Fr. McBrien at it again

Fr. McBrien at it again

Fr. Richard “Where’s my collar” McBrien is at it again. His latest essay begins as an examination of what the Scandal has “cost” the Church, primarily in terms of money and prestige. He then takes a swipe at conservatives and then returns to his favorite topic, which I hereby dub “freedom of the underpants” or what he calls optional celibacy for the priesthood.

The issue of celibacy needs to be aired and honestly examined, and the church must be open in principle to adopting the most pastorally sound solutions—- solutions that are in keeping with the traditions of the whole Catholic Church (not just the Roman Catholic Church), in the whole of its history, not just the past six or seven centuries.

There is a tendency in the Church, post-Vatican II to an almost reverse chronological snobbery, which is really a Medieval snobbery. To some people, anything that happened between 1100 and 1963 is suspect. Benediction, kneeling, celibate priesthood are all opposed by them. To their way of thinking, only the stuff that happened in the first few hundred years of the Church is authentic. But they ignore that idea that while some old ideas are good and some Medieval ideas were bad, there is the possibility that a lot of the development in Church custom and tradition in the Middle Ages was actually for the good and not for the ill, that it was authentic development. In that vein, perhaps we have found that celibacy is better for the priesthood as a whole.

But, of course, McBrien has made clear that he desperately wants it to be otherwise, perhaps so he can find a lady-friend. Maybe he’s lonely. Whatever the case, his theological arguments against celibacy are full of holes. In fact, his only argument in this essay seems to be that there once was a time when Latin-rite priests could be married. He just asserts that celibacy was a factor in the Scandal, but never backs it up. Sorry, Dick, but you have to do better than that.

  • Dom,

    Don’t you think it is time to call a spade a spade?  Conservative and liberal should, in matters of Catholic Identity , be replaced with the “reality” of this issue—-  “conservative” should be correctly identified as “Catholic” and “liberal”—“non-Catholic”.

    McBrien is a “non Catholic” and it is s serious failing or an act of “spiritual malpractice” on part of his bishop and the bishops of America not to proclain him as being outside the Church ans a “heritic”.  If this sounds harsh, it is not.  It is the truth. And until the “gutless” leadership does its duty, the faithful will be lead away from the message of the Gospel.

  • Todd,

    Let me be clear: McBrien has a lady friend that he makes no attempt to hide. He also makes no attempt to hide the fact that he would like optional celibacy for even those who are presently ordained. Before you go casting aspersions, perhaps you are the one who ought to get informed.

    And I call if freedom of the underpants because what it boils down to is the pre-eminent pre-occupation of Americans: sex. If only priests could have a sex partner (and we know that at the moment the Church only sees one kind of sex partner as moral, but we’ll work on that later) then everything would be okay. If only we could free “willy” and let our libidos run wild, it would all magically be better. Like in all the Protestant denominations that are imploding.

    But then this isn’t about O’Brien any more, this is an ad hominem attack on me because of the thinness of your argument. Okay then. Todd, you’re just a troll who likes to toss firebombs and get people riled up. That’s why I don’t reply to you. You’re the sort of person who’s only happy when he’s made everyone else agitated.

    I don’t “play” with you. I ignore you and your predictable and tired responses. As well as your false humility and charity that hides behind your “Peace” salutation. Admit it, you don’t intend peace, but agitation. So predictable.

  • Dom,

    Well said.  I was wondering how long it would take for someone to put this Todd in place.  He is the same type that a few of us have to deal with on another Catholic website discussion group.  The more the truth hits home the more the non-Catholic beging the “attack” under the guise of “tolerance” “peace” and “charity” and clearly with a greater and maturer understanding of what the Church has dad to deal with for over close to two-thousand years of confronting human nature.

  • Dom.

    I wonder if Todd is aware of what is really the problem that has produced the “scandal” of the century, so to speak, in the Church today?

    You did indicate that the “culture of the times”—-the pre-eminent pre-occupation of Americans: sex.

    However, the real reason is the lack of a true, genuine “spiritual life” which is developed by learning and living, self-discipline, self-sacrifice, self-denial.  The practice of virtue, and above all “learning and living a life of prayer and union with Christ, who is supposed to be the first love of every priest, from a bishop down to the most lowly and humble priest.

    Without all of this, the bishop or priest will lose his faith and live according to the world, the flesh, and leap right into the hands of the “Devil” himself.

    Those called to the vocaton of the priesthood and live the “spiritual life”, though not free from temptation and the fall, will nevertheless come back and make greater strides in their love of Chirst.  They may fail in certaind areas because of man’s wounded frail nature, but they will remain faithful to their commitment to the sacred calling of the priesthood.

    Whereas, those who have abandoned “Christ” and live as the world lives, have not only deserved the millstone around their necks, but must also be deprived of exercising the priesthood, for they have committed the crime of “sacrilege” against the most holy Sacrament of Holy Orders. We have been dwelling too much on the earthly or human aspect, and have minimized the very essence or reason for the priesthood, which is to bring the “Bread of Life, the Life that brings eternal joy and happiness for eternity for which all the faithful are destined by the Will of the Creator.

    So let’s get with it and remember also that the the Lord Himself said—-“He who can take it, let him take it”  So those who do not want celibacy, then do not aspire for the calling to the priesthood.  Those who want the priesthood, then first know what is demanded and then with prayer and with the Mother of the Lord ever with you, go for it.

    Let’s stop giving McBrien so much attention to what he says.  The effort. if any, should be to get him out of the priesthood and the Church.

    It is time for the “people of God” to become the Church militant and be not afraid to publicly denounce bishops and priests who are not one with the Holy Father.  How often we have been urged to “write our representatives in the secular government”, well let’s do it in the Church as well. Even our Holy Father has often said, “Be not afraid”.

  • Todd,

    It is as you said—“It seems to be”

    McBrien has lost his “Catholic Identity” years back and his bishop has failed to recognize this and hence practices “spiritual malpractice”.

  • As a single adult, I am offended by the implication that I am not emotionally mature because I’m not married.

    The fact is that for 2,000 years, celibates have been the primary pool of priests in the Latin rite (yes, married priests were allowed for a time, but were never the majority) and I have to say that they did a darned good job. But suddenly, here’s the 21st century and everything’s different and the only solution is married priests?

    No one’s saying that suggesting changing discipline of celibacy is heresy (or they shouldn’t), but just because it’s not dogma doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. Have you ever talked to a married Latin-rite priest (usually a convert)? I have and every single one told me that priests should not be married.

    Even so, the first point I made was that using the Scandal as any kind of excuse for changing the discipline, as McBrien did, is ridiculous.

  • Gee, how could I take offense at having my words twisted around at me?

    You assert that married men would be good candidates. I, and it seems everybody else here, think not. Primarily, it’s because being a priest is a full-time vocation, not simply a career or job. It is a 24-hour a day demand on your time and either the priest’s family or his parish will suffer. He must be 100 percent dedicated to that ministry.

    And you can’t compare the Catholic priesthood to any other religion’s ministers. A priest is on call for the sacraments all the time; he has people knocking on his door at all hours of the day and night. Just on practical grounds alone it wouldn’t work.

    I don’t understand the fixation on married older men. There is already a clerical state for them, it’s called the diaconate. If someone wants to be a priest, he has to be single. End of story. There are many older single men who would make good priests. And if the Lord calls them and they listen they will go.

    In all the bleating about a priest shortage and a need to open up the priesthood to married men, you never hear these people talk about the vocation as a calling and that if the Lord wanted more priests to respond to the call, he would call more of them. It’s a curious lack of faith in the Holy Spirit.

  • Fr. Stanley,

    Thank you for your detailed information on McBrien. Your assessment is very excellent.

    You might be interested, if you have the time, to visit—-

    and view the subject matter concerning the documentary “Spiritual Malpractice” and a separate series on Holy Cross College, Worcester, Ma.

  • Thank you, Colleen responding.

    When you wrote:—Most Catholics – or at least half of us – don’t view the consecrated Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ——did you include yourself in the pharse[at least half of us]?

  • Thank you, Colleen for clearing up my confusion.  I just could not accept that you somehow you were included in Catholics that lost belief in the Real Presence. 

    All your postings showed fidelity to the Magisterium and when I read what I was questioning, it just did not make any sense if that is what you somehow accepted.

  • Fr Brian is right. I let my anger get the best of me and should not have said anything about McBrien’s personal life. I apologize and will seek the Lord’s forgiveness in the sacrament.

  • Once again, Todd, you miss the point. There has been a thorough, exhaustive, and careful discernment of the matter. Many scholarly books have been written. The Vatican has issued statements. The Pope has spoken. The problem is that some people don’t want to take No or even “Not at this time” for an answer and want to keep talking about it until they get the answer they want.

    And don’t be disingenuous. You claim you oppose a change to the celibacy requirement, yet you have already made statements in previous comments in which you say you think married men should be ordained.

  • Rome has spoken. That people won’t stop talking about it says less about the authoritativeness of the Vatican position than it does about the unwillingness of some to listen to the Vatican. Since when has even a definitively defined dogma shut people up? Humanae Vitae settled the contraception issue 30 years ago and people are still blabbering on about it.

    And I wouldn’t say the topic is popular on this blog. After all, you’re the only one who wants to discuss changing the discipline.

    The Chiefs’ offense is overrated. They’ve slowed down dramatically in December, even against second rate teams. And their defense is porous with the worst run defense in the league. I’d be surprised if they get past the first round of the playoffs.

  • Nice assertions, Todd. Any sources to back them up? Because I can cite numerous surveys that show that most Catholics don’t know the Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Oh, and nice dodge of michigancatholic’s point about people driving a distance to church. He wasn’t saying more Catholics go to football games than go to church, but that people will go out of their way if they have tickets to a football game, but they don’t seem to be just as interested in being inconvenienced to get to Mass.

    And, Joe, it’s not quite the longest yet. It will need at least two more to be longer than this one.