PARIS (Reuters) – One of France’s most popular men, a 93-year-old Roman Catholic priest who champions the cause of the homeless, speaks out for married and female priests in a new book where he confesses having broken his vow of chastity.
Abbe Pierre, who has topped French popularity lists for so long that he withdrew his name last year to make way for others, also says in his book "My God … Why?" that he could imagine that Jesus Christ had been married to Mary Magdalene.
His liberal views flew in the face of the conclusions of a synod of over 250 bishops at the Vatican that closed last week with a ringing reaffirmation of the celibate male priesthood.
Abbe Pierre noted that his celibacy vow did not extinguish sexual desire and confessed: "I’ve succumbed to this on rare occasions but I never had a longer relationship because I did not let sexual desire take root."
Breaking his vow was being untrue to himself, he added.
The book’s publication made national headlines in France and elicited a mixed reaction from Catholic commentators.
"It’s unfortunate the media stress two or three issues in a book that is a profound testimony of faith," said Marie-Caroline de Marliave, spokeswoman for the French Bishops’ Conference. "His faith is very real but this does it a disservice."
"Personalities like Abbe Pierre and Mother Teresa give the Church credibility," argued Rev. Alain de la Morandais, a frequent commentator on French television.
"So what if he had some weaknesses of the flesh? Maybe that’s partly what made him so compassionate."
A MARRIED JESUS?
Abbe Pierre said he knew good priests who lived with common-law wives. "I’m convinced the Church needs married priests and celibate priests who can devote themselves totally to prayer and to others."
Neither Pope John Paul nor Pope Benedict "has ever put forward a single decisive theological argument showing that ordaining women priests would be against the faith," he wrote.
This doctrine was "more sociological than theological," he said. "It is very probable, and I’d say desirable, that the Church evolves on this point in coming decades."
He approved of civil unions for homosexuals but balked at supporting adoption rights for gays. He said Pope Benedict would surprise Catholics by eventually allowing older married men to become priests and remarried divorced people to receive communion.
That Jesus may have married Mary Magdalene — an ancient theory revived by the popular novel "The Da Vinci Code" — was possible but unproven, he said. "I don’t think it makes any difference for the fundamentals of the Christian faith." [Source]
Their idea of an ancient theory does not jive with mine. I would at least consider an ancient theory to be at least a thousand years old, not something that came about within the last one hundred years. This whole idea of Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene is just so silly. Like when exactly did he have time to pull that one off. Sometime between casting out seven Demons and being crucified? Do not cling to me is not exactly the simple banter between husband and wife. Why not "Honey, do not cling to me" or whatever the Jewish equivalents of terms of endearment were. And how many women married to God when they found out they had been resurrected call them Rabboni? Would she had been the first women to have been widowed for three days and then not become a widow? What would she think of the Ascension? That it was a one way business trip? Would any wife be happy when asking when you will be home to get the reply "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." I mean come on even if you are married to the second person of the Blessed Trinity would you accept that one? And what about anniversaries or birthdays? What do you give a man who created everything? And what about housing? "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." – might not have been the best living arrangements. Though having nothing at the start of a marriage might be something that many of us remember.