Friday, April 11, 2014

BOMBSHELL AND TRUE CONFESSION: I HAD A MARRIED PRIEST AS MY PAROCHIAL VICAR FOR ALMOST 14 YEARS!

The first photo is the recent ordination of a married priest at our cathedral in Savannah. He is a former Anglican bishop. After his ordination he blesses his wife. They have 17 grandchildren. He is stationed at the diocese largest parish, St. Mary on the Hill in Augusta, Georgia:
This is Fr. Miguel Grave de Paralta, another married priest once in the Diocese of Savannah and now residing in the Archdiocese of Atlanta:
The late Fr. Daniel Munn, my married parochial vicar for 14 years in Augusta who was also bi-ritual in the Melkite (Greek Catholic) Eastern Rite of the Church:

There is a supposed bombshell that Pope Francis will allow bishops to decide if married men can become priests. Please note the distinction, he isn't saying priests will allow to marry, but that men already married may become priests.

Now before the Pope Francis haters (neo-Protestant Catholics/neo-christians) start their diatribes about our pope, it should be made known that all the way back in the 1950's Pope Pius XII allowed some married Lutheran ministers in Sweden to become Catholic priests when they desired full communion with the Catholic Church. Yes, Pope Pius XII authorized it.

Of course, soon to be Saint Pope John Paul II in his "Pastoral Provision" of 1981 allowed Episcopal/Anglican priests who were disaffected with the Anglican Communion over the ordination of women and heterodox beliefs to become priests. That's how I got my married priest at The Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, Georgia. His name was Father Daniel Munn. He died around 2006 I believe.

The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is/was a conservative parish, but Fr. Munn was completely embraced. Often times his wife Jan would be a lector at the Mass he was celebrating and he would refer to her and his many children and grandchildren in his homilies. Sometimes I would have to assure perplexed visitors that the Mass they had just attended was indeed a Roman Catholic Mass, that they had not wandered by mistake into some schismatic Catholic parish or Anglican Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Savannah has two married priests to this day, both in Augusta, one at St. Ignatius of Antioch Greek Catholic Church and the other a former married Anglican bishop at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church. One other Augusta married priest, former Episcopal, is now living in Atlanta.

Of course, Pope Benedict took Blessed Pope John Paul II's Pastoral Provision to a new level with the unprecedented creation of the Anglican Ordinariate. In this canonical structure, married Anglican/Episcopal Bishops who become Catholic are allowed to be administrators of these Ordinariates. Married men cannot become bishops even in the Orthodox Church which has always allowed married men to be priests. Only celibate men, usually from monastic communities, are called to be bishops. But Pope Benedict allows these now married former bishops of the Anglican Communion to retain much of the authority of a bishop as an "Apostolic Administrator." They are made the highest form of monsignor, may use the pectoral cross, crozier and miter during liturgies.

And now there is a rumor, true or not, that Pope Francis may kick it up a notch again. To think, married Catholic men, already in full communion with the Church, with valid Confirmation and attending valid Masses all their lives and valid confessions, might be allowed to be ordained as married Catholic priests.

Yes, that is the difference! Under all the popes I mentioned, only married Protestant men, only validly baptized, but never validly confirmed, never celebrating a valid Holy Eucharist, never having been  validly ordained to anything, never having been to a valid Confession, but yes, validly married, could be ordained as married Catholic priests. How weird is that?????

But completely Roman Catholic married men, validly baptized, confirmed, receiving valid Holy Communion and the other valid sacraments of the Church could not/cannot be ordained as married Catholic priests. How weird is that????

Also, keep in mind that those Eastern Rite Catholic Church, such as Melkite, Maronite, etc, completely in union with Rome have always allowed for married men to become priests in the similar fashion of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Of course only celibate men in the eastern rites may become bishops, usually from monastic communities.

This is what is being reported by "The Tablet" which is the English counterpart to the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR):

From The Tablet in London: 
A bishop who met with Pope Francis in a rare private audience on 4 April has said in an interview that the two men discussed the issue of the ordination of “proven” married men – viri probati – in a serious and positive way.
Bishop Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of Xingu in the Brazilian rainforest, spoke to the Pope about Francis’ forthcoming encyclical on the environment, and the treatment of indigenous peoples but the desperate shortage of priests in the bishop’s huge diocese came up in the conversation. According to an interview the Austrian-born bishop gave to the daily Salzburger Nachrichten on 5 April, the Pope was open-minded about finding solutions to the problem, saying that bishops’ conferences could have a decisive role.
“I told him that as bishop of Brazil’s largest diocese with 800 church communities and 700,000 faithful I only had 27 priests, which means that our communities can only celebrate the Eucharist twice or three times a year at the most,” Bishop Kräutler said. “The Pope explained that he could not take everything in hand personally from Rome.
We local bishops, who are best acquainted with the needs of our faithful, should be corajudos, that is ‘courageous’ in Spanish, and make concrete suggestions,” he explained. A bishop should not act alone, the Pope told Kräutler. He indicated that “regional and national bishops’ conferences should seek and find consensus on reform and we should then bring up our suggestions for reform in Rome,” Kräutler said.
Asked whether he had raised the question of ordaining married men at the audience, Bishop Kräutler replied: “The ordination of viri probati, that is of proven married men who could be ordained to the priesthood, came up when we were discussing the plight of our communities. The Pope himself told me about a diocese in Mexico in which each community had a deacon but many had no priest. There were 300 deacons there who naturally could not celebrate the Eucharist. The question was how things could continue in such a situation.
“It was up to the bishops to make suggestions, the Pope said again.”
Read more. 


29 comments:

Gene said...

Even with the history you mention, which was not that common and never really highlighted in the media or by the Vatican, this just another example of the Pope's provocative behavior. It is the same with the business of Communion for divorced Catholics. I say again, in a time when the true Church and Catholic identity are under attack everywhere, we do not need a Pope who seems to get up every morning thinking, "what can I mess with today…let's tweak this or let's raise this controversy, what ambiguous behavior or action might I play with anew?" This is not good. The Church should be even more unyielding to pressures from culture and from within the humanist wing of the Church to change her stance on anything. In certain times, flexibility and openness to suggestions may be seen as a strength…not in these times. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Pater Ignotus said...

Allowing married priests is not an example of the Church changing her stance. The Church has never taught that Marriage and Holy Orders are mutually exclusive. And the 2000 plus year Tradition (note the capital T) is that married men could be ordained.

Married priests have been and continue to be an on-going reality in the Church.

Just because a person never saw this "highlighted" by the media or the Vatican doesn't make it odd, strange, or dangerous. (I suspect a short Google search would reveal a significant number of reports on the ordination of married men by both the secular and religious press.)

Married clergy have always been present in the "true Church" and "Catholic identity" is not harmed by recognizing that reality.

rcg said...

I am not so sure about the report. This needs more information and thought.

JBS said...

Older married men who are beyond their reproductive years with their wives could be good candidates. They could serve as chaplains and parochial vicars, but surely not as parish priests/pastors. It would have to be made very clear to them in advance that the average parish is not sufficiently funded to support financial needs pertaining to the candidate's children.

Steps would also need to be taken to protect the diaconate as a stable order in the Church.

Gene said...

It would be stupid to open this up any more than it is…as the Catholic Church continues to run forward on the iron rails of protestant/progressivism. We are looking more like First Methodist every day. Now, please turn in your hymnals to page 328 as we join together singing, "What A Friend We Have in Jesus." My sermon topic today will be, "When I Looked Up The Lord Reached Down For Me, or I Don't Need No Pope to Tell Me I'm Saved." (I actually saw this on a country church sign once. Another one I liked was from years ago, "If You Think Mt. St. Helen's Was Bad, Wait 'til You Get to Hell." Protestantism does have entertainment value…maybe that is what Vat II was really about.

Pater Ignotus said...

Many parishes would have the finances to support a married priest, his wife, and their children. As is often the case with married clergy on other denominations - and with married couples across the board - both parents work to support the family.

Gene said...

It likely would not be a very long step from routinely married Priests to women priests…when there were enough Priest's wives around they would start advocating for ordained women, birth control, abortion rights, they and their HS propagandized daughters. and, then, of course, one day we will see, "This is our new Priest and his wife Bruce." Do not tell me this is not a real possibility.

JBS said...

Gene,

That is not a real possibility.

JBS said...

As for regional priest shortages, bishops just need to encourage the EF Mass, and the problem will be solved.

Gene said...

JBS, And who, a few decades ago, would have envisioned the Mass to be what it has become, or nuns advocating birth control and abortion…if the Church continues her love affair with culture, there are no limits.

Steven 45 said...

Gene, there are nuns who advocate birth control and abortions? How can you tell they are nuns... do they wear habits? Are there any nuns that advocate porn and masturbation?

I was once told "never trust a nun who refuses to wear a habit". These days, it can be added, "never trust a priest who refuses to wear a collar". In my area there are several priests who lean left (like certain nuns), and they are always in "civvies"... only wearing the collar for Mass.

John Nolan said...

I was present in 2012 at the ordination of Fr John Hunwicke at the Oxford Oratory. His wife, children and grandchildren were also present. Although his ordination was for the Ordinariate, his first Mass, at the London Oratory, was in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which he continues to champion; and he is the best and wittiest homilist, and indeed public speaker, whom I have ever heard.

That being said, the discipline of celibacy in the Latin Church has benefits which outweigh its drawbacks, and the general principle is sound. Some practical points. Married priests may not become bishops (the Latin Church is not going to leapfrog the East on this) and so you will have two different orders in the presbyterate. A married man with a family cannot be easily moved by his bishop. In the CofE the priesthood is seen as a career and security of tenure is assumed. Young men aspiring to the priesthood yet wishing to have the benefits of married life would have to marry before the diaconate, and to marry in haste is to repent at leisure.

To ordain married 'viri probati' of a certain age to celebrate the Mass and administer the sacraments without having to shoulder the burdens of a parish priest sounds a good idea (particularly if, like me, they are university educated, liturgically aware and Latin-literate) but it would surely undermine the idea of the permanent diaconate.







Robert Kumpel said...

When JPII was pope and Leo T. Maher was the Bishop of San Diego, Ray Ryland, (now the late Fr. Ryland) was granted a dispensation to be ordained a priest. He was also a former Episcopalian priest. He had a wife and grown children. But what stands out to me is what an excellent priest he was. His preaching was not just solid, but engaging and he was very good in the confessional as well, always giving good advice, never scolding. He had a wonderful understanding of people and genuinely cared when people came to him with problems. In fact, he was one of the two or three best priests in the diocese. He later went on to teach at Steubenville.

I would point out however, that Fr. Ryland's children were grown. I've heard more than one priest say that it would be unfair for them to have a family, because their family would always get the "short end" of things. I have no problem with married men becoming priests should the circumstances warrant. However, I also agree that celibacy is the best rule for priestly candidates. Of course, that is something the modern world simply cannot come to terms with.

Anonymous said...

Thank God the SSPX didn't swallow the bait. They'll be the only Catholics left in a few decades.

JBS said...

Gene,

It is a matter of faith that the Church cannot embrace heresy. She makes tactical mistakes whenever She fails to listen to the Spirit, but the Spirit will not let Her attempt ordination of women as an official practice. Similarly, while it is possible for the Church to make mistaken changes to the Order of Mass, it is not possible for Her to adopt an invalid Order of Mass.

JBS said...

Just a point of clarification: it is less the case that the Latin Church requires priesthood candidates to be celibate, and more the case that Latin bishops choose candidates for the priesthood from among men already called to celibacy as a state of life. Therefore, we are talking about something more than a simple rule here, but about a faithful response of the Church to the vocation of celibacy as linked to the celibate priesthood of Christ.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - I don't think there is an intrinsic link between celibacy and priesthood. From the beginning the practice was that both celibate and married men were ordained.

That married men have been called to Holy Orders is an indicator that the two are not intrinsically (theologically) linked. It is a discipline, and all disciplines can be changed.

Gene said...

Steve 45, These nuns were wearing signs around their neck and sweatshirts that said "Nuns for Choice," and "Choice for Women."

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus,

There's certainly not a link that's essential to the priesthood, but the two gifts are linked together in the personal example of Christ.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - And when you say "linked together" what are the theological implications? What meaning does it have in terms of our theology of Holy Orders?

Anonymous said...

Father, firstly, I think a problem was created when former protestant married men were allowed to become priests. I can't see how a married and celibate priesthood can co-exist side by side without causing problems. To me this immediately signaled the opening of the door to the option a married priesthood and all the problems that that entails, with divorce etc.

I have read of the problems experienced by the wives of Orthodox priests who complain that their husbands do not receive enough and have to get secondary jobs to sustain the family and a lot of backbiting goes on from parishioners. I know that married deacons who live in church properties are talked about in a disparaging manner. The old story of people not liking someone to get something they perceive as a freebie.

So I think a married priesthood would lead to a lot of difficulties.

And I agree with Gene is right that the Pope - while admittedly saying some things that are good - does open the door to all sorts of things such as giving communion to the divorced, etc. I think he is straddling two stools - one foot on the liberal stool and one in the conservative camp. It remains to be seen which way he goes in the end and I think the Synod of the Family will be the true test of where he stands. Also, I don't like his talk of devolving more power to the bishops. That would be fatal and none of this is helpful to the Church.

Also, do the rubrics permit the EF Latin Mass to be celebrated by a married priest?

Jan


Anonymous said...

Father, firstly, I think a problem was created when former protestant married men were allowed to become priests. I can't see how a married and celibate priesthood can co-exist side by side without causing problems. To me this immediately signaled the opening of the door to the option of a married priesthood and all the problems that that entails, with divorce etc.

I have read of the problems experienced by the wives of Orthodox priests who complain that their husbands do not receive enough money and that they have to get secondary jobs to sustain the family, and a lot of backbiting goes on from parishioners. I know that married deacons who live in church properties are talked about in a disparaging manner. The old story of people not liking someone to get something they perceive as a freebie.

So I think a married priesthood would lead to a lot of difficulties.

And I agree with Gene that the Pope - while admittedly saying some things that are good - does open the door to all sorts of things, such as giving communion for the divorced, etc. I think he is straddling two stools - one foot on the liberal stool and one in the conservative camp. It remains to be seen which way he goes in the end. I think the Synod of the Family will be the true test of where he stands. Also, I don't like his talk of devolving more power to the bishops. That would be fatal and none of this is helpful to the Church.

Also, do the rubrics permit the EF Latin Mass to be celebrated by a married priest?

Jan

JBS said...

Pater Ignotus,

I think that in the Latin Church it means we prefer to accept candidates for the priesthood from among men called to celibacy, and in the Eastern Churches it means the episcopacy is reserved to celibate men.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

At Most Holy Trinity in Augusta where my married parochial vicar was since his Catholic ordination in 1983 and dying in 2006, that parish has produced more priestly candidates in the entire diocese. I think since 1983, there have been about 15! And yes, there are also altar girls, and like the altar boys, extremely well trained, choreographed and serious about how they serve.

I think the key to vocations is orthodoxy and traditional Catholic piety even if there are other hints of piety such as what the charismatic movement has brought. Fr. Munn was extremely orthodox and called himself a Papist which was a jab in the side of his Episcopal friends.

non-annoymous said...

@Gene and Steve 45,

Sister Margaret Farley supports masturbation, and therefore indirectly porn, since masturbation and porn go together hand and hand... if you pardon the expression.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - There have been married and celibate priests side by side since day one. Are there rubs? Sure. Should these minor matters determine policy and practice? I don't think so.

Bishops had more power for 1000 years, longer in some areas. It was a "Conciliar" Church then, and things operated rather well.

The centralization of power/authority in the Bishop of Rome is an issue - a problem for the Orthodox - that has not been problem-free itself.

Good Father - I think another "key" to fostering vocation to priesthood and religious life is the sense of responsibility toward a community that can be nurtured in young people. The members of the Alleluia Community, from which many Holy Trinity vocations sprang, fosters that sense of community, and the responsibility to community, that is needed.

Our radically individualistic society, on the other hand, does not foster a sense of belonging to community, let alone a sense of having a responsibility to a community.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Good Father, you hit the "community" thing on the head and what the Alleluia Community accomplishes now, most Catholic parishes had under the so-called "me and Jesus" Mass that so many think is the worst thing since overseas shots. Most Catholic parishes had a strong sense of Catholic identity, service to their parishioners, living in close proximity and supporting the church and school. And they had a strong sense of promoting vocations from their many children which they accepted as gifts from God.

How many Catholics in Alleluia and in our regular parishes who have more than 4 children are laughed at by other Catholics and mocked?

BTW, not all the vocations from MHT were from Alleluia.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Most Catholic parishes had a strong sense of Catholic identity, service to their parishioners, living in close proximity and supporting the church and school."

This is, Good Father, indeed true. However, as Catholics moved from the lower to the middle and the higher economic classes, the sense of identity (what gave them their identity was their faith and their parish, now it was, like everyone else, their possessions and their positions), identification with the Catholic faith diminished.

Also, our society became far more mobile, with families moving regularly, not just from neighborhood to neighborhood, but state to state - and with far greater frequency. If you are not part of a community for any length of time, you feel no responsibility to that community.

The Benedictine vow of "stability" is a wise thing. It gives a monk or nun some "skin in the game" which fosters a sense of 1) belonging (identity), and 2) ownership, which leads to responsibility.

Gene said...

Non-anonymous, yes, Sister Farley supports hand-to-gland combat.