By simple considering the general, special and distinctive obligations appended to the person and office of a Priest as provided by Church Law premised on faith and reason, one cannot but come to the realization that a Priest-Politician is neither one nor the other. Someone may be one or the other—but not both really.
The hyphenation in the “Priest-Politician” is not only linguistic but also realistic. This is to say, while priests—and bishops for that matter—have all the right and obligation even to address the socio-moral dimensions of and/or speak about ethical questions about politics according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, this in no way means that they may become politicians themselves. There is a whale of difference between the twos aid dissonant realities.
But in the same context, this is not to say that Priests cannot set aside their basic option as an ordained minister of the Word and Sacraments, may not leave the priesthood altogether if they really want to, if they adamantly insists, if they so resolutely decide. This is not hard to understand.
Needless to say, recorded Church past and present history is an able witness to the fact that there is a relatively good number of priests who eventually and definitively left the priesthood for various reasons they had, for different causes they adopted, for various objectives they wanted. What is neither reasonable nor acceptable comes to fore when a priest lives an immoral life, adopts a secular value system, becomes a man of the world, a businessman, a politician—or any similar disposition and pursuant actuation.
In other words, just as someone should not become a priest if he does not really want to be one, in the same way, a priest can, may and even should altogether discard his clerical state of life if this has already become morally impossible for him to live truthfully and faithfully. Even elementary reason can readily see this reality.
The Church urgently needs all the good and effective priests she can have, ardently wants all priests to be compliant with their ordained evangelizing mission, fervently prays for all priests to remain in their clerical state of life until they do pass to eternity hereafter and beyond. At the same time however, the Church could not and would not force any priest to remain a priest when this precisely either does not want to be one any longer, or does in effect pursue a way of living that is anything but concordant to the essence and significance, the implications and consequences of the sacred priesthood.
As the Church has her means in the making of a cleric, she also has the process in unmaking him.
25 May 2007