Monday, March 18, 2013

Letter to the Editor on Priests and Marriage

In Saturday’s edition of our local newspaper, The Telegram, appeared a letter to the editor on the subject of priestly celibacy. With the rampant speculation about a new Pope and a Church at a “crossroads” there has been a surplus of opinion pieces on that subject, mostly from the “progressives” who think the Church should march in tune with their times. Catholic layman Ed Martin finally got to have his say. His letter appears in its entirety below.

For those who would like to read a more sophisticated apologia for the Church’s position on this subject, take a look at this article written by a top mentor to the new Pope Francis.

Priests and marriage
BY ED MARTIN Ed Martin writes from Bay Bulls.
The Telegram (St. John’s)
Mar 16 2013

I would like to address the issue of allowing married priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

Firstly, I would like to note the eagerness of the media to use poll results when it suits their story. If, according to polls, a majority of Roman Catholics feel that priest should be able to marry, so what?

According to a poll by the Toronto Star in February 2012, a majority of Canadians felt the death penalty should be brought back.

Should we enact change every time the masses reach a tipping point in the polls? With the right polling question, next thing you know Snooki will be up for the Nobel Prize in physics.

Another point I take issue with is the commonly held wisdom that, if priests were married, then somehow they would no longer be subject to the desire to molest children. If there is a scientific study that has linked pedophilia with being a single man, then I missed it.

Does anybody remember the most notorious pedophile in Canadian history, Clifford Olson?

Let’s be honest; the desire to molest children would not miraculously disappear on a man’s wedding day.

A number of commentators recently have also noted that a number of Eastern rite churches allow priests to be married, which is indeed true. Yet many of those same churches do not allow women anywhere near the sanctuary and highly limit their participation in the church. Holding out these churches as a shining example on the one hand and ignoring their practices on the other is a disingenuous double standard. It is a little like saying Nazi Germany was a model for job creation.

There is a practical note on married priests. Would allowing married priests create a bountiful glut of ordained ministers?

The experience of other mainline churches would suggest not.

Even if the Roman Catholic Church allows married priests, who is going to pay for them and their large non-contracepting families?

As it stands, most parishes and the Archdiocese are bleeding money. How are they going to afford to pay a higher wage that a married man will need, or will being a married priest be only the domain of those married to wives who are part of the one per cent?

Single men are much easier on the pocketbook of the parish.

Finally, does the Roman Catholic Church really need more priests? Look around during Mass. The numbers are dwindling and many of those attending will have left this Earth in decade or so. There might be a shortage for the moment, but it is not going to last.

Married priests may sound like a wonderful solution to all that appears to ail the church, but I beg to differ.

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