Defectors owe Catholics an apology
Contrary to Caren Kakuko’s assertions in a letter (Of priests and marriage on June 6), there are a number of valid reasons to retain priestly celibacy.
Pope Paul VI stated that the grace of fidelity to celibacy is ‘never denied to those who ask it sincerely’.
Celibacy has an eminent spiritual dimension that greatly transcends the question of discipline.
Stefan Heid, professor of liturgy and hagiography at the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archeology, stated that according to the judgment of the early Church, ecclesiastical celibacy has dogmatic relevance.
Celibacy is a time-honoured tradition that has been embraced and guarded by the Catholic Church for centuries as a brilliant jewel.
The Second Vatican Council confirmed that Christian priesthood could be understood only in the light of the newness of Christ, the supreme Pontiff and eternal priest, who instituted the priesthood of the ministry as a real participation in his own unique priesthood.
To share authentically in the ministerial priesthood of Christ means to devote one’s entire life to the faith while sharing with Christ his very condition of living.
Jesus promised a more abundant recompense to anyone who should leave home, family, wife and children for the sake of the Kingdom of God (Luke 18: 29-30).
There is ample evidence in the words of Jesus and St Paul for looking upon virginity as a higher calling, and by inference, as the condition befitting those who are set apart for the work of the ministry.
In the words of Pope John Paul II: "The value of celibacy as a complete gift of self to the Lord and his church must be carefully safeguarded...the life of chastity, poverty and obedience willingly embraced and faithfully lived confutes the conventional wisdom of the world and challenges the commonly accepted vision of life.’’
— Paul Kokoski, Canada
Recently, the media have carried stories to the effect that some Catholic priests are defecting from the priesthood to join other churches or simply get married.
While these are issues that border on freedom of choice, I still feel that such priests owe us, the Catholic faithful, an apology for letting us down.
These are the same priests who vowed before us that they were joining priesthood forever, and that nothing would ever make them turn their backs to the faith.
It’s disappointing when these priests now use the media to announce their departure from priesthood because of issues related to celibacy instead of using the pulpit to break the news to us.
Why can’t they step up to the front of the church and announce their defection to the Catholic faithful? After all, these are the people who attended their ordination.
They could also use the opportunity to seek forgiveness from the faithful for having let the Church down. We are human beings and understand that weaknesses are part of us. In any event, these defectors are not the first to leave the Roman Catholic Church.
A number of bishops have equally found themselves in the same boat. An example is Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo whose defection is still quite vivid in the minds of many faithful.
— Ng’ang’a wa Gatibui, Kibichoi
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