Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is Pope Francis open to married men becoming Roman-rite Catholic priests?

There have been rumblings throughout the blogosphere about the latest musings of the Holy Father. Should married men be permitted- as a norm- to be ordained Roman-rite priests?  Dear reader, you should (rightly) say, "Hey, priest's wife! You are Romanian Byzantine Catholic! It is none of your business what the Roman-rite does! keep out of it!" 
don't worry- this is an 'old country' Eastern Catholic seminarian marrying- men wear their best clothing to their marriage, and his clerics would be his best clothing 
Very well. I will keep out of it- after I share some thoughts...these old chestnuts....

Read: Throwing Priests' Wives Under the Bus (about a former Anglican priest turned Catholic priest who stated that he would be a more dedicated priest if he were celibate) 
my words: 
Everyone should accept and develop their lives depending upon their vocation and not advocate against their state in life. It is ungrateful to be otherwise. His public thoughts of being a more devoted priest if he weren't with family responsibilities is unfair. While he can advocate for celibacy in general, theological terms, the specifics of his situation should be positive only. I know these are strong words, but he is ungrateful in that he is a minuscule exception to the celibacy requirement in the Roman-rite. I understand that some married priests want to stay 'under the radar,' so don't mention your marriage at all. We all have misgivings and frustrations with our state in life. 

Have you ever met a mother who is vocal about her preference for the opposite sex that her baby turned out to be? The baby is all dressed in blue, and the mom sighs that she's disappointed that she doesn't get to buy all the cute pink ruffly clothes. I must confess that I find that attitude really disturbing. It's one thing to say 'a girl would be fun' before the sex of the baby is known, but when that sweet baby is in your arms, he needs your total acceptance and love. 

What if your husband was having second thoughts about being married to you? What if he fantasized about being married to the girl he dated before you met him? What if he published a Facebook status update like: "I would be a more devoted husband if I didn't have to deal with Sarah's lupus. I could have devoted more to my career if Maria had married me." Devastating, no? 

Read: Sad Days (about Roman rite commenters who want Eastern-types to shut it) 
my words:
WHY OH WHY do people think that by accepting the East's 2,000 year tradition of married men priests and their dignity and worthiness leads to....married men being ordained de facto in the West, altar girls, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, women 'priests,' clown masses, blessings with bubbles and sage, embracing divorce and remarriage, birth control, abortion, meat buffets on Fridays, abandoning Holy Days of Obligation, global warming, etc and etc...We just want our sui juris church to be respected. We love the Holy Father and the Catholic Church. Let me be a broken record for a bit; the Church is bigger than my microscopic rite and the Roman rite- no matter the majority the Roman rite has.

Read: Sex & the Married Priesthood: Ceasing Marital Relations within Marriage a "Praiseworthy Thing"? (a former Episcopalian priest announces that he will no longer have relations with his wife after being ordained a Catholic priest)
my words: 
I say that it is impossible for a loving married couple (a couple not in an extremely rare Josephite marriage from the beginning) to be perfectly continent because marital relations is much more than intercourse. It is an emotional intimacy with another person that a celibate person does not experience. Marital relations is to receive a cup of coffee lovingly from your wife, as you can see from the video of Deacon John. If he entered a monastery, a housekeeper or a fellow monk giving him coffee would be a completely different thing. Marital relations is to be frustrated together over the latest mistake a child has made. Marital relations is to buy the stinky cheese that he likes so much. Marital relations is to clip coupons and soak beans cheerfully. To reduce marital relations to simply sexual intercourse (the lack of intercourse being the perfect continence required supposedly by canon 277) is to reduce us to animals who rut without thinking.

and here is the last blog post I could find about the subject...The Challenge of Celibacy: Let's NOT talk about Sex  (it's about the single life and selfishness) 
my words:
We all know amazing celibate priests who are always thinking of the other person. He might golf on Monday morning as a hobby, but his cell phone is open to calls and he doesn't allow a gate keeper secretary to be a barrier to contact with his parishioners. Celibacy and continence are challenges, but Roman-rite priests know what they are getting into and, I suspect, focus on protecting themselves from sin in these serious matters. Selfishness is a much smaller sin, but it tends to creep in and make itself at home. A selfish person who is also a giver- like I was- work, work, working for God but then ignoring that call that they know is a hospital call. A selfish person insists on his hamburger super-rare (just pass it over a lit candle) even when the waitress says the health board won't let her sell it rare. A selfish person needs, even while complaining of burn-out, to choose all the music selections and flower arrangements so that things will be perfect (for him/her).

agree? disagree? any other thoughts? leave a comment! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Michael's conversion: his spiritual journey as a new husband (guest post)

Christ is Risen!
“There’s this church next to my work—says it is for Ukrainians. Check it out; your grandmother was Ukrainian. It looks like the Orthodox church she used to take me to.” Those words were spoken to me by my father in 2013. A man far from any professed belief, it was because of that sentence that I, and now my wife, have truly found our home—what is now our pilgrimage on earth to heaven. 
I was certainly a much more devout 21 year old than most others I grew up with in Philadelphia, but my first visit by myself to the Ukrainian Cathedral wasn’t very fruitful. The Liturgy seemed so foreign that I was saddened of my inability to see it for what I now know it truly is. Still, I was determined to get to know this “other Rite” (I know—it's not a Rite) with my then-girlfriend. I tried much too hard to learn and read on my own without proper direction. 
In the meantime, my girlfriend was returning to the (Latin) Church and God was certainly doing His own work within her. I, on the other hand, was gradually drifting away from my spiritual well-being, but still held on because I knew I had to. Little would I know that God had a pretty big idea for us. 
I was still in law enforcement at the time and still serving in the National Guard. During the next few years, we would split our time between the Church where I served Mass and the Ukrainian Church nearby. A few years had passed, and Lucy (now my fiancee at this point in time) was clearly reaching a point where she began living her life for the pleasure of God, began engaging in spiritual reading, and was really becoming the ideal Catholic woman! I was so proud and happy, but I noticed that I had hit a wall in my own faith, a sort of writer’s block for the soul. 
Due to a variety of circumstances, we had to transition to the Ruthenian Church. This is when the story gets good. I cannot pinpoint how, or why, but suddenly, deep within me, while hiding in the back during my first visit, I just knew—this is it. This is where we need to be. Now, it all seemed complete—we were finally learning more, understanding, meeting so many people, reading, praying, being involved—it was all wonderful. Then, my law enforcement career came to a sudden halt right before our wedding. It was like having your whole life planned out and it all being taken from you—imagine the irony. 
Suddenly, I was separated from the only line of work I had ever served in. I lost what would be considered great benefits and a rather luxurious salary Thank God for that, because I found that wall that was holding me back. In my lowest of lows, my fiancee was there for me (of course), but she was there in a different way—it was to point me to God and to His Church. It was during this time that I finally learned that I am a sinner, that I am unworthy of so many things, that I require Our Lord’s mercy every waking moment, and that He wants me to be united with Him. He taught me that I must rely on Him, that I must give my total self to Him, and that I must pray to Him. I learned how to really, really pray, not just recite empty words, but learn how to push through the struggle of prayer, and how to understand the Liturgy, Vespers, Matins—all of it—as an instrument to succeed in prayer of the heart. I suppose like so many others, it was only in my “darkest hour” that my heart became open.   
My time became immersed in Jesus alone. Because of my fiancĂ©e, I finally learned how to know God, and I came to find this in Orthodox spirituality—the faith of my grandmother, Anne, who was a wonderful Orthodox woman. 
I often say I wish I discovered the Eastern Churches earlier in life, but I see why it had to wait. I think God needed to remind me not to follow the ways of the world, and to show me what He really wants of me. To say that I am undeserving of a wife of 24 who supports her 26 year-old husband in discerning the priesthood is an absolute understatement. After visits to the seminary, to Pilgrimages, to financial planning—all with her—I can certainly say we are on a tough journey filled with uncertainty and blind corners. However, with the guidance of our pastor, vocations director, and so many wonderful people we have met on the way, we happily make our way on this search for God’s plan for us, knowing that we have now what we didn’t fully have before—faith, reverence, and fear of God—together. 
Please pray for us, and be assured of our prayers for all of you. God love you!"
- shared by Michael Fiocca
Thank you, Michael! We will be praying for you and your family through this journey