Tuesday, March 02, 2004

When the cat is away...
...the mice will play. However, to use that analogy on the Church, it seems these days the cat is not only present, but standing over the mice and they are STILL playing! With that in mind, priests of our Archdiocese have been the recipients in recent days of a survey from a local group called HOPE. If you don't know of them, I can assure you they are not on a quest for the authentic virtue. Pretty much imagine whatever groups you know who have the same old, worn out agenda to bring change to the Church, and you have an image of this group.

Anyway, their survey is simple in its scope. They claim to support "open discussion of the celibacy rule". The survey asks whether the priest is in favor of such, not in favor, or undecided. It asks if the priest is retired or a member of a religious order. Then it asks for approximate age range of the respondent. Well, I sent my response in with the following letter to HOPE.

2 March 2004

[Address omitted for this post]

Dear Members of HOPE,

I have received your survey regarding the discipline of clerical celibacy in the Roman rite. Though I do not appreciate seeming to validate your survey by my response, I am happy to have responded and to have this opportunity to address HOPE.

I am curious by whose authority it is that you have taken the initiative to conduct this survey? The Church is quite clear about the value of this discipline. In fact, there already is “open discussion” in the Church about clerical celibacy. It takes place in the approximately seven years of seminary formation before a man is ordained – a conversation that takes place between a seminarian and his spiritual director by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Since your survey reveals an interest on HOPE’s part to openly discuss this matter, I come to you with an offer. I would be happy to meet with your group to give you a priest’s perspective on the charism of celibacy and its value for the Church as a mandatory discipline. I am quite confident I could also manage to interest other priests to attend such a meeting. How interested is HOPE? I will await your prompt reply.

Sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Stephen V. Hamilton, S.T.L.
Associate Pastor

Cc: The Most Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran
Archbishop of Oklahoma City

We'll see just how interested in open discussion HOPE really is.

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