We have believed, for a long time now, that God calls a man to the priesthood.
Is it possible that God could call a man to LEAVE the priesthood?
Of course, as Catholics, we believe that all 7 sacraments leave a permanent mark on the recipient that can never be obliterated.
So such a man would not be leaving the priesthood per se. He would be abandoning the CLERICAL STATE.
And given that the clerical state is now in such a state of absolute disrepute – some might ask how any true Christian’s could remain in it?
The priesthood got into trouble as soon as the clerical state was added to it.
And on top of that the whole Church got into trouble when people started putting Can Law before Scripture.
In my long tug of war with Down and Connor I had a number of meetings with the then chancellor Canon Raymund Fitzpatrick.
He shocked me one day when he declared “Canon Law is a new book of the Bible”!
And the poor ejit really believed that.
There are many, many priests trapped in the priesthood as we know it.
Some of them joined because their fathers ir mothers had the vocation, not them.
Many priests are STUCK in the priesthood because they have no qualifications to do anything else and are afraid to lose the security of a house, a salary, a private health scheme and a pension.
Some of them are living lives of quiet desperation and coping by engaging in secret sex, drug and alcohol addiction.
God does not his children to be slaves in anyway. He always calls slaves into freedom.
Maybe he is calling many unhappy priests simply to leave and start again?