The basis of the difficulties, as it has been in so many of the Church’s scandals and human tragedies, is the institution’s moronic insistence on a celibate clergy. Nine hundred years is a sufficient data set to conclude that the experiment, which has no basis in the gospels unless you reverse engineer them beyond all recognition, has been a terrible failure on every level. If Papa Francesco wants to leave a mark on the Church, and on the people in it, that will bring him the praise of ages, he at least could make the requirement optional. Otherwise, the Church is going to be working poor Rezendes to death.
Five women who believe they have a vocation to the Catholic priesthood have contacted a US delegation visiting Ireland this month to recruit female priests.
From the US-based Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), the delegation is being led by Irish-born Bishop Mary Bridget Meehan, who is accompanied by Rev Mary Theresa Streck and Rev Joan Chesterfield.
Speaking of the five women seeking ordination, Bishop Meehan told The Irish Times they “already have theology degrees and diplomas in spirituality”.
A Mass celebrated by Bishop Meehan, in a community centre on Dublin’s South Circular, was attended by “35 to 40” people earlier this month, while the delegation met a similar number more recently in Drogheda.
Source: Irish Times
The earliest references to local resident leaders in the Pauline churches are Philippians 1:1 and Romans 16:1-2. Paul addresses his letter to the community at Philippi with their episkopoi and diakonoi(both masculine plural titles in Greek, both terms borrowed from secular leadership). These are the terms that later came to mean “bishop” and “deacon.” The episkopoi cannot mean here “bishop” as we understand it because there are many in one community. The role of the diakonoi also had not yet evolved into that which was later understood as deacon. The revised edition of the New American Bible translates the words as “overseers” and “ministers” and acknowledges in a note that the later development had not yet taken place.
Masculine plural forms are used in Greek to refer either to groups of men or to groups of mixed gender. In Romans 16:1-2, Paul introduces to the letter’s recipients a woman named Phoebe, a benefactor who is also a diakonos of the church at Cenchreae, one of the seaports of Corinth. Thus we know that women could hold this title at the time, and therefore the diakonoi in Philippi could be a mixed group. If the episkopoi of Philippians were heads of house churches, as seems likely, it is not impossible that some of them were also women (for example, Nympha in Colossians 4:15).
The account in Acts of the Apostles 6:1-6 of the apostles choosing seven men to take care of table service is usually considered the origin of the office of deacon, yet no one in the story is called diakonosand the apostles appoint them for the diakonia of the table so that the apostles can devote themselves to the diakonos of prayer and the word. All perform diakonos of different kinds.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
As the College of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope and as the US Supreme Court meets to address marriage equality, Confessions of a Gay Married Priest: A Spiritual Journey (Maurice L. Monette, Vallarta Institute, 2013) puts a human face on millions who will be impacted by their decisions.
Monette belonged to a Roman Catholic order of priests for 30 years, authored numerous books, and directed graduate programs in church leadership and organizational psychology. He and his husband of 24 years live in Oakland, California.
According to a CBS News Poll released on March 5, 66% of US Catholics favor letting priests get married, 66% favor letting women become priests and 62%believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
Franciscan priest and best-selling spirituality author Richard Rohr says of this book, ““This story illustrates one of the most counter intuitive messages of world religions, how our failings, heartbreaks and disappointments can be stepping stones to the spiritual joys of the second half of life.”
Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Huffington Post contributor with a longtime ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, says, “Through little cameos in prose and poetry, Monette’s faith journey shows the triumph of the human spirit over religious messages to suppress sexuality. This is a story of self-discovery and self-acceptance that brings about freedom for a more authentic God-relationship.”
Former marketing director for the National Catholic Reporter Dan Grippo says, “It’s the one book I recommend for each Cardinal before he casts his vote for the next Pope. The lessons Monette shares are lessons for the future church where all women, men and children are appreciated in their diversity.”
In reference to the Church’s transition, Monette comments, “My story and the stories of so many others offer healthy alternatives to a Church that has become better known for its sex scandals and cover ups than its spirituality and social justice. A mature sexual ethics would go a long way to healing this wounded Church.”
-continue reading at Religion Press Release Services.
A few years ago, I was on a studio-based television show. One of my fellow guests was a reasonably well-known Catholic priest. He was in a buoyant, perhaps reckless mood, pepped up by the adrenalin surge that comes with the nervous anticipation of a live appearance before the nation. And he was charmingly, delightfully camp.
He flirted harmlessly with everybody, made amusingly risqué comments to the make-up ladies about another male guest who had just sat in the same chair, created self-consciously exaggerated gestures with his hands. He was for all the world like Mary O’Rourke in a dog collar.
I watched on the television in the green room as he went live on air, riveted to see what the nation would make of this camp clerical persona. But the persona had vanished. The priest had performed an exorcism on himself. It would not be true to say that he was now a paragon of macho manliness. But there is a priestly demeanour – soft, asexual, unthreatening, controlled, precise – and he seemed to have just slipped it on like a mask. He was fluent and self-confident and charming, but all the campy exaggerations were gone. The charm was now bland, the body language stilted, the voice half an octave lower.
I have no idea whether or not the priest in question is gay and it’s none of my business anyway. Being camp doesn’t mean you’re gay and most gay men are not camp. But it was pretty clear, at least, that he was quite comfortable, behind the scenes, with a version of himself that matched a certain kind of gay male persona. And equally clear that he could switch that persona off at will, that he could be a different person on the altar, on the pulpit, in a parishoner’s home, on television. Maybe he had worked out some kind of compromise with himself and, if so, he seemed able to manage it with admirable agility.
Everybody who has had contact with clergy over the years knows that there are many, many priests who are gay. How could it be otherwise? At the very least, one would expect the same proportion of homosexuality in the priesthood as in the general population. But – and Colm Toibín has written particularly perceptively about this – the likelihood is that the proportion within the priesthood is actually significantly higher than among the general population of men.
Sexuality is a very troubling issue for young gay men, especially if they come from families where coming out would be impossible. The celibate priesthood seems to offer a refuge from those storms of doubt and guilt. Even when it becomes clear that the storms will not subside, the black suit and white collar create a decent disguis
– continue reading at The Irish Times