Interesting week with all the responses from the media, from parishioners, from people on the outside, from the ‘faithful’ all over the shop, from the sphere of the secular creatures, and from those in vocational church positions, on the family synod in Rome. I have spied all responses with avid interest from my little insightful corner of the globe, being on the borderlands ~ observing my secular friends ~ faithful friends and ~ vocational friends ~ many whom Love the Church, some of whom are disillusioned ~ some of whom are ignorant ~ some of whom are anti ~ and I have been considering all their different reactions.
Great hope maybe for some ~ great disappointment probably (absolutely) for others. The feelings out there on the ground is that the Catholic hierarchy live one way and then preach another way of living. A clerical institution absolutely not transparent. The disappointment appears to be at the un-openess of fully and publicly embracing homosexuals, whilst many clergy are recognised to be of gay orientation (regardless of whether or not they are sexually active). Some apparently or obviously known to be in intimate relationship? How can we accept homosexual others, when we can not even acknowledge or embrace the sexual orientation our own homosexual brothers publicly – but in secret know fully well the truths quietly lived out? Eeeek.
Then there is the preaching of commitment to family life, and a way of living for the greater common good, to which the clergy are exempt and not permitted to living out or enduring themselves. How can we preach for a family to stay committed to working through issues ~ suffering and sustaining for the sake of the building blocks of society, enduring the commitments for better of worse ~ and yet live in a society where priests are moved on when the going gets too tough, or when things become stale? Surely priests should be role-models that exercise the same commitment and endurance that they are asking their flocks to endure. Else when a father of a family isn’t quite meeting the needs of his family anymore, maybe he could move on and live a renewed leadership, within another family situation elsewhere?
The feeling on the ground is that if clergy were married and living the life that the people were, then the laity would have more trust, respect, and faith in Church teaching, and the priests would be more in touch with the people. Personally I think there is room for both married and celibate clergy, each bringing their gifts, difficulties and insights.
There has been much talk in the recent past with tongue in cheek comments about ‘Priests very comfortably living “poverty” in a home that is paid for, with a car, with bills paid, with holidays, retreats, social and formal privileges, gifts, a bachelor lifestyle ‘if a little male oriented’ ~ which is not based around full integration into family parish living ~ with very little regard being voiced for the sacrifices which a priest actually makes in order to serve his flock. One senses the polemic reaction of those with the above attitude all out against those who place the priest on such a high pedestal that he could only look down upon Jesus ~ whilst casting a winking approving favorable eye over those very same people whom support him there.
These are neither of my views ~ but rather the responses of others I have encountered.
I Love the Catholic Church, I have actually found something profoundly beautiful and inspiring in my observations of Divine law, and I have found many of the documents and encyclicals to hold a profoundly thorough exploration, and a mostly beautiful respectful conclusion on a Truth that God intended to be a pure and dignified beautiful aspiration for us all (there are a few exceptions in some of the papers for me). However no matter how much I Love the Catholic Church, the beautiful intimate documents, the inspiring characters and leaders, the quirky Saints, our earthly failable priests full of humanity etc ~ there are parts of her I detest. The bits which were never of Love ~ which are Truly not of God ~ and which desperately, for the sake of Him and for all of our future’s needs changing once and for all.
Lets all pray for a beautiful future
Earth as it is in Heaven.
Yours, theirs, ours and His lovingly and in deepest faith