Celibacy

(I am just putting this here, but I will let the hosts determine where it should be).

A couple of days ago the Pope called celibacy in the priesthood a gift from God but also a 'provisional' discipline observed mostly in the Western Church that is not essential to ordination. See report here

How will this be a game changer moving forward?
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Comments

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    So the RCC Latin rite can rejoin the rest of Christendom?
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    There have been discussions about ordaining mature married men for decades. The bishops of the Amazon region discussed it at a synod a couple of yeats ago. The pope has said he would listen sympathetically to an approach by national or regional conferences of bishops. But nothing has changed so far and large areas of the church are denied the sacraments for the lack of priests.
    There seems to be the attitude among bishops that if they had to put up with celibacy, then others should.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Celibacy is good for those who prefer to be celibate
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    How will this be a game changer moving forward?
    Why should we assume it will be a game changer at all? Why assume anything will change?

  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    I have encountered a speculation that if priests are allowed to marry, then there will shortly be an expectation that most of them will marry, and then those who choose not to marry may be targets of suspicion (for no obvious logical reason).
  • HarryCH wrote: »
    I have encountered a speculation that if priests are allowed to marry, then there will shortly be an expectation that most of them will marry, and then those who choose not to marry may be targets of suspicion (for no obvious logical reason).

    I think it would be reasonable to suspect that, given the attitudes of the RCC towards same sex couples, a significant fraction of those choosing to remain celibate will be gay (Anglican experience would seem to support that). Whether that in itself is a problem depends largely on their bishop.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    edited March 15
    HarryCH wrote: »
    I have encountered a speculation that if priests are allowed to marry, then there will shortly be an expectation that most of them will marry, and then those who choose not to marry may be targets of suspicion (for no obvious logical reason).

    I think it would be reasonable to suspect that, given the attitudes of the RCC towards same sex couples, a significant fraction of those choosing to remain celibate will be gay (Anglican experience would seem to support that). Whether that in itself is a problem depends largely on their bishop.

    If they are gay and remain celibate why should that be a problem? There must be plenty of them in that situation already.
    Finance is likely to be a bigger problem. RC priests receive a basic income from the church that is little better than pocket money. Married priests will either have to have full-time jobs or marry women with well paid jobs. I am reflecting that our last four priests have also worked full-time unpaid in diocesan roles.
  • Celibacy was originally more about money than morals.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 15
    What difference (if any) has it made to the mainstream RCC to have had, in recent years, an influx of married ex-Anglican priests? Some will have come via the Ordinariate, others straight in through the front door IYSWIM. Two from this Diocese, being relatively young, took their children with them, so to speak.

    I guess this mainly affects the RCC in this country, and in the USA, but I don't really know what sort of numbers are involved.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    What difference (if any) has it made to the mainstream RCC to have had, in recent years, an influx of married ex-Anglican priests? Some will have come via the Ordinariate, others straight in through the front door IYSWIM. Two from this Diocese, being relatively young, took their children with them, so to speak.

    I guess this mainly affects the RCC in this country, and in the USA, but I don't really know what sort of numbers are involved.

    The Ordinariate is very small and starved of money. It might not survive as a distinct entity. Yes there are a couple of married ex-anglican priests in our diocese too. The numbers are I think too small to have any major impact.
    Where this REALLY matters is in parts of the world where people might not receive the sacraments for months at a time because a priest covers thousands of square miles.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I would personally favour married priests but I don't really anticipate that it would cause a significant upsurge in candidates for the priesthood. Other church communities don't seem to have an overabundance of candidates for the ministry.
    It might make things better for present individual priests who would like to have a formal and open relationship with another person but it is not really going to increase the number of priests,at least in the western world. It is only faith and confidence in the mission of the Church which would do that.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    What difference (if any) has it made to the mainstream RCC to have had, in recent years, an influx of married ex-Anglican priests? Some will have come via the Ordinariate, others straight in through the front door IYSWIM. Two from this Diocese, being relatively young, took their children with them, so to speak.

    I guess this mainly affects the RCC in this country, and in the USA, but I don't really know what sort of numbers are involved.

    The Ordinariate is very small and starved of money. It might not survive as a distinct entity. Yes there are a couple of married ex-anglican priests in our diocese too. The numbers are I think too small to have any major impact.
    Where this REALLY matters is in parts of the world where people might not receive the sacraments for months at a time because a priest covers thousands of square miles.

    It might be a tiny proportion of Roman Rite priests, but the fact that they exist at all proves that celibacy is not of the essence of priesthood (as indeed the existence of married Eastern rite Catholic priests has proved for many centuries.)

    Far be it from me as a mere Anglican to suggest what the policy of the RCC might be, but the expression 'can of worms' comes to mind. If male priests married to women are ok, why not female priests, why not male priests married to men, female priests married to women, transgender priests... whatever.

    All of these exist in the Anglican communion, and though the sky hasn't fallen in, there are plenty of people and factions whipping up dark skies* and threatening doom. Maybe the Catholic structures are better able to withstand such storms and I wish them well if they persevere, but it won't be an easy ride.

    *sorry I can't think of an unmixed metaphor.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    HarryCH wrote: »
    I have encountered a speculation that if priests are allowed to marry, then there will shortly be an expectation that most of them will marry, and then those who choose not to marry may be targets of suspicion (for no obvious logical reason).

    I think it would be reasonable to suspect that, given the attitudes of the RCC towards same sex couples, a significant fraction of those choosing to remain celibate will be gay (Anglican experience would seem to support that). Whether that in itself is a problem depends largely on their bishop.

    If they are gay and remain celibate why should that be a problem?

    I think you'd have to ask the late Pope Emeritus that one. He seemed to think that even recognising that you were gay (rather than, presumably, "suffering from unnatural lusts" or similar) was a bar to the priesthood.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    What difference (if any) has it made to the mainstream RCC to have had, in recent years, an influx of married ex-Anglican priests? Some will have come via the Ordinariate, others straight in through the front door IYSWIM. Two from this Diocese, being relatively young, took their children with them, so to speak.

    I guess this mainly affects the RCC in this country, and in the USA, but I don't really know what sort of numbers are involved.

    The Ordinariate is very small and starved of money. It might not survive as a distinct entity. Yes there are a couple of married ex-anglican priests in our diocese too. The numbers are I think too small to have any major impact.
    Where this REALLY matters is in parts of the world where people might not receive the sacraments for months at a time because a priest covers thousands of square miles.

    You make a good point. Things are bad enough, it seems, in the RCC in this country, but the dearth of clergy in many parts of the world is a major problem.

    A relatively-flourishing RC church (in a modern building) on a local estate was closed and demolished - at the command of the bishop - some years ago, the main reason given being the lack of a priest to serve it.

    The congregation was absorbed (at least partly) into that of the larger neighbouring church (in the main town, and not on the estate). but AIUI even that church now has only one priest.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    edited March 15
    Alan29 wrote: »
    HarryCH wrote: »
    I have encountered a speculation that if priests are allowed to marry, then there will shortly be an expectation that most of them will marry, and then those who choose not to marry may be targets of suspicion (for no obvious logical reason).

    I think it would be reasonable to suspect that, given the attitudes of the RCC towards same sex couples, a significant fraction of those choosing to remain celibate will be gay (Anglican experience would seem to support that). Whether that in itself is a problem depends largely on their bishop.

    If they are gay and remain celibate why should that be a problem?

    I think you'd have to ask the late Pope Emeritus that one. He seemed to think that even recognising that you were gay (rather than, presumably, "suffering from unnatural lusts" or similar) was a bar to the priesthood.

    Yes, well ...... one of many issues I disrespected him for (the ordinariate being another.)
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    What difference (if any) has it made to the mainstream RCC to have had, in recent years, an influx of married ex-Anglican priests? Some will have come via the Ordinariate, others straight in through the front door IYSWIM. Two from this Diocese, being relatively young, took their children with them, so to speak.

    I guess this mainly affects the RCC in this country, and in the USA, but I don't really know what sort of numbers are involved.

    The Ordinariate is very small and starved of money. It might not survive as a distinct entity. Yes there are a couple of married ex-anglican priests in our diocese too. The numbers are I think too small to have any major impact.
    Where this REALLY matters is in parts of the world where people might not receive the sacraments for months at a time because a priest covers thousands of square miles.

    You make a good point. Things are bad enough, it seems, in the RCC in this country, but the dearth of clergy in many parts of the world is a major problem.

    A relatively-flourishing RC church (in a modern building) on a local estate was closed and demolished - at the command of the bishop - some years ago, the main reason given being the lack of a priest to serve it.

    The congregation was absorbed (at least partly) into that of the larger neighbouring church (in the main town, and not on the estate). but AIUI even that church now has only one priest.

    Its happening all over the country. And a large number of Welsh parishes are being served by African priests which will just about finish off Welsh language Masses.
  • I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.

    It might allow some current married deacons to be ordained priest and ease the shortage a little. It might be that the future of the RC priesthood is supported by secular employment. If RC schools put Priests through PGCEs they could have them employed as RE (or primary class) teachers on 0.5 FTE contracts and have them serving in the wider parish the rest of the week they might have sufficient income to support a family, so long as accommodation is still provided.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.

    It might allow some current married deacons to be ordained priest and ease the shortage a little. It might be that the future of the RC priesthood is supported by secular employment. If RC schools put Priests through PGCEs they could have them employed as RE (or primary class) teachers on 0.5 FTE contracts and have them serving in the wider parish the rest of the week they might have sufficient income to support a family, so long as accommodation is still provided.

    I see how that might work. We have a married deacon in our place. Their training is much shorter and less thorough in terms of theology etc, I could see the danger of a two tier priesthood.
  • Still, it's a workable idea.

    I daresay the married priest/ex-deacon might not be so easy to move from parish to parish, if wife and/or family can't easily uproot and resettle, but it could be done.

    As to congregations in the RCC decreasing, is that generally the case? One hears (and reads) about minute Anglican congregations - 25 is apparently the average now, so many churches must be a lot smaller (or, in some happier cases, larger) than that...
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Well, parishes are being combined and buildings are being closed. I guess that indicates decline. Im pretty sure a congregation of 25 would be combined with another parish.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I daresay the married priest/ex-deacon might not be so easy to move from parish to parish, if wife and/or family can't easily uproot and resettle, but it could be done.
    The United Methodists in the US have been regularly moving married clergy and their families around for a long, long time. (It used to be every 4 years or so, but the average tenure seems a little longer around here now.) It can be done, but it takes some thought and sensitivity.

  • Indeed. It's common enough in the C of E, of course, although my impression is that the average tenure is a bit more than 4 years.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I daresay the married priest/ex-deacon might not be so easy to move from parish to parish, if wife and/or family can't easily uproot and resettle, but it could be done.
    The United Methodists in the US have been regularly moving married clergy and their families around for a long, long time. (It used to be every 4 years or so, but the average tenure seems a little longer around here now.) It can be done, but it takes some thought and sensitivity.

    British Methodists used to do that of course. In theory, probably still do: they are ordained to an itinerant ministry as opposed to the local preachers who are just that. I supposed it worked OK when all ministers were male and their wives seen as appendages without their own careers. Neither of those factors necessarily apply any longer.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.

    It might allow some current married deacons to be ordained priest and ease the shortage a little. It might be that the future of the RC priesthood is supported by secular employment. If RC schools put Priests through PGCEs they could have them employed as RE (or primary class) teachers on 0.5 FTE contracts and have them serving in the wider parish the rest of the week they might have sufficient income to support a family, so long as accommodation is still provided.

    I see how that might work. We have a married deacon in our place. Their training is much shorter and less thorough in terms of theology etc, I could see the danger of a two tier priesthood.

    No reason their training couldn't be given a "top-up", presumably?
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I'm a little surprised that things are so gloomy for UK Catholic congregations, because the ones I've known have been thriving (particularly in comparison to the local Anglicans). I would imagine a lot of the thought behind this is allowing for married deacons to train as priests, and many denominations are streamlining ordination requirements to try and increase clergy numbers.

    I don't see why married clergy are automatically preferable to single clergy (not every non-celibate person actually gets married even if they are open to it - single people do exist!). For Anglicans I do think that single clergy can be viewed with some suspicion or at least with pity, which is really unhelpful and honestly just very unkind. Many people are personally called to celibacy for a number of reasons, even if they don't necessarily believe in clerical celibacy for everyone.
  • One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Excellent point.
  • One of Our Place's neighbouring churches (C of E) was threatened with closure some years ago, partly on the basis that there were too many Anglican churches in the town already.

    The church survived, and went through a modest revival numbers-wise, although the parish has now been united with another nearby church so that both can be served by one priest.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Oh the cases I'm thinking of had similar numbers of parishes to Anglican churches (less so where I live now) and certainly in line with Nonconformist churches locally, which they vastly outnumbered in terms of congregants.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Historically that hasn't necessarily been the case in Merseyside. I don't know the exact figures but I would guess that there were more Catholic churches than Anglican ones until recently. There are, still I think, many more practising RCs than Anglicans in Liverpool, but the authorities seem to be less sentimental about closing churches (and perhaps Catholics are less 'parochial' in their attachments). Numbers of clergy and regular worshippers have of course declined considerably, though the former less so in the case of the C of E, thanks to self-supporting ministers and women priests. We are clinging on with a tiny congregation of which a large proportion consists of clergy and spouses.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I daresay the married priest/ex-deacon might not be so easy to move from parish to parish, if wife and/or family can't easily uproot and resettle, but it could be done.
    The United Methodists in the US have been regularly moving married clergy and their families around for a long, long time. (It used to be every 4 years or so, but the average tenure seems a little longer around here now.) It can be done, but it takes some thought and sensitivity.

    British Methodists used to do that of course. In theory, probably still do: they are ordained to an itinerant ministry as opposed to the local preachers who are just that. I supposed it worked OK when all ministers were male and their wives seen as appendages without their own careers. Neither of those factors necessarily apply any longer.
    Those factors certainly don’t apply here anymore, where a United Methodist minister is as likely to be a woman as a man, and where spouses very likely have their own jobs. But itineracy is still very much a thing. Those making appointments just have a lot more they take into consideration.


  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Historically that hasn't necessarily been the case in Merseyside. I don't know the exact figures but I would guess that there were more Catholic churches than Anglican ones until recently. There are, still I think, many more practising RCs than Anglicans in Liverpool, but the authorities seem to be less sentimental about closing churches (and perhaps Catholics are less 'parochial' in their attachments). Numbers of clergy and regular worshippers have of course declined considerably, though the former less so in the case of the C of E, thanks to self-supporting ministers and women priests. We are clinging on with a tiny congregation of which a large proportion consists of clergy and spouses.

    I am in Merseyside, and the number of RC and CofE churches is roughly the same where I live. However numbers aren't everything - the two churches making the biggest impact on the local community are the Methodists and the URC which both have very small congregations.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    angloid wrote: »
    One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Historically that hasn't necessarily been the case in Merseyside. I don't know the exact figures but I would guess that there were more Catholic churches than Anglican ones until recently. There are, still I think, many more practising RCs than Anglicans in Liverpool, but the authorities seem to be less sentimental about closing churches (and perhaps Catholics are less 'parochial' in their attachments). Numbers of clergy and regular worshippers have of course declined considerably, though the former less so in the case of the C of E, thanks to self-supporting ministers and women priests. We are clinging on with a tiny congregation of which a large proportion consists of clergy and spouses.

    I am in Merseyside, and the number of RC and CofE churches is roughly the same where I live. However numbers aren't everything - the two churches making the biggest impact on the local community are the Methodists and the URC which both have very small congregations.

    That is often true. And contradicts/ puts to shame those Anglicans who trumpet on about the benefits of establishment , and cosy up to local politicians while ignoring those in need in their parishes. This is of course only a small part of the picture, and many or even most Anglican clergy and laity do care, but they would do that anyway, establishment or not. Roman Catholic clergy, and institutions, are often, but by no means always, guilty of focusing on their own flocks, but lay people are very often disproportionately represented among those who care for the local community.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    angloid wrote: »
    One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Historically that hasn't necessarily been the case in Merseyside. I don't know the exact figures but I would guess that there were more Catholic churches than Anglican ones until recently. There are, still I think, many more practising RCs than Anglicans in Liverpool, but the authorities seem to be less sentimental about closing churches (and perhaps Catholics are less 'parochial' in their attachments). Numbers of clergy and regular worshippers have of course declined considerably, though the former less so in the case of the C of E, thanks to self-supporting ministers and women priests. We are clinging on with a tiny congregation of which a large proportion consists of clergy and spouses.

    I am in Merseyside, and the number of RC and CofE churches is roughly the same where I live. However numbers aren't everything - the two churches making the biggest impact on the local community are the Methodists and the URC which both have very small congregations.

    That is often true. And contradicts/ puts to shame those Anglicans who trumpet on about the benefits of establishment , and cosy up to local politicians while ignoring those in need in their parishes. This is of course only a small part of the picture, and many or even most Anglican clergy and laity do care, but they would do that anyway, establishment or not. Roman Catholic clergy, and institutions, are often, but by no means always, guilty of focusing on their own flocks, but lay people are very often disproportionately represented among those who care for the local community.

    The RCC has a lay organisation the SVP which is all about meeting needs in the local community. There is one in every parish (though they vary massively.) So in our area Food Banks and the kitchen in the local homeless hostel are manned disproportionately by its members.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »

    The RCC has a lay organisation the SVP which is all about meeting needs in the local community. There is one in every parish (though they vary massively.) So in our area Food Banks and the kitchen in the local homeless hostel are manned disproportionately by its members.

    Like button called for!
  • 👍👍👍

    Allow me...
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    In response to something Pomona said: Some people might prefer that their clergy be married so their clergy might have greater insight into marriage, as in marriage counseling.
    I have even heard of a preference for divorced clergy.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    HarryCH wrote: »
    In response to something Pomona said: Some people might prefer that their clergy be married so their clergy might have greater insight into marriage, as in marriage counseling.
    I have even heard of a preference for divorced clergy.

    The same argument could be applied to needing to be disabled to have an insight etc.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    edited March 17
    HarryCH wrote: »
    In response to something Pomona said: Some people might prefer that their clergy be married so their clergy might have greater insight into marriage, as in marriage counseling.
    I have even heard of a preference for divorced clergy.

    The issue there is that being married or not is basically down to luck rather than any particular talent - if a priest just hasn't met the right person, it doesn't mean that they would somehow not be as good at being a priest. I think this is also where lay participation can be very helpful - no one member of the clergy can possibly have every kind of experience that a parishoner might have, but appropriate lay people being empowered to use their experiences to support others in the community seems much more sensible than one priest or minister being expected to do everything.

    I would also think that for marriage counselling specifically, more than one counsellor would be helpful for safeguarding reasons as much as anything else, but also so a range of experience can be drawn upon.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.

    It might allow some current married deacons to be ordained priest and ease the shortage a little. It might be that the future of the RC priesthood is supported by secular employment. If RC schools put Priests through PGCEs they could have them employed as RE (or primary class) teachers on 0.5 FTE contracts and have them serving in the wider parish the rest of the week they might have sufficient income to support a family, so long as accommodation is still provided.

    [I see how that might work. We have a married deacon in our place. Their training is much shorter and less thorough in terms of theology etc, I could see the danger of a two tier priesthood.

    Such as in the Orthodox churches where the hierarchy are all drawn from the celibate clergy ( monks) and the parish priests are all married. Not the best look, as I see it

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Sojourner wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I suppose it could be said that parishes in Wales are lucky to have even an English-speaking priest...

    I take @Forthview's point that allowing married priests in the RCC might not result in a huge number of new vocations, but surely it would help reduce the deficit? Or might other potential candidates be put off?

    Its hard to see how clergy numbers will increase when congregations are decreasing.

    It might allow some current married deacons to be ordained priest and ease the shortage a little. It might be that the future of the RC priesthood is supported by secular employment. If RC schools put Priests through PGCEs they could have them employed as RE (or primary class) teachers on 0.5 FTE contracts and have them serving in the wider parish the rest of the week they might have sufficient income to support a family, so long as accommodation is still provided.

    [I see how that might work. We have a married deacon in our place. Their training is much shorter and less thorough in terms of theology etc, I could see the danger of a two tier priesthood.

    Such as in the Orthodox churches where the hierarchy are all drawn from the celibate clergy ( monks) and the parish priests are all married. Not the best look, as I see it

    Yes. I had that in mind.
  • One point worth remembering is that there may be many Anglican churches in any given place, but fewer RC churches in the same area.

    IOW, one fairly large RCC congregation might not seem so great if they were C of E, and spread around 6 or 7 churches.

    Robin Gill, in his book "The Myth of the Empty Church", makes the point that the RCC, a century ago, deliberately built large "central" churches for the faithful while the Anglicans and Nonconformists were frantically engaged in building competitive churches on almost every street corner (in urban areas, that is).
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Deckhand, Styx
    Pomona wrote: »
    HarryCH wrote: »
    In response to something Pomona said: Some people might prefer that their clergy be married so their clergy might have greater insight into marriage, as in marriage counseling.
    I have even heard of a preference for divorced clergy.

    The issue there is that being married or not is basically down to luck rather than any particular talent - if a priest just hasn't met the right person, it doesn't mean that they would somehow not be as good at being a priest. I think this is also where lay participation can be very helpful - no one member of the clergy can possibly have every kind of experience that a parishoner might have, but appropriate lay people being empowered to use their experiences to support others in the community seems much more sensible than one priest or minister being expected to do everything.

    I would also think that for marriage counselling specifically, more than one counsellor would be helpful for safeguarding reasons as much as anything else, but also so a range of experience can be drawn upon.

    Agreed - celibacy is only an issue if you are part of a local church that expects (or is willing to permit) one leader to do everything and be everything.

    The priesthood of all believers suggests a pooled basis for gifts being used throughout the church without the issue of "The Priest knows best." I've worked with skilled people from the local church on a range of issues.

    They never do and, had I followed the advice of one about a work related issue, I would have had no job pretty instantly. He had no idea at all having never worked beyond the church.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    @ExclamationMark I think you missed out a sentence or two before "they never do" - not sure who the "they" is here.
  • Pomona wrote: »
    @ExclamationMark I think you missed out a sentence or two before "they never do" - not sure who the "they" is here.

    I think it's an extra sentence rather than a missing one. Try "The Priest knows best" followed directly by "they never do".
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Ah right, thanks. And yes I agree, though in my experience many people in a congregation will expect the priest to do everything and be reluctant at best to share duties more evenly amongst church members. Unfortunately this is often the case for clergy who have to follow in the footsteps of a Beloved And Perfect previous priest who they are then inevitably compared to.
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Deckhand, Styx
    Pomona wrote: »
    Ah right, thanks. And yes I agree, though in my experience many people in a congregation will expect the priest to do everything and be reluctant at best to share duties more evenly amongst church members. Unfortunately this is often the case for clergy who have to follow in the footsteps of a Beloved And Perfect previous priest who they are then inevitably compared to.

    Sorry yes bad syntax and worse proofing. The "They" is priests who claim or are claimed to be the last word on a given topic.

    Yes I understand the syndrome of the perfect priest from history. I followed such a one 15 years after he left: everything was compared to him. You do wonder though, why he left after just a few years if the fit was that perfect. Mind you a broader discussion in the village suggested a non church consensus that the services were 4 ancient hymns that no one sung and a 30 minute sermon that no-one understood.
  • Kannas an AweylKannas an Aweyl Shipmate Posts: 35
    Normally the perfect and beloved priest was not so perfect and beloved when they were actually there, instead they were compared unfavourably to their perfect and beloved predecessor
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