Day 30 of 40: I know very little about this plague of bi-vocational priest. First, I know that the priests are not the plague, but a symptom of the plague. Also, I want to make clear that I do not blame our clergy for this problem, and possibly no one is to blame. Today’s post has been stirring in my heart for about a year and a half, so it may be uncensored and unsettling. Over the last two weeks I have been searching for the following priest:
“Wanted: Married priest, used to work full time in a secular job and at the same time was the sole priest at a parish, the wife did not work, and is now a full-time priest without a secular income.”
I have talked with clergy from the GOA, Antiochians, OCA, and ROCOR, all without success. In one of my conversations a priest told me his prediction concerning bi-vocational priests, “within ten years the bi-vocational priest in America will be the norm.”
While he is probably right, it does not remove my desire to learn more about this situation and see if something can be done. My friend was telling me this in response to my desire to help priests move towards a full-time status. I truly desire this for all of our priests. The pain they experience when something happens in their parish and they cannot respond promptly overwhelms many of them to the point of exhaustion. I have been brought to tears more than once over their struggles.
So this is my response to my friends prediction: until we reach the point that the bi-vocational priest is the norm, and even then, we should do what we can to help our current bi-vocational priests move to a full-time status.
Welcome to my new journey: to figure out this plague in America and find the cure.