If the people of Europe had known as much of astronomy and geology when the bible was introduced among them, as they do now, there never could have been one believer in the doctrine of inspiration. If the writers of the various parts of the bible had known as much about the sciences as is now known by every intelligent man, the book never could have been written. It was produced by ignorance, and has been believed and defended by its author. It has lost power in the proportion that man has gained knowledge. A few years ago, this book was appealed to in the settlement of all scientific questions; but now, even the clergy confess that in such matters, it has ceased to speak with the voice of authority. For the establishment of facts, the word of man is now considered far better than the word of God. In the world of science, Jehovah was superseded by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. All that God told Moses, admitting the entire account to be true, is dust and ashes compared to the discoveries of Descartes, Laplace, and Humboldt. In matters of fact, the bible has ceased to be regarded as a standard. Science has succeeded in breaking the chains of theology. A few years ago, Science endeavored to show that it was not inconsistent with the bible. The tables have been turned, and now, Religion is endeavoring to prove that the bible is not inconsistent with Science. The standard has been changed.
The Pope would have an easier job than the President of the United States in adopting a change of course. He has no Congress alongside him as a legislative body nor a Supreme Court as a judiciary. He is absolute head of government, legislator and supreme judge in the church. If he wanted to, he could authorize contraception over night, permit the marriage of priests, make possible the ordination of women and allow eucharistic fellowship with this Protestant churches. What would a Pope do who acted in the spirit of Obama?
...Turn our thoughts, in the next place, to the characters of learned men. The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. Read over again all the accounts we have of Hindoos, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, we shall find that priests had all the knowledge, and really governed all mankind. Examine Mahometanism, trace Christianity from its first promulgation; knowledge has been almost exclusively confined to the clergy. And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate a free inquiry? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.]
Yes an atheist priest can perfectly minister to a believing congregation and miracles can happen in that congregation. Miracles depend on the faith of the believer, not that of the officiant. A bartender who never takes alcohol can serve alcohol to his clients. What is necessary is that the priest believes he is doing the good work. The congregation needs faith and it helps them. It would be evil to deny them such a service in the name of his lack of faith. - Bangambiki Habyarimana
Again, as I had often met it in my own church, I was confronted with the Impurity of Women doctrine that seemed to preoccupy all clergymen.
The world does not consist of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so.
If you cannot see that divinity includes male and female characteristics and at the same time transcends them, you have bad consequences. Rome and Cardinal O'Connor base the exclusion of women priests on the idea that God is the Father and Jesus is His Son, there were only male disciples, etc. They are defending a patriarchal Church with a patriarchal God. We must fight the patriarchal misunderstanding of God.
Archbishop Mannix was possessed of the clearest intellect I have ever encountered. He prayed regularly for five hours and more each day, this in the midst of a life of intense activity. When he was well over ninety, I once asked him about the precise quality of the Faith which had sustained him. His answer? 'My Faith has always been like a thin silken thread, fraying perpetually at the brink of a precipice over which I hang. Yet the thread has never snapped.
His friend laughed. 'You missed your calling, Freddie,' he said. 'You should have been one of the aforementioned clergy. Is this what marriage does to you? One shudders at the very idea.
I miss the honor of serving as a parish pastor. There is nothing quite like it. The most challenging aspect of the job is that you just can't please everybody all the time, no matter how hard you try. But the greatest honor of the office, from my perspective, is being invited into the lives of people at their very best moments and at their very worst moments.
It’s common knowledge that the church is nothing more than an invention of the priesthood designed to swindle the ordinary people of the empire out of just about everything they own.
We are like the moon. The moon shines anyway, but it does not produce its own light. It reflects the light illuminated onto its surface by the Sun and is never proud to say I am the source of light. God shines through us, hence He deserves the glory; not us.
Anytime you feel like you don't have any work to do, just look around. Look for what God had started doing and ask for his permission to assist him in doing it.
The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God's love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God's Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.
Denial of our pattern of failure seems to be a kind of practical atheism or chosen ignorance among many believers and clergy.
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
...Turn our thoughts, in the next place, to the characters of learned men. The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. Read over again all the accounts we have of Hindoos, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, we shall find that priests had all the knowledge, and really governed all mankind. Examine Mahometanism, trace Christianity from its first promulgation; knowledge has been almost exclusively confined to the clergy. And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate a free inquiry? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and
This is, indeed, an insightful observation. The Archbishop [Joseph L. Berardin] insists that the natural resemblance between Christ and his priests must not stop merely with the fact that they share a common masculinity. Our question is, 'Why must it BEGIN there?' If the faithful cannot see Christ in a male who exemplifies no godlike virtues - humility, gentleness, and self-effacing service - can they not see him in a female who does? Indeed, if the priest acts 'in persona Christi,' not 'in masculinitate Christi,' then 'NATURAL resemblance' between Christ and the priest, it would seem, does not entail PHYSICAL, that is SEXUAL resemblance, but a resemblance which is natural to the SPIRITUAL order with which the worshiping congregation has to do. And in this order there is neither male nor female, even as there is neither Jew nor Greek. We would, therefore, conclude that since the Word was made flesh, as the apostle John has declared him (John 1:14), we rightly heed those who, in the flesh, symbolize his presence as they speak and act in his name. But we see no reason to add to what the apostle said by insisting that the Word was made MALE flesh, for both male and female are equally bearers of the divine image. And since God created humankind in his image, male AND female, we can only conclude that women as well as men should be ordained to the priesthood, because femaleness, like maleness, is a fitting symbol (sacramental sign) of Deity.
Because sometimes the Church seems like those posed circus tableaus where the curtain lifts and men, white, zinc-oxide, talcum-powder statues, freeze to represent abstract Beauty. Very wonderful. But I hope there will always be room for me to dart about among the statues, don't you, Father Stone?
A missionary church cannot rely on the professional ministry for the primary work of mission. The role of the laity is critical because it is the lay members of the church who have the greatest contact with those who are outside of the normal structures of church life. In such a situation the task of clergy is not so much to engage in mission themselves, as to support the laity in their mission.
When spirituality becomes spiritualization, life in the body becomes carnality. When ministers and priests live their ministry mostly in their heads and relate to the Gospel as a set of valuable ideas to be announced, the body quickly takes revenge by screaming loudly for affection and intimacy. Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is, to live in the body, not only in their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit.