Catholic Church not giving in to ‘modern temptations’

Frank Yonkof

While I agree with Sonali Kudva (“One small step for the Catholic Church,” Oct. 23) that the Roman Catholic Church has taken an important step to unify the Christian faiths by allowing an Anglican Rite, I believe she was mistaken when she wrote the church is giving into “modern temptations.”

For those of you who missed it last week, the Catholic Church came out and said it would be accepting dioceses that have become disillusioned with the current Anglican Communion – those who break away from London and come back to Rome.

This would mean that those Anglicans would be under the leadership of the pope, while keeping their own traditions, most notably the ordination of married men. Thus, the Anglican Rite is born.

Now, many people, including Kudva, saw this as the beginning of the end of unmarried priests.

The problem is many people think of Latin Rite Catholics as being the only type of Catholic because, it is by far the largest group. But the Catholic Church is universal, and there are a few different rites.

Most notably, the Byzantine Rite combines eastern traditions under the leadership of the pope. And these traditions include married priests.

Married priests in the Catholic Church are really nothing new. It just so happens that the majority of us are Latin Rite Catholics, and many people confuse our religious traditions with those of Catholicism in general.

I am often amused when non-Catholics criticize the Latin Rite clergy for not being allowed to marry or have sex. Did they ever stop to think that maybe it is the priest’s own choice?

All too often, critics see the Catholic hierarchy as an elite group of men who take away the rights of priests. In reality, the pope and his fellow bishops are all priests and live by the same rules.

What many people don’t understand is that priests enter into a religious order, and devote their entire lives to God. They literally give up everything, from a home of their own to a family.

Instead of being busy with other things in this world, priests devote almost all of their time to serving God and the church. It is really an awesome commitment when you stop to think about it.

But again, it is a lifestyle that priests choose to live, so who are we to criticize? I am often amazed that a society such as this can be open to the lifestyles of gay or interracial couples, but scorn the thought of someone devoting himself to God in such a deep way.

Truth be told, there is nothing in the Bible that says priests should remain celibate. This is strictly a Latin Rite tradition and can be changed if the clergy decides to do so one day. But to say the new Anglican Rite will somehow make Latin Rite priests wake up to the idea is highly unlikely.

As a Catholic, I certainly would never classify science and technology as “temptations.” It is a common misconception that the Catholic Church is against science, against new ideas and against change in general.

Perhaps many of you didn’t hear Pope Benedict’s remarks when he said that evolution and Catholicism could easily be compatible. In fact, creationism and intelligent design supporters were even shut out from the Vatican-backed conference on evolution, if you can believe Fox News.

There are many people today who do not have a clear understanding of how the Catholic Church works or what they believe, but individuals like Kudva cannot be blamed for their lack of understanding. Many Catholics themselves do not know about important aspects of their own religion.

The Catholic Church is an incredibly complex institution and, unfortunately, there are not many easy-to-understand sources of information for us “Average Joes” to rely on.

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].