The Anglican Anschluss?

The Times has a piece by their religion writer Ruth Gledhill about the Anglican Provisions being offered by Rome.

My emphases and comments.

From The Times
October 21, 2009
Desperate bishops invited Rome to park its tanks on Archbishop’s lawn

by Ruth Gledhill

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth.  [She makes it sound like the Anschluss.]

As leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway group claiming to represent up to 400,000 laity worldwide, he went to Rome seeking a means to achieve full, visible unity for his flock.

As a former Catholic priest himself, divorced and remarried with three children, he would be unlikely to be recognised by Rome as a priest or bishop, [d'ya think?] even under the structures brought in by the new apostolic constitution. He has nonetheless always received a warm welcome in Rome — in particular from Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who has made the running in Rome with the backing of his predecessor at the Congregation, Pope Benedict XVI himself.

In England, negotiations with the Vatican have been led by two of the “flying bishops[I love that term.  I can picture these guys, with those old leather cap and goggles... somewhere in the background someone is turning the crank on the motor of the biplane.   The "flying bishop" sets that sherry glass down on the silver tray in the hands of an aide, flicks the white silk scarf around his neck, and with a look of resolve looks up at the sky as the engine cough its way into smoky life... ]  — the AngloCatholics sanctioned to provide pastoral care for opponents of the ordination of women as priests. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, [gotta love that] the Right Rev Andrew Burnham, and the Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton, visited Rome at Easter last year for talks with Cardinal Levada.

Then in July last year Cardinal Levada wrote to Archbishop Hepworth assuring him and his flock “of the serious attention which the Congregation gives to the prospect of corporate unity” and promising that “as soon as the Congregation is in a position to respond more definitively concerning the proposals you have sent, we will inform you”.

Later that month, the by now desperate flying bishops appealed again to Rome for help. The General Synod of the Church of England had voted to consecrate women bishops without providing statutory protection for traditionalists. A synod revision committee overturned that this month, but too late to shut the gate.

At the start of this year Vatican sources began predicting that the announcement of some form of accommodation for Anglicans was close. But it never came, and less optimistic Anglicans assumed the whole thing was no more than a puff of grey smoke. [From the engine of that biplane.]

They dismissed the hopes of the traditionalists too soon. The reason for the delay was twofold.

Within the Vatican City’s frescoed ceilings and marbled corridors, in the Curia itself and in particular in the College of Cardinals, there were — and there remain — deep divisions about the appropriate response to Anglicans and former Anglicans seeking some form of corporate unity.

The liberals, among them [wait for it!] Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who at the time was Archbishop of Westminster, were reluctant to open the door wide to the traditionalists, partly because of their “more Roman than the Romans” style of churchmanship, but also for fear of upsetting Anglicans and the Church of England in particular. [And his own legacy?]

In the US, where a similar “Anglican usage” model has been in operation for years and will now be incorporated into the new ordinariate structures, there are 77 million Catholics alongside a mere 1.8 million Episcopalians. A few incoming conservative Anglicans have made little difference.  [But a whole bunch more just might!  And they can have seminaries.]

In England and Wales, the proportions are reversed, with 25 million baptised Anglicans but four million Catholics. Not only would a big influx of traditionalist ex-Anglicans undermine ecumenical harmony, it could challenge the identity of the Catholic community itself[Right!  They might make the English Catholic Church even more Roman!] Set against this, however, is the more confident American-style Catholicism that this initiative represents.

And while the shortage of Catholic priests would be alleviated by the influx of so many Anglicans, the acceptance of married clergy with families would inevitably shift the focus to a questioning of the insistence that cradle-Catholic priests be celibate[Maybe for a little while.]

The Orthodox Church, with which the Pope is also desperate to achieve unity, does not demand a celibate priesthood although its bishops cannot marry. Celibacy is a requirement that is becoming increasingly hard to justify[Interesting.]

So it seemed as though nothing would happen. But in May, with the retirement of Cardinal MurphyO’Connor, who is in Rome this week, Archbishop Vincent Nichols was installed as his successor.

Archbishop Nichols is a priest in the same mould as the late Cardinal Basil Hume, who led the moves to welcome in opponents of women priests back in 1994. It was predicted then that 1,000 would go but in the end a mere 441 took the financial compensation package on offer. A priest of remarkable charisma, Archbishop Nichols could easily end up in a senior position in Rome himself, if not the most senior[ROFL!  Papabile?  ROFL!]

He was clearly “in charge” at the joint press conference at the Catholic Church’s Eccleston Square administrative offices yesterday, at one point interrupting to answer a question addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He appears to have no compunctions about unsettling a few Anglicans[nice!]

Many Catholics believe that their churches and cathedrals were “stolen” from them at the Reformation and want them back[Count me among them.  After all... they were stolen!]

Although the established status of the Church of England means this could never be a straightforward process, Rome’s new move undercuts all that by allowing for unity to evolve upwards organically, from the grass roots, as forseen by an ecumenical report produced a few years ago.

Every church leader speaks about unity, but they all want it on their terms. Pope Benedict XVI is the first since the Reformation who seems to have hit on a realistic way of turning the clock back by moving it forwards[Which is exactly what he did with Summorum Pontificum.  It is called continuity.  Analogy: Think of the movie African Queen.  Consider the case faced by Kate and Humphrey, or "Rose" and "Charile".  They are stuck on a river after going over rapids The propeller is damaged.  They must fix the prop so that they can go faster than the water current.  If they are not able to go faster than the current, they won’t be able to steer the boat. The current will sweep them to their doom.  Without a working engine and prop, you either crash on the rocks or, as Charlie must, you drag the boat by a rope and get leeches all over you.  And who wants that?  "But Father! But Father!" you are surely saying in exasperation.  "What does this have to do with anything in the Church?  The propeller of the boat is the very last part of the boat.  It is simultaneously your connection to the past as it impels you into the future.  With a propeller, you can steer a course.  Without it you are doomed.  You must keep moving to remain alive and come through safely to your desired port.  It is your connection to the past that allows you to chart your future course.  To move the clock forward, you turn it back.]

As evangelicals defect in one direction and traditionalists in the other, and disestablishment beckons with the reform of the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury faces being left with a dwindling number of liberals in the centre struggling to maintain a heritage of ancient, Grade I listed churches.  [Hey!  We can send the Anglicans a whole bunch more!]

Church-sharing already takes place between Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, the Orthodox and others. The Catholic Church could, through its new Anglican ordinariate, find itself repossessing its churches, almost by default.  [I'd be happy to take one.]

There was bewilderment yesterday among Anglicans as they struggled to make sense of Rome’s initiative.

It was left to the National Secular Society to say publicly what many Anglicans would only admit privately. “This is a mortal blow to Anglicanism which will inevitably lead to disestablishment as the Church shrinks yet further and become increasingly irrelevant,” it said. “Rowan Williams has failed dismally in his ambitions to avoid schism. His refusal to take a principled moral stand against bigotry has left his Church in tatters.”

In the meantime, also in The Times

Hundreds of Anglican clergy who oppose women bishops are meeting this weekend to discuss whether to abandon the Church of England for the Roman Catholic church.

About 500 members of Forward in Faith, the leading traditionalist grouping, will be in London to debate Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of an Anglican “ordinariate” or diocese to operate under a new Apostolic Constitution.

Many are waiting for the publication of a Code of Practice by Rome to flesh out the detail of what is on offer before deciding whether to go.

More than 440 took the compensation package on offer and left the Church of England, most for Rome, after the General Synod voted to ordain women priests in 1992. Some subsequently returned.

The Pope has made it it significantly more attractive for Anglicans to move over this time by allowing them to retain crucial aspects of their Anglican identity and allowing them to set up seminaries which will, presumably, train married men for the Catholic priesthood[Maybe not.]

But any serving clergyman would face a marked loss of income.  [This is a fairly big issue.  Some of these guys have families.]

A job as a clergyman in the Church of England comes with a stipend of £22,250 and free accommodation. Catholic priests earn about £8,000, paid by their parish and sometimes topped up by a diocese.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams indicated there will be no compensation package on offer this time. It was only introduced at the last minute previously as a way of getting the whole women’s ordination package through the General Synod with the necessary two-thirds majorities.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Catholic who retired earlier this year as the Church of England’s Bishop of Rochester, today welcomed the Roman Catholic Church’s “generosity of spirit” its recognition of Anglican patrimony.

But he made clear that many issues needed to be resolved before decisions about leaving could be made.

“Orthodox Anglicans should see this recognition of patrimony by another church as affirming the elements of apostolicity and catholicity in their own church, for which they have always stood.

“In the meantime, there is a need to build confidence in the evangelical basis of the Anglican tradition and to make sure that it survives and flourishes in the face of the many challenges it faces. However, before some fundamental issues are clarified it is difficult to respond further to what the Vatican is offering.”

The two “flying bishops” appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to care for opponents of women priests also said this was not a time for “sudden decisions”.  [Yah... because dithering has really helped in the past.]

Bishop of Ebbsfleet Andrew Burnham and Bishop of Richborough Keith Newton, who went last year to Rome to begin talks with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said: “Anglicans in the Catholic tradition understandably will want to stay within the Anglican Communion. Others will wish to make individual arrangements as their conscience directs.

“A further group of Anglicans, we think, will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land.” [But... without the Ark or Moses.]

They suggested February 22 next year, the Feast of The Chair of Peter, as an appropriate day for priests and people “to make an initial decision as to whether they wish to respond positively to and explore further the initiative of the Apostolic Constitution”.

 

 

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58 Responses to The Anglican Anschluss?

  1. tired student says:

    Let’s say Rome permits future Anglican Use seminarians to wed before the diaconate. Would optional celibacy in the Anglican Use pull candidates away from Roman seminaries? Would Roman bishops not permit married Anglican Use clergy to take positions in Roman parishes because of their marital status? Could married clergy receive papal honors (i.e. title of monsignor?) Since bishops must always be celibate, there would have to be at least some celibate Anglican Use priests if the Use would rather be governed by their own and not a Roman ordinary. I know that Pope Benedict’s provision allows a married priest to be the ordinary of the Use, but wouldn’t the Anglican Use Catholics want their own bishops for confirmations and ordinations?

    I suppose that many of the married Anglican Use clergy would not be “full time” priests like their celibate counterparts. Many married clergy would hold a secular job. Some celibate Roman priests might develop some angst towards their married counterparts if the Anglican Use priests serve alongside Roman priests in parish life. If the greater burden of ministry falls on celibate priests, expect some not-so-subtle parish conflicts in the future.

    I’m atypical for a traditional Catholic in that I’m open to the possibility of married clergy. I also recognize the many risks associated with an Orthodox model, but I wonder if giving the concept of married clergy a try within a small group might help the Church better understand the balance of celibacy and marriage within the clergy.

  2. Jacob says:

    I have to disagree, tired student. ‘Give an inch and they’ll take a mile.’ Unless this is going to purposefully lead to a change, the bright line standard needs to be defined clearly as soon as possible so as to avoid confusion on the issues you spell out.

  3. Peggy R says:

    I was glad to see your comment Fr Z in the second article verifying to me that it is not a foregone conclusion that the Anglican conversion provisions would include allowing for future married clergy, aside from the convert clergy themselves. I did not get any indication of that from the Vatican statement. It only spoke about the Anglican clergy who convert.

  4. ghp95134 says:

    Here’s a solution to the “married priest” conundrum:

    1. Current married Anglican priests could be ordained as deacons and subsidized as priests.

    2. Current married bishops could be brought on as “married priests,” but would be in charge of the ordinariate; they could be subsidized as bishops.

    3. Unmarried bishops could be received as bishops with all rights & privleges thereof.

    4. Current married seminarians will be ordained as deacons.

    5. After “The Appointed Date” no married priests will be ordained or admitted as priests. All future Anglican Use priests *must* be unmarried and celibate.

  5. Hans says:

    Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Catholic who retired earlier this year as the Church of England’s Bishop of Rochester.”

    I thought that was a bit odd, so I looked. At least according to Wikipedia, he was never Catholic, he was never Catholic, though attended a Catholic school and attended Catholic Mass in conjunction with that, but he was formally received into the Church of Pakistan (I didn’t know there was such a thing) at age 20.

    As for the 25 million Anglicans vs. 4 million Catholics, it might be worthwhile noting that (from cofe.anglican.org/info/statistics) the highest Sunday attendance of Anglicans in 2006 was 1,361,000. It seems to me that no more than that would be interested. There were reports late in 2007 that the average attendance of Catholics had surpassed that of Anglicans.

  6. THREEHEARTS says:

    Of course at this time one has to ask, “What happened to the fund set up by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan to compensate the anglican Pastors who left the Church of England for the Catholic Church”?? Spent no doubt on friviolities and other unnoticedand undeclared expenses.

  7. Athelstan says:

    …but also for fear of upsetting Anglicans and the Church of England in particular.

    Men and women were martyred at Tyburn…for this?

  8. isabella says:

    Please forgive me in advance, but after the horrible day I’ve had, these articles – as enhanced by the comments from Fr Z – had me laughing out loud. I know this is a serious issue and I will be serious tomorrow. But this is the first time I’ve even smiled let alone laughed today, things have been so miserable.

    At first, I thought this was satire and was so tired I didn’t realize it was reality (sorta, anyway) until the bit about the flying bishop flipping his white scarf and heading off for his biplane. ROTFLMAO.

    I’ll say my prayers and go to bed in a little bit. But the well-directed sarcasm really hit the spot. Slapstick comedy – the cure for a very bad day. No disrespect intended, but I’m still laughing. I’ll pray for them tomorrow.

  9. Mark Woodruff says:

    In the early 1990s a discussion took place between representatives of Cardinal Hume and those of an organised and historic group of pro-Catholic Anglicans. Not to be confused with the more recently founded North American organisation of the same name, the Catholic League had been established in 1913 (a) to pick up some of the pieces after Apostolicae Curae and promote again the cause of corporate reunion; (b) to promote the Church Unity Octave (later aka the Chair of Unity Octave and now the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity); and (c) in the wake of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference of Reformed, Protestant and Anglican church leaders trying to overcome the scandal of rivalry in evangelisation, tp assert that there could not be a Christian unity worthy of the name unless it involved the whole Church – including unity with the Apostolic See of Rome.

    In the early 1990s, this group, foreseeing that changes to Anglican church order would irrevocably undo the assumption behind ARCIC and the Decree on Ecumenism that a corporate rapprochement between Anglicans and the Catholic Church, developed a proposed scheme for the corporate reception of Anglicans under a structure based on the Canon Law concerning personal prelatures. The working title was ‘The Congregation of the English Mission’. The discussions were searching and took the possibility seriously. But it became clear that the Catholic bishops were not sympathetic to (a) a structure felt to be modelled on the particular case of Opus Dei, and thus what that might be seen to say about former Anglicans in the Catholic Church who belonged to it, and whether they had truly made a conversion from Anglican adherence to Catholic communion; (b) a structure that placed a possibly significant body of newly Catholic parishes and congregations outside the jurisdiction of the English Catholic bishops (a similarly anomalous situation for Polish Catholics in Britain has recently been a controversial topic for Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who requested that responsibility for their parishes be transferred from the Polish hierarchy to the English – without success). So it is very interesting that in announcing the new Apostolic Constitution, Cardinal Levada uses the language by which one tradition of Anglicanism always prayed for reconciliation with the Holy See – “corporate reunion” – and effectively reconnects with an old request for a distinctive structure that is both true to a legitimate Anglican patrimony and to Catholicity.

    While now the idea has been judged opportune, in the 1990s it could not run. Individual journeys of Anglican clergy and lay people were encouraged and supported, as were also those of a few congregations. All were integrated into the Catholic dioceses and parishes that received them. As for the Catholic League, it decided to become an ecumenical society, open both to Anglicans and Catholics (and others) concerned to promote Christian unity on the principles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Many members remained in the Church of England in the hope of a solution to Anglican problems and a revived prospect of ‘corporate reunion’; others became Roman Catholics, warmly accommodated by Cardinal Hume, the then Bishop Nichols and many other bishops. Now that the Holy Father has granted the request for a form of corporate reunion, it is an answer to prayer going back to 1913 and further beyond: that nothing that is distinctive of the Anglican patrimony could not also be received and integrated within the Catholic Church’s legitimate diversity as truly universal. I earnestly pray those who have asked for this will, as Cardinal Levada says, respond. It will not only enrich our Catholicity, it will hopefully end the internal schism in the Anglican Church and furthermore enable the Catholic Church to conduct its ecumenical relations and dialogue knowing where the settled Anglican position truly is.

    But there is an error in the CDF/CDW statement’s background note. The notion of ‘the Anglican Church, united not absorbed’ (NB not ‘re-united’) was not the banner under which the Malines Conversations met or reported. This did not come out until later and caused huge problems for Dom Lambert Beauduin, the other of the paper with this title. It was an imaginative ‘thought piece’ to get to the heart of the matter of division, rather than a realistic proposal. Many of the suggestions were not feasible or based in reality; even the Anglican Bishop Frere described it as ‘breathtaking’. It was Lord Halifax who spilt the beans a few years later when he identified the author and inadvertently misrepresented the import of the document. Despite the trouble this caused, the title caught the imagination for susbequent Anglican-Catholic dialogue and relations: even, as it has turned out, that of the CDF.

    I was able in 2006 to ask Cardinal Kasper, as an RC priest concerned at the future and aspirations of friends in the Anglican world who were anxious to be faithful in their own Church but desiring Catholic communion and reconciliaiton for themselves as well as for Anglicanism as a whole, while the prospect became increasaingly distant: what could be done to help them and what could they themselves do? It was clear to me that he wanted them to envisage their future in the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, I do feel that criticism of him in connection with this development has been unfair and unjustified. He is, after all, charged with the good relations of the Catholic Church with the Anglican Communion. And as Cardinal Hume repeatedly said in 1993 and 1994 to the Anglican clergy becoming Catholic priests, the purposes of the Catholic Church in England are not served by harming or weakening the Church of England. Thus Peter is to strengthen his brethren.

    A final point of information. Press comment is that since 1994 there has been a two way flow between the Catholic and Anglican churches. Indeed several Catholic priests have become Anglicans – hardly any were previously Anglicans who went back. A few more, in good faith, came and tried out being Catholics with a view to ordination – it did not work out and they returned to Anglicanism with no ill will on either side. As you point out, many hundreds of Anglican clergy became Catholics and a large number of these, myself included, were ordained as priests. We were never asked to renounce anything and all of us were humbled by the immense generosity of the Catholic Church in embracing all that we were and giving us everything besides. What the publicly quoted figure of those who left the Church of England fails to include (I leave you to judge the reason)is the additional hundreds of retired Anglican priests, and those who were offered early retirement at 60. The figure thus relates only to serving clergy under 60 at the time they took up the resignation settlement during the 10 year time frame allowed for.

  10. Jack Hughes says:

    We only pay our priests £8000 a year, my sister’s student loan was more than that!!

  11. ipadre says:

    I can see it now. Dan Brown’s next Book “AngliCode”. Yes, “The true story behind the AngloCatholic Reunion”. Staring, Michael Angelo’s great-great grandson, Mark Anglico. Dan Brown discovered that the Angelo’s actually came from Britain and changed their surname to overthrow the Catholic Church. But now, the tides of the Tiber and Thames are changing. You got it, the Anglicos are retuning to Rome and becoming the Angelos once again. Stay tuned for previews.

  12. frobuaidhe says:

    Jack, you had better believe it. When I worked in Scotland my annual tax returns stated that I had received approximately £8500 p.a. from the parish either in cash or in benefit. Cash (at that time) £1340 (now about £1600) + Mass stipends and gifts from parishioners + mileage allowance, the remainder being meals, my two rooms in the house shared with another priest, my use of sitting room, kitchen and bathroom, benefit from housekeeper services for rooms and laundry. The bishops keep a tight grip on the money. Stops priests from getting Bolshy. No one is in it for the money over there, nor for the social standing any more either.

    In Ireland we get more than double that (taking into account variations among the dioceses).

  13. Mariana says:

    I liked the bit about Rome parking its tanks (mind you, more like Armoured Personnel Carriers, i.e. no guns!)…who was it who asked how many Panzerdivisions the Pope had?

  14. On a very practical matter, here in the Diocese of Paterson, N.J. a former Episcopal priest who converted and bacame a Catholic priest, married with five children, was assigned TO A PARISH. He and his family were given the rectory which necessitated the two priests there to rent an apartment down the street. Whatever the causes, he succumbed to alcoholism and family abuse and he and his family were quietly removed.

  15. MattW says:

    Aside from the theological questions related to married clergy, I have two practical ones:
    Has a married clergy prevented a downsurge of vocations (for lack of a better word) in mainline Protestant denominations?
    Will pew-filling Catholics–especially the most pro “married clergy” gang–be willing to increase the weekly offertory check? My parish, a very generous one, is just breaking even, but I don’t know that we can afford a wife and kids for our pastor, let alone for the parochial vicar.

  16. “Rowan Williams has failed dismally in his ambitions to avoid schism. His refusal to take a principled moral stand against bigotry has left his Church in tatters.”

    Um, if Rowan Williams had chosen the “principled moral stand against bigotry”, then you can be absolutely sure that the Anglicans who are now considering Rome would be RUNNING to Rome.

  17. If nothing else, this new situation has made it clear that most Latin Rite Catholics, and pretty much all non-Catholics, don’t really understand this whole married priest/celibate priest thing. Heck, they have trouble even remembering that Eastern rites exist! You could use up a barrel of red pixels inserting [Latin Rite] everywhere that it’s needed in the comments or the news articles. :)

    It’s also pretty clear that plenty of secular institutions have their own prudential matters of discipline, but don’t recognize them as such.

    There’s no real reason why most professions require their members to have college degrees before hiring. The principles of business are complex, but most managers never actually use them. There are a lot of illiterate tribesmen and tribeswomen in the Amazon jungle who could perform middle management and keep people productive. There are probably a good few high school students who _could_ run a multinational, if pressed.

    But despite the fact that they could hire a great many more managers if they were open to hiring people without high school or college degrees, most big corporations do not do so. Entirely a matter of discipline, but sacrosanct in their eyes.

  18. Kerry says:

    Father, great analogy with the African Queen reference. Please elaborate though…what, or whom do the leeches represent? Heh.

  19. LarryD says:

    Fr Z – I posted a picture of one Rome’s tanks at my blog, in response to Gledhill’s headline.

  20. C. says:

    Everyone seems to be missing one important angle:

    The Pope has liberated Anglophilia from any suspicion of heresy.

    Praise God and Rule Britannia!

  21. Traductora says:

    One thing I think we have to remember is the origin of married clergy among the Anglicans: this was not a long-accepted feature of the “English Church,” as Anglicans like to think of themselves, but was only permitted and in some cases virtually imposed (as a sign of not being loyal to Rome) after Henry VIII. He himself was not in favor of clerical marriage, and Cranmer, although secretly married himself, didn’t come out heavily in favor of it until later as he became more overtly Protestant. Elizabeth I did not like the idea, but tolerated it because it was already established, although Mary Tudor had tried to halt it and dissolve clerical marriages.

  22. robtbrown says:

    There’s no real reason why most professions require their members to have college degrees before hiring. The principles of business are complex, but most managers never actually use them. There are a lot of illiterate tribesmen and tribeswomen in the Amazon jungle who could perform middle management and keep people productive. There are probably a good few high school students who could run a multinational, if pressed.

    Actually, there is a good reason.

    But despite the fact that they could hire a great many more managers if they were open to hiring people without high school or college degrees, most big corporations do not do so. Entirely a matter of discipline, but sacrosanct in their eyes.
    Comment by Suburbanbanshee

    It’s not an arbitrary decision. Although it’s possible that someone could be a competent manager without univ education, the odds are against it. Further, a univ degree usually means exposure to disciplines outside of the selected field, which broadens one’s outlook.

    I have heard lawyers say that they thought law school was a waste of time. I concede that they might not have been exposed to enough that directly dealt with the practice of law, but a law student will leave with certin intellectual habits which, even unconsciously, influence the later practice.

    During my computer years I worked with people of various educational levels: without a degree, with an Assoc or Bachelor’s degree in computer science, and with a degree in something other than computers (e.g., literature, philo, math, music, French, etc.). My experience was that anyone of any background could be a proficient programmer or analyst. Those who had a broader background, however, were not only good at the technical aspect but could also deal with people, i.e., users and subordinates.

  23. leutgeb says:

    A job as a clergyman in the Church of England comes with a stipend of £22,250 and free accommodation. Catholic priests earn about £8,000, paid by their parish and sometimes topped up by a diocese.

    The print copy continues that sentence, ‘where they [the parish] cannot even afford that.’

    Catholicism; where being poor isn’t a crime.

  24. Bornacatholic says:

    I actually loved Ruth Gedhill’s piece. It was refreshing to read a lib who is so frank about what she thinks.

  25. GregH says:

    The Anglican evangelicals are really left out in the cold. They’re in a denomination that is DOA and can’t really do anything about it. The Archbishop of Canterbury is powerless and wouldn’t want to do anything anyway. They’ll probably form their own denomination which, in effect, they have already done (see CANA, Gafcon, Jerusalem accord and the numerous other groups). They are the true Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

  26. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    I love the fact, as someone pointed out, that Ebbsfleet Station is one of the last stops in England on the train line that ultimately ends up in Rome. What a great name for the see of one of the “flying bishops”!

  27. Tom in NY says:

    As we consider aspects of church order and the consequences of faith, perhaps we can consider Blake’s words (set to Parry’s music): “…I will not cease from mental fight/nor shall the sword sleep in my hand/’til we have built Jerusalem/in England’s green and pleasant land.”
    Ad Hierusolymam!

  28. irishgirl says:

    That’s exactly what I would say, MattW-how could the average parish support a married priest and his wife and kiddies?

    Let celibacy stand!

  29. Agnes says:

    I love the Anschluss’ comment – “opponents of women’s ordination”, like our “opponents of a woman’s right to choose.” So we’re oppressive, despite the great Mother of God and saintly virgin martyrs, religious, married women, and doctors of the Church. The Catholic Church – the great archenemy of women.

    Rot.

    William, from the example you describe it seems there would have to be special pastoral care and counseling services for married clergy, wives, and families. Setting up the resources for folks who are not somehow hovering up and beyond their flock by virtue of their position sounds absolutely necessary, and costly.

    If Satan already has it in for families, and for priests, it seems he would have a heyday with a combination of the two.

  30. canonlawyer says:

    Here in the Archdiocese of Seattle our Archbishop recently ordained to the priesthood a married man who formerly was a Lutheran pastor. He is assigned to a parish, and his wife and two teen-aged sons have been warmly received. Adequate compensation is the biggest problem–it is a matter of social justice that needs to be addressed for all who work in the Church, cleric or lay.

  31. Rob F. says:

    Lots of talk here whether our current (arch-)diocesan parishes could or would support a married priest. This talk is interesting but not relevant to the personal ordinariate issue. If personal ordinariates are established, most of the Anglican clergy will be stationed at parishes in the ordinariate, not in the local diocese or archdiocese. Since Anglicans are used to supporting married clergy, I suspect the financial aspect will not be that big a deal. Since the Latin dioceses and archdioceses will have no (or few) Anglican priests to support, I again suspect the financial aspect will not be a big deal.

    I see the biggest potential issue to be Latin-rite Catholics who “convert”, if you will, from their own dioceses to a personal ordinariate. Time will tell whether this will be an issue at all, and if so, what will be done about it.

  32. robtbrown says:

    That’s exactly what I would say, MattW-how could the average parish support a married priest and his wife and kiddies?
    Let celibacy stand!
    Comment by irishgirl

    It is common in Protestantism that parishes hire their own clergy. The larger parishes with more prosperous members pay more and so are more desirable for someone who has to support a family.

    And of course, there is the little matter of divorce. When a Presbyterian tennis friend would kid me about the Catholic sex scandals, I would reply that in his church the second collection was to help the minister pay for his divorce and alimony payments.

  33. Tominellay says:

    I, too, liked the African Queen analogy…

    Here is a serious question: what will happen if and when Queen Elizabeth swims? Say, for instances, she announces that the English throne is getting out of the church business, and she has chosen to swim the Tiber? What are the ramifications?

  34. robtbrown says:

    Lots of talk here whether our current (arch-)diocesan parishes could or would support a married priest. This talk is interesting but not relevant to the personal ordinariate issue. If personal ordinariates are established, most of the Anglican clergy will be stationed at parishes in the ordinariate, not in the local diocese or archdiocese. Since Anglicans are used to supporting married clergy, I suspect the financial aspect will not be that big a deal. Since the Latin dioceses and archdioceses will have no (or few) Anglican priests to support, I again suspect the financial aspect will not be a big deal.

    I’m not sure I agree with you. The church of England has had part time clergy. They would work in a secular job during the week–on the weekend they would be clergy. This relieved the coE of any financial obligation.

    BTW, I had a classmate in Rome who was a retired member of the clergy of the Episcopal Church of Scotland. He was using his pension to study for the Catholic priesthood.

    I see the biggest potential issue to be Latin-rite Catholics who “convert”, if you will, from their own dioceses to a personal ordinariate. Time will tell whether this will be an issue at all, and if so, what will be done about it.
    Comment by Rob F

    I can’t see this becoming much of an issue.

  35. coeyannie says:

    I must stop reading this blog on my lunch hour. First it was the snake in the garage, now it’s leaches. I lost my appetite.

  36. ChadS says:

    I pray that this recent announcement bears much fruit among the Anglicans as they return to the Church.

    However, some of the comments made by the Anglicans and even their “flying” bishops cause me a little concern. There are quotes about the Church recognizing their “patrimony” and the “apostolicity” and “catholicity” present in their church. I think the one article quotes the Bishop of Ebbsfleet as saying they don’t want to make any hasty decisions. We also have the traditional Anglican bishops that signed copies of the Catechism saying they hold to everything contained within.

    My question is why the hold up then? Doesn’t the Catholic Church in England have enough of a heritage that it needs Anglican patrimony and forms of worship? As somebody else pointed out elsewhere England was Catholic longer than it has been Protestant. If these various bishops and priests really and truly hold to all that is contained in the Catechism then why are they waiting for Rome to make somesort of offer to them? The Catholic Church has made quite plain their views on Anglican orders and the validity of their Eucharist. Once they became convinced of the truth as taught by the Catholic Church why didn’t they beat a path to the nearest Catholic church? Yet many chose to remain where they were week after week remaining outside of the Church yet saying they hold to all it teaches.

    In some of these cases it sounds like they want to have their cake and eat it to.

  37. Dave N. says:

    Virtually nothing worth doing is simple.

  38. Trevor says:

    “And while the shortage of Catholic priests would be alleviated by the influx of so many Anglicans, the acceptance of married clergy with families would inevitably shift the focus to a questioning of the insistence that cradle-Catholic priests be celibate.”

    I find it ironic that these reporters consistently bring up the “celibacy debate” when trying to gauge what lay Catholics are thinking. However, they fail to take note of one group in particular: seminarians. In the past two days, there hasn’t been a large number of seminarians questioning celibacy just because the Pope is going to be allowing more married priests. And I don’t think that’s going to change much.

  39. mibethda says:

    Perhaps the selection of the feast of The Chair of Peter as the date to announce their decision signals where at least that group of Anglicans is headed.

  40. robtbrown says:

    Here in the Archdiocese of Seattle our Archbishop recently ordained to the priesthood a married man who formerly was a Lutheran pastor. He is assigned to a parish, and his wife and two teen-aged sons have been warmly received. Adequate compensation is the biggest problem—it is a matter of social justice that needs to be addressed for all who work in the Church, cleric or lay.
    Comment by canonlawyer

    And what happens if a priest comes to the bishop and says he needs a higher salary because his parents cannot take care of themselves? Or his brother has health problems and cannot support the family? Or a priest who has more children than another priest? Or college aged children?

    And then there is the little matter of civil law.

  41. Mark M says:

    Where did the Times get their figures? Catholic clergy get about £2k (or at least they do in Scotland), but that is, after all, supplemented by benefits in kind (e.g. house, food, etc.). CofE clergy, whilst receiving about £22k, have to find EVERYTHING from that. I think that’s an important point to be made.

  42. robtbrown says:

    I find it ironic that these reporters consistently bring up the “celibacy debate” when trying to gauge what lay Catholics are thinking. However, they fail to take note of one group in particular: seminarians. In the past two days, there hasn’t been a large number of seminarians questioning celibacy just because the Pope is going to be allowing more married priests. And I don’t think that’s going to change much.
    Comment by Trevor

    My general impression is that Rome is simply going to allow in England what has already been happening in the US.

    I wonder whether Elizabeth’s corpse is not spinning like a lathe in her tomb at Westminster Abbey.

  43. robtbrown says:

    should be “is now spinning”

  44. Oneros says:

    “Would optional celibacy in the Anglican Use pull candidates away from Roman seminaries?”

    Not if vocations work the way they are supposed to.

    Those entering seminaries now are supposed to be doing so assuming they ALREADY have a vocation to celibacy. They arent supposed to be celibate just because they “have to” in order to get the priesthood.

    God’s providence may have indeed USED the current disciplinary link between the two to SHOW these men their true vocation, but ultimately a vocation is supposed to be something you’d choose even if it werent “required,” and I’m sure if the discipline were lifted, God would find other ways to show men meant to be celibate their calling. To those to whom it is GIVEN, it will be given.

    The point is, if these men are truly called to celibacy, they’d theoretically choose it either way. Allegedly. So allowing married men to become priests shouldnt lead to any substantial drop in the number of celibates. That number should stay pretty constant, it is just that a whole new pool would be opened in addition to the men ALREADY called to celibacy.

    Unless, of course, the number of celibate “vocations” has been artificially inflated by the boot-strapping of celibacy to the priesthood and the presumption that priests are thus truly celibate. Just because priests make a promise, doesnt suddenly make them radically holier than single lay Catholics, who are also supposed to be celibate.

    “Has a married clergy prevented a downsurge of vocations (for lack of a better word) in mainline Protestant denominations?”

    I dont think that numbers should be our only concern. Breaking the facade, the hypocrisy is important too. Is “mandatory” celibacy worth it if it is only an appearance? Some studies suggest just that.

    But, numbers wise, we must consider that we have 20,000 laicized married priests in the United States. That isnt insignificant, especially when there is a shortage.

    Again, a vocation, I’ve been told, is infallible in some sense. You can say no to a true vocation, but you can’t say yes to a false one. If you are ordained a priest, only then can you KNOW that you were supposed to be one. Likewise with a valid marriage. You know once it happens, by right of accomplished fact, that this was your vocation. Well, there are 20,000 men in the USA (almost half the number of active priests we have in the US) who were ordained AND then laicized and married. But you’re a priest forever, and KNOW by the very fact of your ordination that it was meant to happen (so it’s said). So they have both vocations. I’ve been told these are the “exceptions which prove the rule”…but can there really be 20,000 exceptions which prove the rule when only 50,000 follow it??

    “Will pew-filling Catholics—especially the most pro “married clergy” gang—be willing to increase the weekly offertory check? My parish, a very generous one, is just breaking even, but I don’t know that we can afford a wife and kids for our pastor, let alone for the parochial vicar.”

    Two points:

    1) In terms of full time staff, the man could decide that. Maybe he’s won the lottery or has a lot saved up from his previous life. Maybe (gasp!) his WIFE WORKS!!! He’s an adult, she’s an adult, they could decide for themselves, we wouldnt have to pay him more. The diocese would say, “This is the salary, you have to understand that right from the start,” and if it was enough for him, HE could make that decision.

    2) Who says priests need to be always a full-time “occupation”? Who says it has to constitute the person’s livelihood also? In the Ethiopian church, they have up to a hundred priests per parish, drawn from the (mainly married) men there…but they all take one week a year to do the priestly duties (like the Jewish Temple Priesthood) and can work a regular job the rest of the year. Or take the Orthodox small-parish model where they often will have Liturgy only on Sundays and Solemnities, but then they do it right (ie, Vespers the night before, Orthros in the morning before). In both cases, the men abstain from relations with their wife for 24 hours before celebrating.

    We could establish a system where “archparishes” (ie, our current parishes of, often, thousands of people) staffed by celibate clergy provide daily Mass, emergeency sacraments, etc…but then have small parishes (with only 2-300 people), built in the neighborhoods, that have Liturgy only on Sunday and Solemnities, with a married priest or two who alternate weekends saying the liturgy on a volunteer basis. Married men from the parish could also be brought into the clergy through the Minor Orders or just be choir members through first tonsure (the minor orders didnt traditionally exclude marriage) and this would help to create a “continuum” between the laity and the clergy instead of a sharp divide or gulf. Instead of giving the laity clerical roles, thus blurring the distinction, why not just actually make many (or even most) men from the parish into Minor Clergy? That’s a common idea in the East.

    It seems to me absurd that we have cases where people at a parish have Mass only once a month, and then a “communion service” led by a married permanent deacon the other 3-weeks out of the month. At that point, it raises the question…why not just ordain him? He wouldnt have to make any additional time commitment (though if there were a real emergency and someone was dying and the pastor couldnt get there…common courtesy would suggest he might volunteer). They wouldnt have to pay him (except, perhaps, a stipend for the Mass itself, possibly similar to what an organist or cantor sometimes get when they are paid by-the-service). And yet they’d be able to have Mass every week instead of a “communion service”. Everything could remain practically the same otherwise, except this deacon would have hands laid on him by a bishop, and would actually say mass instead of a “communion service”. Is a united front of “mandatory” celibacy (something it is VERY hard to “enforce” just on the “honor system”) really worth depriving people of Mass 3 out of 4 weeks a month??

    “In the past two days, there hasn’t been a large number of seminarians questioning celibacy just because the Pope is going to be allowing more married priests. And I don’t think that’s going to change much.”

    Well, why should there be? The current seminarians are (at least they’re supposed to be) men who ALREADY have a vocation to celibacy. Who would choose it whether it were “required” or not. So it’s not them who are going to be affected. It’s married men who might also feel drawn in that direction who this would affect.

    “And of course, there is the little matter of divorce. When a Presbyterian tennis friend would kid me about the Catholic sex scandals, I would reply that in his church the second collection was to help the minister pay for his divorce and alimony payments.”

    Hardly the same. That’s the great thing about wives: they act as a sort of failsafe. There is a lot less adultery going on than there is fornication according to statistics. A wife would “keep an eye on” her priest husband, and if he did anything bad, she’d be more likely to call him out on it, whereas under the current systems…priests are free to act in secrecy, and cover-ups are much more possible and common because everything is private. A wife, though, there’s a much greater chance that she’d raise hell, though of course there are passive helpless wives out there too. But I think it would help break the culture of secrecy. Wives domesticate their husbands and make sure no funny business is going on. And unless we want to start putting ankle monitoring bracelets on priests, or make them live in a panopticon…celibacy is rather hard to enforce on merely an “honor system”.

  45. Jack Hughes says:

    Lizzy’s body’s spinning in her grave, Lizzy’s body’s spinning in her grave,
    Lizzy’s body’s spinning in her grave and Mary’s has a smile on her face

    Sancta Maria Regina Anglorum Ora Pro Nobis

  46. tired student says:

    Rob F. said,

    <>

    Yours is the ideal case, and I think it’s wise to keep the Roman and Anglican Use communities mostly separate for the near term. Still, Oneros tells the vocations shortage like it is. If a married priest is in union with Rome and is available to say a form of the Roman Mass, it’s probable that a “priestless” Roman parish will take up on his offer for part-time service even if doing so might require an increased offertory collection. If it’s a choice between “communion service” or “morning prayer” versus hearing Mass every Sunday, I know I’m going to choose the final option in a heartbeat regardless of the priest’s marital status. The Mass is central to Catholic life, and valid and licit ordination is all that’s needed to confect the life-giving Sacrament.

    I think the watchword now is “prudence”. Certain Roman communities, especially TLM communities, might have difficulty accepting the occasional assistance of a married Anglican Use priest even if he is non-stipendary. Communities that have issues with the married clergy concept should be allowed to retain only celibate priests and support the (very valuable) traditional religious institutes. Nevertheless, I suspect that Anglican Use/Roman clergy cooperation will happen in certain instances out of pastoral need. Some of the Anglican Use priests that pinch hit at the Roman Mass will be non-stipendary, and their volunteer abilities might alleviate the shortages of Masses. I do think that some Roman parishes will eventually have to make some more sacrifices, and I don’t know how that will pan out in the long run.

  47. Supertradmom says:

    I have personal experience of an ex-Anglican, ordained into the Catholic Church, becoming a pastor in our parish in Petersfield, Hampshire, many years ago. He left his comfortable living and gave up many benefits to come into the Catholic Church. He had a wife and two girls at home at the time. The parish council met several times, three, if I remember correctly, before they agreed to pay him the salary needed to support his family. The monsignor who was retiring told us that unless we accepted the new priest, we would become a mission parish, without daily Mass, as the priest shortage was so acute at the time. Thankfully, the financial problems were ironed out and the parish learned very quickly to love and appreciate the new pastor and family.

    This news is great and a sign of the Holy Spirit working among His faithful people. I am not worried about anything, as many of the Anglican clergy I knew well while I lived in England were more Catholic than the liberal wing of the Catholic Church.

    Praise God, who surprises us mere humans.

  48. edwardo3 says:

    Fr. Z,

    Can we put Norbertines or Oratorians in The Abbey (Westminster Abbey) this time instead of Benedictines? They can take up the Masses requested for his soul by Henry VIII, though what to do about Lady Anne Boleyn? As for Roman seminaries being emptied for a married Anglican Use, I’d go to the Anglican seminary for the liturgy alone.

  49. edwardo3 says:

    Actually, I don’t think it is Elizabeth I who isdoing so much spinning is The Abbey as it would be Queen Catharine Parr and Edward VI. Let us also not forget that Queen Catharine of Aragon must be weeping with joy at this wonderful news, she should be counted amongst the English Martyrs.

  50. robtbrown says:

    Oneros,

    1. You seem to think that a vocation is something merely interior. In fact, a vocation is a call by the Church to a certain life in the Church–it is concrete both in its origin and as a state of life. And so no man (or woman) can say he has a vocation unless the Church chooses him–and he actually chooses the life.

    2. NB: St Thomas never speaks of vocation–he uses the phrase electio vitae (choice of life). Those considering the priesthood or religious life choose that state. Although one hopes they choose it because it is the Divine Will, the concept of vocation is subjective.

    3. Very few seminarians have already decided to be priests. You might remember that in JRatzinger’s memoirs he said that he was still considering the married life as a seminarian. That’s why no one is obligated when first entering the seminary or religious life.

    One of the purposes of a seminary (or religious formation) is to give the candidate the means to decide on a decision that obligates for a lifetime. The second is to give the candidate the means to persevere in that life.

    4. Married priests? In an article in the local secular paper a few years ago a married Catholic priest who was Anglican clergy said that a priest who is married is a bigamist.

    5. The shortage of priests and religious is an indication that the changes by liberals have created a situation that is not desired by many. Have you ever wondered why Lincoln has no priest shortage? Or why the US and Western European Jesuit provinces have few?

    6. Of course, wives want to domesticate their husbands, but the high divorce rate indicates that always doesn’t happen.

    The problems with celibacy happened for two reasons: Seminarians and religious weren’t trained to be celibate and because of the serious damage done to the priestly (or religious) state of life.

  51. Mariana says:

    Yes, Catherine of Aragon. And what about St Edmund Campion or St Robert Southwell and all the others, all must be very happy indeed!

  52. Oneros says:

    “You seem to think that a vocation is something merely interior. In fact, a vocation is a call by the Church to a certain life in the Church—it is concrete both in its origin and as a state of life. And so no man (or woman) can say he has a vocation unless the Church chooses him—and he actually chooses the life.”

    No, I agree with you. And so, IF the Church did start accepting married men, they WOULD have vocations.

    “3. Very few seminarians have already decided to be priests. You might remember that in JRatzinger’s memoirs he said that he was still considering the married life as a seminarian. That’s why no one is obligated when first entering the seminary or religious life.”

    Religious life, I agree, many people are still discerning through the novitiate at least. But most seminarians I know do enter with the intent to follow through. In their minds, they’ve done their discerning.

    “4. Married priests? In an article in the local secular paper a few years ago a married Catholic priest who was Anglican clergy said that a priest who is married is a bigamist.”

    Hardly. That’s an insult to the East, and insult to the practice of the First Millennium, and shows a deficient understanding of typology.

    The priest’s specific human wife becomes simply an image of the Church, so there is no bigamy, but rather just typological equivalence.

    A priest with a wife is no more a bigamist than Christ is a bigamist because every virgin Saint is His bride, no more than Ecclesia is a bigamist because every priest is her bridegroom.

    Because the virgins are all images of the Church, and priests are all images of the one Christ, and they all only have that nuptial relationship inasmuch as they conform to that one symbolism of Christ and His Church.

    Likewise, all presbyteras (wives of priests) are images of the Church in that sense, not “separate” spouses typologically. Hence Paul’s requirement that priests take only one wife, a virgin (and, presumably, a Christian). Because a priest’s wife become a special image of the Church by the fact that she is married to an image of Christ.

    “The shortage of priests and religious is an indication that the changes by liberals have created a situation that is not desired by many. Have you ever wondered why Lincoln has no priest shortage? Or why the US and Western European Jesuit provinces have few?”

    An oversimplification at best. Traditional groups and seminaries ARE more attractive to the sorts of people who feel called to priestly and religious life…but they are not particularly “creating vocations”…they are merely drawing a GREATER PROPORTION of the pool of those that ALREADY are interested.

    We must remember that there are only a few places like that, so they are bound to have a sort of relative advantage. They are “overflowing” but they still arent turning that many men away in absolute numbers. If ALL the dioceses and ALL the orders in the world returned to tradition, and the playing field was thus “leveled”…there wouldnt be enough to fill them. There is a relative difference in attraction, but not absolute.

    The deepest parts of a pool may naturally still be full even when there is an absolute deficit of water, because that’s where whatever water left naturally flows. But the shortage of water is the problem. Proposing making ALL the parts of the pool deeper…is a naive solution that confuses cause and effect. Digging the pool deeper all around doesnt add any new water, it just ensures that the water level will be equally low everywhere.

    Places that are RELATIVELY more attractive, will attract RELATIVELY more people from the total pool. If you make everywhere that attractive, however, there will be no “slope,” no differential…and so everywhere will be equally low.

    “6. Of course, wives want to domesticate their husbands, but the high divorce rate indicates that always doesn’t happen.”

    No, I know there are, my point was: at least divorce is public. If our priests are messing around or being abusive, etc…we should WANT them exposed. A wife often does that. There is no “covering up” a divorce like there is a mistress, boyfriend, etc.

    Sure it’s “messy”…but it’s a lot better than a cover up. What is whispered in an inner room should be shouted from the roof-tops.

    “The problems with celibacy happened for two reasons: Seminarians and religious weren’t trained to be celibate and because of the serious damage done to the priestly (or religious) state of life.”

    That attitude is exactly my problem with the whole thing. This idea of “training” people to be celibate. It’s not the Catholic Church’s job to try to stop people from having sex. It provides places for those already called not to, who want a broader love than that. But it’s really not her job to try to artificially engineer abstinence. We arent supposed to be “making” eunuchs, God is supposed to give them to us. It is not supposed to be some natural phenomenon that we can sociologically engineer into existence, anymore than we can try to teach people to fall in love. That is a grave trivialization of the whole thing.

  53. Oneros says:

    I’ve been thinking more about all this, and it seems to me that the more indefensible something is, the more energy people have to exert defending it, and the more energy they exert defending it, the more committed they become. It is a feedback loop that people have to seriously consider when looking at their motives for defending “mandatory” celibacy. Are you doing it because you are honestly convinced of the idea of enforcing an ideal (and no one is denying it is the ideal)? Or is it just a sort of loyalty thing? Or because “dissent” on this non-essential is often but (if the buzz on Catholic sites recently is any gauge) no longer necessarily linked with other forms of dissent? I say, let’s not make the Perfect the enemy of the Good.

    Priestly celibacy came from a context that no longer exists. One, was that of a thoroughly and publicly Christian society where the Church was truly a public Institution. Second, it was a time when, if they did not limit it to celibate men, they would have had TOO MANY priests. The clerical life and status had many benefits, and almost ALL men would have wanted them if they were open to just anyone. Limiting the pool to those also called to celibacy helped provide a barrier to entrance to prevent a glut of vocations.

    Now, we have the opposite problem. But, more fundamentally, I think the whole concern of “too many priests” relates to a fundamentally Institutionalized vision of the priesthood which may be unsustainable in our world today.

    People always bring up the Money question when married priests are proposed? “How will we pay for their families?” But, besides the reasons I already mentioned (ie, they can decide for themselves, maybe his wife works, etc)…there is an implicit contradiction in this whole argument.

    Namely, most of these same Catholics say they would LOVE it if the number of celibate priests suddenly doubled. If suddenly the number of priests jumped from 50,000 to 100,000 in the US or whatever. That’s what we NEED they tell us. But this raises the EXACT SAME question: how do we pay for it?? Celibate or not, MORE priests cost MORE money, if the priesthood is viewed as a full-time occupation. And the ministry done by all these new priests, celibate or not, is unlikely to double the absolute amount of donations! Frankly, it is unlikely to increase the absolute income of the parishes and dioceses much AT ALL. So how would we pay for more vocations, even if they were celibate??

    I think the whole issue reveals a deeper problem regarding the sustainability of a full-time salaried priesthood in general in a world where we can’t count on big Catholic families to donate 10% of their income and a couple of their sons to the Catholic Church.

    Priests dont get paid much as it is, even with a shortage. If anything, the shortage has been a blessing in disguise inasmuch as it has staved off utter financial insolvency. And yet people hate parish closings. And yet people are all concerned about the “financial” cost of married priests. And yet they want to maintain the Big Bureaucratic Institution model of the Church and parish life.

    The equation simply isnt adding up anymore on a practical level. Idealism is great, but we cant let Ideals get in the way of having things WORK in PRACTICE.

  54. Hans says:

    In his Apologia pro vita sua, Cardinal Newman quotes a letter he wrote in late 1841, when he was himself still Anglican, to Dr. (Fr.) Charles Russell of Maynooth College:

    Roman Catholics will find this [only a slow trickle of Anglicans converting to Catholicism] to be the state of things in time to come, whatever promise they may fancy there is of a large secession to their Church. This man or that may leave us, but there will be no general movement. There is, indeed, an incipient movement of our Church toward yours, and this your leading men are doing all they can to frustrate by their unwearied-efforts at all risks to carry off individuals. When will they know their position, and embrace a larger and wiser policy?

    It would seem that time is now.

  55. southern orders says:

    In Augusta, Georgia where I was pastor of a downtown parish for almost 14 years, I had a married former Episcopal priest who had be ordained a Catholic priest under the pastoral provision. He was one of the first to be ordained under this provision in the early ’80s and his ordination at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity was covered by national news outlets. He and his wife had several children. His wife would lector at some of the Masses he celebrated and he would often talk about his wife and children in his homilies leading visitors to our church to ask if they were in a Catholic Church. In addition to this, another married former Episcopal priest, now a Catholic priest is also in Augusta. He has young children and a beautiful wife. Despite the presence of these married Catholic priests, the Augusta area has provide over 20 new priests to the Diocese of Savannah and religious orders. Most Holy Trinity has had no less than 12 ordained from this parish in the past 20 years. This is an integrated parish of about 1000 families. So married priests might increase the number of celibate vocations if the priests and the parishes they are associated with are orthodox, provide appropriate liturgical celebrations and do things by the book.

  56. Oneros says:

    “So married priests might increase the number of celibate vocations if the priests and the parishes they are associated with are orthodox”

    A VERY good analysis. I agree. We shouldnt feel the need to ban the good in favor of the perfect. If we allow anything good…then the better, the perfect will be HELPED by this, not hindered. Just like (though some trads dont understand this) good celebrations of the Novus Ordo actually help PROMOTE the Old Rite, as opposed to “competing”. Just like devotion to Mary INCREASES devotion to Christ. Catholicism is very much a “both/and” religion like that, and “enforcing” (ineffectively, in the “honor system”) celibacy is a rare and bizarre example of an “either/or” mentality. As if allowing married priests would be the end of voluntarily celibate vocations (such an attitude makes you wonder about their own motives in choosing celibacy). I think they’d mutually strengthen each other.

    The hierarchy made the wrong choice in the 1970′s. It chose to totally destroy the liturgy and let doctrine go in many places…while still maintaining the bureaucratic, homosocial Old Boys Club world of secrecy and petty intrigue and cloak-and-dagger “politics” and such. That should tell us something about their priorities and the sociology of their intra-institutional psychology. That they so blithely deconstructed the traditional Roman Rite…but were so utterly insistent on maintaining institutionalized celibacy, even as it became more and more about just maintaining the external appearance as opposed to actual practice (which some reports indicate is little better than among single lay Catholics, who are also supposed to be celibate remember).

    In other words, they chose to modernize the Aesthetics…even while maintaining Feudal militaristic institutional structures.

    I think under Benedict XVI, a shift is happening. They’re realizing it should have been the other way around. The Aesthetics should remain medieval. The liturgy is the place where that sort of romance and mystery is needed. On the other hand, it is the institutional structure that needs to be modernized and de-feudalized.

    The Novus Ordo era Church has been a spectacular failure…an impersonal Byzantine bureaucracy filled with cobwebs, a shadowy feudal clerical society…but with the cold barren heart of Modernism, stripped of any of the beauty and romance of the medieval.

    I think, thankfully, we are seeing the opposite being now attempted: a warm, organic, vibrant medieval heart of symbolism and prayer and doctrinal orthodoxy…but placed in a more open, stream-lined, personal institutional organization, one that is contemporary inasmuch as it will treat people like adults in a civil society instead of children (or robots) who need to be institutionalized and “controlled” through heavy handed attempts at resocialization.

    Before, we got the worst of both worlds, the feudal power structures of the medieval, but the empty iconoclastic barren “efficiency” of the modern. Now, I think, we’re going to see the best of both worlds integrated…the orthodoxy and beauty and romance and rich holistic symbolism of the medieval, with the civility and tolerance and psychosexual maturity of the modern.

    I think the talk with the SSPX will really help clarify some of these things. On the one hand, we can’t return (as some delusional trads seem to think) to acting like a political Christendom still exists. It is naive to keep interacting with and in the world according to a mode that assumes a social reality that is no longer actual. On the other hand, I think we will see a realization that this practical, prudential change doesnt mean we have to stop holding up the other thing as the Ideal. The post-Vatican-II seeming-dogmatization of Classical Liberalism and Anglo-American Democracy…will be deconstructed. A firm distinction will be made between what is the practical reality we have to adapt ourselves to, and what is the Ideal we may still cherish in our hearts for more favorable circumstances even if it is unrealistic in the present world.

    So, it wont be the rather delusional attitude of the Syllabi of the Captive-In-The-Vatican Popes (who acted in practice as if pretending that everything was still as it used to be), but nor will it be the disestablishmentarian protestantized Americanized political liberalism of the age of Paul VI and JPII.

  57. robtbrown says:

    Oneros,

    No, I agree with you. And so, IF the Church did start accepting married men, they WOULD have vocations.

    You’ve just proven my point. The doesn’t have a marrying priesthood, and so those don’t have vocations.

    Religious life, I agree, many people are still discerning through the novitiate at least. But most seminarians I know do enter with the intent to follow through. In their minds, they’ve done their discerning.

    Entering with the intent is not the same as actually being ordained, then persevering in the vocation.

    Hardly. That’s an insult to the East, and insult to the practice of the First Millennium, and shows a deficient understanding of typology.

    The priest’s specific human wife becomes simply an image of the Church, so there is no bigamy, but rather just typological equivalence.

    The man who said it was not speaking academically but rather from experience.

    An oversimplification at best. Traditional groups and seminaries ARE more attractive to the sorts of people who feel called to priestly and religious life…but they are not particularly “creating vocations”…they are merely drawing a GREATER PROPORTION of the pool of those that ALREADY are interested.

    No one is called to a seminary. The vocation, or to use St Thomas’ phrase electio vitae, refers to a diocese.

    BTW, almost all of Lincoln’s vocations came from within the diocese. There were two main reasons: Bishop Flavin was a good man who ran a very stable diocese, and the Newman chaplain at NU was an aggressive recruiter.

    One other point which you still don’t understand: Feeling called to a vocation is not the same as having one. In fact, those who feel called often learn that themselves and leave.

    And, yes, it is the duty of the Church to train seminarians and religous to be celibate. Generally, this means a structure that guarantees that the candidate will learn to live alone, i.e., not depending emotionally on others. For example, not allowing seminarians or scholastics to socialize in each others’ rooms and avoiding particular friendships (PF).

    Priestly celibacy came from a context that no longer exists. One, was that of a thoroughly and publicly Christian society where the Church was truly a public Institution. Second, it was a time when, if they did not limit it to celibate men, they would have had TOO MANY priests. The clerical life and status had many benefits, and almost ALL men would have wanted them if they were open to just anyone. Limiting the pool to those also called to celibacy helped provide a barrier to entrance to prevent a glut of vocations.

    History contradicts your opinion on celibacy.

    It has long been common in Europe for members of the nobility to enter the priesthood or religious life. Obvious examples are St Bernard of Clairvaux and St Thomas. And Solesmes was packed with monks from French nobile families.

    You seem to think that it’s as if someone plays high school football only because the girls will like him. That might actually be on someone’s mind, but the hellishly hot August practices will eliminate those there for the wrong reason. Ditto with good seminaries.

    Further, we see now with Opus Dei that celibacy is in fact being expanded to the laity–celibate numeraries living in Opus Dei centers and working in secular occupations.

  58. robtbrown says:

    Should read: The Church doesn’t have a marrying priesthood, and so those who want to marry don’t have priestly vocations.