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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Repudiation of MARRIED PRIESTS NOW!

This is the third post in a discussion about Archbishop Milingo and the disobedient married priests movement.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

Dear Father Joe, if that’s who you really are. It would be nice if you had some facts before you give your over the top comments about everyone else’s life. Not that the truth will deter you. I was already married and was a father before I was ordained. So your accusation of breaking vows is rubbish. You may enjoy Archbishop Milingo’s response to the Dicastery Meeting.

The prelature for Married Priests Now! concurs with the Holy Father and the Vatican finding that reaffirms celibacy. As prelature spokesman, I can say that where we disagree is in the enforcement of celibacy as a job requirement for the priesthood. Celibacy should be a freely chosen charism and not a job requirement. Not every priest has the charism to be celibate and this is the problem because the church forces it on him or he cannot be ordained. It is an unjust requirement that violates human freedom.

FATHER JOE

I may only be a poor lowly priest in the Catholic Church, but James Cardinal Hickey who ordained me was an archbishop of the true Church in good standing. I have no reason to doubt my holy orders and unlike you have no need to seek ordination again and again from other sources to make sure it takes.

As for facts, I have enough to know that by your affiliation to Milingo you are an excommunicate of the Catholic Church, “outside of which” as my traditionalist friends like to say, there is no salvation. But what know you of truth since you have breached yourself from the Magisterium which safeguards the deposit of faith and Christ’s truth among men?

Your own biography says that you were once a professed religious? Did you not break those vows? What about baptismal promises and the acclamation of your faith in confirmation? Anyone who breaks away from Catholic unity has broken his promises to God and to his Church. You can join or fabricate your own religion, but your dissent and schism makes you no better than the Protestant reformers. You might have some vague affiliation with Orthodoxy, but since George Stallings ordains women, who cannot be true priests, and since you are in communion with him, you cannot even claim their status. You are no better than the liberal Episcopalians who play at church with priestesses, gay ministers, civil blessings, and plenty of doctrinal heresy.

You are right about one thing, there is plenty of rubbish in my posting, but that comes with the territory of the topic. All of you are a disgrace!

No, our disagreement is about more than celibacy. Do not lie to us about that. Given time the doctrinal and practical divergence will grow even more intense. Such is the way with Protestant communities like yours, especially those staffed by ex-Catholics.

The Church has the authority to regulate the sacraments. The real disagreement here is one of ecclesiology! Mandatory celibacy in the West has worked so far and growing seminary classes indicate that it may continue to work well into the future. However, even if the discipline should change, it will be the decision of the Catholic hierarchy in union with the Holy See. You are not a practical Catholic, at least not anymore, and none of you have any say in the matter. Most of the defected married priests in the United States are old men. They will soon be meeting their Maker.

Nothing about freedom is violated. God gives the charism of celibacy to men he calls in the West. There is no genuine tension or competition between God’s will and the judgment of the Church about her ministries. You for instance, by your rebellious spirit and dissent, illustrate this truth; you probably do not have a vocation. That is why you had to fabricate a priesthood according to your own terms. When Milingo and my brother priest Stallings were ordained, they freely made their promises to their bishops and to God. No one forced them to be ordained. When they tried to get married, they disregarded Church law that stipulated quite clearly than any attempted marriage would be false and would be an occasion of mortal sin and fornication. They went ahead with it any way.

As for yourself, your path might have been different, but still promises were broken…unless you were never Catholic, and that does not seem to be the case. Your use of Scripture apart from the tradition of the Church and her Magisterial authority is Protestantism 101, not Catholicism!

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

We can hardly believe that a meeting of the Cardinals who head the Dicasteries was called to simply reaffirm celibacy. The report that was not released is the important one.

FATHER JOE

Your conjecture gets you nowhere. All the leaks about the meeting indicate that a majority preferred no change to the current discipline. The Pope himself was said to be looking for support to allow conservative Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics into full communion while allowing them to continue their tradition of an optional celibate or married clergy. Otherwise, compulsory celibacy would remain the rule for Roman Catholic priests.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

What did the Cardinals say about a married priesthood? Is the Vatican in such a state of denial that it cannot see the need for a married priesthood?

FATHER JOE

We have married deacons and a few married priests. Most priests I know are happy men who support the present discipline of compulsory celibacy. Are you in such a state of denial that you cannot see that the Church might be right on this one? You are not even a Catholic in good standing; why should you have a say on my priesthood and that other Catholic clergy? Do what you want in your new church; leave us true Catholics alone who are happy with where things are! I do not tell the Lutherans or Episcopalians what to do, even if I do lament their decisions. You should show us the same reserve. The fact that you and your cohorts do not is why I made the post. You are seeking to change, dare I say corrupt the Catholic Church. That is not something about which I can remain silent.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

“The Vatican’s denial of the problem confirms and encourages our mission to recall married priests to full ministry, said Archbishop Milingo. We are the only Catholic diocese calling for the ordination of married men, and for the return of married priests to full ministry,” Milingo said.

FATHER JOE

Milingo is living in fantasy land. He has no Catholic diocese at all. If men (and women) want to excommunicate themselves they can certainly join him. Like I said, many of the men who left priestly ministry for marriage are old now. They will not be with us much longer. Their disobedience can never be rewarded. Good priests remained at their posts and kept their promises, even when the heart strings were tugged. It would not be fair to them to invite the renegades back, particularly given their lack of contrition and restitution of the damage and scandal they caused.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

Marriage is a sacrament of the church, celibacy is not. Marriage is higher calling than celibacy. The marriage vow trumps the celibacy promise. Our prelature believes that a married priest is a healthier priest, and that a married priesthood will give priests a healthy and proper outlet for their sexuality. We are created by God as sexual beings and our sexuality needs to be celebrated as a blessing for ourselves and our wives. Marriage needs to be the normal option for priests.

FATHER JOE

Marriage of a Catholic is not a sacrament if it is conducted by the Moonies. Marriage does not trump celibacy, indeed celibacy is a higher element recommended by St. Paul and constitutive of the evangelical counsels. Single-hearted love elevates the priesthood into an even more exceptional and high calling. Promises were made to be kept. A majority of the nation’s married priests who are invited back into ministry by Milingo have been married and divorced and married again. Broken promises often lead to more broken promises.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

Married Priests Now! Prelature will hold a conference in Parsippany, NJ on December 8-10 (2006) to celebrate marriage and the priesthood. We will have a Catholic renewal of marriage vows during the celebration of the Eucharist for married priests and their wives.

FATHER JOE

Your argument implies that there is something wrong with celibacy or unhealthy and this is not the truth. It is a popular lie perpetuated by a sex-crazed society. Celibate love stands as a powerful sign of contradiction and it is a witness that condemns the hedonism of our age. Married love is a wonderful gift and certainly it can mitigate the negative effects of concupiscence from original sin; but celibate love is an even more special gift that illumines the life of Christ and the love that belongs to the saints in the heavenly kingdom. A priest’s vowed celibate love convicts the world and even religious movements like yours for its selfishness and disobedience. It is a discipline for sure, but it is not extraneous to priestly identity and service.

Married Priests Now! can do what it wants. I do object to their use of the word, “Catholic.” It is deceptive to poor souls who might not understand that these rascals are not in ecclesial communion with the Holy See. They are not truly “catholic” but are a particular and localized new faith community. Will the Moonie wives receive communion at this so-called Eucharist? They are not even technically Christian in the traditional sense. I suspect your nice little organization will eventually break asunder under the weight of increased doctrinal and ritual divergence.

ARCHBISHOP PETER BRENNAN

In St. Peter’s Square yesterday, a cleric was quoted in the news as saying that those priests who walked away from the priesthood to marry should not be received back as priests. Our prelature reminds such clergymen that the Gospel of Jesus is about forgiveness. And we remind him that the church is dying for want of priests. Recalling the married priests is a wholesome remedy to help save the church. “The first priests called by Christ were married and the church has always had married priests. We are going back to the New Testament roots of the priesthood when St. Peter and the apostles were married,” said Milingo.

FATHER JOE

The anonymous cleric is correct. YES, that is precisely my view, too. These renegade priests are a cancer or poison that the Church would best expel.

Your so-called prelature may stress forgiveness, but your mercy is a fraud. Forgiveness requires sorrow for sin, penance and even restitution. You rascals are not sorry. Indeed, you parade your disobedience and sins as if they are something about which to take pride. You invite others to separate themselves from the true Church and to live a life of dissent and fracture from genuine Catholic unity. As far as I can tell, that means the absolution you offer is empty or hollow. The disposition is all wrong. The Church may be suffering, but taking married priests who are both disobedient and heretics back to the breast of Mother Church would be more like suicide.

The Church will survive. About that we have Christ’s promise. But, you are no longer a juridical part of that Church, stop pretending otherwise!

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