Oct 29, 2009

Marriage for Anglican Priests is OK...But Then Why Not for Catholic Deacons?


I've been silent on the Vatican's recent proclamation about welcoming married Anglican priests into Catholicism who are disenfranchised with their denomination's ordinations of women and homosexuals.

While I'm not sure that the reason for including these priests into our fold, is the main reason we should be welcoming them into Catholicism, I'm also excited to see what the end result is of having more men in the priesthood who do not have to exercise celibacy.

But a larger question looms, we have welcomed married men who have had differences with us into our priestly ministry, but what about offering permanent deacons the same option?

I certainly want to uphold the ministry of deacon as a distinct calling and if celibacy was optional tomorrow, I would hope that many deacons continue to be deacons and not just become priests. Their distinctiveness is something that we should honor and be joyful for their ministry. However, might some of these Deacons felt called to the priesthood and simply chose the diaconate because they had no other option when it comes to ordained ministry? I would wonder why those who have been long time Catholics not be extended the same welcome?

Might we think about those who might feel this way and offer them an opportunity to re-examine their ministry because after all a Deacon has been a loyal Catholic and perhaps have struggled with this for some time.

While I would think most Deacons wouldn't take the option, I do think that those that would at least want to examine what their call has manifested itself into and see if they really feel called to the diaconate or if they are only become deacons because they can't be priests. While formation is supposed to weed out these types, I'm sure there are plenty of people who discover a call to the priesthood post-ordination to the diaconate as well.

Calling all Deacons...what thinkest thou?


And by the way...nobody's said this but does this open the door for the famous Fr Alberto Cutie to come back to his diocese?

1 comment:

Jason said...

As for Fr. CutiƩ, I'm betting that it will only apply to Anglican priests and seminarians who were raised Anglican, or at least not raised Catholic, and may even expressly exclude former Catholics who left to become Anglicans.

But I do think it raises tough questions about the continued practice of mandatory celibacy in the secular ordained priesthood. That there will be challenges (inc. financial) in allowing married men to be ordained priests, is this the reason we shouldn't take a serious look at this old policy?

On a side note, I think it's interesting that the media played the story as if Rome was unfairly luring Anglicans across the Tiber, yet when CutiƩ joined the Episcopalians and the local diocese held a press conference with other former Catholic priests there wasn't the same response. The Episcopal Church has long promoted itself as a home for disaffected Catholics who don't agree with the Church's positions on gender and sexuality issues.

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