By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 01, 2005
L.A. Catholic brings to our attention the case of Los Angeles Archdiocesan priest Fr. William Messenger, who displays for our edification his essay called "Celibacy as Problem" -- published, four years after his ordination, in the National Catholic Reporter.
Not infrequently, the approach of the magisterium has been to ignore (deliberately or accidentally) the real questions behind the celibacy issue. Perceiving celibacy in terms of tradition vs progress, or restricting the question to its practical implications, combined with the Roman Church's hang-up with sex, the magisterium entrenches itself in the past, reiterating ill-conceived "principles" of little, if any, substance. ...
I, for one, did not choose celibacy. I chose priesthood and accepted celibacy because there was no choice. I do not consider myself to have been free. There was simply no other way to be ordained. And even in accepting celibacy, it was not a vow. The distinction between vow and promise is perhaps more important than is immediately evident.
So, if you're the Archbishop of Los Angeles, it's clear where you station Father Willie, right?
Right. You make him chaplain at the University of Southern California, where he not only is able to broadcast his hesitations and resentments about celibacy to the student population, but also posts on the chaplaincy website his deeply, deeply twisted heterodoxies on contraception, abortion, fem-friendly liturgy, and the use of glycerine-based moisturizers in rubbing-down diocesan contractors. In short, a perfect formula for bringing Christ to the lost sheep of the university flock.
Well guess what?
I will pass over in decorous silence the question of the responsibility Messenger's bishop shares for his assignment and his celebration of diversity. I will only echo Messenger's own observation that the distinction between a vow of celibacy and promise of celibacy is perhaps more important than is immediately evident.
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