After first considering the idea over the summer, a group of Catholic bishops voted 128-41 in favor of allowing married priests to be ordained in the Amazon region in order to make up for a shortage of priests in the region. It’ll now be up to Pope Francis to accept or reject that recommendation.
If he says yes, which may well be the case, the Catholic Church would discard a thousand-year-old tradition in the name of convenience — and taking a rather drastic step to avoid ordaining celibate women.
If Francis, who has already signaled an openness on the issue, accepts the bishops’ recommendation, he will turn the remote areas of the Amazon region into a laboratory for a Catholic Church looking to the global south for its future, with married priests and indigenous rites mixing with traditional liturgy.
The pope is expected to respond to the proposals by the end of this year.
Diluting the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church may be the only way it survives the child sex abuse scandals, the barrage of people walking out the door because religion is no longer vital to their lives, and the desire for potential priests to want a family (and sex) more than devoting their lives to a criminal enterprise.Even the resident Catholic at FOX News Channel left the priesthood so he could get it on.
Considering all the priests who have hidden their sex lives — and how many children have been abused — allowing married priests into the fold would be a sensible move. It’s only a big deal because of the Church’s insistence that some rules are written in stone. It remains to be seen if those married priests would have the same abilities and responsibilities, within the Church, as regular priests.
But the move would also raise other questions about the Church’s requirements to become a priest. If celibacy is now optional, at least in some areas, why the requirement to have a penis? Why the requirement to be straight?
Conservative Catholics, who oppose the move to ordain married priests anywhere, insist on a purity test. But there’s nothing pure about the Church. Not now. Not ever. Allowing married priests would be a step in the direction of a more honest Church, given all the priests who have sex in private.
Hey, maybe that Shadow Catholic Church in Kenya can finally get some respect…
(Image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were published earlier)