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Tuesday, May 14 2002

Dogmas III - forbidding priests to marry

As a lifelong non-Catholic, I wouldn't presume to critique the RC church and suggest where it's gone wrong, even though Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop Joseph Adamec practically invited outsiders' input in his interview last week. But these thoughts are more intended as discussion starters and questions.

As a Protestant most of my life and now Eastern Orthodox confessor I never understood the Roman Catholic opposition to marriage for their priests and have never heard a persuasive explanation. Both Protestants and Orthodox believe that spiritual fathers or advisors can better know the burdens of married people and families by being married and having children themselves. Most Protestant congregations and denominational officers prefer married clergy (though single ones are not unknown),

In Orthodoxy, a single man is generally told to become a monk rather than a priest if he wants to enter full-time ministry and doesn't intend to marry. Some (few) monks become parish priests, and others are ordained to the priesthood for monastic duties, and all bishops are chosen from the monastic ranks (with rare exceptions, most notably among widowed priests). In the early church, marriage was not forbidden, and even the Apostle Peter is known to have been married,

For these reasons and especially in light of the current sex scandals, compounded by large-scale abandonment of the priesthood in recent decades by men wanting to marry (to say nothing of the increasing difficulty recruiting new priests), and even calls from other ranking RC church leaders for a change in the policy, it's difficult to understand the Pope's defense of this uniquely Roman Catholic church dogma. Anyone able to shed light or express a constructive opinion is urged to join the dialog.

Next time: questions about birth control and divorce dogmas.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Know your people

A small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness—a grandmotherly, elderly woman—to the stand in a trial.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can't
build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. Yes, I know him."

The defense attorney was also surprised and shocked.

At this point, the judge brought the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she
knows me, you'll be jailed for contempt!
"

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.

Unknown

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