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Pope Francis Ponders Dropping Celibacy Requirements for Some Priests

Pope Francis Ponders Dropping Celibacy Requirements for Some Priests

Pope Francis also gave a green justice homily on the Amazon fires.

During a gathering of South American bishops at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged them to consider dropping celibacy requirements for some priests to address a severe priest shortage in remote areas of the region.

The three-week Synod of Bishops for the Amazon also will address crucial regional topics ranging from protection of rainforests and local cultures to climate change, migration and clean water.

“We have not come here to invent programs of social development or custody of cultures,” the pope said. “We come to contemplate, to understand, to serve the peoples.”

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, retired archbishop of Sao Paulo who organized the synod, said many rural Amazon communities have so little access to priests that Sunday Mass can’t be held. And while the Eucharist can be distributed to worshippers by non-priests, the wafers must be blessed by a priest.

Last rites and other Catholic sacraments also are affected, Hummes said.

The proposal would have very specific restrictions on the non-celibate candidates for the priesthood.

…[T]he church has considered the ordination of indigenous elders, “even if they have an existing and stable family, in order to ensure availability of the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” according to the synod’s official working document which The Wall Street Journal cited.

But, some analysts have doubted whether ordaining married indigenous leaders in the Amazon would solve the priest shortage there. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the head of the Congregation for Bishops, argued in a book published last week that a clergy’s celibacy was precisely why local communities revered them.

Of course, during his sermon associated with the event, the Pope peppered his homily with as many green justice assertions about the Amazon as there were biblical references.

“Fires that are motivated by destructive interests, like the one that recently devastated the Amazon, are not in line with the gospel,” he said.

In a working document from June, bishops had called on the church to “join grassroots social movements, to prophetically announce an agenda of social justice … organic agriculture and agro-forestry.”

It outlined that “Mother Earth” must be defended from an “economic model of predatory and ecocidal development … which kills and plunders, destroys and devastates, expels and discards.”

Ultimately, the Synod participants will vote on a final document of recommendations to deal with the priest shortage, but Pope Frances has the final say on what changes the Catholic Church will adopt.


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UnCivilServant | October 10, 2019 at 9:07 am

“Is the Pope Catholic?”

“I’m not sure anymore.”

    Benedict XVI is still Catholic, and may still be pope, with Francis as anti-Pope.

    There is no Priest shortage. But in the (now ironically named) Seminary, if they weren’t flaming gays they were rejected. So the solution to homoerotic seminaries is allowing priests to be married?

    Many eastern rite priests are married, only the latin rite held this.

    As Church Militant has pointed out, the problem is they hate orthodox priests. There are plenty of orthodox Catholic men, willing to even learn Latin to use the beauty of the old rite and prayers. And attack Abortion, Contraception, Divorce, and the real sins of today.

    But the church wants Green Socialist Eunuchs, even if they were going to marry.

      moonmoth in reply to tz. | October 10, 2019 at 10:13 am

      So the solution to homoerotic seminaries is allowing priests to be married?

      No. Celibacy is a bogus requirement that the Church imposed upon clergy for non-Biblical reasons ( Rather than framing the issue as “allowing priests to marry”, it should be recognized as rescinding a prohibition that the Church was wrong to impose in the first place.

      BTW, although I’m an evangelical, I attend the Catholic masses in the country where I reside, because the sermons given by the priest are sound and instructive.

        Valerie in reply to moonmoth. | October 10, 2019 at 11:38 am

        When my family was living overseas, we had a married priest. He had been a protestant minister, and married, and then became a priest. The Church wouldn’t place him in the US, so he became a chaplain at a military base.

        He was well-liked, and lightning did not strike anybody.

        alaskabob in reply to moonmoth. | October 10, 2019 at 11:40 am

        A basis for celibacy an be found with Paul discussing being “married to the church”…. but never a prohibition . A choice not an obligation.

          buckeyeminuteman in reply to alaskabob. | October 10, 2019 at 3:34 pm

          The reason for celibacy was the Catholic church didn’t want priests to have heirs or dependents. When they died, all their assets went to the church. No assets were passed on. The church has gotten richer and richer ever since.

          Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | October 10, 2019 at 4:30 pm

          The reason for celibacy was the Catholic church didn’t want priests to have heirs or dependents. When they died, all their assets went to the church. No assets were passed on. The church has gotten richer and richer ever since.

          That is just not true. First of all, the rule goes way back before there was any concern for church property. Second, priests do have heirs, and when they die their property goes to those heirs (unless they’ve specifically willed otherwise, which they are not expected to do).

      Massinsanity in reply to tz. | October 10, 2019 at 11:55 am

      No priest shortage? For real? Where are they hiding then?

      When I was a kid, every parish had 3-5 full time priests and many towns in my area had 2 or more parishes and every parish had 2 masses on Saturday and 4-5 on Sunday. In the past decade I have seen a drop first to one priest per parish and now to one priest for 2 or more parishes. Many parishes have closed such that it is unlikely to see more than one in a typical suburban town and most parishes have 1 mass on Saturday and 1-2 on Sunday.

      The church is dying in America but many of us want it saved. For that reason, I fully support opening up the priesthood to married men and to women as well.

      Thank heavens for the involvement of women in the day to day functioning of most parishes. Where they were once relegated to the choir I dare say that in many parishes women/girls make up the majority of lectors, eucharistic ministers and altar servers.

        I bet that when you were a kid, there were 6-7 masses and people were standing in the back of the church. At a parish I attended in the early 1970s, if you weren’t at least 10 minutes early you parked at a shopping center down the street. Today at St. Rita there is a Saturday evening mass and one Sunday mass – both sparsely attended.

        Milhouse in reply to Massinsanity. | October 10, 2019 at 3:04 pm

        Married priests can be done if the need becomes strong enough, because priestly celibacy is merely canon law, which the church can change as it likes. Changing the law doesn’t imply that the previous law was wrong, and the law can be different in different countries or even different dioceses, and can also be suspended ad hoc, aka “dispensations”.

        Female priests is much more difficult, if not impossible, because the male priesthood is a matter of doctrine. It is possible that one day the church will decide that it had been wrong for 2000 years, and that female priests are acceptable, just as it may change any other point of doctrine; until recently it never claimed to be infallible, and even now it only makes that claim for a very few points, and whether this is one of them is debatable. But don’t expect it.

Bloomberg Syndrome, Vatican-style.

Maybe the Church should just hire Lutheran ministers…

There are so many vulgar jokes that can be made from this story.

Instead of discipling the bad priests, he wants to get rid of the discipline. But hey! At least he’s not charging for the indulgence like they did in the Middle-Ages, so he’s got that going for him.

One thing that’s a little unclear from the heading is whether they are talking about allowing married men to become priests, or whether they are simply allowing priests to engage in sex.

The Orthodox church have elevated marries men to the priesthood for its history, and early on would elevate married priests to bishopdom (though we later dropped doing that, since it didn’t seem like there was enough time in the day to be both a good Bishop and a good husband or father), but it’s also been a strong requirement that they are chaste and faithful as husband’s and fathers, and heads of good families.

Honestly, I think we’ve done very well with a largely married priesthood. Beyond just being the priest, the priest and their family often are great for forming a social nucleus for the church, and growing a community of fellow travellers. It’s nice.

    Strictly speaking, “celibate” means unmarried. Thus lifting the requirement of celibacy means allowing married men to be priests under the specified conditions.

    Presumably these married priests would be able to continue having marital relations.

With a pope whose religion is questionable, perhaps the time has come to reevaluate the defecatory habits of ursines.

Why only “some?”

The celibacy requirement was a clear and predictable incentive for a transgender spectrum progression that would exclude… discourage participation by normal men and women.

As for the homily, more green, less Green [blight]. People aren’t so green to believe the preponderance and progress of political, social, academic, economic, and scientific myths backed by liberal assumptions, assertions, and truths spoken in lieu of facts.

    bw222 in reply to n.n. | October 10, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    The majority of current bishops are likely in the most liberal 15% of Americans.

    The bishop of Tucson has proposed “canonical penalties” for those who support Trump’s immigration policies but has proposed no similar action for Catholics who support abortion.

chaste (adj.)

c. 1200, “virtuous, pure from unlawful sexual intercourse” (as defined by the Church), from Old French chaste “morally pure” (12c.), from Latin castus “clean, pure, morally pure” (see caste).

Chaste, couples: marriage, sex, and moderation, for a functional religious/moral (i.e. behavioral) philosophy, evolutionary fitness, and a stable community.

Transferred sense of “sexually pure” is by 15c., perhaps by influence of chastity, though chaste as a noun meaning “virgin person” is recorded from early 14c. Of language, etc., “free from obscenity,” 1620s. Of artistic or literary style, “severely simple, unadorned,” 1753. Related: Chastely.

The term underwent a semantic progression and liberalization in order to label and judge people, perhaps with a forward-looking intent for social exclusion.

Definitely not a nice thing to say or think, but the best thing that could happen to the Church would be if Francis didn’t wake up tomorrow morning.

And yes, I’m an every Sunday at mass Catholic.

In Genesis, Adam was created in the image of God. Woman was created from a rib taken from Adam while he slept. The rib would seem to be symbolic of her intended place with Adam – to walk side-by-side with him. Elsewhere scripture speaks of husband and wife cleaving together and becoming “one flesh”. Scripture also speaks of husband and wife leaving their family of origin to go off together (in God) wherein they become a “new creation”.

The Genesis story appears to be one of Adam created in the image of God, until a portion of him was removed to create Eve, thus Adam was no longer complete by himself. A more complete man is possible only by cleaving to his wife, growing in unity (oneness) through mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21), etc.

I’ve never understood why the Catholic church would want to limit their priests by forbidding marriage. It’s been my experience in Christian marriage that being with God’s choice for me – my sister in the Lord – has made me a far better man than I ever was alone.

    Voyager in reply to MrE. | October 10, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Very true. I can’t speak for Roman Catholic docttine, but I’m the Orthodox, Marriage was the first sacrament. There was a reason Christ’s first miracle was at a wedding feast.

    “In Genesis, Adam was created in the image of God. Woman was created from a rib taken from Adam while he slept”.

    And tlaib and omar were created from the fecal matter of the first woman.

I concur. The Catholic church did not always have such a requirement. The Catholics should adopt the policy of the Eastern Orthodox church and its policy of allowing marriage, albeit there are rules regarding such marriage and divorce. These rules are older than than the current policy of the Roman Catholic Church regarding celibacy of priests.
The current rules allowed or at least assisted in homosexuals and pedophiles taking over the American church.
Further, there should be an order of nuns, or Catholic lay women, similarly.

    Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | October 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    The Catholic church did not always have such a requirement.

    Actually it did, since at least the 5th century and probably earlier. In other words since before there was anything that was recognizably the same institution as today’s Roman Catholic Church.

Is there such an organization of The Westboro Catholics?

Worst. Pope. Ever.

Right message, wrong messenger.

I’m late to the party but there’s an old joke about the Pope dying and going to heaven.

He asks St Peter if he could study ancient manuscripts for a few hundred years, as the admin work kept him from this during his life.

After a hundred years, an anguished cry arose from his office.
“They forgot the ‘r’ !!! I can’t believe they forgot the ‘r’ !!

St Peter rushed in and asked the Pope what was the matter.
The Pope responded “They left off the ‘r’ that was in the Latin manuscripts! It’s supposed to be ‘celibrate’ !!”

Is the Pope Polish?
You have to be teasing me, right???
No. He is a Communist, and is sick in the head.
The Catholics I know, they pray for his health.
But, not for his good health.