So, I'm very excited to see what will happen with the Catholic-Anglican relations over the course of the next few months. I have been trying to find information on the current status of things since the announcement last week. But, I have been unsuccessful.
Everything that I'm finding portrays the whole situation in such a negative light-- i.e. the Catholics are trying to steal all the disaffected Anglicans to pump up their own numbers, or the Anglican Bishops are shocked at the decision, or no one is taking this seriously, etc. It really saddens me because I think Pope Benedict is doing a wonderful job of trying to unify God's church.
What I find so interesting is that all of the articles that I have read state that Roman Catholics (particularly cradle Catholics) are confused by the apparent contradictions in Pope Benedict's announcement -- i.e. Anglicans and Orthodox priests are allowed to marry but not Catholic priests. They are also eager to pick at the woman issue -- neither Roman Catholics nor the more conservative Anglican ranks believe in women or homosexual priests or bishops.
As a virtually cradle Catholic, I do not find these issues confusing or dismaying at all. They are matters of Biblical interpretation and Tradition. I have never felt like a second class citizen at the altar, or in a Catholic Church. I am a welcomed member of Christ's Body. Women take on all sorts of leadership roles that fulfill their call as WOMEN.
I am not a big fan of the feminist movement and the gender crisis ideals. Every human being is created in the IMAGE and LIKENESS of God. THIS is where our equality comes from. Men and women were NOT created for the same purposes! We are made differently and we cannot, no matter how hard we try, fulfill the same roles.
I think it is a beautiful thing to witness, actually, especially in marriage. That is where it becomes most apparent how beautifully and wonderfully we have been made. Together, we form a perfect complement, a vision of God Himself, and His nature. We EACH have a part to play. We are ALL important. And, I think the Roman Catholic Church does a wonderful job of acknowledging that difference, while keeping the focus on the idea that we are all MADE by God; we share in His Kingdom; and we are ALL important!
In the Catholic Church, women run all sorts of lay ministries. They can be youth ministers. They can be Eucharistic ministers. They can work in the offices. They can do SO many things. But, it is just like the Garden of Eden -- we want what God did not intend for us.
This is Biblical interpretation that is in keeping with the long-standing traditions of the Catholic Church. This is called a big T-Tradition. This will never change.
The issues of married priests is a small t-Tradition. If the need arises, it can be changed on a case by case basis. Just because it has never been done before, does not mean that the RCC cannot do it. There is no disagreement of principles here.
We have allowed this within the Orthodox Churches that have come into full communion. We allow it within other branches of the Catholic Church based on different cultures. I fully trust that if the situation with celibate priests became so desperate that the Church was dying, there would be no question but to reverse this tradition and allow all Catholic priests to marry.
Celibacy is not the reason for all of the immoral activity within the orders over the last few decades. The break down of education at the seminaries, the allowance of homosexual priests into the priesthood without careful supervision, and the overall lack of FAITH have all contributed to this problem (which, is probably vastly over-exaggerated in the media). There is no question that homosexuality and child abuse occur in a vast majority of the other Christian denominations. The problem is, none of those problems ever receive any attention. So, the Catholic Church is perceived to be the only corrupt institution among the tens of thousands of Christian denominations out there.
So much for my attempt to be optimistic.