Archive for the ‘Bishop McMahon’ Category

Married Priest Movement on the Rise

November 11, 2008

One of the standard objections to the Papists has been that they violate Scriptures by forbidding their “priests” and bishops from marrying. Scripture not only permits the marriage of ordinary folks but of elders/bishops and deacons, the servants of the church. Scripture not only permits such marriage, but views it as the norm: not that every elder and deacon must be married, but that this is the ordinary course of events.

Now, in England this issue is coming to something of a bubble, because of the influx of married former Anglican clergy into the papist ranks. Anglicans, because of the historic (and largely dissipated) influence of the Reformation, do not forbid their clergy from marriage. This influx of married clergy creates tension, because the married clergy are not required to give up their wives when they join, while their newly acquired colleagues must remain unmarried.

One expects similar tension may also exist within other parts of Romanism, as some of the “Eastern rite” priests that have joined Rome’s communion also included married clergymen. The Eastern Orthodox traditions, while generally forbidding bishops to marry, do permit their priests to marry (UPDATE: this sentence apparently confuses some who conclude that I’m suggesting that sometimes men who are already ordained in EO churches go from being single to being married – with that in mind, I should point out that I’m not aware of examples of either of those things happening).

The following linked article, from Sify news (which seems fond of pop-ups), describes the views of the apparent future head of Romanism in England and Wales, a certain “Bishop McMahon.” (link)

McMahon claims, “There is no reason why priests shouldn’t be allowed to marry. It has always been a matter of discipline rather than doctrine.” We agree with him that there is no good reason. There are purported reasons, though, that were previously set out. “The Church” (as his comrades are fond of calling it) did not impose celibacy without some pretext. If someone wants the pretext, they need only turn to the polemical sites of any number of papists. The usual answer, framed against modern Evangelicals, is that celibacy frees one up to serve God. The more traditional answer is a perception that the sexual act itself is somehow unholy: i.e. that it is more holy to be single than to be married.

That is to say, while the practice certainly is disciplinary, it is one imagined (by its supporters) to be based on doctrinal arguments. It is interesting to see that within the ranks of papalism there is dissent even on these matters. One wonders what is next? He supports marriage for “priests:” will he support marriage for bishops too?

Finally, one wonders what “Joe Roman Catholic Lay Apologist” thinks about these things. Such a guy is typically himself married, but in favor of a celibate priesthood. Such a guy typically appreciates the fact that Rome’s position on this matter of discipline cannot rationally be defended as simply an arbitrary decision with “no reason” (McMahon’s words). On the other hand, against him is the Bishop of Nottingham – someone with far better credentials within the Roman hierarchy. What can this poor Joe do? Disagree with a bishop? or admit that there is no good reason for required celibacy?

We’ll have to wait and see.



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