Honk if you’ve Had Enough of Rogue Bishop Malingo

by Steve Ray on September 9, 2008

From Canon Lawyer Ed Peters:

In 2006 Abp. Emmanuel Milingo was excommunicated for illicitly ordaining married men to the episcopate. Now, Abp. Milingo is traipsing through his native Zambia trying to get Catholic priests to agitate for an end to priestly celibacy in the Roman Church. The excommunicated archbishop assures clergy not to worry about ecclesiastical repercussions because “excommunication does not exist.”

Folks, I’ve had it with Abp. Milingo’s incessant eye-pokes against priestly celibacy. If you have, too, read what can be done about him: http://www.canonlaw.info/2008/09/honk-if-youve-had-it-with-milingo.html.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Brother Ed September 8, 2008 at 10:36 PM

I am going to get into some serious grief here, but you Romans need to stop treating this issue as if this is the same as an infallibe doctrine. If this were doctrine of the Church, then we in the Eastern Church wouldn’t be allowed married priests, would we? Save your outrage for bishops like Mahoney who actually oppose the moral teaching of the Church, which IS infallible! A married priesthood would only be a change in administrative praxis, not a heretical change of infallible doctrine.

Tom Nourse September 10, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Brother Ed, be that as it may, we “Romans” are subject to the Magisterium of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in both belief and practice of Dogma and Discipline. You belong to a Rite with different Disciplines which you adhere to as well. I agree in that we should all be outrage by ANY transgression from either especially by a Bishop. Both sides of the married priests are supported by the Bible however, the Succesor of Peter (the Pope) and the Bishops in union with him have jurisdiction over these matters and we “good” Catholics must obey.


Jer September 11, 2008 at 6:20 PM

So I’m confused by this. Are you FOR or AGAINST married Catholic Priests? If you scroll down on your blog a ways, you completely support a married Protestant clergyman converting to Catholicism and becoming a Priest. I’m guessing the Catholic Church doesn’t require married Priests to become celibate since first Corinthians teaches us as married couples:

“Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor 7:5 ESV)

So as an “Evangelical” Christian who is currently searching the Catholic Church (my wife and I are trying to determine if we wish to convert) I’m curious as to what your stance on this issue really is.

We heard you on Relevant Radio today, and looked up your blog after hearing you arguing with a gentleman about some of the Catholic Traditions in regards to the Papacy.

bill912 September 11, 2008 at 6:48 PM

I believe that, even in the Eastern Catholic Churches, while married men may be ordained, priests may not marry after ordination.

Brother Ed September 12, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Jer —

The Catholic FAITH allows for married priests. The Roman Catholic Church (as opposed to …. say … the BYZANTINE Catholic Church) normally does not take their priests from the ranks of married men.


Well, look at it this way (I hope this helps some). Doctrine is a teaching of the Church which cannot be changed. Thus, in any of the 23 other rites of the Catholic Faith, we all MUST believe that the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of the Lord. This is not subject to change because it is a doctrine of the Faith itself.

However, within the Catholic Faith, different rites have different ways of ADMINISTRATION of the Eucharist. In Rome, they use a flat wheat wafer, but in Byzantium (my home), we use a loaf of bread which is cut into cubes and placed in the chalice of wine. Rome dispenses the Host by hand, where we dispense it on a golden spoon directly into the mouth of the communicant.

Do you see what I am saying here? The TRUTH is the same (Real Presence) but the way it is ADMINISTERED is different from rite to rite.

Having a married priesthood is NOT a doctrine of the Catholic Faith, no matter how much some of the very conservative Romans may whine about it. It is THEIR CHOICE as an ADMINISTRATIVE CHOICE. Therefore,Bishop Milingo, while not showing a very good attitude at all in what he is doing to try to get the Holy Father to change the way the priesthood is administered in the Roman rite, is not trying to change a fixed and inviolate DOGMA of the Church.

Once again, if an unmarried priesthood was DOGMA, then we Byzantines would not be allowed to have our married priests.

And, of ALL PEOPLE, a canon lawyer, for Heaven’s sake, should know this and stop acting like the Bishop Milingo is doing something along the same lines as Bishop Arias was doing when he denied the deity of Christ our Lord!! With the shortage of priests in the Roman rite, one would think that the smart thing to do would be to explain the difference between an infallible and unchangeable DOGMA and ADMINISTRATION and the allow the change. Holy Tradition is a wonderful thing and protects the Church from error. But tradition (aka “this is the way we have always done it”) is a hideous refuge for people who are scared of change and who want things to be done in a way in which they are comfortable.

Our married priests are holy men, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. Rome, you need to make this change to serve your people and to allow many good and holy married men to serve Christ and His Church!

Brother Ed

PS — Jer, as a former Evangelical and Presbyterian Calvinist, can I be of help to you in some way? The Catholic Faith can be found in scripture and history, which is why those of us here, when we discovered it, had to convert.

Brother Ed September 12, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Bill — That is true. Many young men from our seminary will deliberately put off their ordination until they find a wife. I remember asking a young chap from Usurhod, who was in his last year at seminary, when he was to be ordained.

“First find wife,” he smiled, replying in broken English. “Then get married”.

The point IS, however, that the Catholic FAITH allows for married priests. It is just the Roman rite which does not.

bill912 September 13, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Actually, the Roman Rite does allow for the ordination of married men. It’s just not the norm. We do have some married priests. All of them are former Protestant ministers.

bill912 September 13, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Ed Peters was not claiming Milingo is a heretic like the priest Arius by decrying the discipline of priestly celibacy. Milingo is a schismatic.

Brother Ed September 15, 2008 at 11:29 PM

Well, the way the article was written gives the impression that Milingo’s crusade against the celibate priesthood is the reason why he is unhappy with Milingo.

That’s why I responded the way I did.

Jer September 18, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Thanks for your response Brother Ed.

Though I understand that certain sects of the Catholic Church allow married priests, and some don’t, it seems quite silly to me. I understand the scriptural support for priests being unmarried (and the potential benefits). However, in a world ever deceived by false teachings (many churchs today for instance support ordaining women, homosexuals, and support abortion, to name a couple issues) the Church has to be quite clear about where it stands on issues, and must be very translucent to the world.

However, having been raised without Christian teachings, found myself quite at odds with Christianity to begin with! Simply because all those around me to called themselves “Christian”, simply did not act as such. It all seemed as if it were a lie. Eventually, I found the truth of Christian belief and was baptized. As did you Ed, I’ve recently come to believe some things about the history and Tradition of Christian teaching that I’m finding myself in a position where I can only believe the Catholic Church still retains true teaching.

However, for everyone who is outside of the Christian body of believers having one sect of the Church saying no to married priests, and another sect saying yes, SOUNDS like variation in “T”radition to the unbaptized or uneducated.

Having blog entries like the couple I pointed out in my original comment, which both seem to contradict one another, most certainly does not clear these muddy waters for anyone.

I don’t know all the details behind Milingo. However, simply from reading Steve Ray’s blog entry, it would sound like the Catholic Church excommunicated Milingo for ordaining married men. And if this is not a big “T” Tradition issue, why would he be completely removed from the entire Church body for doing such?

I can only assume then, that the Church excommunicated him for reasons outside of the actual ordaining issue. Perhaps, they removed him because he stood in defiance of “policy”. Though I can’t see any Biblical (at least that I know of) support for removing a person from the entire body of Christ for violating an administrative policy.

If his ordaining of married men is not anti-Biblical, what gives us as Christians the right to remove him from the body of Christ? As I said, I don’t know all the details surrounding this issue. However, I think this is a perfect example of why “the world” cannot see the Catholic Church as the “salt of the earth”, and why folks cannot see Christians as a light in the darkness.

Perhaps remove Milingo from his position within the Church for violating policy. But I just don’t see how he can be “excommunicated”. Perhaps I have yet to learn enough about the Catholic Tradition to understand the nuances of this issue.

As far as the world is concerned, any conflict within the church on what should or shouldn’t be, or what is taught, or what isn’t taught, suggests the fallibility of our Faith and the Word we hold so dear. The World could care less about whether it is a “tradition” or “Tradition”. I say this as a Christian, not as a Catholic (which I am not yet). But I say this in the interest of all persons who call themselves Christians. It is because of issues like this, and the presence of the numerous ‘denominations’ and the varied teachings that creates the doubts in Christ that so many people carry with them.

God Bless,

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