Thursday, September 04, 2003

A note to all the people who want married priests

Why don't you just become Byzantine Catholic? Then your sons could grow up in a church with a long tradition of married priests, and they could be so if they desired.

There is a longstanding practice in the Roman Church of picking and choosing things that they like from Byzantines: for example, "We ought to stand for the Eucharistic prayer. After all, the Eastern Christians do!" "We ought to have married priests. After all, the Eastern Christians do!" This interest in Byzantine practices is wonderful. After you take these two customs, you can also adopt the increased number of holy days, the strict fasting rules, you can put icons back in your horribly bare churches, and you can lengthen your liturgies to two hours. The fact that we do something doesn't mean that Roman rite Catholics should do something. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any need for different rites at all. But, if you like something that we do, then, by all means, explore our tradition. Attend our Liturgies. Perhaps you will find a spiritual home with us. But you need to take the whole thing, not just a piece here and a piece there.

But let's back up a bit. If it is the celibacy requiremend that keeps so many men from considering the priesthood, why is it that vocation problems exist in Eastern churches? Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the vocation crisis has to do with a lack of faith? If a man really loves Christ, he will not balk at what Christ asks him to do: "leave everything, and come follow me!"

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