August 17, 2018

Getting the Catholics out of their mess

Sam Smith - It may be a little presumptuous for a seventh day agnostic to even attend to this issue but I have had enough fine Catholic friends in my life to feel sorry for them about the latest scandals of their faith.

And being familiar with politics in places like Philadelphia and Boston, I learned early that beneath the moral precision of the formal church, there was a strong bias towards pragmatism among some Catholic  practitioners, such as the mayor of Cambridge who left his car prominently parked in front  of  his church all day Sunday before elections.

So I would suggest to the Pope and his subordinates that they handle this matter the way a good Irish-American politician would.

The practice of supposedly celibate priests, after all, was not a concern of either Jesus or the Lord Almighty. In fact, in the Bible you can find some some suggestions to the contrary such as:\
Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. They forbid marriage....
The Pope has in fact set himself up for movement away from priestly celibacy. As Wikipedia notes:
 As a cardinal, Bergoglio's views regarding the celibacy of priests were recorded in the book On Heaven and Earth, a record of conversations conducted with Abraham Skorka, a Buenos Aires rabbi and rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary. He says that celibacy is a matter of discipline rather than faith, and that tradition and experience would advise to keep it. He noted that the Byzantine, Ukrainian, Russian, and Greek Catholic Churches allow married men to be ordained priests, but not bishops.He said that many of those in Western Catholicism who are pushing for more discussion about the issue do so from a position of pragmatism, based on a loss of manpower. He states that "If, hypothetically, Western Catholicism were to review the issue of celibacy, I think it would do so for cultural reasons (as in the East), not so much as a universal option."He emphasized that, in the meantime, the rule must be strictly adhered to, and any priest who cannot obey it should leave the ministry The National Catholic Reporter's Vatican analyst, Thomas J. Reese, also a Jesuit, praised Bergoglio's use of conditional language. He said that phrases like "for the moment" and "for now" are "not the kind of qualifications one normally hears when bishops and cardinals discuss celibacy."
 With the recent abusive scandals reported from Pennsylvania it would seem that "the moment" is over  and for the Pope to continue his reformist reputation he needs to change the rules. After all, humility - the admission of human imperfection - is one of the virtues the Bible proposes and nothing demands it more than the behavior of the Pennsylvania priests.

Even given my religious antipathy, I have been a quiet fan of Popes John 23rd and  Francis because they have taken an apparently unmovable object - the Catholic faith - and moved it forward. This is a fine opportunity to do it again and if the Pope needs any advice, just talk to an old Boston Catholic politician.


William Boyd said...

Sam: I really like that handle "Seventh-day agnostic." One question though, if you will: What are you the other 6 days?

Bill in VA

Sam Smith said...

I'm still working on that.

Anonymous said...

Priests are just sexually repressed. This will never change. Not all pedophiles, but many of them yes. The thousands of rapes by these sick people have ruined the lives of so many. it´s just unforgiveable.

Anonymous said...

I studied to be a priest as a young man for 7 years, but left because of mandatory celibacy.

I think the problem is more of a private property issue than a morality one: Rome and the pope do not want to take wealth away from the church, by giving it to priest's wife and family. Plus, the Australian report of last year said there was no pedophile problem in the Eastern Catholic church where priests can marry. Hopefully, this will mean the end of the current debacle.

MAMADOC said...

From "pedophilia" into the "pedo-file" trap. A useful instrument of cohersion in a police society. First, Francis would need to address the matter of the risky satinization of a natural, healthy drive. And put sins of the flesh where they belong... mostly in the mind. Save whenever undue cohersion is exercised... which in pedophilia is a strong element to contend with. And of course, private property rights violations --with children to a large extent seen as the property of those who brought them into this world (even if only up to a point and to the exclusion of sexual abuse)... The day will come when things begin to fall better into place... So says this particular Mary, mother of three...