Synod on family opens in Rome - Time to strike a better balance?

ORDINATIONS to the Catholic priesthood are at such an historic low that it seems a struggle to keep a priest in every parish. Some parishes share a priest, while others are served by men who might have retired decades ago had the opportunity presented itself.

Those photographs from the last century showing endless ranks of of enthusiastic young men in soutanes — for all the world a burka without the headress — leaving seminaries to go out into the world to do God’s work are a thing of the past.

Today an ordination is as rare as defiant, public atheism was in the days when Archbishop John Charles McQuaid demanded — and got — extraordinary fealty.

Yet, in recent days the Vatican has dismissed a priest because he announced he was gay. Krzysztof Charamsa, a mid-level official in the Vatican, said he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and that he was in love with a man whom he identified as his boyfriend.

His position offends many conservative Catholics and it is reasonable to suggest that if you choose to be part of an organisation, you must observe its rules. However, it is equally true to suggest that if all gay priests were dismissed many parishes would be left without a minister.

On the eve of the Rome Synod on the family it seems Catholicism’s unwavering attitudes on gender and sexuality will overshadow nearly every other aspect of its teachings. Is it time to strike a better balance?

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