Sunday, March 29, 2009

Priests and Marriage -- more stories


As a pastor who is married, I understand the stresses that ministry places on family. I also understand that if one is not married and doesn't have a family to be concerned with, may make one more available for service to the church. I think that's what Paul had in mind when speaking celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7. He also understood that celibacy is a gifting, and not all of us are called to that life. But, should that be a bar to the pastorate?

For Protestants that question was resolved at the very beginning. Martin Luther married early on, and other Reformers followed suit. As Diana Butler Bass points in her latest book, A People's History of Christianity, (Harper One, 2009), that decision not only changed the church but family life. She writes:

For early Protestant preachers marriage was both a pleasure and a way of defying Catholic authorities. But more than anything, clerical marriage embodied Christian freedom -- its right to choose to be celibate (if God had so gifted one) or to choose to be married. Martin Luther argued that priestly celibacy violated the "pact of freedom" God had entered into with believers upon baptism. According to him, vows of celibacy went against common sense/ he argued that only men over seventy could honestly take them. (People's History, p. 189)


I'm of the opinion that for most men and women, celibacy is not the norm and should be left to the choice of the individual, and thus not a barrier to ordination.

Although the Roman Catholic Church has not seen fit to follow my lead -- or that of Luther -- they have provided a loophole. If you're an Episcopal priest or a Lutheran pastor, and you convert to Roman Catholicism, it's quite possible that you can be ordained a Catholic priest. Today's Detroit Free Press offers an article that discusses the ministries of two Michigan priests, both of whom had been Episcopalian, but now serve Catholic churches. Interestingly enough, their congregations are quite happy with having married priests.

My sense is that most Catholic Churches would welcome married priests, especially at a time when the numbers of priests is in a sharp decline.

Will this change in policy be effected broadly? Probably not anytime soon. But, if you're interested in being a married priest, my suggestion is -- start as an Episcopalian and then transfer. They're waiting for you. As for me, I'll stay a Disciple. Oh, and I'm quite happy that I have the freedom to marry -- having been married for nearly 26 years!

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

"he argued that only men over seventy could honestly take them." Martin, what a card. Did he consider the needs of women?

I'm not sure what you mean by gifted. Are Catholic priests more likely to be homosexual since being able to resist women sexually is a requirement?

Are they more prone to (expensive and incredibly damaging) sexual sins of convenience or perversion?

Is the gift low testosterone?

I don't put those in the same category of course. I don't think the first example is sin, or gift.
The last is a curable illness.

These issues come up often though, even in the major media, and I know many Catholic followers have had enough with the whole thing!

My parents are very Catholic, and I once was (attended Episcopalian services for several years too- all the pomp, none of the guilt).
I think most Catholics would accept married priests easily (but there would be lots of ribbing at first).

Being married 26 years? That elevates monogamous (I'm giving the benefit of the doubt) to nearly celibate to most people.

Anyway, where would you (we) be without our best friend and helper?

David Mc

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

David,

Martin understood human nature and sexuality -- we're sexual beings. Back then 70 was pretty old, and I figure he believed once you're 70 you're done.

As for the gift of celibacy -- I think there are people who for whatever reason find themselves content to live a celibate life or at least have that ability. Many Catholic priests have this ability, but from what have seen, the desire to serve the church often conflicts with one's sexuality -- which can lead to problems (of course Protestant clergy have their problems as well).

Whether Catholic priests are more likely to be homosexual or not is probably beside the point.

But, I think its important that we note that homosexuality and pederasty are two different things.

The whole issue of sexual abuse is a problem that should be kept separate from both homosexuality and celibacy. I'm all for celibacy, if that's what someone chooses. I'm just not so sure it's for everyone who feels called to ministry.

charles & jenny said...

I think Paul is right.. ideally, it would be great for priest's not to be married b/c of the demands on the clergy. Bob, I am sure you can attest to the day to day strains of leading a church family. However, that shouldn't mean we just say no one should be married. That appears to be a classic case of legalism, where we slap on a law based on a scriptural suggestion. No where does it say pastors should be single.
David, you seem to suggest that self control is based on chemistry? Don't think I can buy that.
Chuck

Anonymous said...

If celibacy were based on low testosterone, then all celibate priests and protestant clergy would have osteoporosis before they reached 40 years old.

Martin Luther appears to be much better an example of a protestant family man than Richard Baxter was. There is a story of Luther's reply to a criticism of his hanging out diapers instead of doing his clerical work to which he replied "the angels in heaven rejoice." However, many clergy today seem to follow the example and the clergy culture of his day by telling his wife don't expect much for the church comes first.

I was a pastor for 5 years as a single person. Yes, you do have more time for the church, but churches tend to take advantage of that or wonder about you. Churches don't always adjust well when a pastor gets married or a baby comes along. While we might say we believe in protestant clergy being married and having families, our clericalism in the tradition of Baxter has created the idea that clergy and their spouses aren't like other people who are married so the pastor should live as if they were not married with a family and just work all of the time.

If you think this is absurd, I'll tell you a story about my sister in law who is an ordained UM clergy. She and her husband were childless and ultimately decided to see if they could adopt a baby. One day after church, a woman came up to her and said 'oh our pastor is going to adopt a baby, I like to think of our pastor having a baby that way1' Wow! First, that was a horrible thing to say. Second, it showed just how non human that woman saw married clergy.

I've been married for 21 years and for the most part that has been good, although I often felt extra burdened by church members who did not understand the mental illness problems in our household like other families have which has meant basically one spouse has been like disabled and the other has felt like a single parent.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

The apostle Paul explicitly referred to the ability to remain celibate as a spiritual gift. This is one reason I support same-sex marriage: because to require gay and lesbian Christians to either "change" or remain celibate without such a spiritual gift is both unjust and illogical.

I've been married for 19 years, most of them happy and all of them mutually faithful.

John said...

This whole discussion makes me uncomfortable.

The celibacy issue is between the Roman Catholic Church and its people, priests and laity. The motivating premises have been debated and prayed over for many centuries and have nothing to do with testosterone, homosexuality, or, I think, even sin. They have to do with spirituality and discipline.

To suggest that the celibacy requirement has caused an overabundance of homosexual men to enter the priesthood is unkind to both homosexuals and to the Catholic priesthood as a collective. Moreover, the tenor of the discussion arrogantly presumes that clergy in other denominations and faith traditions do not share the same frailties and temptations.

To suggest that this alleged overabundance of homosexual Catholic priests has been preying on children is even more uncharitable to everyone involved.

There is no evidence that I know of which would suggest that there is a higher incidence of homosexuality among Catholic priest than among clergy of other Christian denominations. I don't comprehend this perception of increased homosexuality among priest!?! Do people think it any less a sin or any less a violation of vows for priests to engage in homosexual affairs than heterosexual affairs?

Also, I am not aware of any evidence which supports the notion that criminal or unethical sexual conduct among Catholic priests is any more prevalent than among clergy of any other Christian denomination.

There is a debate going on among Catholics, lay and ordained, about the wisdom of continuing the requirement. In time the matter will work itself out. In the meantime, we should pray that God's will be discerned and followed in resolving the matter.

John

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

John,

Having started the discussion, I never intended this to raise questions of homosexuality in the priesthood -- or of sexual abuse -- both of which really have little to do with each other. I realize that this is an internal RCC debate, but it is interesting to note that even the RCC finds way to accomodate.

As for Protestant sexual issues -- we have more than enough to humble us!

Anonymous said...

The investigatory National Review Board, which included individuals such as Democratic attorney Bob Bennett, President Clinton's lawyer during the impeachment process -- and thus, presumably, no right-wing "homophobe" he -- reported that 81 percent of all cases reported in the Catholic priest sex scandal involved adult males having sex with male victims, and that "more than three-quarters of the victims were of an age such that the conduct does not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia."

As reported by Catholic News Service: "A majority of the victims were post-pubescent adolescents with a small percentage of the priests accused of abusing children who had not reached puberty. ...The John Jay study said that pedophilia, an attraction to pre-pubescent children diagnosed as a psychiatric disease, was a smaller part of the sex abuse problem. It said that 22 percent of the victims were under 10. It added that 51 percent were 11 to 14 years old and 27 percent were 15 to 17 years old."

Anonymous said...

DETROIT NEWS
Detroit, Michigan
February 27, 2004

Report on sex abuse highlights
failure by bishops, seminaries

by Alan Cooperman and Caryle Murphy. The Washington Post

..."church leaders must face 'the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.'

...

Homosexuality:

"The overwhelming majority of reported acts of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy victimized boys. ... We do not place the blame for the sexual abuse crisis on the presence of homosexual individuals in the priesthood as there are many chaste and holy homosexual priests."

However, in some places "the large number of homosexual priests or candidates had the effect of discouraging heterosexual men from seeking to enter the priesthood. In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a 'gay subculture' ... Failure to take disciplinary action against such conduct contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely."

Anonymous said...

Pastor, even gay commentators disagree with your assertion that "the questions of homosexuality in the priesthood -- or of sexual abuse -- ...really have little to do with each other." See below.


"Perhaps because they don't want to provoke the 'intergenerational sex' defenders - sadly, there are some - within the gay community, neither Human Rights Campaign nor National Gay & Lesbian Task Force addressed the main problem among the Roman Catholic clergy, that of adults having sex with teenage boys...they do not address the major problem in the current Catholic scandal, which is the climate of forbearance within the church hierarchy for priests having sex with adolescent males...the pattern of sexual abuse among Catholic clergy does suggest a gay problem. While estimates aren't hard numbers, reasonable observers believe that at least 30 percent, and perhaps as many as 50 percent, of Catholic priests are gay, but that 90 percent of the cases of sex with adolescents that have come to light in the church involve teenage boys, not girls. Do the math." Capital Letters, "The Catholic Crisis" by Hastings Wyman, syndicated gay columnist, Between the Lines (gay and lesbian newsmagazine), Detroit, May 22, 2002

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I think I've opened up a can of worms that I'm simply not able to address in any real way. My focus wasn't on homosexuality, but simply the issue of celibacy and clergy marriage. I'd rather we leave it at that and not go on to this other issue.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes we make too much of the challenges of our profession upon our marriages and families. Many other professionals have many demands upon themselves as well and their marriage and family challenges aren't technically that different. I think the more we make of "our challenges" being different from others, the more we make our own stress worse.

I've often thought as a pastor that protestants want their clergy married but then demand them to work as if we weren't.

Anonymous said...

Pastor, you could address the issue by simply acknowledging that your stated opinion -- that homosexual behavior and sexual abuse in the Catholic scandal "have little to do with each other" -- is disproven by the actual facts of the case. Then move on...

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

To anonymous -- I'm not sure I can simply assert what the facts are, because as I said, that conversation is beyond what I'm prepared to address.

As for marriage and the ministry. In many ways clergy marriage is little different from any other profession. And yet, it is different. Yes, there may be expectations that the wife (usually) of an executive will play hostess on occasion, but I think that there are few professions where the spouse is drawn so clearly into the job itself. You're right, many Protestant churches expect clergy to be married and then to live as if they weren't -- that is be available at all times. But I think we as clergy need to set boundaries. I have a day off, and in most cases I stick to it. I take vacations and am not available during them for pastoral calls -- I will have someone else pick them up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bob, But

The fact is, this was an issue for me before I ever hit puberty. I studied as an altar boy, memorized all the Latin and did a couple Masses, but then quit because I was too creeped out by the rumors about what the older boys may be doing in return for enough wine to get stoned on. I didn't even know what sex was. Actually, I guess the bigger reason was "alter fright". I never forgot the feeling that something shameful was afoot though. I was in 3rd grade.

There was also a priest who was too, too interested in my attraction to girls and what I did about it. He seemed disappointed.

We can move on, but these things are related. As uncomfortable as they may be. Anonymous' facts are probably correct. I assumed the anwsers are yes, yes and yes.

I'm wasn't trying to be hurtful.
I lost a close family member to Aids almost 20 years ago.

David Mc (the other anonymous)

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I realize, as David points out, this can be a very personal issue.

There is evidence that a high percentage of Catholic priests are gay. As to why? Well, there are a number of answers. I think it may have to do with the view that gays should be in the closet -- and as we're learning the closet can be a dangerous place for a lot of people.

I'm not Catholic, have never been, so I don't know these issues. I was an altar boy in the Episcopal Church -- different situation.

Anonymous is likely correct about the facts, but the issue I was trying to raise had to do with enforced celibacy -- from which this other issue may spring.

Again, this is an issue that the Catholic church is dealing with and they need to have the freedom to do what they need to do.

My point here is that I'm not sure that celibacy in and of itself is a helpful premise!

John said...

Anonymous,

You cite: Capital Letters, "The Catholic Crisis" by Hastings Wyman, syndicated gay columnist, Between the Lines (gay and lesbian newsmagazine), Detroit, May 22, 2002

There is no reason to accept the allegations of that organization as accurate. They have a vested interest in overstating the number of homosexuals in society, because the greater their numbers are perceived to be the greater their organizational credibility and the greater the credibility of the homosexual community.

I am not denying the credibility of the homosexual community or its issues, I am just saying that I would not look to a lobbiest for accurate information about their cause.

I do not claim to know what the actual percentages are for any of the issue you feel driven to air out in this forum, other than I have read time and again that the problem of clergy sexual abuse is as evident in the Protestant community as it is in the Roman Catholic community.

If that is true then there is little reason to single out the Roman Catholic clergy, the important discussion should focus on the source of and the appropriate response to clergy sexual abuse in general.

The fact that certain individuals within the Roman Catholic hierarchy failed to respond appropriately to the criminal behavior which came to their attention is unfortunate, and a lesson to people in all institutions to remember that the people they serve come first, and the organization second.

I think Bob's original inquiry was something along the lines of whether clergy celibacy is desirable. Alleging that 50% of Roman Catholic priests are homosexual seems to miss the point entirely. Even homosexuals are required to be celibate.

Paul claims it is a gift which aid in his ministry, the Roman Catholic Church attempts to vet its clergy to see if they are graced with that gift. Is it such a gift as to be a "sine qua non" for a priestly calling? I don't think so. There are many forms of discipline which I think are just as helpful for a clergy person, and many clergy skills which are not impacted by whether one has marital relations with a spouse or whether one has a family.

Academically speaking, celibacy made sense for another reason in former times, when the church wanted to discourage a hereditary priesthood - a good idea which was all too often honored in the breach. But today, with the emphasis on vocation and training, and with what should be a de-emphasis on political power, [Catholic religious are precluded from holding public office] celibacy makes less sense on that account as well.

John

John said...

Just a quick on line research check turned up the following excerpt from "Homosexual Applicants to the Priesthood: How Many
and Are They Psychologically Healthy?" by Thomas G. Plante
Published online: 21 February 2007
C Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007:


"While there are no official estimates of the number of homosexual men in the priesthood,
best current estimates range from 10% to 60% (Cozzens, 2000) with most experts and
authorities who have access to this information more closely estimating between 25% and
40% (Plante, 2004, 2005; Sipe, 2004). Regardless of the most accurate figures, it is clear
that there is a higher proportion of homosexual priests than homosexual men in the general
population (Sipe, 2004) and that a substantial number of the 46,000 priests in the United States
are indeed homosexual (Cozzens, 2000)."

And also this conclusion:

"Overall, results suggest that the number of men applying to religious life who are homosexual
in orientation is significantly higher than in the general population of men and
that these men are as well adjusted as and not significantly different in their psychological
profiles from heterosexual men.
...
However, in the meantime, it appears that the answer to the
question about the psychological health of homosexual applicants to the priesthood is yes,
they are psychologically healthy and not very different from a psychological standpoint than
heterosexual applicants."

In the research sample in Plante's study, the actual percentage of those self-reporting homosexual tendencies was 22%.

John

John said...

I guess the bottom line for me on the issue of homosexuality in the clergy is that I am concerned with issues of integrity and mental health and not with one's genetically determined sexual preference.

Do clerics lead morally justifiable lives? Are they well enough trained and emotionally healthy enough to establish appropriate emotional and physical boundaries between themselves and the members of their congregation? Do they have any organizational accountability?

John

Anonymous said...

John, though I agree that homosexual activists benefit from inflating their alleged percentage of the population, both conservative and liberal sources estimate that 30 to 50% of the Catholic priesthood is comprised of individuals who are sexually attracted to other men.

My point in citing the "gay" newspaper columnist was simply to document that the high percentage is not a figment of imagination among those who object to the dramatically disproportionate number.

As to psychological health, a government-sponsored study of 5,998 adults in the Netherlands ages 18 to 64, published in the January 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported as follows:

"People with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders."

The full text of the study -- not available online to non-AMA members -- reports that compared to heterosexual men, males who engage in homosexual behavior are:

* 727 percent more likely to have suffered bipolar disorders at some point in their lives, and 502 percent more likely in the last twelve months.

* 718 percent more likely to have suffered obsessive-compulsive disorder in the last twelve months, and 620 percent more likely at some point in their lives.

* 632 percent more likely to have suffered agoraphobia (fear of leaving home or being in public) in the last twelve months, and 454 percent more likely at some point in their lives.

* 421 percent more likely to have suffered "panic disorder," and 229 percent more likely to have suffered "social phobia" at some point in their lives.

* 375 percent more likely to have suffered simple phobia in the last twelve months, and 361 percent more likely at some point in their lives.

* 311 percent more likely to have suffered mood disorders at some point in their lives, and 293 percent more likely in the last six months.

* 270 percent more likely to have suffered two or more mental disorders during their lifetime.

* 261 percent more likely to have suffered anxiety disorders in the last twelve months, and 267 percent more likely over the course of their lifetimes.

* 235 percent more likely to have suffered major depression at some point in their lives.

As if anticipating homosexual activists' typical claim that increased mental illness among individuals involved in homosexual behavior is a reaction to the social stigma attached to such behavior, the study notes that "the Dutch social climate toward homosexuality has long been and remains considerably more tolerant" than in other countries.

Even in such a "tolerant" environment, however, less than three percent of men reported having engaged in homosexual behavior. Such figures are significantly lower than the "at least 10 percent" of the population routinely claimed by homosexual activists.

Anonymous said...

John makes reference to "one's genetically determined sexual preference."

John, are you invalidating the life experience of those individuals who were once involved in homosexual behavior but who have since -- through spiritual salvation, psychological counseling, or mere choice -- abandoned it and are now heterosexually married?

Plenty of such folks around whose life experience refutes your assertion.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

To Anonymous,

I think this conversation is going off in a direction I'd rather not have it go. The issue of whether one can change from being gay to not gay is a very different question. I don't believe one can change, but that's not the issue at hand -- which is enforced celibacy.

Anonymous said...

"Plenty of such folks around whose life experience refutes your assertion."

Bisexuals most likely?

Other issues to consider:

the "power" of confession (this is where I got the odd questions)

and Parochial school.

Sayings like "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" (am I the fool?) "the only true church and path to salvation" and "mortal sin!" are running through my head.

I'm hoping the saying "a community of wholeness in a fractured world" can be/is a reality for those in need.

Over and out David Mc

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

David,

I hope as well that we are truly a community of wholeness in a fractured world. All that we can do is walk in God's grace -- and allow God heal what ails us!

John said...

David,

Other issues:

the "power" of confession (reconciliation): I really believe this is a sacramental component which is sorely lacking outside of Catholicism - I would love to see it form an intentional part of our worship.

and Parochial school: I went to a catholic school from 2nd through 4th grade. I have treasured it all my life. I never met a nun or a priest, even as an adult, whom I didn't like. The ones I met as a child truly made me feel loved - most of the nuns were younger women in the early 1960's, who brought with them a fresh spirituality - they sang folks songs and played guitars in the classrooms!

Sayings:

I have always felt that the Catholic Church is the backbone of Christianity - the rest of us being limbs of the Body - important limbs but vitally connected. What is salvation but life in the kingdom - life lived gently in the presence of God - perhaps for eternity - if God wills it.

Mortal sin to me is intentionally damaging another - which can be done in so many ways. One does not commit a mortal sin by mistake.

I too hope the saying "a community of wholeness in a fractured world" can be/is a reality for those in need - and for those who as yet fail to discern the need.

John

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have been reading these posts and find a lot of what was said interesting but can't stay quiet any longer.

I too have gone to Catholic School...high school only. I was born Catholic, raised Episcopalian until the very end of high school than became Presbyterian.

I started reading the Bible as a child and right away questioned practices within the Catholic Church...beginning with Confession. If the Bible told me that all I needed to do was confess my sins to Jesus, and ask his forgiveness I would be forgiven. I never agreed with going and telling my personal thouhts and sins to someone else. Why the need for the middle man? I didn't like sitting in a church staring at statues of saints...I refused to pray to them also...I didn't like sitting and looking at Jesus hanging bloody and torn from a cross. He had risen, I know he suffered, but actually staring at something to remind me was plain morbid.
The nuns I had in high school were a far cry from young nuns who liked to sing songs. They literally hissed at me when I walked down the hall...I first heard it and was shocked to hear them hiss...that "Polish Protestant", I was told since I was baptized Catholic I would always be Catholic no matter how far my family tried to run from them. I argued that since I was a baby when I was baptized, and had no choice in the decision I denounced it. I was confirmed Protestant, that was MY decision, and that is what I chose to be. I was then informed I would never get into Heaven. This wasn't the same nun, however, who insisted to our ninth grade religion class that you would get pregnant buy holding hands with a boy. I'm only thankful I wasn't born a few years earlier, from the stories I'd heard the abuse would have also been physical.
I'm sorry. I don't dislike Catholics, not at all. I do however not agree with most of the teachings and doctrines of their Church or with their system of "government".
If the Catholic Church had the opportunity to amputate those "vital limbs" I'm not convinced they wouldn't have by now. I do not belive they have all the answers like they think they do...none of us do.
I was also taught that way back when Catholic Priests were allowed to be married...that practice was ended due to the fact that the church wanted the family money and if the priest was married they didn't get it. Then they moved to buying indulgences (please!). I will give them credit where credit is due...they will usually admitt to their mistakes - within a few centuries.

I'm sorry. I believe everyone has the right to practice their own religion and believe their own beliefs. I also have experienced personally that most people I know who no longer believe are people who went to Catholic School or were raised in the Catholic Faith. I find that interesting and sad. Our churches do need to change with the times - not completely, but at least enough to be able to relate to the people attending them and about the things that are happening in todays world.
I still have a lot to learn, I know. But I choose a church where I am encouraged to read the Bible and ask questions not one where I'm told what to believe and do based on a belief system that doesn't allow questions. NO ONE other than Jesus is infallible - and he wasn't elected by a committee of mortal men.

Sincerely,
Mrs. David Mc

John said...

Mrs. Mc,

I want to acknowledging the unpleasant truth of your experience, and there is no way to compare your experience with my own. I was a child, in a different emotional place with different emotional needs, and with a different cadre of teachers. You were an adolescent, with very different questions for the church and and very different needs. The church failed you and that is not just bad, it is tragic - and it is a tragedy which happens to all too many adolescents and young adults, and that is why so many adolescents and young adults leave the church - leave faith.

The church too often tailors its message and programing to children and older adults, abandoning those in the middle as a monster to be controlled until they can be released into the wild.

We must be alert to the issues and questions of adolescents and young adults and we must tailor our message and our programing to include them.

For example, my perception is that adolescents and young adults are idealists, concerned more about issues of integrity, where they fit in the world, and how they should manifest their sexuality. They still think they will live forever so issues of salvation and eternal life are not high on their list of big concerns. They are invested in the future and tend to be bored by the past. And they do not like children's stories about lost sheep and big fish, because they want more than anything to claim their adulthood. They have their own musical taste and their own media preferences.

If those who represent God in their lives (parents, church members, and "professional Christians,") fail to take these concerns into consideration, or worse, if we fail to lead lives of spiritual integrity, lives reflecting the message we preach, lives of hope, love (especially for them), and joy, the youth will wander off, or worse, they will bolt away in angry rejection.

John

Anonymous said...

There is something sacred about the teenage mind. I’m surprised (if?) the bible doesn’t mention it.
Many say it is the most unique aspect of humanity and is the engine of our social evolution.
Maybe we shouldn’t have tried to program them, but to listen, reflect and learn from their concerns.
Trying to get back on subject… Marybeth (is she awesome or what?) mentioned celibacy had to do with inheritance, thus, children. Consider if the church allowed marriage, but no procreation?
Perhaps the best thing a pastor could have is a teenage son or daughter at some time in their early “career”. I guess a few Catholic priests probably have adopted.
I’m 52. 2nd grade teacher had a drawer of wooden rulers. If one broke (over your outstretched fingers) she would grab another without skipping a beat! Otherwise, that sister was the sweetest thing. Many were 100%.
Hey John, are you familiar with this song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV9V-kU621s&feature=related
David Mc

John said...

David,

Love the song, and everything on that album, when his oice was less harsh, especially "That's no way to say good bye."

John

John said...

Listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhfSdq2R9IA&fmt=18

Anonymous said...

John,
I wasn't trying to compare my experience in Catholic School and I'm sorry if it came across that way. It wasn't all bad...and you're so right as to us being at different points in our lives. We are very different people in second grage then we are in high school. I also grew to love some of the nuns I had, one of which was one who gave me the hardest time. I even visited her after I had finished school (she was in the hospital dying of cancer).

What I had experienced in school luckily happened at a time where I was very active in my own church. After I finished high school, I did stop going to church for a few years, but never lost my faith. I returned to church after I was in a bad marriage that happened way to early (and against my parents wishes). I left church and returned a few times throughout my life...not for any reasons of discourse but because even though I knew better, I thought I could live happily without it. I was wrong, of course. I did learn no matter how strong your faith may be, you need the fellowship of church, and you need the nurturing in order to grow. The seed of faith was planted long ago, but without the proper "fertilizer" and nurturing it doens't grow to it's full potential, which I hope to do someday.
I agree with you 100% as to what you said about adolescents. I've known so many people in my life who left the church...or just stopped going once they reached an age where their parents couldn't "make" them go anymore. Very sad.

Oh...and in response to what the original post was about...I do believe priests should be allowed to marry. I've always felt that if we are supposed to be able to go to our Pastors for council regarding famiy issues, than it only made sense that he himself have a spouse and family. It's not madatory...but when Bobby was born I wasn't going to pay as much attention to the advice I recieved from the staff at the hospital as I was from other parents who had a Down Syndrome child...to me that just makes sense. Experience is an excellent teacher.
I hope I didn't offend anyone.
Mrs.David Mc

Anonymous said...

Wow John, he looks like Raymond in that clip.

Here's a cover of my favorate from the same documentory (I'm Your Man) as the Sisters' link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhfSdq2R9IA&fmt=18

As you know we're getting geeked up for his concert next month, harsh voice and all.

"To love, every heart will come...but as a refugee."

Here's one more from the same that I found so touching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COeyRKehFFI&feature=related

David Mc

John said...

Marybeth,

No offense taken; I was only disappointed that your experiences at a Catholic school were as mixed as they were.

I too have come to deeply appreciate the spiritual nurturing which comes from belonging to a faith community.

John

Anonymous said...

oops how did that happen?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oztfuPKq9Hw

John said...

David,

Actually, the first youtube posted at 8:06 was very cool. "If it be your will."

John

Anonymous said...

Okay you guys, try this one...not for the topic we were discussing, but just as a really good song that I just discovered tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHMxKgNbATo&feature=related

Mrs.David Mc

John said...

And I found this one today: by John Mellencamp about growing older:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8tXKfZssms&fmt=18

John

Anonymous said...

John, I haven't heard it yet but Dave keeps punching my arms and jumping up and down saying you beat him to it fair and square. I'm looking forward to listening to it.

Marybeth

Anonymous said...

Here you go. I heard this yesterday.

enjoy.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102517146

David Mc

Anonymous said...

I'll leave this here.
Was on NPR today

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102692227

Make it an even 40 posts.
I haven't heard all this yet.

David Mc