The Feminist Assault on the Priesthood
Here’s a bit more from the thoughts of Henry Sire in his Phoenix from the Ashes. This time, in his chapter “ The Destruction of the Priesthood” he is dealing with “The Assault of Feminism” which he believes has played a major role in sapping the Catholic understanding of the priestly office. It stems, believes Sire, from the surrender of the Catholic Church to the trends of modern ideology, in particular the rejection of chastity and the natural order of society.
The first stage in the attack emerged at the time of the Second Vatican Council, when the demand appeared for the ending of clerical celibacy, on the plea that it was not the original discipline of the Church. Like other aspects of the Modernist appeal to antiquity, this one relied on a high degree of ignorance, including the appearance of the vulgar error that in the Orthodox churches priests are allowed to marry. In fact, there has never been any time or place in the history of the Church in which priests have been allowed to marry. The early practice of the Church, continued in the Eastern churches today, was that the priesthood was conferred on married men, but once they were ordained they were barred from matrimony. A church order allowing ordained ministers to marry was uncontemplated until the Protestant heresy arose, with its rejection of the traditional priesthood.
There is no question of the same being possible in the Catholic Church, or in any church that keeps a claim to orthodoxy and tradition. Yet that was the prospect that was broached as radicalism began its assaults on Catholic practice. Such was the ignorance with which candidates entered the seminaries that many believed that priests would soon be allowed to marry after ordination. Amongst other evils, it allowed them to disregard the vocation of celibacy, and thus led to the moral disorders that began to run riot in the priesthood.
We will continue this theme in later posts.