Friday, December 19, 2003

Rules for when numbskull priests can "dialogue" about the celibacy "rule"

These priests, lately in Minnesota, are concerned that there might not be any priests in the future, and therefore conclude that we should have married priests. I think they are missing a few steps. So, here are Athanasius' Rules for When It Is Appropriate for Clergy to Revisit Clerical Celibacy:

1) If the priest in question hears confessions more than once a week for half an hour.
2) If the priest follows all the liturgical rules.
3) If the priest never, ever allows his choir to sing a new church into being, or any song by Rory Cooney.
4) If the priest wears his collar outside of the church.
5) If the church has pictures and statues of the saints.
6) If the tabernacle in Father's parish isn't in a broom closet.
7) If the priest prays the Divine Office. Daily. Heck, hourly.
8) If the priest encourages the parish to pray the Divine Office, perhaps by having Vespers and Matins on a regular basis.
9) If the priest makes it a point to suggest to young boys that they might consider the priesthood.
10) If the priest preaches Catholic doctrine in his homilies, rather than telling vapid stories lifted from Chicken Soup for the Soul.
11) If the priest is, in a nutshell, holy.

Then, we can "dialogue" about it. (I use the scare quotes for "dialogue" because the word isn't a verb, darn it.)

P.S. Oh, there is a rule that trumps the other rules. If the priest in question is an Eastern Catholic priest whose ancient historical practice of married clergy was snuffed out in America due to bigotry, then he can talk about it.

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