Thursday, July 13, 2006

With friends like these ...

Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who married a Korean manicurist five years ago in a Moonie ceremony but then left her after being threatened with excommunication, is at it again, now announcing that he's taking up the cause of reconciling the hierarchy with the legions of Catholic priests who left to ordained ministry to marry: "I feel it is time for the church to reconcile with married priests," the archbishop said. Milingo has also evidently rejoined his wife, although he says this is irrelevant.

The Vatican response was as predictable as it was inaccurate; a Vatican statement indicated that if Milingo was making such arguments, "there would be no choice but to condemn them." Actually, there would be absolutely no reason to condemn them, since Roman Catholicism (not to mention the Eastern Catholic churches) has been admitting married Lutheran and Anglican/Episcopal clergy to orders for some time. Many are, interestingly, conservatives who left their folds because of women's ordination. (Coincidence?) A friend pointed out that if he wanted to be a married Roman Catholic priest, his best course would be to get ordained in another tradition, marry, and then come back to the fold!

It's too bad, though, that the more-than-a-little-nutty Milingo is currently the most outspoken proponent of what is not at all a bad idea. There is no small number of inactive married Catholic clergy who would very much like to return to ministry; the only obstacle is an arcane Western church rule (mandatory celibacy) that is now preventing the faithful all over the world from having access to the sacraments to which they have a right. One wonders if the reason these men aren't being readmitted is simply that many are fairly liberal in the first place and so might swing the clergy back toward the middle.

Anyway, sorry, guys, you deserve a better champion than Milingo, though one archbishop, even one married to a Moonie, is better than none at all.

Or maybe not.


At 11:09 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

I like all the photos you're adding to your blog. Although Milingo's wife seems to be almost falling out of her wedding dress!


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