Married priest and women priests are burning issues at the moment. Here are a few questions on these issues I find hard to answer myself. Could you help me?
Married Priests. The priest is in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. Christ was unmarried, so that he could devote himself wholly to the service of God and his Kingdom. Should priests not do the same?
Women Priests. The priest is in persona Christi. Christ was male. Given incarnational theology, does that exclude or include women?
As regards married priest I often cite that wonderful book by Kazanzakis, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, made into an equally fine film by Scorcese. In it the devil returns to tempt Christ at the last to come down from the cross and marry Mary Magdalene. In imagination he does so, but later as he works as a carpenter, surrounded by wife and family, the apostles come to him and say: “why did you let us down to badly”, he had put himself and his desires first; it was the same temptation Satan put before him in the desert, to serve his own desire and power and forget about being the suffering servant of God and humanity in total self-giving love unto death to self, to bring the whole world to life. I see the world tempting me, and priests,in the same way today so I wrote a little poem about it. Here it is:
As a poor priest, I beat my breast,
Saying, the world tempts me now
As the proud demon did the Christ.
Then at last I understood celibacy’s vow,
As imitating this greater sacrifice now.
I saw that the man Jesus
Not to decry marriage
Or women, or holy sex,
But to gain our freedom
By giving all in love
Without stint, for humankind.
Dying to desire,
So that a divine higher
Kingdom could transpire.
And so imitating him
I aspired, beyond
My own vain wealth,
Pleasure and power,
To imitate the Suffering
Servant mystery, a lover
Giving all as a priest,
In Persona Christi.