Monday, August 13, 2012

Married priests don’t bring in more vocations
Unlike with other trads, celibacy, just a rule, is not a hill I’ll die for; I think knowledgeable ones who know about the Eastern churches’ longstanding rule (most priests are married; a married man may become a priest but a priest can’t marry) agree. Anyway, I had this conversation with a PNCC deacon (born Catholic) on an article he posted.
From here it seems to be a trend among the Nats: priests from Poland who switched to get married. Nice picture: of course I love Polish and Polish-American cultural conservatism keeping churches good-looking.

Deacon: I would say from his and others’ amazing story it is something quite different. This is not an easy choice, to dedicate yourself to truth and being above board. It requires great sacrifice. The scandal of many priests who lead bifurcated lives in Poland and elsewhere is terrible and dishonest. These men chose to follow God’s call to the non-exclusionary vocations of marriage and the priesthood. Doing so in an honest way is to their credit and the Church’s. As I have said before, demanding the grace of celibacy from the Holy Spirit is a non-starter. He certainly grants that grace to some – and may they be blessed for being honest to their vocation as well.

The Slavic-American Orthodox aren’t getting native vocations anymore: the Carpatho-Russians are getting their next bishop from the priests in their Greek parent church. How are the native vocations among the Nats at Savonarola?

Deacon: Like most Churches, slow, but several prospects right now. Our Prime Bishop, Bishops, and clergy are working diligently to build vocations. The work on the PNCC in Norway, Italy, Sweden, and Germany is very promising and hopeful as well. In my parish we dedicate prayers during our monthly solemn exposition and benediction for the gift of many vocations. Other parishes do similar things. No doubt it is a struggle, but the Lord sends workers into His field.
The Nats are a Polish-American immigrant schism of about 100 years’ standing, parallelling the other Slavic-American experience of Greek Catholics switching to the Orthodox, not about theology (the stuff against the Pope’s obviously an ex post facto rationalization) but ill treatment by the local Roman Rite clergy (who caused a schism for no good reason). In both cases good grassroots traditionalism thanks to Slavic cultural conservatism, but small and getting smaller (slowly dying out) and, just like most other whites, far fewer kids so no more native vocations. A big difference with the Nats is their founder, a priest kicked out of seminary in Poland and given a second chance here, was a unitarian universalist. Polish conservatism has masked that/held it in check. What’s left of them is mostly third etc.-generation members with the odd new parish of ex-Catholics left behind in a parish closing, again often now served by a few Polish-born priests who fell in love so they found a out with this. The Mass is a Novus Ordo clone.

Norway and Sweden here refer to a few relatively conservative folk, rare in those secularized lands, originally high-church Lutherans (the Scandinavian Lutheran churches are mainline liberal), who approached the local Catholics, assimilated/liberalized/Modernist (certainly true in Norway), and were rebuffed so they started their own church and brought it into the Nats. My guess is Germany and Italy refer to a few priestly marriage conversions for those more Catholic than the Old Catholics, who are now liberal.

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