Catholic Church needs kick in the pants: My Word

Orlando Sentinel

By Gerald J. Schiffhorst

A guest columnist calls for the Catholic Church to allow women and married priests.

As a lifelong Catholic, I appreciated the letter to the editor by Susan Talana Harris on Sunday concerning the brave action of Rita Lucey in being ordained a Catholic priest earlier this month.

The church we both love is more than an institution that hands down commandments; it is also a community that seeks discussion, which Pope Francis is calling for.

We know that “over the pope … there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.” I quote a German theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI.

The tension between top-down authority and freedom of conscience has kept the Catholic church lively for many centuries. And it is basic to issues involving sexuality.

The all-male celibate priesthood is on life support. Many U.S. parishes have been closing; nearly 3,500 others have no resident priest. I see Lucey’s action as a gesture that says a lot about the need to open up the priesthood in order to save it.

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