A Good Reason for a Priest/Pastor Not to Marry

From an AP Article (archived copy):

Clergymen struggling to comfort the afflicted in New Orleans are finding they, too, need someone to listen to their troubles.

Almost every local Episcopal minister is in counseling, including Bishop Charles Jenkins himself, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

…Roman Catholic priests have not reported any unusual counseling needs, said the Rev. William Maestri, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He said one possible reason is that priests do not have wives or children to support and protect.

Rev. Maestri has a strong argument. However, one of the needs of humans is intimate relationships (not speaking physically, here) with other humans, and marriage is as intimate as it gets. The Roman Catholic Church cannot understand that completely, as its leaders aren’t married! I understand that many priests feel that they have similar intimacy with fellow workers in Christ, and maybe they do.

I still have to agree that priest that has no family concerns will be much better able to deal with the stresses of others, especially in such a trying situation. However, Bishop Jerkins also states later in the article that this may be the most authentic he feels his ministry has been in years. That is telling in two ways, one, obviously he has been struggling with that, but, two, it is by trial that we are tested and all our masks and societal training is stripped away.

Also, there is an comment by a psychologist noting that a major portion of the clergy are bottling up their feelings, not really dealing with them. I suspect that the Roman Catholic priests are doing such. This is just my feeling (and it could be wrong) that the Roman Catholic Church imposed upon its priests a false (as in it is imposed, not coming from within) detachment, and thus the priests have internalized that they cannot reveal the turmoil within. That being said, it is also my understanding that the Roman Catholic church (again, I could be wrong) all but requires retreats for its priests, which allows for a release of all that is pent up.

hat tip to: The Curt Jester