• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Farewell Winter March 20, 2018
      In the last two weeks or so it really feels as though we've turned a corner here in the Twin Cities with many signs of winter's weakening grip. I saw firsthand these signs on a recent walk down to Minnehaha Creek to what I've come to call the Prayer Tree (left).Of course, none of this is surprising given that the vernal (spring) equinox and th […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • A Day to Celebrate the Survival of the Old Ways March 17, 2018
      St Patrick's Day – a very, very bizarre celebration indeed. A [a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop] who attempted to annihilate the Druids, who conducted exorcisms to banish the great Irish faery deity Aine, who told lies about the faery, who claimed he threw Pagan women who would not convert into the ocean and they became mer […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Mystical Czech artist, Marie Brozova February 22, 2018
      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Trump congratulates Putin March 21, 2018
      - Make Everything Great AgainTrump calls Putin to congratulate him on his (sham) win and says they'll be getting together soon, this despite Russian meddling in our elections and what they did in the UK ...Noooo, that's not even a little suspicious.
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
  • Advertisements

Married Priests, Women Priests, Diocesan Priests.

In ongoing debates, discussions and raging arguments over compulsory celibacy for priests, we usually overlook the simple, plain fact that there are already many thousands of married Catholic priests.  The eastern rite churches within the Catholic church have always accepted a married clergy, and in recent years there has been a steady trickle of married clergy converting from other denominations, who have been ordained in the Catholic Church and are now ministering openly and officially in Catholic parishes, in many parts of the world.  Most of us know this, even if we do not think about it consciously.

Eastern Rite Catholic Priests

We completely overlook, however, that by far the greatest number of married priests today are those who started out conventionally enough in the Western Church, but later left formal ministry within the institutional church.  Many of these left in order to marry, others left and only later chose to marry.  All, however, remain priests. In catholic theology, the principle is clear:  “Once a priest, always a priest”.

Some of these continue to offer ministry of different kinds, although (obviously) outside of the institutional church and without its sanction. In this, they have clear parallels with the growing womenpriests movement, which recently ordained priests in Sarasota, and will ordain five more women as priests or deacons in Rochester on May 1st this year.  There are parallels too,  with a small handful of openly gay priests who have entered into civil marriages or civil unions with their partners.  (The few that I know of are working in specialist ministries, independently of church funding or diocesan control). There are also heterosexual priests who have legally married without the sanction of the Church – especially in Africa.

I was interested this morning to stumble upon the writing of one such married priest, Fr Ray Grosswirth, at “Toward a Progressive Catholic Church”. What I like about Fr Gosswirth is his calm and balanced approach, characterized by a desire to find common ground between the progressive and conservative voices. Two of the New Year resolutions he posted on January 1 were:

3.)I will avoid those who try to entice me into theological arguments in cyberspace.
4.)I will continue to work behind the scenes for an opportunity for conservative and liberal Catholics to gather in an atmosphere of mutual respect, whereby diversity would be celebrated, as opposed to being attacked.

Typical of his approach is this brief report on a New York meeting between married priests outside the fold, and mainstream diocesan priests, looking for ways to work together.  This is an admirable goal, and I wish them every success.

Dialogue Between Diocesan & Married Priests

Dear Blog Visitors:

If you read various Catholic blogs, it might appear that there is no constructive dialogue between traditionalists and reformers. This is indeed often the case. However, it is wonderful when a middle-of-the-road approach is taken and produces results.
One of my better experiences in recent years occurred on January 8, 2003. On that day, the executive board of CORPUS (national association for an inclusive priesthood) and the president of the NFPC (National Federation of Priest Councils) spent a day together in New York City. Highlights of our day included constructive talks on the role married priests could play in various dioceses around the country. This was inclusive of a very nice lunch in an Italian restaurant in Manhattan.
I have included a photo taken at the lunch mentioned in the preceding paragraph. From the left are Bob Silva (former president of the NFPC) and the former CORPUS executive board, including Bill Wisniewski, Russ Ditzel and Ray Grosswirth (yours truly).
I continue to pray for the success of the American Catholic Council, scheduled to take place in June of 2011 in Detroit. It will be an opportunity for conservative and progressive Catholics to come together in a spirit of friendship and dialogue. I look forward to attending and participating in the conversations.

Peace to all, Ray Grosswirth

See also:

Celibacy in the year of the priest

The Underground Priesthood


4 Responses

  1. There has always been an accusation among dissident Catholics that the Church is obsessed over the human body. Try looking in the mirror. Or just do a simple tally of all the posts on your blog so far. Not much music in one note struck repetitively.

    • I agree, as it happens. I would far prefer to be writing about a much wider range of topics, but that is not the way it has worked out.

      Of course, if you don’t want to read it: nobody’s forcing you.

  2. In the photo above, anybody with a crown (an Eastern Rite style of mitre) or a miter is a bishop.

    There is such thing as a “mitered archpriest” in Eastern Orthodoxy; I don’t know if there is such a thing in the Eastern Rites of the Roman Catholic Church. I think of a mitered archpriest as something like a monsignor.

    In the RC Eastern Rites, as in Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, there is marriage before diaconal or presbyteral ordination, but not afterwards. If a married priest or deacon is widower, he promises not to marry again.

    And bishops are never married; in Eastern & Oriental Orthodoxy, bishops are drawn from monasteries.

    • Thanks Mark for the correction. I wondered at the time if these were bishops, but the source I used gave now indication that the men pictured were anything other than standard priests. You are right though that if bishops, they would not have been married. As such, the picture is not appropriate for making my point.

      The main pint though, still stands. I have seen a calcualation that finds that including all married Catholic priests, those of the eastern and western rites, the new converts and those who ahve lef active minisry but remain priests, they represent a total of 20% of all priests: a significant share.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: