by Mathew Otieno
The 26 women who sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to remove celibacy from the priestly package so that some priests can marry them touched off another thread in the priestly celibacy debate, which has drawn in all and sundry (the latter being opinionated non-catholics who know nothing about celibacy and chastity) in the recent past.
Reading the article in the Sunday Nation (25th May), I couldn’t help wondering if other readers had noticed what I was noticing. The question the ‘honest’ ladies posed is unanswerable, and was posed to the wrong person. Romantic love is something that happens between two people, thus the women who (want to) have relationships with priests have no business dragging in the pope. In his ‘Apostolic Exhortation’, Pope John Paul II clearly states that celibacy is a gift from God. As such, no man gives it, or can take it away, not even the pope. The women ought not ask the pope, but rather discuss with their (potential) lovers. And if these men are for these relationships, then they can get the dispensation from their Bishops, leave the clerical life and become family men. There is nothing doing in trying to drag
the pope into matters which are personal.
The women generalize too much, as if theirs was the only reflection of things on the ground, while in fact it is only a flicker of a flame that will never crackle. Many priests are willing to be faithful to their vocation to celibacy, and the pope has no business endangering
that because of the selfish interests of a few misguided women. Their problem can be solved easily, without unnecessarily disturbing Peter’s peace. Leave Peter alone. Just take one this question from me, and don’t tell anyone the answer: if a man is willing to leave his current marriage (yes, a priest is married, to the Church), what makes you sure he will be faithful to you?