Men And Boys
A man is required to make choices, and live with it. If one signed for the Army, he obliged himself to be bound for that particular life, the life of the soldier. No one was interested in knowing whether his choice had made him “happy”. The bed you've made, and all that.
To be able to make choices and live with them is an elementary mark of the adult and, for what interests us today, the man. The man who chose wife and family cannot – if he is a man – go back on his commitment because he is not happy, or does not like his wife after all, or married life isn't what it was supposed to be. You have made your choice. Live with it like a man.
The more strongly this applies to priests. The one who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders has said to the world that he wants to die a priest. This is what a grown man has decided to do with his life. After the fact, whether this priest is happy or unhappy is neither here nor there. He is now a priest for life, and that's that. A man has made a choice.
More and more often you notice that men who want to renege their commitment taken as adults will find excuses to do so. They are leaving the habit because the Church is this or that; their bishop is this or that; their situation is this or that. What they are saying, is that they are whining children unworthy of be considered manly, much less pious.
They will tell you that they have changed; that their circumstances have changed; that their bishops, their pope, the planet have changed. Guess what? We change all the time; our circumstances never remain the same; bishops and popes come and go (let's hope this one goes fast…). What always remains the same is a promise, a solemn vow, made forever.
They will tell you that they have lost the faith; that they never had it; or that it has evolved. Little capricious children throwing a tantrum and declaring they will now go away with the ball, because the game is tough.
Men stick to their commitment. Accept a nagging wife like you accept hail. Make their lives work according to the choices they have made, like men.
“I would not have taken the habit if I had known Margie” is no argument. You have taken the habit, which entails the solemn decision that there will ever be any Margie. “My bishop is a pedophile” does not count, because a pedophile bishop does not authorise one to renege on his vow. “I have lost the faith” does not count, because the priest who loses the faith must keep schtum and pray all the time that he may, with God's grace, find it again.
But truly, behind these claim is often a very simple claim: “I am a small child. I do not want to be held to the standard of a man. I will throw a tantrum, seek excuses, and invent all sort of grievances to justify with you that I am a selfish boy bound for hell”.
Society does not teach anymore a man to be a man. It does not expect anymore that observance be given to a solemn promise, just because it was made. The husband will leave his wife with the extremely childish claim of a “right to happiness” that firstly was never there in the first place, and secondly will prove, as always in life before that moment, a rather elusive goal after the euphoria of the first times.
We live in a society plagued by men-boys. They will tell you that they want to eat their own solemn vow, and will expect, even demand, your approval. There goes a wife. There goes a clerical habit. There goes, alas, at times even a child.
Men, and boys. From the way they live with their commitments you will recognise them.