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Letter: Priesthood lacks candidates for a variety of reasons

Priesthood lacks candidates for a variety of reasons

In response to the Nov. 15 letter, “No magic solution to priest shortage,” I wholeheartedly agree that secular pursuits and sexual exploits have become pervasive in modern society. Also, I do not foresee the Catholic Church ordaining women as priests anytime soon.

However, I believe celibacy should be a personal choice for Catholic priests. Virtually all other Christian denominations allow their clergy to marry and have children. I think the celibacy requirement serves as a deterrent to the priesthood for many young Catholic men.

A case in point: a neighbor of mine recently died. He was ordained a Catholic priest in his youth, but eventually fell in love with a nun. Both gave up their vocations so they could get married. They lovingly raised three children together and remained noticeably and admirably dedicated to Christ throughout their lives.

Without making presumptions on his personal decision, perhaps many more men would consider joining or remaining in the priesthood if the celibacy mandate was lifted.

I also take issue with the letter writer’s statement: “No one picks the priesthood; Jesus picks the person.” Did Jesus pick the numerous pedophiles throughout the Catholic Church that abused innocent children? Did the Holy Spirit guide the bishops to cover up this despicable behavior to protect the reputation of the church and transfer guilty priests to other parishes to inflict more damage rather than face justice?

No, it was mankind’s sinfulness, mental illness and arrogance that caused this scourge on St. Peter’s Church. Until the Vatican hierarchy finally implements an adequately just and comprehensive series of reforms (the recent sex scandal involving the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic proves its efforts are still insufficient) and stops driving millions of Catholics away from the Church, only then may more men choose to join the priesthood.

Peter McNeela