priests:


From the time of Christ and His appointment of twelve apostles with primacy over other disciples who also spread Christ's message, there has been established an authority and stricture of spiritual power and conduct to imbue and guide those who have followed in the apostles' steps.

While primary authority has been attributed to those later designated as 'bishops' to confer special responsibility and sacramental graces ['Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I shall build My Church': Matthew 16:17-19], there is a co-execution with the bishop of spiritual care for the laity involving the presbytery [priest]. This coordination with the bishop results in the empowering [drawing some of bishop's power for their individual use in assistance to some of bishop's own responsibilities] of individual priests for many spiritual functions [although, in circumstances of isolation or persecution or ignorance, there can be other paths for the Paraclete to use to achieve this result].

There can be no greater gratitude & blessing, than that from Christ Himself for the personal sacrifices made by priests in His service ['I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not be given repayment many times over in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life']. Said personal sacrifices have ranged from martyrdom to lack of family to deprived living conditions ['repayment' israrely in material goods], and this has given fruit to such respect & trust for these servants of the Lord as to convince many of the value of Christ's words, and immense creation of heavenly graces for all those involved with such priestly exemplars of Christ.

Regarding the possible lack of service to Christ's flock due to shortage of ministers in many situations, it would be tending to spiritual presumptuousness to fail in developing all possible options helpful in this ministry so as to implement the completest possible fulfillment of Christ's instructions to care for His flock ['feed my sheep; feed my lambs; feed my ewes' -- spiritual life; intellectual life; material life].  Accordingly, the sacrament of Matrimony should henceforth be fully available for those in Holy Orders [whether about to enter, or already in, Holy Orders]; however, this decision is not to be viewed as any form of alteration of the rules of individual orders or communities.

There shall be provided an eight year transition period from the present [for Roman Catholics] 'no married clergy' to the future 'potentially, any clergyman may marry' during which eight year time period the local archbishop shall determine what percentage of increase in number of his clergy is most beneficial to proper fulfillment of all duties to Christ's flock, and it is that percentage of ordained clergy which shall be allowed to be married. Within that percentage [if above zero] priority to matrimony shall be accorded to those already in Holy Orders, with new clergy membership to obtain that number increase to then be added-on [from candidates already married or candidates who are likely to marry in future]. It shall be to each archbishop to arrange most of the details for these procedures, both on the conduction of the marriages involved, and on the alteration of living arrangements and expenses which follow from them.

Because of the greater focus of personal resources which the unmarried can apply to Christ's ministry, and the resultant general preference for leadership positions given to the unmarried, whenever one already in Holy Orders choses to marry, there shall automatically occur a one level reduction in clerical status within their given sub-set of Holy Orders [if no lower level, then no reduction]; thus: archbishop reduced to bishop; monsignor reduced to parish pastor, parish
pastor reduced to parish priest, parish priest to one lower [if it exists] level of seniority; archdeacon reduced to deacon, and deacon to subdeacon [which position henceforth is classified with deacon & subdeacon as participant in the Holy Order subset of 'deaconate', and with special mission to investigate and report, first to bishop and then to pastor, on conditions & problems & issues of major ethical significance/discussion within their respective jurisdictions].

It is to be understood by all those in Holy Orders who chose to enter the holy state of matrimony, that priority -- at least in time & personal resources -- is always to be given to duties to Christ and His flock. In accordance with that principle, the married clergy's family is to be housed [whenever feasible] separately from the main church complex, and that the clergyman should on the average live with their family at this separate location on only three days per week [with the preference being for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday] -- though this is not to say that they shouldn't always be available to family for needed consultations and any emergencies. While, from church resources, said member of clergy can expect funds for such matters as education and vacation and etc. at what is termed 'economy' levels, there is to be no restriction on use of own non-church assets to be applied to self & family.