Bishop Barron sets them straight.
Brian Williams and Chris Matthews couldn’t resist the opportunity to harp on the lack of married and women priests in the Catholic Church, as MSNBC provided live coverage of Pope Francis’s open-air Mass in Philadelphia on Sunday. Williams pointed out that one of the archbishops at the Mass is “from a family, [but] he cannot go home to one. He cannot have one, and be…of service to the Catholic Church. And it is still that thing that differentiates and separates the religion from so many others.” [video]
Matthews asserted that “if you’re going to have ever women priests, you have to have the first step being married priests – because only in the case where you have wives…lobbying on behalf of women priests will it ever happen.” Moments later, Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a NBC News contributor for the papal visit, actually schooled the two MSNBC personalities on how their premise was faulty:
BISHOP ROBERT BARRON, NBC NEWS PAPAL CONTRIBUTOR:
As the celibate up here, I guess, Brian, I would say, to use a Scholastic term, ‘nego majorem’ – I deny your major premise – the major premise of the question – namely, that a celibate is without a family. You see this ring I’m wearing. I just got this when I became a bishop – and it’s a wedding ring. And we’re explicitly told, never take this ring off, because it’s a sign the bishop is married to the people that he serves. It’s a family relationship. And so, celibacy is not anti-family. It’s a, kind of, different type of spiritual family. And a priest is very much of – a family man. Cardinal [Francis] George, a mentor of me, used to say that a priest is not a bachelor. He’s a married man with children.
Williams and Matthews (both raised Catholic).