Sunday, October 18, 2009
TAXI DRIVER WANTED TO BECOME A MARRIED CATHOLIC PRIEST
Some time back, a church member told me that life as a taxi driver was tough as competition was great and he found it rather difficult to make ends meet. He also said something else which I considered was a mockery to the Catholic Church. Guess what he said? He said that he would have become a priest if priests were allowed to get married. And what were his reasons for that? Well, he said that life would be much easier for him if he were a priest. As a priest, he would be respected and need not worry about food and lodging. But too bad, Catholic priests aren't allowed to marry and that was why he said a big 'NO' to priesthood. He said that if the Pope were to change the rules regarding priesthood celibacy and allow Catholic priests to get married, he would be the first in line to join the priesthood as he really cannot 'tahan' (tahan is a malay word meaning tolerate) being a taxi driver. He also said that if he could become a priest, his wife and children would be well taken care of by the church and they would have a better life.
I listened to all these with disgust. I wanted to scold him but refrained from doing so. Calmly I said to him, "Why don't you join the 'Married Priests Now Organization' ? Let's see what they can do to make you a married priest." It was no use talking to people like him. When I passed by Mid-Valley that day, I saw the long taxi queue and I said to myself, "If Catholic priests were allowed to get married, then the taxi drivers alone would be more than enough to fill up all the vacancies." Not only taxi drivers but all those who are unable to find a proper job during this recession period would be competing with each other to join the priesthood as they would be guaranteed with a job and their wives and children would have a better life. But is this the kind of priests we want?
The priesthood is not a career option for people who are unable to find a proper job. Only people with deep faith can undertake this important mission. Being a priest means that he should always be ready to tend to his flock from the cradle to the grave and helping them in times of need. But would someone who joined the priesthood with the sole intention to secure a better future for himself and his family be able to be a good priest?
The priesthood is a vocation and a vocation is a calling from God. Only those whom God has chosen and those who are ready to live the life of Christ can become priests. It involves a lot of sacrifices to become another Christ. The taxi driver aforementioned is certainly not God's chosen one. Although there is a shortage of priests, the Catholic Church is still surviving and we shouldn't make priesthood a dumping ground just because we do not have enough priests. Let there be quality and not quantity in the priesthood. Who are those who really qualify to become priests? Those who give themselves entirely to God and to men. "When I chose you to represent Me as a priest in My House, you are not to make yourselves a common man, for you will not bring the souls into the Kingdom by joining them in their sin! Yours must be a pure and shining example! You must follow your vows of chastity and poverty." Jesus, August 14, 1974. Remember, you cannot have both. You will not have this world and the Kingdom of God! For those who cannot live the life of Christ and who want to become priests, why not try out their luck with other sects and groups which can accommodate their whims and desires?
As the saying goes, if the priest is a saint, the people will be fervent, if the priest is fervent, the people will be pious, if the priest is pious, the people will at least be decent. But if the priest is only decent, the people will be godless. What if we have priests who are only concerned with making a better life for himself, his wife and children and comes to church to bla... bla... bla... without meaning what he said? Then the church would crumble. No doubt they are 'ready and willing to serve' for the sake of securing a better job but can we respect this kind of priests?
"Continence, My Child, is the sacrifice asked by the Father. You cannot divide yourselves; there must be full dedication to the will of God." - Our Lady of the Roses, March 24, 1974.
"The heart of the priest, in order that it may be available for this service, must be free. Celibacy is a sign of freedom that exists for the sake of service." - Pope John Paul II, Letter to Priests, Holy Thursday 1979.
Three cheers to Pope Benedict XVI for upholding tradition and reaffirming the value of priestly celibacy.