So we’ve already established that I am a bad Catholic. Here’s more proof.
In the news (thanks NextDraft once again) recently is the business card sized piece of papyrus with a reference to Jesus’ wife. The text arrived in the spotlight in September 2012 in Rome, publication of the analysis delayed for over a year while the text’s authenticity was investigated. Everyone thought it was a fake… the Church was on board with the idea of a forgery, a modern fake. Except it isn’t.
The paper and ink date to at least 1,100 years. the papyrus has been carbon dated to 741, the ink the same ones used between the first and eighth century.
It was natural for the times in which He lived for Jesus to marry. Where’s the down side? How could he come to understand the human state if he avoided a major part of our existence here on Earth? Doesn’t seem to make sense, and I’d certainly expect a being of such vast love and understanding to be in for the whole ride. Warts and all.
It appears that the papyrus confirms something that experts already knew. Some Gnostic groups in the second, third and fourth centuries thought of Mary as Jesus’ companion. The word “wife” just didn’t exist.
This amazing scrap of paper raises the distinct possibility, one the Church doesn’t like, that early Christians saw no problem in married leaders. So what’s our problem? Whatever practices emerged over time are one thing, and to be respected for the history alone. But the Church has to evolve as people do… allowing priests to mary (allowing women clergy for that matter) would vastly increase (improve) the pool of people entering the seminary.
A priest I once knew explained the celibacy thing this way. It allowed a priest to provide full and dedicated focus to his parishioners, at any time, at any place. That kind of availability makes being a spouse or parent too difficult. He also mentioned how the Church couldn’t afford to support dependents, to which I point to the riches of the Vatican.
But then, I’m bad, remember?
Still having that kind of dedication is something that first responders seem to manage. So do healthcare professionals, air traffic controllers and pilots. There are certainly other professions that could make the list. And allowances made for dual incomes. Maybe the extra understanding of the married (or parenting) state would be beneficial.
I’m sure the details could be worked out. People just have to want to. If anyone can, Pope Francis is the one to do it. My money’s on him.