Friday, October 06, 2006

Talk about making sense

A column by Andrew Greeley in Chicago's Daily Southtown ("Ignoring the North Side seven days a week") points out just what's wrong with the church when it comes to vocations to ordained ministry and, better, how to make it right. Lamenting the closure of the Chicago archdiocese's high school seminary, Greeley notes that current church leadership is content to close schools, parishes, and seminaries rather than come up with creative solutions.

Greeley's idea: "I have been arguing for years that men should be invited to serve in the ministry for limited terms (though they will always be priests), renewable every five or seven or 10 years. If after this period of service they are burned out, can't stand teens or pests or one another or simply want to start families, let them go in peace and gratitude from the active ministry. Many young men would be willing to try the priesthood and discover that they were happy in it. Perhaps we could keep some of the seminaries open. . . . It is surely necessary to reconsider the issue of priestly vocations, to try experiments, perhaps to set up schools for training young men and women for limited-term service in the priesthood and the religious life. That would be much more complicated and perhaps risky. It's easier just to close seminaries."

Let's see: Between dragging the poor Cure d'Ars heart from France and experimenting as Greeley suggests, which do you think has the better shot at success? Now, of the two, which one is the current crop of bishops trying? Now why is that?

Search me.


At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, maybe we should try that with marriage too...people can get married on a for a limited time, see how they feel, but if there are more bad times then good times, and (gasp!) suffering and sacrafice is required, the two can split..."in peace" of course. After all, commitment is so taxing!

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Temporary sacraments? You talk about making sense, but there can be no such thing. All the sacraments, but especially holy orders, leave an indelible mark on the soul. A priest will always be a priest, even if leaves the "priesthood" just as a validly married couple will always be married (even if they get divorced). Granted, there are extraordinary circumstances when a couple should obtain a civil divorce, or a priest should leave active ministry, but this should always be the last resort, and never encouraged.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger CtotheL said...

Well, we could just let them be married and be priests, as we already do even in the Latin Rite for married Protestant clergy who become Catholic and then get ordained.

You're comparing apples and oranges here; orders is not analogous to marriage, and the two are not mutually exclusive. Just ask the thousands of married Eastern Catholic priests!

And the only sacraments traditionally thought to leave an "indelible mark" on the soul are baptism and orders anyway.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the issue here is commitment and sacrafice. Marriage and Priesthood both require commitment, sacrafice, and yes, suffering at times. There will be times in both vocations that things get difficult, when one doesn't feel like sticking with it, but our faith is not about feelings. Many of the greatest saints lived without earthly or spiritual consolation. In my opinion, lack of commitment accounts for 95% of the problems we have today. I'm a child of divorce, I know. And while I understand that celabacy is not a requirement for the priesthood, it has always been seen as the prefered state. If the Roman Church allowed married priests, I would have no gripes, although I see the wisdom in the requirement, even if it is difficult. When God calls someone to a vocation, HE gives them the grace to live it out. That's what I mean when I speak of focusing on the supernatural.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Mary Anne said...

Baptism, confirmation, and holy orders all leave indelible marks upon the soul.(Catechism of the Catholic Church-- 1304,1546,1582).

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried club soda?


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