It’s just a rumor now, but would anyone be surprised if Pope “I care too much about world poverty to get hung up on sexual rules” decides the next topic the world’s bishops must discuss is priestly celibacy?
In what feels like a long time ago, I would have been able to muster the energy to fight over this, but Pope Francis has already attacked something much closer to my heart, so all I I can do is shrug my shoulders and say “Who cares anymore?”
Just a few points:
- People complain about a priest shortage. At least they did. Lately things have gotten so bad that we look back longingly on the day when we liked our priests enough to actually wish we had more. The truth is that what we have is not a priest shortage but a laity surplus. If the Church is to survive, it must somehow eject that 90% or so who are actually on the other side. There are more than enough priests to minister to the rest.
- Clerical celibacy and marital indissolubility spring from the same source in the Catholic imagination–the romance of life-disposing sacred vows. One can consistently affirm one without the other, but it’s no coincidence that the two have the same enemies and that the only Christian body to maintain the doctrine of marital indissolubility without compromise is the one that has a celibate clergy.
- In contemporary Catholicism, there are only two subjects: sex and not-sex. And talking about not-sex is just a sly way of talking about sex. Remember when the Pope addressed Congress and talked about not-sex for the whole speech? And the take-away message is that conservatives should stop obsessing with sex and realize that abortion and homosexuality are awesome? (That was the message taken by both liberal and conservative media. And since it was entirely predictable to everyone, including the Pontiff, that this is the message that would be received from such an address, it follows that it was also the intended message, the real message.) Not that I would claim to be any better than the media. After all, I could have written a post about drinking water access in the third world, but I didn’t, because that would be boring. This is a post about sex. But I’ve got this on His Humbleness: at least I don’t pretend that I’m not obsessed with sex.
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