I have been blessed by Christ-honoring, Spirit-empowered Catholic priests and lay people. It has been an honor to speak at Catholic Charismatic conferences on several occasions. As Karen and I were driving to one on a Sunday morning, I was struck with the date–October 31st. I asked Karen, “Do you know what day it is?”
When introduced later that morning, I told them that I wanted to lead them in a hymn written by a young Catholic monk. I went to the piano and led them in “A Mighty Fortress,” sometimes called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation. They stood, knew it well, and sang with gusto. When it ended they applauded as if their team had just won the championship. It was a great moment, united in heart and voice. Many came up following the service to thank us–and we thanked them.
I have some issues with the Catholic Church, but what we agree on surpasses what is questioned. Let us take the admonition of Paul, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Paul speaks later in the chapter about the need to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 12,13). We aren’t there yet!
We have read the news of the terrible abuse of children by priests. Some of us knew it was going on for years, but now it has reached the public. The Catholic Church is embarrassed and shamed, as it should be. So here is my question:
What are men to do who are
- called to be married, and 2) called to serve the Lord as pastors/priests?
They deny their God-given instincts, or worse they call forth perverted instincts because they are going crazy and find it difficult to suppress what God has put inside of them. I lay this perversion in the Catholic Church at the feet of leaders who have assigned them to be Father McDonald or Father Olson without letting them be fathers in their own homes. Isn’t Paul’s word to Timothy sufficient? To serve in the church, we qualify by serving well at home. The church family is modeled after the nuclear family. One prepares us for the other. It is too obvious to avoid. The Church called men to be celibate when God had not called them to a single life. He gives graces for what he institutes, not what the church in its ignorance assigns. The irony, or travesty, according to my brother-in-law, Mark Luttio, a professor at Lynn University, is that the Roman Catholic Church allowed for priests to be married the first 1,000 years of its history. Only in the Middle Ages did celibacy become mandated, and this more for economic/political reasons than spiritual.
Is there a Martin Luther now in the Roman Catholic Church who can lead a much needed Reformation?
…for such a time as this!