Would you consider being a priest if you were allowed to marry, if invited even though you are married, if invited though you live in a loving same-sex relationship, if you were willing to live alone as is expected of priests at present, except in the areas of the Church where priests have their women and are allowed sexual experience without married love. Sadly, there is a reality within each one of the questions.
‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ (2019) was a bombshell of a book that spoke of sexual immorality at the centre of the Church. There is no answer to that book. No one is responsible for answering it, so it is ignored. Just as, sadly, financial corruption in Rome has long been a scandal in and a scar on the Church. Financial markets (and what havens of honesty and kindness they are) actually excluded the Vatican from their day-to-day business because its dealings were so opaque and devious. Pope Francis declared he was determined to do something about that. He has. The fallout is amazing, the black pitch visible on Church and Vatican hands and smeared across the face of Christ, the Mystical Body defaced.
Pope Francis will win this financial one, but the sexual one is much more difficult. Pope Benedict let us know that in his book ‘The Light of the World’ (2010). The immorality of cardinals, bishops and priests, hearing the weeping of children and women. Pope Benedict was a broken-hearted, broken-spirited man. He resigned. Did God really answer the prayer of the Church for vocations to the priesthood by giving us what ‘In the Closet’ reveals? Dear God, did you?
Lady and gentleman, would you serve God honestly and lovingly in the ministry of the Church? You already serve in the priesthood of Christ by your baptism and in the nourishing of that life in the Holy Eucharist, but would you be willing to accept the work of ministry within that priesthood?
Say yes. Open your heart to be kind, to listen, to serve; open your mind to learn that you may teach and preach, grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Please don’t be ambitious, arrogant or self-important. Don’t choose the priesthood as a career but because God is calling you.
Can you hear God calling? Come humbly, bringing your ideals. God and the people will ask everything of you, as a good marriage and family life do: don’t come (or marry) unless you can speak and live a positive “Yes”. “I want you to be happy, I want everything we do to bring you happiness, to help you become more and more the person God made you to be.” Those words, or similar, are the basis of good marriage, genuine friendship, loving parenting. And they are words for everyone from God. God’s is the call: “Come, be happy, freely choose what you want to do, to be, and all I ask in return is that you be kind. Loving-kindness is the mark of every true vocation.”
If you wish to serve in the Church come with your loving kindness and you will find your vocation. The Church is universal, God is everywhere, age is no barrier, maturity and sanity are appreciated, we are called. God is calling every day of our life. Are we listening? A Canadian bishop said many years ago “I pray for vocations to the priesthood but have to tell God I only want unmarried young men because that is the only answer the Church will listen to. That’s not good prayer. I’m giving God the answer before I make my prayer. I’m telling God ‘my will be done’. When we pray we leave the answer to God and listen.”
God bless us to pray and listen for God’s answers
(25th April 2021)