Sunday, March 17

A lovely feast today: Blessed Fra Angelico, patron, of course, of artists. Go here for a good set of links .

But if you want to go straight to the paintings, go here. If you want a painting particularly suitable for Lenten meditation, go here. And if you just want a biography (but why would you?), go here

You may have wondered about my statement below concerning mandatory celibacy for some Roman Catholic priests. Yup. Missing in all the current blather about celibacy is the absolutely true fact that celibacy is not mandatory for all Roman Catholic priests.

Just the ones who were born and baptized into the Roman (Latin) Rite.

When we talk about the Roman Catholic Church, we're talking about a church that's composed of many "rites," that is, ways of saying Mass (rooted in various cultures - like the Maronite Rite, which is Lebanese) and internal structures. These rites are united to Rome and obedient to the Pope, but some practices differ - for example, the follow the Orthodox example of celebrating all three sacraments of initiation at once, with infants, and they have a married clergy (in most of the world. There were some dust-ups about that in the US in the early part of the 20th century. Celibate Roman Rite priests were mighty uncomfortable with the married Byzantine Rite guys). So there's one category of married Roman Catholic priests: the Eastern rite fellows.

Another category? The converts, of course. The Episcopalians, Lutherans and Methodist ministers who've come on over to Rome and been ordained as RC priests. They're married. Got their wives and families. They're living and ministering all over the place. As married Roman Catholic priests.

So the question is no, should married men be allowed to be Roman Catholic priests? The question is, should all Roman Catholic priests be permitted the option that some already have?

Not that celibacy isn't a value, a gift, and a charism. It is. There's obviously an important place for it in Catholicism, as there always has been - in those who choose it or feel called to it for the sake of the Kingdom and for those in religious and monastic orders. That makes sense. Mandatory celibacy for most diocesan priests doesn't.

Oh. We're so impressed. The Boston Pilot, the Archdiocesan newspaper, thinks it's all bad and stuff in offering an editorial in response to the Horrors of Boston that questions....celibacy.


Sure, mandatory celibacy for some Roman Catholic priests may factor into this in a couple of ways (in terms of the culture it engenders and, at least in the present moment, how it seems to serve as a convenient and socially acceptable cover for those homosexuals who enter the priesthood with little or no intention of being celibate), but when it comes to Boston, celibacy is most decidedly not the issue.

And in my mind, raising it is just one more distraction from the real issue, from the real questions that should be asked, which are not theological or even sacramental, but pure and simple questions of administration.

Why was the Archdiocese harboring and protecting lawbreakers? Why did the Archdiocese care more about the sorry, loser priests than it did for past and potential future victims?

The Pilot editorial also contained one incredibly laughable statement about homosexuality:

Evidence now seems to indicate that it is a genetically inherited condition. Really? And what evidence might that be?

But never mind, and never fear. The Pilot will continue to enlighten us next week, and spill some more ink in examining this issue of administrative immorality by helpfully looking at....the ordination of women.

The Catholic press. At your service. As usual.

Whoa. This is fascinating. Just fascinating. The real truth (the author claims) about the weird, renegade, and revered by some Malachi Martin is about to be revealed in a book by the husband of a woman he seduced around the time of the Second Vatican Council.

It was after this that the Catholic hierarchy finally believed the story and Martin was kicked out of the church. He dumped Mary, renounced his progressive views and wrote critiques on the Vatican, replete with lurid tales of black masses in St Peter's, and became a darling of America's hard Catholic right. He seduced and lived with a rich Manhattan divorcee for 30 years and died of a stroke in 1999.

Kaiser, still a practising Catholic, pauses when asked if he could forgive: 'No, I'll never forgive Martin. He wrote about demonic possession and I think he had an inside track. Mary, yes. She was young, naive and a victim.' After their marriage was annulled she married a lawyer and moved to New York.

Here's the not-yet-very informative Amazon link to the book, cleverly called Clerical Error.

Joseph's walking skills continue to improve, day by day and hour by hour. Now he can stand up on his own without support, which he did for a long time last night, over and over, to his own great delight, and ours as well.

Michael and I also gave him a haircut yesterday. Actually, Michael did the cutting, I did the restraining. We did the best we could, but we had to - he was getting so shaggy all over, an old man remarked to me in Kroger's on Friday: "He'll never have a bad hair day, because every day will be a bad hair day!" Actually he was referring specifically to the cowlick that often stands straight up at the back of his head (see latest baby photos here for evidence. But still, it was enough to force the issue.


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