Married clergy

Married clergy

Frank Bellet

The hardy perennial suggesting that a married clergy would solve the priest 'shortage' has emerged recently in a diocesan newspaper. The main problem facing the Catholic Church in this country, is not just the shortage of suitable priests, but rather the lack of parishioners.

If more people practised the faith properly, there would be a larger pool of prospective seminarians. I might add, if the teachings of the Church had not been watered down or even drowned by trendies in the pulpits and schools, there'd be less of a crisis attracting prayerful young men to the priesthood.

The suggestion of a problem solving married clergy comes from those, who either haven't thought deeply on the subject or, worse, want to change our Church to something it's not. There could be no argument about the dramatic slide in the number of parishioners, so if that fact is accepted, you have to ask where will the money come from to feed, clothe and educate what one would expect to be a rather large family?

I recognise that some married Anglican clergy and their families have converted to Catholicism and proved to be an asset, but these are small in number and this cannot equate to a full range policy of married clergy.

Imagine the scenario, where a wife objected to a transfer to a high crime area, or a slum, or objected to her husband attending an urgent 2am sick call from a dying parishioner, following news that there had been a prowler in the neighbourhood and didn't want to be left alone. Or, perish the thought, who would foot the bill for a separation or annulment, when a woman justifiably demanded maintenance for herself and a large family. It could happen.

I have been a widower for almost five years and, in reverse, I recognise the dramatic change in lifestyle this produces. I'm not suggesting this is a plus in my life, but merely stating a fact that, like a celibate priest, I can fulfil any reasonable request and any invitation, which I can manage, without having to consider if it will inconvenience anyone else in the household.

Likewise a celibate priest, on a sick call, on a transfer, or accepting an invitation to a day on the golf course with friends (along with his mobile phone) may do the same.

FRANK BELLET
Petrie, Qld

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