Australian Priest announces he has a wife, claims there are more like him
The now dismissed priest tries to use his action as basis for dissent
A Catholic priest in Australia has confessed to the public that he was secretly married last year. Now former Father Kevin Lee of Padre Pio parish in Glenmore Park, Australia, says the Church should relax its rules on celbacy for priests.
Former priest, Kevin Lee of Padre Pio parish in Glenmore Park, Australia
Lee referred to a recent sex scandal involving another priest that was publicized on the same day of his secret marriage in an effort to make such a connection. Of course, it proves nothing. Lee also confessed to having a series of girlfriends during his 20-year tenure as a priest.
The priest was immediately removed from ministry. He certainly excommunicated himself by his own action. A consecrated celibate priest cannot enter into marriage.
In the Roman Catholic Church, men who are called forth to orders in priestly ministry pledge to remain celibate. This is an ancient practice, with biblical and early Christian roots. They are set aside to be a sign of the life to come where there will be no giving or taking in marriage.
Consecrated celibacy also makes the priest more available for pastoral service to the whole Church. There is a different practice and discipline in Eastern Catholic Churches. It is also ancient. In the Eastern Catholic churches, only celibate priests can be called forth to the office of Bishop.
In both Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches, both married and celibate men can be called to ordination as deacons. However, the married deacons pledge to remain cleibate ifthey lose their wives.
Some priests have broken their vow of celibacy. Others are seeking to use this in a kind of pressure movement to persuade the Church to abandon this ancient discipline. others, like Lee claim there are others like him that are also secretly married or dating women. He said he intends to reveal the names of others who are living secret lives like himself.
Bishop Anthony Fisher, the head of Lee's diocese said, "As Father Kevin is aware, by his actions he can no longer operate as a priest and as a result I will immediately be appointing an administrator to Padre Pio parish." Fisher also denied the allegation that most priests live secret double lives.
In recent years, Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with the issues attendant to marriage and Holy Orders on several fronts. He has regularly affirmed the ancient practice in the West of choosing only celibate men for the priesthood.
Some members of the Church have used this issue to dissent. They do not ask the question properly, "whether married men should ever be allowed to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church". Instead they "demand" that priests already ordained, having pledged to remain celibate, be allowed to be dispensed from that vow and marry.
Still some others have called for something which is never going to happen, the ordination to the priesthood of women. Finally, some call for the abandonment of fundamental Christian morality such as the acceptance of homosexual practice.
Pope Benedict has made it clear that such dissent from the teaching of the Church will not change the teaching and discipline of the Church.
The teachings of scripture, the traditipon and discipline of the Church, and her mission, cannot be altered by the political climate or from pressure groups outside or insideher membership.
Scandals will occur, but the Church will always abide in Christ and will continue to tirelessly fulfill its mission (Matthew 16:18-19).
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Lee, Australia, priest, marriage, celibacy, dissent
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