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Things I Wish I’d Blogged in `08: Married and Women Clergy

January 6, 2009

Of course, the previous post notwithstanding, my relationship to the Church is not all gladness and light. (A lot of my friends, both churched and un-churched are more than a little puzzled about how and why I remain Catholic). One of the tragedies of contemporary Catholicism is the passion and talent that is wasted – even drive away – by barring women and married people from the priesthood. Yes, I’m familiar with the arguments for an exclusively celibate priesthood – but I don’t find them persuasive.

I do not say this out of hostility to the celibate priesthood. The beautiful ministry of so many priests I have known gives witness to the power and vitality of this way of being a priest. But it is not the essence of being a priest. Nor do I say this out of a liberal commitment to equal rights. It is not just a matter of discrimination against people, denying them something to which all have an equal claim. Vocation is beyond mere rights talk, and Catholic women and married people called to the priesthood can and will find other ways to answer their call, both in an out of the Catholic Church.

It is the Church, the Body of Christ, which suffers most by this dismemberment.

For me, the beauty of every Mass is tinged with the pain of what we have lost, of the gifts we are throwing away.

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