Thursday, February 24, 2005

Anybody up for a good laugh? Or a good cry?

The Boston Globe presumes, once again, to tell the Catholic Church how to run her affairs. This time, it comes in the form of an op/ed from Danielle Kinkel, a grad student at (where else) Boston College and her father, John Kinkel, a former priest, offering "A solution to the priest shortage."

The Kinkels rightly dismiss several theories, but only because of practicality -- no women priests since John Paul won't allow it and neither will his immediate successor, and allowing priests who left in order to marry is also out of the question since "the church forgives, but it does not forget."

So, their solution? Why, of course! Train and ordain the 14,000 married deacons in the U.S.! (visualize hand slapping top of forehead a la, "Ah! I could have had a V-8!") But here's the line that should leave you doubled over -- either with laughter or in tears: "With one stroke of a pen, US bishops could demand that the Vatican acquiesce and allow them to begin training and ordaining married deacons."

Then he goes further by saying, "the vast majority of Catholics would be delighted to see that the bishops can do something right. Catholics could be proud of the institution once again.

"Such a change could be the first step toward parish renewal. Finally, we would have a success story. More envelopes would be dropped in collection baskets -- no small matter considering the financial problems the church is facing. Ordaining married deacons would be a way for the church to solve one of its biggest problems and to move on."

Right! The bishops can't get their own flocks in order and the Kinkels expect them to write letters to the Holy Father, the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith demanding the right to ordain married deacons and start doing it? Of all the most absurd things I have heard, that takes the cake.

After rejecting women priests and former priests because the Vatican won't allow those to happen, the Kinkels come up with as impracticable -- and impossible -- a solution as the others. Impractical because, again, Rome will not allow it. Impossible, because bishops can't demand that right. They can request it, but no bishop can demand it since he has taken a vow of obedience -- which I believe Mr. Kinkel also took when he was ordained.

Parish renewal? Vast majority of Catholics would be delighted? I'm not sure which world the Kinkels are living in, but it doesn't appear to be this one.

The tagline to the article notes that Mr. Kinkel is the author of a forthcoming book entitled, Chaos in the Catholic Church. A blasé and obvious title, but beyond that, did he ever stop to think that he's contributing to the chaos by making such absurd suggestions?

1 comment:

Rick Lugari said...

It's interesting that the former priest and his child haven't considered having better selection and formation of seminarians as a possible solution to the priest shortage. However, I suppose that wouldn't be a very comfortable thought for them.