Its Time to Allow Married Priests

Its Time to Allow Married Priests

I’m just reading that Pope Francis is thinking about allowing married priests.

Now let’s “keep it real”, the priest shortage is becoming close to an epidemic so all thoughts & ideas need to be entertained to make sure we have local parish priests. That’s the heart of the faith.

For those of us who are Catholic, think about the priests you know, a lot of older guys, not a real diverse group.

I’ve long thought about the priesthood and I love the church with all of my heart even though I don’t always agree with it.

I started being an altar server (acolyte), when I was 10 years old in the summer of 1986 (being chosen to serve is still one of the highlights of my life), and I continued to serve until I finished high school eight years later and I loved it.

During that time several priests thought I might be “priest material” and publicly acknowledged that I’d join their ranks.

To say “the calling” has haunted me for over 30 years would be an understatement.

But even as that 10 year old altar server at Seven Holy Founders Church in Calumet Park I wanted to be where I am right now, a family man.

And becoming a priest wouldn’t allow me to do that so I never went to the seminary.

I’ve served the church through Boy Scouts earning the Ad Altare Dei award, I was a peer minister and went on Kairos retreat (# 28), during my senior year at Brother Rice.

I also was a commentator at mass during my first few years at DePaul University.

And yeah all that Catholic school I went through, preschool to undergrad university level, minus six years of public elementary school.

I’ll be honest the thought of married priests intrigues me on a personal level, spiritual level and even emotional level.

I’ve long thought priests should be able to marry if they choose, other religions allow it and it gives you such a better insight on life, family and faith.

My late father was Methodist and I’ve always admired their ministers since they seemed to “have it all”, family, faith and lead the flock.

Nothing against our current priests but having a family will teach you a few things, Amen?

I’ve known such great men that were priests, Father Kenneth Brigham at St Columbanus (and yes I know of the allegations that were against him), my mentors Father Mark Dennehy & Father Norbert Balasso at Seven Holy Founders, I served with them a lot as a young altar server.

Father Tom Walsh when he served at Holy Name of Mary led my youth group, such a dynamic preacher.

Father Dan Mallette Saint Margaret of Scotland (he married my wife and I), Fr. Homero Sanchez now at St Rita but formally at St Jude in New Lenox and our pastor Father Don (Lew), Lewandowski.

People always say if “they get the calling”, I was never sure if I did, it was something I was really interested in but with such stiff rules on priests not being married and I was equally stiff personally that I wanted a family, I didn’t think this would be available to me.

Now granted there are deacons (and I’ve seriously thought of that path once my son is older), and they can be married but whatever your marital status is when you become a deacon, it must remain that way. And if your wife should die, you can’t remarry.

I think that door should be open, that as in regular society if you are single and want to get married and be in the priesthood or a deacon you can.

If your marriage should end due to annulment, divorce or death, that’s okay too and you should be able to remarry.

Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic faith and it should be honored but it’s not easy either and things happen and good men (and let’s be honest women should be priests with all these options as well), should not have to choose between family and faith.

I’m glad Pope Francis is openly discussing changing our faith and who can be part of it and the options they may have.

Our faith can only grow as we embrace changes, new people and other ways improve the church.

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