The headline originally read let priests marry. But they already do that. They perform the ceremony for other people.
Also, this new revolutionary church canon must include nuns. In fact, priests should be able to wed nuns. It worked out well for Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister. Of course they were excommunicated so it wasn’t perfect.
Still, the Berrigans behaved in accordance in what they believed was the true message of Jesus and fought for justice and against war. Ms. McAlister still resides in Baltimore. For young readers, do an online search for the Catonsville Nine to learn more.
Back to the topic at hand.
Other faiths allow their spiritual leaders to marry and still minister to a congregation.
If a priest has a wife, mortgage, kids, soccer practice and a leaky roof, he is rooted in the mortal domain, and is perceived as wonderful and flawed as all people are. He is not exalted as above them.
He is also too busy to be at choir practice every night.
Historically, priests have been deified by the church and their parishioners. They were and are seen as the conduit of Jesus. They perform the sacrament.
To deny that a group of people has sexual needs does not eliminate such urges.
And protecting and worshiping a group who are really no different from the faithful they lead, has been a disaster that could destroy this Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has met with many of the victims of priest abuse. The Church has already paid approximately 2 billion dollars to settle cases with infinite numbers of this sexual trespass still looming. Infinite because priests continue to take advantage of the youth in their care. There is seemingly no solution.
But allowing priests to marry will accomplish many objectives. It will show that men, and women, who have a calling to serve God through the Catholic Church, are human. Ordinary.
It would allow normal channels of intimacy. And it will help fill priests’ and nuns’ lives with more homely and mundane tasks. Give them a more catholic view if you will.
Sorry, this column loves that word.
This should not be the only reform nor will it completely resolve the pedophilia issue. Bit it is a start to institute meaningful change.
Another component must be zero tolerance of priests who abuse. That doesn’t mean a lack of mercy but a church sanctioned procedure of getting him away from anyone he could molest. That has to occur after one time, not twenty or two hundred.
Everyone, especially children, should be encouraged to speak up about problems. And priests should have a safe confessional that allows the church to try to find ways to deal with sex that involves minors. Church leaders must learn from lay and prior religious experiences to find a balance between accusation and truth. This new approach should not devolve into an inquisition.
There is some history that is troubling in that regard.
If church clergy chose to remain celibate, then of course that should be allowed. But celibate means no sex with children.