Priesthood

Erdoğan’s Ottoman Fantasies

British journalist Robert Fisk once stated, “The story of the Armenian genocide is one of almost unrelieved horror at the hands of Turkish soldiers and policemen who enthusiastically carried out their government’s orders to exterminate a race of Christian people in the Middle East.” The extermination of one and a half million Armenian Christians during [...]

An Old Testament Justification for Priestly Celibacy

God ordered Moses to consecrate the Israelites “today and tomorrow,” and have them wash their garments, so that they would be prepared to see the Lord descend on Mount Sinai on the third day. Moses consecrated and instructed the people accordingly. He also told them to abstain from sexual intercourse (Exod. 19:10-15). Why did God [...]

Skepticism over New Calls to Abandon Priestly Celibacy

In the wake of ongoing new reporting regarding sex scandals among many clerics, we have witnessed increased calls for the Catholic Church to loosen celibacy restrictions for the priesthood. Even many devout Catholics have begun to believe celibacy represents an unhealthy repression of sexual urges. To stem the tide of clerical abuse, the Church must [...]

Male Homosexuality and Priestly Formation

There is no homosexuality. Of course, there are homosexuals, but there is no one thing, no one condition or syndrome that is homosexuality. If we are to address the “homosexual problem” in the Church, then we must first understand what we are talking about, and whatever that is, it is not a thing called homosexuality. [...]

The Superiority of the Priesthood Does Not Justify Clericalism

The teaching of the Catholic Church with regards to the priesthood is that the priest is ontologically superior to the lay person. This superiority occurs at the moment of ordination. Ordination, like baptism, confers an indelible mark upon the soul of the priest, and it is this mark that causes the superiority. There are a [...]

Spiritual Egalitarianism Is Deadly

“It’s not going to be long now,” says the doctor, as you stand beside the bed of your loved one. “Shall I send for the head of the Liturgy Committee?” Some years ago, on the island where we live during the summer, the bishop assigned a new priest and told him that his job was [...]

The Times Pushes a Tired and Flawed Gay Priest Narrative

In its recent Sunday edition, America’s newspaper of record ran a front-page article on the challenges facing gay Catholic priests titled “A Silent Crisis for Gay Priests.” It is the most recent specimen of the journalistic genre of suffering-gay-Catholic-priests-in-an-unwelcoming-Church. The narrative is well-known by now: a Church which fails to welcome gay priests, whose leaders [...]

Celibacy and Priests with Same-Sex Attraction

In recent conversations concerning the Church and the priesthood, it seems that the main focus when discussing the issue of celibacy is the idea that the one who “chooses” a celibate life is one who willfully forgoes the enjoyment of sex. While this feature of celibacy is without a doubt true, looking at celibacy from [...]

The Final Conversations of a Dying Priest

Father Arne Panula died quite publicly and for a very long time. We kept hearing the end was near, but he kept on going and going. Besides in his coffin, the last time I saw him was when he took the podium at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and offered a prayer. This movie-star-handsome man [...]

Why Seminary Formation Must Be Scrutinized

“Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”   ∼ Matthew 18:3 Ever since I seriously embraced my Catholic faith, I’ve lived with the sensation of biting into an orange right after brushing my teeth. Toothpaste has a chemical in it that [...]

Is a Married Clergy the Answer?

With the latest revelations concerning sexual abuse by the clergy, the Church has once again asked the question “What is to be done?” One answer often given is that of a married clergy. While this proposal is not contrary to the Faith, there are arguments which make it unsound, perhaps particularly at this time and [...]

Permanent Assignments for Parish Priests Long Overdue

Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.  ~ The Temptations Efforts must be made to restore socially the conviction that the place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance.  ~ Pope St. John Paul II I’m a rotten dad, but [...]

Why Priests Won’t Protest Violations of Clerical Celibacy

Author’s note: The following essay is inspired by the testimonies of my brother priests along with elements of my own experience. It is not a testimonial nor does it reflect my current experience of seminary or priestly life at Sacred Heart Major Seminary where I currently study nor the local Churches where I serve. I [...]

Where Are the Bishops Who Will Defend Faithful Priests?

August 4, 2018 The Memorial of St. John Marie Vianney. It is hard to communicate to people the life of a priest. The inexpressible joys that we experience every day are so difficult to express, as is the privilege of journeying with people through the dark valleys in their lives with hope that we can [...]

What Priests Do

One of Rod Dreher’s longtime commenters recently offered this assessment of Catholic priests: When I was a little kid, I played with the kids in the prolific Catholic family across the alley until I was around 7. And then for some reason, we did not play together any more. It was not like we had [...]

The Best Preachers are Signs of Contradiction

In late June of this year, I had occasion to concelebrate a newly ordained priest’s First Mass. Following a well-established custom, this newly ordained priest had asked an older, more seasoned priest to preach the homily. Since we had already passed Pentecost, Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi—three consecutive Solemnities with rich and suggestive texts [...]

Carbon Monoxide Clericalism

Invisible, odorless, and deadly, carbon monoxide clericalism is less a power-trip than a survival mechanism that proves counter-productive. Simply describing it is the first step toward prevention or cure. Then let us all pray for a serious intervention of the Holy Spirit, for without the reform of the priesthood, it is difficult, if not impossible, to renew [...]

More Reasons to Support a Celibate Priesthood

Usually I don’t bother with pieces about “the first (y) (x),” where y = special interest group and x = profession. They always drip with a smugness that I, who looked up to the Jafar character as a child, find nauseating. The bien pensant journalist always seems pleasantly surprised their pet minorities have risen to [...]

On the Failure of Homiletics

“They have all zeal and no truth, and we have all truth and no zeal.” ∼ Bishop Sheen on the Church’s enemies In The Light of Christ, the fine new book by Father Thomas Joseph White, OP, we read that “[b]elonging to the Church does not give people a blank check so that they can live [...]

Clothing the Naked Catholic Square

Secularized man has succeeded in making himself a shadow. By eschewing every trace of moral absolutes, tradition and, indeed, the very anchor of nature itself, he has made himself a ghost. So etiolated, he can only rely upon the whimsical demands of the gaseous self. In this claustrophobic universe there is no longer need for [...]

Advice to a Young Priest

The illusion of one being perpetually young was shattered in my case recently when a publishing firm asked me to write some advice to a young priest from the perspective of an elder. For me, youth was a permanent state. I was the very youngest in my college class and, in my Anglican years, at [...]

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