Friday, February 7, 2020
Pope Francis Abolishes Celibacy
By Roberto de Mattei *
The message we anticipated was in the air. The confirmation is sent to us confidentially by some bishops who have received part (not all) of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis on the Amazon Synod. This part essentially deals with paragraph 111 of the Synod's final document.
“Many church communities in the Amazon region have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist. It takes months or years for a priest to return to a church to celebrate the Eucharist, to offer the sacrament of reconciliation, or to celebrate the anointing of the sick for the ill in the church.
We value celibacy as a gift from God insofar as this gift enables the missionary disciple ordained to the priesthood to devote themselves fully to the service of the Holy People of God. It stimulates pastoral love, and we pray that there are many vocations that live the celibate priesthood. We know that this discipline 'is not required by the nature of the priesthood itself' (PO, 16), although there is a ratio of usefulness to it for many reasons. In his encyclical on priestly celibacy, St. Paul VI. upheld this law and exposed the theological, spiritual, and pastoral motivations that motivate it. In 1992, the post-synodal exhortation of St. John Paul II for priestly training confirmed this tradition in the Latin Church (PDV, 29). In view of the fact that legitimate diversity does not affect the community and unity of the Church, but expresses it and is at its service (cf. LG, 13; OE, 6), as evidenced by the existing diversity of rites and disciplines, we propose that within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, the competent authority shall lay down criteria and provisions for the ordination of suitable and recognized men of the congregation to priests who practice fruitful permanent diaconate and receive adequate priestly training to support the life of the Christian community to be supported by preaching the word and celebrating the sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon. "
So the breach has been made. There is then no reason to ban what other regions of the world will allow in some areas of the Amazon. The German bishops, and not just them, are ready to open priesthood to married men who are deemed appropriate by the competent authority. What is thereby liquidated is not only a changeable "Church discipline", but a law of the Church, which is based on a commandment of divine and apostolic origin.
Fifty years ago at the symposium of European bishops in Chur in July 1969, Cardinal Leo-Joseph Suenens read an appeal by Hans Küng to abolish the celibacy of priests in his closing speech. This demand coincided with the role assigned by the progressive theology of sexuality: an instinct that man should not suppress by asceticism, but "liberate" by finding a form of "realization" of the human person in sex. Since then, this demand has expanded and has gone hand in hand with the Church's process of secularization and self-destruction.
In reality, the violations of celibacy and simony were always the great plagues that afflicted the mystical body of Christ in times of crisis. And the call for abstinence and poverty, as the Gospel calls it, were the banner of the great saints of church renewal. In the coming days of February, the anti-reformer will not, as is so often the case, be a bishop or a group of bishops, but the successor of St. Peter.
Ecclesiastical celibacy is the glory of the Church, and what makes it so is the will of Christ, which the apostles have handed down to our times.
Is it conceivable that the Catholics can remain silent in the face of this scandal?
* Roberto de Mattei, historian, father of five, professor of modern history and history of Christianity at the European University of Rome, chair of the Lepanto Foundation, author of numerous books, most recently in German translation: Defense of Tradition: The Insurmountable Truth of Christ, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017 and The Second Vatican Council. A previously unwritten story, 2nd adult Edition, Bobingen 2011. [His books are available in English on Amazon.com]
Books by Prof. Roberto de Mattei in German translation Martin Mosebach's books can be obtained from our partner bookstore.
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Corrispondenza Romana
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