Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Catholic priests enjoy Christmas with their kids

And more about some Byzantine rite priests and their kids in Italia...interesting because these are married priests who have allegiance to Rome. Honestly, there are so many variations in this movement, it's hard for a humble laywoman to keep it all straight! ;-)

By Malcolm Moore,
Sunday Telegraph

This Christmas, high in the mountains of Calabria in southern Italy, a handful of Catholic priests will be able to celebrate Mass and then sit down to dinner with their families.

The 15 married priests who live in Lungro make up one of only two dioceses in Italy whose priests are able to get married with the blessing of the Vatican.

It was in the 15th century that the Pope permitted a group of Albanian refugees to keep their Orthodox traditions in return for allegiance to Rome, exempting them from the rule of celibacy. In the run-up to Christmas, The Sunday Telegraph was granted special access to observe Mass in Lungro's Byzantine Cathedral, together with the priests and their children – a combination that would be unthinkable across most of the Catholic Church.

Their effectiveness is under scrutiny because of a fierce debate in Catholic circles over whether all priests should be allowed to have families of their own.

During the service, the priests' wives and children sat with the choir, watching them chant the rites in Greek. The children strained their necks to glimpse their fathers as the priests approached the altar, which was hidden from public view in the Eastern way.

Afterwards, the families streamed out to meet them in a cathedral aisle. Father Marius Barbat watched as his six-year-old son, Adrian, playfully blocked the path of the priest carrying the chalice from the altar.

"It should be normal for priests to be married," said Fr Barbat, who arrived from Romania two years ago. "In my country, there are lots of married priests and they are accepted by the community."

Father Pietro Lanza, the head of a new seminary nearby which aims to train more married men to be clergy, said his Albanian ancestors had fled to Lungro to escape a Turkish invasion in the 1400s.

Now, with Pope Benedict keen to refresh ties with the Orthodox Church, Lungro, with its 3,000 inhabitants, has become an important symbol of unity between Rome and Constantinople.

At the Pope's direction, senior cardinals are considering the issue of celibacy, given the dramatic fall in the number of people who are training to be priests: just 5,000 in Italy, compared with more than 30,000 during an average year in the 1960s.

Insiders say that the main obstacle to change is now economic – including concern over the potential cost of priests' widows' pensions.

However, in Lungro only one thing is on the agenda this weekend. The priests are preparing to celebrate the birth of the infant Christ, with their own children firmly in tow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Politically, celibacy is idealized by the Vatican to provide a thin veil of concealment for its actual lived homosexual reality.

Cults control the sexuality of their members' lives as a requirement for membership and salvation. In the RCC, the "celibate" leadership sets itself up as the superior sexless elite. They believe they have earned true authority and the right to receive a form of worship from the laity. This understanding is core to the episcopal/sacerdotal cult of personality we are invited to take part in reverentially.

Given the anger and shame most gay men feel because of society's rejection, the priesthood is an exciting but vulnerable gay heaven on earth. They are the winners in the battle of the sexual orientation war.

Just as the denial of ordination to women casts a shadow of doubt on all women, the sexless ideal of the hierarchy and priesthood makes all church members doubt the perfect goodness and purity of their sexuality and their personal ability to use it with self-assuredness and spiritual accomplishment. This is a deep and powerful control mechanism that Catholics have been taught from birth.

The gay hierarchy/priesthood wants to avoid women priests and married priests at all costs because of the threat and exposure they would bring to this tenuous heavenly mix the have created. Celibacy maintains the wall of protection - along with last year's contrived pronouncement that bars sexually active gays from the priesthood.

Incidences of pedophilia and ephebophilia continue to emerge on a daily basis. The media has been focusing on church finances for the past year with 85% of RC churches reporting some form of embezellment. In the future, we'll be reading more about the compartmentalized sexual lives of the majority of priests.

Will the codependent current generation laity make room for that too and keep on giving gay Father their money? Probably - but most of their children won't.