Finally, finally, a sliver of a ray of light from above for the Catholic Church. The Church is considering, considering, allowing married men to receive “priestly ordination” in the remotest regions of the Amazon river. Some would call this astonishingly progressive. Some would call it a crack in the proverbial wall of “the gift of celibacy”. So which is it? Is it the Church taking priestly ordination of married men “for a test drive”? Or is it the course of last resort for the Church having exhausted all other possible sources of priests who could function at a minimally acceptable level in this one of the remotest regions in the world? It appears quite likely that it could be both.
Aside from the challenges the Church faced in the early centuries of its existence, the current crisis centers around unthinkable acts by priests. This, combined with a severe shortage of priests, is shaking this religious juggernaut from its parishioner core to its leadership in the Vatican. The crisis reverberations, mostly surrounding the priest as a sexual predator, are causing geological fault lines between the Church and many of the Catholic faithful. Evidence suggests that even some of the most fervent supporters, given the apparently lack of effective and widespread action by Church leadership, are allowing these seismic schisms to fully separate them from any church related activity. With their faith completely shaken, they are also closing their pocketbooks effectively creating a third crisis. The army of God is having its supply lines so effectively reduced as to create new struggles for the Church in its fight against evil.
Not to suggest that Catholics, or even Christianity, represent the entirety of the legions of God. It is striking to anyone who takes a moment to ponder it, that virtually all “religions” worship a supreme being. It’s truly remarkable that these God-centered religious factions have occurred spontaneously around the world in some cases independent of one another.
Some have stated that these religions are artifacts of a time when science could not explain certain phenomena. These phenomena were then attributed to the work of a God. A notion the people could comprehend. A notion that gave rise to God worship in the hope that these actions would bring God’s favor to them. The fearing and worshiping of a God removed the fear of a chaotic world where actions beyond one’s control were perceived as completely arbitrary.
For many Catholics, who choose to think more logically about why the Church is good for the people and what the Church must do to remain relevant in a modern world, tough choices must be made quickly. Especially in a world where everything finds its way to the web instantly.
Married men are not free of sin, nor are celibate priests, so the time has come to set aside “the gift of celibacy”. The Church should ordain married men, shed the Church of the predators, and you solve two enormous obstacles to the long-term success. Then, and only then, can the process of healing the deep, hideous wounds begin in earnest.
Obviously much easier said than done. Yet time is of the essence. The Catholic Church is on course to lose almost an entire generation, possibly two or more, of parishioners. Often change within the Church doctrine or dogma has taken decades. The Church must move much more quickly. Otherwise the number of engaged parishioners will shrink, the treasury will shrink, and the Church’s relevance will diminish.
This would not be a good thing for the world. If you believe evil exists, and we see evidence of it every day in a world of global instant communication, then religions that promote Judeo-Christian like principals of peace, love, charity, family must be preserved to combat theses forces. The Catholic Church has done so much good in this world over two millennia. Its charitable acts around the world, with ministries like free or low cost healthcare, are remarkable. The Catholic Church has erred egregiously for centuries perpetuating this notion of “the gift of celibacy”. It may yet be the source of its downfall.