And a challenge from Syracuse (Post-Standard, 9/8/2008)...
To the Editor:
Celibacy at what cost? St. Anthony? St. Mary's, St. Margaret's, St. Lucy's, St. James, St Andrew's - the list goes on.
The diocese announced about 40 parishes will close within three years, the downsizing due to less priests. The church continues to lose more priests, with the average age around 65. Hundreds of parishes have no resident priest.
How many churches would remain open if we restored a married priesthood? Corpus reports state there are over 50,000 married priests in the United States and 100,000 worldwide. We should remember that some of our popes were married priests and some were children of priests.
Celibacy is a special calling, but so is a married priesthood. Within the Catholic Church, bishops have accepted the Episcopalian and Lutheran priests as their own. A number of bishops have heard the call of the faithful and have given our deacons and women more pastoral roles.
Will local parishes remain open, will our bishops, our shepherds, hear the voice of the faithful, or will those voices scatter in the wind?