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Why a married Catholic priest thinks priests shouldn’t be married


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/21/17

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From the Rev. Joshua J. Whitfield in the Dallas Morning News: 

Calls to change the discipline of celibacy are usually either ignorant or forgetful of what the church calls the “spiritual fruit” of celibacy, something largely incomprehensible in this libertine age, but which is nonetheless still true and essential to the work of the church. Now being married certainly helps my priesthood, the insights and sympathies gained as both husband and father are sometimes genuine advantages. But that doesn’t call into question the good of clerical celibacy or what my celibate colleagues bring to their ministry. And in any case, it’s holiness that matters most, not marriage or celibacy. But beyond answering all these scattered arguments, what gets overlooked are the actual reasons people like me become Catholic in first place, as well as the actual reason the Catholic Church sometimes allows married men to be ordained. And that’s Christian unity, to say it yet again. When you see a married priest, think about the sacrifices he made for what he believes to be the truth. Think about Christian unity, not change. That’s what I wish people would think of when they see me and my family. We became Catholic because my wife and I believe Catholicism is the truth, the fullness of Christianity. And we responded to that truth, which meant (as an Episcopal priest at the time) giving up my livelihood and almost everything I knew. And just as my wife was pregnant with our first child. Because the Catholic Church believes Christians should be united, it sometimes makes exceptions from its own, even ancient, disciplines and norms, in my case celibacy. My family and I are not test subjects in some sort of trial run put on by the Vatican to see whether married priesthood works. Rather, we’re witnesses to the church’s empathy and desire for unity. That’s what we married priests wish people would see, the Catholicism we fell in love with and made sacrifices for. And it’s a sacrificial life, one my whole family lives, my wife probably most of all. We’ve never been busier, never more exhausted, but we’ve also never been happier. Even my kids make sacrifices every day for the church. It’s hard sometimes, but we do it, and joyfully; one, because we’ve got a great parish that gets it, and two, because we’re in a church we love and believe in, not a church we want to change.

There’s much more. Read it all. 

Photo: Twitter

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