In what ways are we “afraid” of a married clergy?
You extoll the virtues of celibacy but you aren’t signing up for it yourselves.
We were not called to it. No priest “signs up” for celibacy. Rather, he discerns a calling to the priesthood, goes through many years of education and further discernment in prayer and with his superiors and then, if he is ready and willing he is ordained a deacon and then a priest. No one puts a gun to any man’s back and makes him take on the responsiblities and sacrifices of the priesthood. He knows going in what he will face, as well as embracing the joys of being free to serve God without the burden of having others to care for besides his oftentimes large parish.
Marriage is a normal part of life yet you deny this to your priests. It has been stated in other posts that married priests won’t be able to drop everything and come to your aid, like hear your urgent confession late at night. Other religions have married clergy who mange their time between family and their congregants.They are able to handle true emergencies.
“We” do not deny our priests anything–they take on the priesthood with all that entails of their own free will. A priest is not a Protestant minister. He is a priest whose first duty is sacramental, and that does mean having to be ready at all times to administer the sacraments. Most priest have much larger congregations to tend to, as well. Whereas a Protestant minister may have 500 families a priest will have 1000 to 2000 families besides hospital duties and everything else that goes with being a minister of God. If he has a family to care for he is not free to go whenever he is needed or to rest whenever he needs to, either.
Think how lonely a priest must be. If he has male friends then people’s tongues wag about SSA. If he has female friends then they wag about an affair.
Lonliness can be a problem, but more and more it is being addressed. Priests are freer to do outside activities and make friends than they used to be. And actually, priests are on the upside of the trend towards being unmarried. More and more young people are remaining single or postponing marriage, and even then they’ll get a dog rather than have children. I haven’t noticed any tongues wagging about the private lives of our priests. I rather doubt it’s as serious a problem as you might think.
The poor guy does not have to spend his whole life attending to church business. He has a right to a life which may include a family. It is something whose time has come. I predict it will happen within the next ten years. Those who say celibacy is worth it don’t know anything about the sacrifice the priest is making to take care of your soul. It’s worth it for him to deny himself but what about you? Be more charitable about his feelings. When was the last time you invited your priest to join your family for dinner or a family outing. The man became a priest; he is not without feelings.
The poor guy having to attend to church business? LOL! As if we chain them to the altar and only let them out to serve people in distress. Really, this is simply not how it is. Besides, a priest is not a hired hand–he is a shepherd whose place is with his flock. That’s the calling he trained for and which he knew he’d be doing. We are well aware of the sacrifices our priests make, as we are of the sacrifices many people make who serve others. The priest knows his own feelings better than you or I. If he no longer wishes to be a priest he can be lacized. It’s not a trap into which he was lured and then sentenced like time in jail. Being married is not the pinnacle of life nor is it the only way in which people can be happy. Many are miserable in marriage–it’s no guarantee of bliss in this life.