Essay in Rochester Newspaper
Dear Blog Visitors:
I continue to be very busy with my secular job, so my blog postings have been scarce lately.
Thinking you might like to see it, I have included below a brief essay I wrote for our local newspaper. (It was published on August 30.)
On the news front, I am very pleased that Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan (ordained me to the diaconate) will be hosting a day-long seminar on the theology and persona of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo (ordained me to the priesthood). This will take place in Boston in October. (Details are available at the 'Married Priests Now' website.)
The institutional church continues to discriminate against married priests. It is indeed an irony that so-called 'celibate' priests convicted of sexual abuse remain Catholics in good standing with the church, while at the same time, married priests (guilty of no crimes) are often barred from sacramental life. Fortunately, however, the doors are open to married priests for independent ministries.
Here is my brief essay that appeared in our local newspaper:
August 30, 2007
Admit married men, women to priesthood
Ray Grosswirth Guest essayist
Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester, New York
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester recently welcomed two newly ordained priests. I want to congratulate them. I'm confident they will prove to be worthy of their pastoral assignments.
However, despite these ordinations, Rochester is among many dioceses nationwide experiencing a sharp decline the numbers of clergy, due to a large number of retirements and a shortage of men willing to commit to a life of celibacy. Women continue to be barred from ordained ministry as well.
I consider my membership in Corpus: National Association for an Inclusive Priesthood to be one of the major blessings in my life. While most Corpus members are formerly active priests who later married, I was ordained a married priest on Dec. 10, 2006, by Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, himself a married priest who had been excommunicated.
Furthermore, I am certified as a married priest for weddings, funerals and baptisms by the Federation of Christian Ministries, although I am not allowed to administer sacramental functions in Diocese of Rochester churches.
All married priests have experienced what amounts to being shunned by certain segments of faith communities, despite various polls indicating that most Catholics support the addition of married priests.
There are approximately 20,000 married priests in the United States, most of whom were able to find secular jobs after being ousted from their respective diocesan positions. In this regard, it is good to recall that married priests were commonplace until 1139, when mandatory celibacy was imposed on clergy.
While there is a clergy-shortage crisis, membership in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide continues to grow. Consequently, there is about one ordained celibate priest per 3,500 Catholics in the United States. It is time to erase artificial barriers and admit both women and married men to the priesthood.
Grosswirth lives in Rochester.
For clarification purposes, Archbishop Milingo was not excommunicated as a result of his marriage. It was only after he consecrated four married archbishops that the Vatican took punitive action. From my perspective, Archbishop Milingo remains a valid archbishop, and I consider the four married archbishops to be validly ordained, just as I consider my own ordination to be fully valid.