Friday, 13 June 2008

Assent, not dissent

I noticed in the Daily Telegraph that a group of organisations and some public figures have lent support to a petition calling for the ordination of women, married priests and the return to active ministry of those who left the priesthood to get married. They claim there is a crisis in the Church and that there are no theological or doctrinal reasons for celibacy among the clergy. They want this petition to be circulated in parishes on 29th June - just think, on the feast day of the Rock of Faith and of the Preacher of the Faith a petition which dissents from the Faith!

The usual cabal of organisations are involved - you can see who they are from the members of their ad hoc committee:
Michael Winter (Movement for a Married Clergy), Valerie Stroud (We Are Church UK), Maureen Robinson (wife of a resigned priest, originator of the petition in the UK), Frank Pycroft (Catholics for a Changing Church), Ianthe Pratt (Catholic Women’s Ordination), Jackie Hawkins (New Wine), Jackie Clackson (Housetop), Simon Bryden-Brook (The Living Word Trust, European Network – Church on the Move)

I decided to send them my counter-petition as follows:

Dear petitioners

As a Catholic priest ordained 15 years ago and now doing further studies in Rome I would like to:

1. Affirm my wholehearted support for the ancient practice of celibacy for the presbyterate in the life of the Church

2. Affirm my wholehearted support for the maintenance of clerical celibacy as a necessary sign to the world of the priority of the Kingdom of God and the call of Jesus, of love for Him and for His Church over other earthly ties

3. Affirm my support for celibacy not just as a discipline but as a practice grounded in the example of the Lord Himself, as a way of life that expresses the heart of the priesthood as a complete self-giving for the Church, as Christ gave Himself totally for His one bride - and so affirm that there are good doctrinal and theological reasons for this practice

4. Affirm my wholehearted assent for the Church's definitive teaching concerning the reservation of the sacrament of Holy Orders to men alone

5. Affirm my wholehearted assent to all of the Church's teachings, not as "Vatican policies", but as the teachings of Jesus Christ who gave His teaching authority to the Church's Magisterium

6. Affirm my prayers for those who have left the priesthood to get married, but my disagreement that they should be allowed back to active priestly ministry still married - such a move would be discouraging to those who have tried to maintain the promises they made at ordination and is a sign of a lack of respect to them

7. Deprecate this petition as an attempt to further the culture of dissent in the Church, a dissent whose real nature is a refusal to believe and so is opposed to the full act of faith, and so will do no good but will serve to encourage division in the Body of Christ

8. Acknowledge that there is indeed a crisis in the life of the Catholic Church, but this has been caused by dissent from the teachings of the Church, a lack of thorough Catholic catechesis, a lack of holiness and prayer in the life of the Church, an unwillingness to evangelise culture with the fullness of the Catholic Faith and a growing antagonistic secularism in the world which dissent actually promotes.

Yours in the Faith

Fr David B Barrett

Casa Santa Maria
Via dell'Umilta 30
00187 Rome


Victoria said...

Good for you father. Perhaps you could encourage other Faithful priests to post their comments re the petition.

sacred heart said...

Dear Father

I am delighted to read your sensitive and well written response to the married / women priests petition.

I have posted on my blog re this, too:

Shall we reciprocate links?

Sacred Heart