Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ratzinger on Married Clergy

This e.mail from Fr. Joseph Komonchak has been making the rounds. It's a summary of a piece which appeared in the French journal Culture et Foi:

The story is that while meeting with the bishops of New York State, Benedict XVI asked what the views of their people are with regard to returning to the tradition of a married clergy. Bishop Matthew Clark, of Rochester, is supposed to have said: "It's odd, Holy Father, that you have asked us this question; we have just had a synod in my diocese and 90% of the laity voted in favor of a married clergy." The other bishops said the same thing: that the majority of their faithful favored a married clergy. the source of this is supposed to be Tom Fox, former editor of the "National Catholic Reporter," in remarks at a meeting of "Corpus", and depending on a reliable source, which must have been one of the bishops present.

The words said to have been used by the Pope perhaps indicate what he has in mind, that is, that a married clergy would not be an novelty, but a return to an ancient tradition. This would be a way of replying to traditionalists, that he was not contradicting tradition, but following it. By asking for the advice of his brother bishops, he is implementing Vatican II's teaching on collegiality. He wouldn't have asked the question if he didn't foresee a possible change in the law.

A statement of the new Pope when he was prefect of the CDF confirms this interpretation. On vacation in Regensburg two or three years ago, he stated to Catholic journalists: "If the Church can not guarantee the Eucharist in all parishes, she has to modify the conditions for access to the priesthood."

The Italian journal, La Repubblica, of July 28, says that this way of asking a question if typical of the new Pope's way of addressing a question. "The new Pope does not want to bring a solution already made to the serious problems confronting the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches. His manner is that of a man who reflects, who researches, and who learns. While his predecessor seems to many like a new Moses who wanted to make his Church enter into the third millennium, the present Pope appears to be a man who is searching."

Interesting.... Comments?



Blogger Aristotle said...

I wonder, if such an allowance were made, if married men generally would be eligible for "priest simplex" status a la Ven. Solanus Casey, OFM Cap., with the faculties of preaching doctrinal sermons and hearing confessions granted on a per-case basis.

5/10/05 18:45  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, they said that it took a Richard Nixon to get conservative Americans to accept a friendly American relationship with Communist China. If anyone could reconcile me to a married clergy, it would be Pope Benedict.

But...other things I have read by him seem to indicate a deep almost angry, unease with the notion of changing the rule of celibacy in the West. I wonder if perhaps he is asking because he feels in justice he must ask, since the Church has a problem with vocations and many have become proponents of a married clergy today. It's also a way of beginning a converstation about the priesthood and vocations that may take other turns over the years.

But to ask is not necessarily to take the answer given, not even if it's given by the majority of those asked. If you're skeptical about that, just reread some of the newspaper stories during and after the heady days of the Birth Control Panel. Pope Paul asked; they answered; he didn't take their advice.

If you ask me (not that anyone should) we need consecrated viriginity today now more than ever. If priests aren't going to follow the example of Jesus and Paul, who will?

5/10/05 19:08  
Blogger michigancatholic said...

Catholics are completely ignorant of how obnoxious this particular scourge can be. You have celibate priests. Thank God for them and leave well enough alone.

I used to be protestant, and clearly, you have no clue about this, none whatsoever.

6/10/05 00:06  
Blogger SJH said...

The Rochester diocesan synod was in 1993!

Either the Bishop spun to the pope or the publisher spun the audience. And I'm not so confident in either one of them.

6/10/05 01:45  
Blogger Gaufridus said...

Wow... "90% of those polled", eh?

So, perhaps we should start determining the Truth by opinion polls as well? Just like the rest of the world?

No thanks. Let us pray that His Holiness tows the line and maintains the celibate clergy.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

15/11/05 12:59  

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