Father Bill Lowe embraces his wife, Linda, following his May 6 ordination at Blessed Junipero Serra Church in Camarillo, Calif. Father Lowe, a former Episcopal priest, is the first married priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
To the Catholic Sentinel:
The emphasis on the charism of mandatory celibacy for the various levels of ordained ministry distorts an important principle that St. Paul presents in the 1st letter to the Corinthians.
In this letter, the initial consideration as to whether it is better to marry or remain single seems to imply that being single is better.
But the full development of Paul’s teaching focuses on fullness of gifts that serve the Church and he draws the conclusion that one way is not better than another since “we are all one in Christ.” Each one has to find and apply his or her gifts.
The various gifts that we have must be put in service to the church, whether one is the head or the foot, for they all come from the same Spirit.
A married clergy can equally be effective in its own style. Let us keep in mind that “mandatory celibacy” is a style or tradition of the Western Church and, while it has produced outstanding expressions of holiness over the centuries, to say that it is the only way is to lose sight of the fact that traditions develop over time and can change as the Spirit moves in the church.
To imply that there is only one way is to attempt to limit the grace of God.