It’s the rightful duty of laity to remind clergy, if needed

/ 02:38 AM May 15, 2013

This refers to Tomas Achacoso’s letter titled “Reminder to bishop of need for a humbler Church” (Inquirer, 4/20/13). First of all, I congratulate him for his sincere and prophetic concern for the entire People of God. His Christian courage to remind Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa about his pastoral duty is indeed impressive. I pray that when a similar incident occurs in the future this will become a precedent to be considered by the Catholic laity. As members of the People of God, the laity also have the rightful duty to remind their holy ministers when necessary.

Secondly, with due respect to the archbishop, his rantings over those candidates who favored the passage of the reproductive health bill into law, as well as the possible enactment of a divorce law, may be likened to those of a scribe or rabbi in Jerusalem during Christ’s time, whom John L. Mckenzie, SJ, described as a “moral dictator” in his book “Authority in the Church.”


Thirdly, relative to reproductive health and the hibernating divorce bill, it is worth reminding our religious and holy officials in the Roman Catholic Church, the laity included, about two incidents in Church history: Abortions/infanticides and divorce. One, in the ninth century at the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, the Council Fathers admitted that abortions and infanticides were being practiced in convents and monasteries to cover up the activities of unchaste clerics. Two, in the 12th century, Pope Calixtus II during the First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.

By the Second  Lateran Council, Pope Innocent II confirmed the decree of his predecessor, thus terminating the married priesthood commonly practiced from the time of the apostles up to the 11th century. Celibacy, a charisma/gift in the New Testament, was made into law by the Roman Catholic Church officials. By this decree, divorce was enforced on the married priests’ families. Wives and their children who refused separation were imprisoned and sold to slavery. This was Roman Catholicism during the Roman imperial times—feudal in the Middle Ages and absolutist during the monarchy.


But during his papacy, Blessed John Paul II openly admitted and declared in July 1993 that “Celibacy is not essential to the priesthood. It is not a law promulgated by our Lord Jesus.” Besides, as sacraments according to the Catholic teaching, priesthood and marriage are compatible.


member, Small Faith Community,


B2, L18, P5 Apitong St., V/G Subd., Tacloban City

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TAGS: Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Catholic Church, Lipa City, Roman Catholic
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