Thursday, 21 February 2013

Integrity: What Our Actions Say About Ours

Deacon Ordination
I have spent some time cogitating this week about why a man would agree to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest if he does not agree with all of the teachings of the Magisterium?  It's not as though anyone actually holds a gun to a man's head and insists that he accept ordination to the priesthood.

A decision to accept ordination to the priesthood is an entirely free choice.  It is a choice that follows a discernment process.  A process during which he must convince his bishop, not only that is he the right man for the priesthood, but also that he agrees with the teaching of the Magisterium, just as his bishop does.

He will of course also spend at least seven years studying in preparation for the priesthood.  In this time he will be taught well all that the Magisterium teaches about Faith and Morals.  That seems to me to be sufficient time during which to come to terms with all that it is that the Church believes and to make a firm decision about whether one does or does not agree with the beliefs of the Church.

Yet, despite this, there are priests who are firmly against some of the teaching of the Magisterium and who speak out quite openly against these teachings.

I could understand if the Church had suddenly introduced some new teaching that was previously not held by the Church, before the priest was ordained.  Yet this is certainly not the case.  In many instances the priests in question have themselves been ordained for relatively short periods of time.

Most often the teaching of the Church that are rejected by these priests and about which they are most outspoken, seems to be around the moral issues, such as contraception, abortion, homosexual sex acts, gay marriage, celibacy and sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics.

These are long held beliefs of the Church.  I do not believe that there is a priest alive today who can claim that the Church's position on these subjects has changed from the day that he was ordained.  Neither can there be many priests who can claim they were not aware of some of the arguments against the Church’s teaching before they were ordained.

So why did these priests agree to priestly ordination if they disagreed so strongly with these Church teachings?  Only they can answer that question.

It does however certainly cause me to question the integrity of the priest.  I simply have great difficulty in understanding why a man, who so adamantly engages in campaigns to resist the Church's teaching and engages in practices to change the lay faithful’s opinion on the Church's teaching, agreed to priestly ordination in the first place.

Was he asleep through all his formative years for the priesthood?  Did he lie to his bishop during the years of preparation and discernment?  Maybe this was his ploy from the beginning; accept ordination and then work from ‘within’ to change the Church’s teaching.

Quite frankly, I would never agree to join an organisation, even less take on a leadership role in that organisation, if I disagreed with what that organisation stood for.  Doing so would make me nothing less than a complete hypocrite.  It would also undoubtedly show me to be a person who lacks any integrity whatsoever.

What do you think?  Am I being too harsh?


  1. You are not being harsh at all, It is plain common sense and wisdom. The Holy Church has been perceived as being weak, so the 'opponents' try anything, including infiltrating her to devour her from the inside.

  2. No, Mark, you are not too harsh to call these phoney priests hypocrites.

    Personally, if I were their bishop, I would simply pitch at their parish and Donald Trump them with the words: "You're fired!"

    In my opinion, too many shepherds are softer than the sheep they are supposed to protect...bleeting shepherds.

  3. well mark... personally i think you are a bit too harsh on them
    before considering them priests u should think of them as human beings weak in front of temptation

    the church is not a dead organisation... it is in constant evolution and i prefer some1 staying and contributing with his views in the service of the church rather than acting like luther in the past and causing schism

    just think that if all the priests left before Vatican II just cause they had different views the church wouldn't have made this huge leap

  4. Vatican II did not change any of the Church's teaching on Faith and Morals. Vatican II was about finding modern ways to present that Church's teaching to the world, without changing that teaching. What was considered immoral before remained immoral after. The Church may evolve but the Doctrine of the Church does not.