Recently, while watching the news, I learned of a Catholic priest who's currently in hot water for being involved in a heterosexual relationship. The steamy photos of him lying on the beach with his "secret" love, and ultimately agreeing to public interviews, reminded me of the imperfections of man-made laws in the Church. Cautiously, I was glad to hear that this man-of-the-cloth, who presumably has dedicated his life of servanthood to the Lord, is choosing to own up to his "impropriety." If a blind study was done, many might be surprised at the number of priests who have fathered children through the years. Or maybe adult reasoning would prevent them from being shocked. On hearing of this tabloid-style news, I was reminded instantly of the book of Genesis, and God putting Adam to sleep, for the deliberate purpose of creating Eve; simply because He, in His infinite wisdom, knew that it would not be good for man to be alone (2:20-25). On the other hand, in the New Testament, (1Corinthians 7:1) Paul stated that he believed it was better to be single and celibate than to marry, because this state potentially frees one to be focused on the desires of God and not the cares of (hu-) man. He is quick to admonish, though, that it is far better to marry than to burn with adulterous passion for another. In some instances, being responsible for self is a lot easier than being responsible for another plus children. But we must be reminded, that we weren't put on this planet for the easiest path; but with God's plan and purpose aligning our lives foremost. Most times, this pursuit includes taking the journey with someone. For most adults this would be a spouse. And so, back to the topic at hand, the priest caught in this quandary reminds me of an ongoing view I have, that the Catholic Church should either rewrite its statutes or have a separate branch on the vine (denomination) for "liberal" Catholics. Blatantly overruling God by forcing one to deny natural urges in a proper context (marriage) can never be a good thing. I'd much rather have a healthy, heterosexual male priest who chooses a spouse (for life); and honors God by procreating, than one who stands in the pulpit preaching the Holy Word, knowing in his conscience, he has harmed one of God's precious little children. Sadly, pedophilia is a dirty little secret in too many churches of all denominations. If just one church is guilty of shielding this predatory perpetrator, that's one too many! And so, if in the beginning, God ordained marriage as a good thing, and totally natural, as an obvious attempt to circumvent adulterous behaviors, then it must be for the good of mankind! A man should not be denied his innate calling to be a minister of God's Word; nor should he have to deny his innate desire to have a normal heterosexual relationship with his spouse. He should not be denied children, when God's Word explicitly says, "Happy is the man who has a quiver full." The Catholic Church has a lot of positives. Unfortunately its negatives are so skewed that it casts an ominous, dark cloud that can't be ignored. Because churches are managed by humans, none are perfect. But a Church should NEVER be allowed to overrule God's Divine Order. And sadly, that's exactly what occurs when one is allowed to rewrite or redesign God's original plan. I'm obviously for heterosexual priests having the right to marry, if God has called them to this ministry. I support this view, even if it ultimately requires them to walk away from the priesthood. But, if I'm not mistaken, priests make vows to stay celibate before God; just as a couple takes marriage vows. There is a covenant involved; which gets complicated. Because I am not God; thus, certainly in no position to judge, I think the far more honorable thing to do would be to denounce man's position on this matter and honor God by praying to do whatever it takes to make right, this apparent wrong. This is perhaps a primary reason why the Catholic Church is always faced with a dire shortage of priests. I'm certain there are many gifted men who are called by God to preach; but are stymied at the thought of not being able to take a wife and have children. Unfortunately this leaves a gaping hole for Sodom and Gomorrah-types to be ordained. According to God's Word, homosexuality and even moreso, causing harm to His innocent and vulnerable children, are far greater abominations to Him; than a man who comes to his senses and realizes that obedience to God's Word is far more important than a law orchestrated by man. So to the priest on the beach, it's time to make a decision. It's obvious that you've failed at being perfect before God. Join the crowd of souls who in our best efforts fall short. That's why as Christians, we are sinners saved by the grace of Jesus' dying on the Cross. There comes a time in everyone's life when they realize that wrong, no matter how right it seems, will ever be so. It's at that point of recognition that steps have to be made toward the direction of the right path. From the beginning, God gave man natural urges. He even made a woman, with interests, so that these urges could be filled. To remain a priest, and superficially honor man's laws, and stay in the closet, or worse yet openly on the beach, is a greater disservice to the Christian walk; than admitting that in one's humanness, he failed God, by taking a vow that God probably never intended him to make. The Bible talks about a handful of people who have no desires for sex. They are extremwly rare, and actually have the name of enochs. On behalf of all males who are Catholic and feeling a call to the priesthood; while simultaneously hearing a call to marriage; the most noble thing to do would be obey the latter; and resolve to becoming a church deacon while starting a crusade for the laws from Rome to be more aligned with God's Word. For too long, the priesthood has been a "safe" place for persons with unhealthy sexual issues to flock to. I haven't kept up with this particular story; but, I'm hoping and praying that the priest involved in this latest affair will do the right thing. Only he knows in his spirit what God has breathed in him to do. Thank God for forgiveness and the Holy Spirit! There's a lot more shame in living a lie before God; than admitting your mistake and moving forward. And in closing, on behalf of the majority of priests and nuns who are honoring their vows, Praise GOD! And on behalf of those who after years of service realize that in their wholeness they have need of a spouse; and courageously make the difficult task of walking away to pursue that life, Godspeed. The bottom line is: God gave man His most compatible design when He made woman. And man should never be denied anything God has called good!
NOTE: Since the initial draft of this article, a study out of Ireland has revealed more heinous acts done "behind the scenes" by persons who should be among the most trusted, in a place that should be among the safest on earth.