Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Uh - oh, Sudiegirl's thinkin'...working without tools again.

OK, I realize I'm stepping into partially uncharted territory here and I may piss off a few people. I have limited experience with the Catholic faith...I've sung for a few Catholic services, D was a Catholic before he switched to the Episcopal faith, my best friend is married to a Catholic and has a priest for a brother-in-law, and my future father-in-law and stepmother-in-law are Catholic.

However, as a Protestant looking in, I really do have a few...um...let's see...statements? Questions? Rhetorical questions? Opinions? I don't know...I just work here.

Let's start with the first few paragraphs of this article from USA Today:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has called a meeting Thursday with top Vatican officials to discuss lifting the celibacy requirement for priests seeking to marry or who have already married.

Benedict called the summit to examine the implications of the "disobedience" of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Zambian prelate excommunicated in September for installing four married American men as bishops, the Vatican said Monday.

The Vatican stressed the meeting would not open a general discussion of the celibacy requirement but would only examine requests for dispensation made by priests wishing to marry and requests for readmission made by clergy who had married in recent years.

OK...see my qualifications on this topic in the very first paragraph, and then come back here.

OK - ready?

Why in the name of David Hasselhoff is it a problem for priests and nuns to get married? I mean, really - I don't know where that idea even came from. Is it Biblical? If so, where in the Bible does it say that?

It seems to me that the Catholic denomination is the only one where men and women who have chosen the life of clergy - i.e. priests and nuns (respectively) MUST sacrifice this essential part of an adult life. Why does a body of faith seem to think that, in order for their ministers (i.e. priests and nuns) to properly spread the word of God's love, they need to avoid something that their parishoners are encouraged to do?

Furthermore, priests and nuns are expected to be able to counsel parishoners about how a good Catholic marriage should be. What basis of comparison do they have for this? They can't draw from their own, obviously. I don't know if the Catholic church has peer counseling available (I would assume so), but if some parishes don't have that kind of program, then what? We're back to the same question.

In my Protestant experiences, many of the ministers I knew (male or female) were married. To me, it didn't diminish the effectiveness of their ministry. Rather, it showed me that you can have faith in God and enjoy life by sharing love with a spouse and your own children. Why can't that idea transfer to the Catholic Church?

I think that if the Catholic Church changed their views on this, maybe their denomination wouldn't be viewed so harshly by others. I realize allowing priests and nuns to marry would not be a cure-all for their problems, but I think it may help bridge the gap between the clergy and the congregation.

That is, if the clergy and the bishops/archbishops WANT to bridge the gap. If not, I don't know what else to say. Sneaking around about marriage isn't the way to solve things either. But maybe something will change...one can only hope.

PS: A pet peeve of mine is this - when any denomination is called a "RELIGION".

I'm only going to say this once...RELIGIONS are Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, etc. Denominations are the splinter groups of religions...for example, you can be a Christian and go to a Methodist church, a Baptist church, or a Unitarian church. The basis for the churches are all the same, but the paths and traditions are what make them different. So there!

As Li'l Abner says, "I has SPOKEN!"