Monday, March 13, 2017
Pope Francis and his unchanging church
In the recent news: Pope Says Maybe to Married Priests ... The most confusing detail about Pope Francis opening the door to married priests, as he did in a widely publicized interview with a German newspaper Die Zeit last week, is that it really doesn’t mean that priests can get married. Instead, when asked what to do about the global shortage of priests, the pope said he would consider the study of whether older men who are already married and heavily involved in liturgical duties in certain diocese, could actually be ordained as priests so they could deliver the sacraments. These married men priests, he said, might be considered in rural areas of the world where there simply aren’t enough priests for every parish and where Catholics are underserved. It should be noted that there is a big, big difference between priests courting, dating, marrying and honeymooning with new brides and older married men being ordained as priests .... Seeing this reminded me of the furor last year over the idea of women deacons. In both cases, the pope didn't bring the idea up but simply responded to questions asked about those issues ... can't women be deacons, can't married men be priests? And in both cases he pretty much shrugged off the questions, and then advised study of the issues when pushed. Nothing has come of the idea of women being deacons in the contemporary church .... I think it's obvious that the pope doesn't want this any more than he wants women to be priests (Pope Francis says women will never be Roman Catholic priests). And just today I saw an article in the UK Catholic Herald about Cardinal Nichols assuring the (conservative) faithful that married priests won't happen either ... I don’t see things changing on married priests, says Cardinal Nichols I think this is a sign that the institutional church is dying. Yes, it grows in numbers, for now, but those numbers hail mostly from developing countries where the conservative agenda of sexism and homophobia presently fits, and in time that will change. The institutional church refuses to change on social issues, issues that divide it from its own parishioners (contraception, women priests, abortion, marriage equality, married priests, cohabitation, divorce, etc.), and it doesn't have to - after all, it's the last example of western despotism, and we in the pews are powerless. People will continue to believe in God and practice spirituality - some will even keep going to church - but eventually this disconnect is going to catch up to the hierarchy, because things that can't change are dead.