of Chicago, Stamford, Ct, Parma, Ohio and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The majority of their priests are married priests from the Ukraine.

    I mention all of this because I feel the church needs to look into the

    option of having celibate and married priests. Of course bishops must

    be celibate priests or monastics.  Please do not pit married verses

    celibate.  Allow the option and may our churches have people and

    priests.  Ask your bishops how many Catholic Churches have been

    closed, sold, torn down and many people no longer go to mass.

    If married priests have worked in the past, and are working in Eastern

    Catholic Churches, why not in the Latin Church.  Love the Eucharist

  • Guest

    Rev. John E. Mikalajunas

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    (May I call you . . .) Father John,

    To ‘love the Eucharist’, one must begin in obedience.

    As Jesus noted, ‘if you love Me, obey My Commandments’ – and the Magisterium is as close to illuminating and inspiring to obedience of the Commandments as we have.

    ‘Discipline’ or ‘option’ or ‘gift’, celibacy is as ordered by Christ through His Church.

    I think that His Crucifixion indicates that hardly any of this would be easy . . .

    Remember, I love you, too

    Reminding that we are all on the same side – His,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Rev. John E. Mikalajunas

    W. Jewell Are you questioning my obedience? Please read my comments.

    I am a celibate obedient priest to the magisterium of the church.  The

    discipline for the Roman Church in 2007 is celibacy, and every priest

    accepts this discipline in obedience. I am offended at your questioning

    my obedience and ascribing teaching to Christ that he never demanded.

    I do not find scripture having Christ's exact words that priests must be

    celibate, nor will you for they are not to  be found in scripture. The apostles were married.  Nowhere in scripture does it state

    that they put their wives aside to follow Christ.  However: St. Paul's first letter to Timothy Chapter 3 gives the rule that bishops and deacons can be

    married only once.  However: from the earliest times both the eastern

    and western churches had celibate bishops.  If a married priest in the early

    church had aspirations to be a bishop the wive agreed to enter a

    convent to become a nun and her priest husband would become a

    celibate bishop. One of the main reasons for instituting celibacy in the

    western church was the question of the ownership of church property.

    If the priest died first and the wive refused to relinquish the rectory in which she and her children were living a problem came that was solved

    through court cases.  A  spiritual side was attached

    to celibacy and the church property issue was solved.

    I posed the question of the 1929 US issue over married priests in the

    eastern catholic church imposed by the latin bishops, because in their

    opinion in 1929 the married eastern catholic priest was a scandal.  I ask

    you what is the greater scandal in 2007 a God fearing loving married

    eastern catholic priest with wife and children or the homosexual roman

    catholic priest?  Remember this was the 1929 latin bishops request.

    Celibacy is a wonderful gift and a great means to serving God and the

    church and this I attest to in my own life and I would have it no other

    way.  My question only asks to follow scripture, the early discipline of

    the western church and the present discipline of the eastern church in

    2007. I ask you is optional celibacy a Sin!

    Sincerely in Christ,  Fr. John E. Mikalajunas

  • Guest

    Fr. John,

    Optional celibacy is not a sin.  But since you have brought up optional celibacy … what are the numbers of Roman Catholic priests versus Non-Roman Catholic who can get married?

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Rev. John E. Mikalajunas

    My dear people

    If you would be open to my comments and see the problem that is

    presented in the article of the loss of some very good priests who

    were not able to live the celibate life.  It is not a question of how

    many roman catholic priests verses how many eastern catholic priests,

    how many ex episcopal priests who became catholic priests and retained

    their wives.

    If you would be open to the Holy Spirit and see that married priests

    can work for the church, but let us be honest how many catholics

    are willing to support a married priest, give him a just wage so that

    he can educate his children.  How many us catholics are still giving

    one dollar per sunday and wondering what the priest does with all that

    money.

    I have pointed out some of the injustices that were done in the US

    by Latin Rite Bishops to Eastern Catholics.

    I have pointed out that retention of church property became a reason

    for celibacy in the Western church with a religious meaning as a secondary value to celibacy.

    I have pointed out that Christ never required celibacy of his priests

    from Sacred Scripture or the early tradition of the church.

    I have pointed out that churches are being closed, torn down, turned

    into Protestant Churches.  Catholics left in the neighborhood of sold,

    torn down churches leave the church and become Protestant because

    there are no priests.

    I am saying if optional celibacy existed we would have a stronger

    church.  For now I realize this is not the practice of the Western

    Church, but as the Holy Father has allowed the return of the celebration

    of Mass in latin according to the Council of Trent called the Tridentine

    Rite, why not return to the ancient practice of allowing the choice

    of celibated or non celibate priests.  Incidentally I have in addition

    to the English Mass at the request of the bishop celebrate one mass

    each sunday in latin according to the tridentine rite for the last 17 years.

  • Guest

    Dear Father,

    Thanks for your openess and support of Christ's Church.  I am humbled to the sacrafices you have made to be a priest, especially since recent events have caused such a lul in vocations.  The same goes for all priests and religious who devote their lives to Christ and the Chruch!

    I considered the Priesthood and spent 2 years in a monastery.  It was a great experience and I learned a ton and grew closer to Jesus, Mary and the Church.  I was called instead to be a husband and father.  I did not have it in me to work alone, even though I was with a community, in the fields of the Lord.  I see and understand what the vow of celibacy is more than most, through God's grace.  And again I say I am humbled at the goodness and sacrafice of all religious.  God is very good.

    I have 6 children and enjoy each and every one of them.  One day I may become a deacon.  Until then I serve the Church however I can.  We teach NFP and I work with the Knights of Columbus.  Even those small sacrafices, which I do poorly, greatly impact my time with my wife and family.  It is hard to imagine being a good priest, husband and father.  I'd be whooped.

    I give to my local Church as much as I can.  It is much more than a dollar.  I figure someone with 8 people in his family should give at least 8 times the amount.  It is Jesus' money any way.  It is through his grace that I am blessed to be able to earn all the money I have.  I shoot for tithing.

    I am open to a married priesthood but I completely support and understand the present requirement in the Latin Church for celibacy.  Celibacy says loud and clear that our lives are in the not yet.  We have more to live for in the eternal glory with Christ than here and now.  I would much rather see the current vow of Celibacy continue in the priesthood … but I am not a voting member, just like you a praying member.  I understand your points and know you do not hold them for selfish reasons since you couldn't get married since you are already ordained.  They are great points.  And I will pray that our Church does the right thing, continues to be guided by the Holy Spirit, especially in its actions concerning priests.  Priests have taken it on the chin recently.  I pray that their sacrafices continue to payoff and help renew the face of the earth.

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Those that favor optional celibacy think this is going to solve so many problems, but they don't stop to think about the problems that it will create.  Married priests are not going to be saved from the ravages this culture inflicts upon marriage just because they wear a clerical collar, in fact, their calling is going to inflict even more.  They are not going to be free of divorce, of marital infidelity (on both sides), or any of the relationship problems that face married couples.  As so many people have pointed out, they are only men.  They are going to face the same trials as any married man, but have to do so in the arena of being an example to the Parish.  No pressure there, for him or his family.  If Prostestant families think they have pressure, what do we think it would be like being married to a priest, especially with the media willing to jump on any indiscretion?  Let's really think about divorce, because as a priest, he should understand the sacrament inside and out and should make the same known to his bride, where does this put the issue of annulment?  It isn't a 'Catholic divorce'.  What if his bride does not share the Church's view on contraception? What about abortion?  The heart is the heart and it does not necessarily chose within its political and religious ideologies.

    Now you're saying, well obviusly he couldn't marry her, or perhaps he wouldn't fall in love.  Fine.  Then if he can't marry her because of his commitment to God and the Church because of moral/political/religious ideologies what good is optional celibacy?  There are still going to be plenty of restrictions.  Perhaps optional celibacy will come with a check-list of the characteristics a woman must have in order to be marriage material.

    Additionally, what would happen if the priest fell in love with a non-Catholic?  Let's get real, if celibacy were an option, then they would have to have the freedom to fall in love where they will.  Now you have the priest married to a non-Catholic, and the priest is supposed to be the example for us.  What if after careful soul-searching the woman decided she couldn't raise the children in the Catholic faith?  This isn't an unplausible situation, as I bet many Catholics who married non-Catholics have found out.

    So many point to where the Church has been, that celibacy was not always required and we could always go back.  Well, there are many things about the Church that have developed, that have taken time, and while this is a discipline and not doctrine or dogma, it doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit did not guide us to this place.  We see the rather secular use of a land-grab to institute celibacy, well, maybe that's the tool the Holy Spirit finally needed to do His will.  Maybe the Holy Spirit arranged the whole thing to His advantage because He saw the world as it was to come and He knew that a celibate priesthood was the only way to protect the Church.  Our ways are not God's ways, and His are so far above ours that we cannot comprehend them.  Yes, there are other places that allow priests to marry, but it may be that God allowed it to show us the better path.  We can never forget that the Holy Spirit is guiding us.  It may take more time than we want, or ways that seem strange to us, but we have only to look at the history of Israel in the Old Testament to realize that God draws straight with crooked lines.

  • Guest

    Rev. John E. Mikalajunas

    According to your comments Stephanie Haase, you say there are other

    places that alllow priest to marry, but it may be that God allowed it to show us the better path.  The other place my friend is the One, Holy,

    Catholic and Apostolic Church of the east.  The late Pope John Paul the

    IInd said the church has two lungs eastern and western.  You give

    your comments as if celibacy protects our priests from sin.  Look in

    2006 of archbishop Malingo, Latin Western Catholic archbishop celibate

    married in a moonie church, how has celibacy protected him. The eastern catholic church would not allow the priest to marry a non eastern catholic woman for the house would be divided so that shoots

    down your argument. All of your arguments on ideologies have no value

    for he obviously knows the church, and his selection of a wife before

    ordination not after ordination would have him choose a partner who

    has a vocation to be the wife of a priest.  I knew a married eastern

    priests wife who always had her head covered in the presence of

    her husband the priest, because of his role as one who blessed, Stephanie when was the last time you had your head covered in the

    presence of your parish priest because of his role as another Christ?

    You seem to be so narrow minded to say that celibacy is the only

    option because of the Holy Spirit.  With that type of analogy has

    the Holy Spirit gone on vacation in the Eastern Catholic Church

    united to the Pope and only remained with the celibate Roman Church,

    with her good and Holy Priests, with her weak priests, her homosexual

    celibate priests, her pedophile priests.  Stephanie be cautious with

    your words for when you point your finger at someone three point back

    at you.  Be open to the spirit for their are good holy celibate priests,

    and their are good holy married priests. Yes Stephanie we have good

    Roman Catholic Married priests who were former episcopal priests. Yes

    the retired episcopal bishop of albany became a revert to the Catholic

    Church which he left, and a good archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church came to the Catholic Church with his wife.

    I am a very happy celibate priest, I'm not fighting celibacy as you

    are fighting church tradition. Would you be generous to the church

    so that your God loving married priest could support the 10 children

    that God has blessed him and his wife with since they are not contracepting?  Would you give generously to support the priestly family.  I remember meeting a young man 27 years ago fixing our

    parish organ, whose grandfather, and father were Lutheran Ministers.

    I said to him would you also enter the ministry.  He said to me oh no

    Father, I would not put my children through what I suffered as a child

    of the minister from the parishioners.  Maybe for the Lutheran it was

    the lack of charity from the parishioners.  However I have suffered

    from the unkindness of parishioners as a celibate priest, who said

    you are a good, kind and holy priest, but not the type we want.  They

    want disobedience to the church.

    So Stephanie let us pray for the church and all God's people who

    comprise it.  OPTIONAL CELIBACY IS NOT A SIN.  Sincerely,

    Father John E. Mikalajunas

     

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