Fr. Andrew Greeley is at it again, or at least this week's reprinting of his article makes it look like he is. Apparently someone at "US Catholic" thinks his 2007 article is timely again. It is an argument for some sort of short term priesthood. And look who commented!
By tour86rocker (not verified) on Sunday, April 25, 2010
Marriages and ordinations are more alike than people are saying here. Catholics can't divorce but they can separate for a good reason. They remain sacramentally married (unless they were never validly married in the first place). It's the same with priests, they can be separated from their ministry for a good reason but they remain ordained.
It is unnatural for man and wife, who are one flesh, to be separated, but it can become necessary if the husband is abusive, for instance. If a priest's actions abuse or scandalize the faithful, he should be separated from his spouse (the Church) as well.
It is unnatural for a sacramentally ordained priest to be separated from the ministry that his nature is indelibly ordered toward after ordination. Why on Earth should it ever become common to make temporary promises with your lips when your very soul makes a commitment for a lifetime? It's like the body speaking a lie against the soul.
I agree with my fellow critics, this is psychologically related to the male aversion to commitment in this culture. So many fathers are emotionally distant from their wives and children and are looking for an out. So many marriages end in divorce due to a privation of manhood! Apparently some priests are looking for an out, too.
(Greeley's reference to monks and nuns who make temporary vows is a big, fat red herring intended to confuse those who don't understand the sacrament of Holy Orders. Religious sisters and brothers don't take part in any sacrament as a virtue of entering a religious order. The religious brothers and sisters are apples and the priest is an orange. Ask me why if you're wondering. It's just really unfortunate that Greeley lumps all forms of religious commitment together into one big ball of "stuff that keeps you from getting married". Religious life is supposed to be freely and joyfully chosen, not burdensome!)
In short, we'd quickly see liturgical and catechetical horrors yet-unheard-of. And I, for one, have heard of too many already. Implementing a revolving door at the rectory is the surest way to keep our shepherds' memory of tradition very myopic and there would be no reason for them to be concerned with episcopal censure, after all, their swing at being a priest would be just a temporary volunteer position (albeit with a lot of educational prerequisites!) that they'd soon move on from. And don't forget, they'd probably move on to marriages with the same privation of commitment. If you thought you'd seen failed Catholic marriages before that day...