Action Alert!

from the pastor's desk

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 25, 2004

Father Alan Phillip, C.P., heralds a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the form of married clergy, the 143rd such Rebirth of the Church announced in the pages of the U.S. Catholic:

I believe a new Pentecost for the Catholic Church will soon be realized and a renewed excitement about human sexuality in the context of conjugal love will soon be experienced. Just imagine a time when words preached from the pulpit are spoken in a language and mirrored by an example once again understood by married couples -- and young people on the way to marriage.

Some priests talk rubbish about conjugal love; some talk sense. Some married folk speak drivel about it; others don't. In my experience, persons with a fond connection to their families of origin -- no matter how rough and wild the ride had been in day to day family life -- tend to be most level-headed about marriage (and about celibacy, for that matter), regardless of their own status as married or celibate. You can't teach a sense of proportion and you can't teach sanity. It's more than a matter of data transfer. By the time one gets married, what's essential to know about conjugal love has already been learned. Or not.

The clergy of Protestant bodies have enjoyed the experience Fr. Phillip covets for 500 years. The Pentecost of conjugal wisdom blazing forth from those clerical bedrooms is, let's admit, underwhelming -- not warped, not wrong, but nothing extraordinary.

After all, what do Christians want their clergy to teach them about marriage -- the kind of stuff you'd get in one of those "What Every Young Man Should Know" pre-nup manuals from the 1930s? Doesn't a sleepless night with a sick child teach more than a six-month honeymoon about the meaning of commitment? I can't help but wonder whether Fr. Phillip's "renewed excitement about human sexuality" is more of a pretext than a pastoral concern.

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