May 1, as one considering training for the celibate priesthood, welcome the views expressed by Fr. Michael Richards in the 'Clergy Review' and reported in your columns (August 3). That God gives to each person different graces, each according to his needs, is one of the basic beliefs of our faith. The gift of the graces needed by a man who remains celibate to better serve God and his fellow men is a very great one. The gift of the graces needed by a man called to minister to the needs of the community placed in his care is equally great. However, in view of the afore-mentioned belief, why should we expect God to give both these gifts to a man or neither? Does this not show considerable arrogance?
Obviously there would be difficulties to be overcome before ordination of married men could recommence. Wives would obviously have to be agreeable to the ordination of their spouses. It might be thought advisable to have both husband and wife under the authority of their bishop perhaps the women involved could join a new non-celibate order under the authority of the bishop and work like the parish sisters reported in the same issue of your paper. Should unmarried men be given the option of ordination without taking the vow of celibacy?
These and other problems need considering, but the scheme would at least reduce the terrible shortage of priests in this country. Perhaps this is a topic worthy of discussion at the National Pastoral Congress?
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