Thursday, 6 July 2017

Father Ed's Blog: On a married priesthood

Father Ed's Blog: On a married priesthood


"Marriage does not hamper the dedication of surgeons, soldiers and those in the emergency services so why do we assume it hampers the dedication of clergy? The reality is more complex and, in truth, there are good/bad (effective/useless) priests regardless of marital status. A singleton might well have more time on his hands but this doesn’t mean it is spent effectively. Indeed the married man might be in the parish more often, due to family ties, than the singleton jetting off at every opportunity to spend time with friends.

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Why then am I torn? Because on the one hand I believe a fulfilled, chaste and celibate priesthood serves as a radical example of holiness to a sex obsesses culture; and a precious charism would be lost if celibate priesthood was dispensed with.

Yet I also know my own ministry has not been hampered by my marital status, quite the reverse, and I believe the church might be missing out on some potential when it closes the door altogether to a married priesthood. Might the answer be to look to the wisdom of the East?

For the Orthodox accept both paths- celibate and married. The celibates are most cherished and sent to high office- only the celibate become bishop. Meanwhile the marrieds go into the community to serve families there. A sensible compromise to my mind. How very Anglican of me! You can take the boy out of the C of E…."

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