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.
“So what if he had some weaknesses of the flesh? Maybe that’s partly what made him so compassionate.”
What exactly is this supposed to mean? I can’t figure it out. I read it over and over again but I still don’t get it. Someone please translate this for me.
(Bein illogical reasoning) Because you are weak, you can relate to other people who are weak. Ergo, Jesus must have totally lacked compassion because, after all, he was perfect. (End illogical reasoning)
We are referring to France, are we not? The country where those who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII all of a sudden became transformed in stalwart Resistance fighters as soon as the Allies marched into Paris. I am sure that there are many good, holy French people. They just don’t seem to get good press very often.
“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.”
Maybe he should check out Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
“Breaking his vow was being untrue to himself, he said.”
I didn’t think that he made the vow to himself.
Yeah, the “being true to himself” comment was what really got me. And the implication that a vow ought to “extinguish” temptation.
Sounds like a fruit cake to me.
I think this is a very sad affair because Abbé Pierre is extremely popular in France and has been seen for a long time by many (Christians and non-Christians alike) as a good and holy man due to his ministry to the poorest, especially the homeless. So I find it extremely sad that such a man and priest is an open dissenter from Church teaching.
I mean, he could have been a saint! But alas, no.
The Jester’s Take on The Da Vinci Joke
I was getting these thoughts in my head about a nagging Mary Magdeline-Christ.
“You can walk on water, but you can never remember to take out the garbage?!?!?”
“Breaking his vow was being untrue to himself, he added.”
What about being untrue to God and his Church? Wonder if that ever crossed his mind.
Again, we hear this business of priests breaking their promises in “truth” to themselves. Again, I hear crickets chirping in place of a response regarding the human being with whom he broke his promise. What responsibility for their dignity and the disposition of their soul does he owe this person? Accordingly, nothing. No wonder our era embraces this “my body my choice” mentality.
Had he thought of that other person first:
— the burden of having contributed to his infidelity;
— smashing to bits this individual’s call to chastity;
— the impact on their relationships with family and community;
I wonder how likely he would have been to have broken his promise in the first place?
Priests who break their promise to be celibate, and then arrogantly publish the fact, are NOT brave men no matter how the article is crafted. They have betrayed the person who participated in the act, their parish in whom he was entrusted, his fellow priests, our Church and most of all our Father.
I’m guessing those who make this profane claim of a married Christ are also those who deny His divinity. After all, isn’t the Church His bride, “chosen in him before the foundation of the world”?