THE shortage of priests, which is predicted to get worse, apparently means that in the near future some parishes will lose priests and will not be able to have Mass, despite our present Pope's commitment at the start of his shepherdship to Jesus's repeated instruction, "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep!"
Allowing eucharistic ministers to distribute Communion to the faithful is like a doctor asking a nurse to give out medicine. Consecration and the Mass are substantially superior to readings and eucharistic distribution.
Second, if not enough celibate, male candidates for the priesthood are available, then use married men. Tradition failed to deter either David from eating the Temple bread in the Old • Testament, or Jesus (our God), from plucking corn on the Sabbath in the New Testament!
Their needs were only for physical food. Surely the ready availability of the spiritual food of the Mass and the Eucharist are infinitely more important? Or are
we to be tied and restricted to our "traditions" like the Pharisees of old? Clearly, married pastors in other Churches can shepherd their congregations at least as well, if not better. than some celibate clergy. In the crisis we face. a married priest has to be preferable to no priest at all.
And, too, we could look to women when seeking to ordain new priests. Other religions have successfully accepted women pastors, both long ago and in our own time. Can you really find concrete evidence that they are unable to "do the job"? General observation would suggest that usually the female of the species incline more towards nurturing and caring than the males.
Could it be that the present shortage of celibate, male candidates for the priesthood is God's way of telling us that it is his will that we should use a wider range of the resources he has given us?
Dr S G Barber Ashford, Kent Kent