Letters to the Editor

Priests are called to be celibate in union with Christ as bridegrooms of the Church

Pope Francis recently published his decision on the Amazon Synod which discussed the possibility of ordaining married men as an answer to the acute shortage of priests in the Amazon region.
The Catholic Herald (January 24) comments on this, and also has an item that Cardinal Robert Sarah and Emeritus Pope Benedict have just now produced a book defending the institution of clerical celibacy.

In the same issues there is also a comment from a married priest, Fr Dwight Longenecker, that the real point about celibacy is that the Catholic priest is configured to Christ. He is supposed to be transformed into an alter Christus in a depth that is different from the non-ordained. l  If this is true it should be supported by a clear theological argument.
Fr Longenecker writes about a mystical configuration of the ordained man’s entire being – body, soul and spirit – into the image and likeness and power of Christ through God’s grace reaching down to touch every aspect of that man’s life and being, including his sexuality.

In my letter (December 12) I suggested that such a theology argument can be based on the conclusion that Original Sin was and is a transcendental catastrophe for all matter-energy and all living forms in this universe, which is present in finite space-time in exile from the paradise of God. Original Sin stained everything and thus souls and bodies which emerge simultaneously at conception, the only two exceptions being the bodies and souls of Jesus and Mary.

The great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that if Original Sin had not happened marriage would have been perfectly fecund but virginal. He did not explain this puzzle. However, an answer can be based on the fact that Jesus as a virginal man is bridegroom of the Church. He inseminates his bride with himself, the immaculate word-seed as consecrated bread and wine in order that we be recreated and reborn with everlasting immaculate life. He obtained his immaculate humanity from his mother Mary, who is the Immaculate Conception from all eternity since she freely rejected Satan’s temptation in the transcendental beginning (Eden in Genesis).

The priest is therefore called to be celibate in his union with Christ as bridegroom of the Church and father of redeemed members. The title father is therefore the best for a priest, as it is for the Pope as Holy Father head of the church.

The priest sows the immaculate word-seed who is Jesus so it is fitting that he remain celibate and not procreate children blemished in souls and bodies through his own male seed, also blemished by Original Sin.
According to this a woman can never be a priest but within the Church has a very previous role as the bride.

Pope Benedict warned in the Ratzinger Report 1985, against discarding the doctrine of Original Sin. He is now warning against removing the rule of celibacy for priests. I would like to know if he has made the connection between the two.

Belfast BT9


Sinn Féin taoiseach would be ultimate humiliation for unionists

To many unionists like me a Sinn Féin Taoiseach would be the ultimate humiliation. It would represent an ‘Irish’ betrayal of all those who worked for and won the peace in rejection of terrorists and their fellow travellers.

In her perceptive piece – ‘Changing island must consider well being of all those who live on it’ (February 13) –  Allison Morris cites a nervous unionism, a Brexit disaster and a unionist minority as potential causes leading to destabilise the peace. Excluding Brexit, Allison may well be correct one day, but not today. Unionism is fighting for its survival to remain in the union. It is not, let me assure your readers, preparing to go to war tomorrow.

Suffice to say that the seismic swing of Irish people forsaking the Belfast Good Friday Agreement by endorsing Sinn Féin overwhelmingly electorally has shaken unionists. It has sent a signal of where they are and want to be in terms of neighbourly relations with Northern Ireland.

In order for unionists to decide their next steps, nationalists across the island need to demonstrate where they stand on saving the agreement and the extent of protection they offer to the peace process. It being obvious that Mary Lou McDonald’s agenda for a hostile border poll necessitates jettisoning the agreement .

Irish News subscribers are doing their intelligence a great disservice in not realising that under no circumstances would a unionist first minister be able to stay in office while preparatory work for a border poll is being processed.

Strangford, Co Down


Are Spads value for money?

I read with interest the appointment of new special advisers or as they are more commonly known to the public Spads to the Stormont Assembly. While I understand to a point this is a necessity in order for ministers to make informed judgments on the decision making process, I wonder are these appointments money well spent from the public purse.

The annual salary for the 14 new Spads comes at a cost of £876,498. The highest paid will receive £78,000. My issue with this is these advisers are unelected so where can we in public domain find accountability. Furthermore, I believe we could be spending a lot of this money more wisely. In Northern Ireland we have 55,000 homeless people.

Also data from the Department of Health shows 41.3 per cent of patient waiting times exceeded 52 weeks in the second quarter of 2019. There is no other region where the equivalent figure exceeded 1 per cent. People are in desperate need of help in the areas of mental health, fuel poverty and many other issues. Our people are desperate for leadership. I would appeal to those on the hill to keep that in mind when discharging their elected roles on behalf of everyone they have been given the honour to serve.

Upper Bann Workers’ Party


Prospect of ceasefire in Syria remote

Everyone will agree that the people of Idlib in Syria desperately need a ceasefire. The prospects for it look remote. The fundamental reason is that the US wants regime change in Syria more than it wants peace.

If the US were to accept Assad’s leadership then it could work with Russia to eradicate the terrorist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from Idlib with the minimum of bloodshed. If HTS saw that the combined political will and military might of the US and Russia were going to work together to end their occupation of Idlib there is a high possibility that their resolve would crumble.
If it did not then slow high tech precision war, with minimising civilian casualties an overarching priority, would be the quickest way to end this ongoing catastrophe in Syria.

Many people say that Assad is a monster and we cannot support him in any way. That will mean prolonging the suffering in Idlib and risking further escalation of the war.


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Letters to the Editor