Insight from Fr. James Martin

Father James Martin, SJ has an excellent response to Bill Keller’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times about celibacy.  Father Martin is right:  “Overall, the article is rife with lazy stereotypes and flat-out guessing. (“The apostles had wives.” Really? Peter did–but all of them? Guess I missed those mentions of Zebedee’s daughters-in-law.)

Ironically, Keller likes Pope Francis a great deal and speaks of his overall approach to the church approvingly. But he somehow missed the fact that Jorge Mario Bergoglio took a vow of chastity when he made his first vows as a Jesuit in 1960, and made a promise of celibacy at his ordination in 1969. In short, he has been living celibately longer than Keller has been away from the church. Does the Pope strike anyone as a sad and lonely guy?”

You can read Father Martin’s article here.

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2 Responses to “Insight from Fr. James Martin”

  1. Irene says:

    I think mandatory celibacy is very much a problem. Certainly, it is suitable and appropriate for some who are called to the prieshood or religious life. But must we require it from everyone with a vocation?

    My parish is going through “Making All Things New” right now. I’m told one of the major factors driving the planned closures is a shortage of priests to staff the existing parishes.

    Opening up the priesthood to married men and (dare I say it?) women would go a long way to addressing the priest shortage. But, instead, we would rather close our parishes and churches before we would open up our priesthood to a larger universe.

  2. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Your Eminence, you know very well that celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine. You also know that St. Paul, in writing St. Timothy, said that one of the requirements for being a bishop was “being the husband of one wife.” That doesn’t mean the theoretical bishop can’t or shouldn’t be celibate but it also doesn’t demand celibacy as a condition of service.

    Have you considered the possibility that mandatory celibacy has allowed a homosexual subculture not only to infiltrate but to dominate the priesthood? Do you even care, or are you more concerned about maintaining “traditions that make God’s word void”?

    I don’t believe a married clergy would solve all problems; indeed, it would create some new ones that the Catholic Church doesn’t have the courage (let alone the structure) to confront. But the church’s demand for mandatory celibacy has done more drag God’s name through the mud than most Catholics are willing to admit.

    Just look at St. Peter Damian and “Liber Gomorrahianus,” written a millennium ago. The problems are still with us.