Monday, December 04, 2006

Hummes: Married Priests Someday... Maybe...

In the morning, Cardinal Claudio Hummes will arrive in Rome to take up his new duties as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the Vatican office overseeing the world's priests and deacons.

Given comments the Franciscan offered to a Sao Paulo paper before departing his former see, it's looking as if the appointment won't be changing his penchant for candor:
"Celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma of the church," Hummes was quoted by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on Friday. "Certainly, the majority of the apostles were married. In this modern age, the church must observe these things, it has to advance with history."
In the original of the same piece, the paper reported that Hummes said that celibacy is "a kind of discussion" that "takes a long time" to be deliberated in the life of the church.

Hummes also told the Folha that dioceses "must select candidates rigorously" for seminary formation, weeding out those who are viewed as potential risks down the line. According to the paper, the incoming Clero head said that he sees this as a prime element of his new charge. He's likewise reported to be keen that tomorrow's priests be better prepared to enter a "more diverse, more secularized" society.

Speaking in a civil farewell ceremony of the "disgraceful and unpleasant" aspects of clerical misconduct revealed the world over in recent years, the man known as "Dom Claudio" noted that it would be an "injustice" to project the delicts of the few upon the many.

"99% of priests are marvelous and give their lives for the people," he said.

Cardinal Hummes is the first Brazilian to serve in the Curia's top ranks since the retirement of Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, OP in 2000. A onetime archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia Neves returned to Rome in 1998 as head of the Congregation for Bishops, where he served as secretary from 1979 until his promotion to Brazil's primatial see eight years later.

SVILUPPO: The Holy See has released a statement of clarification from Cardinal Hummes.