Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Perspective on Celibacy Continued

My post HERE is continued.
“The Vatican [as if the Vatican is one monolithic entity] led by John Paul and Benedict said that certain topics were just off the table [Well, yeah. Paul VI did that too, with the condemnation of 'transfinalization.' Some things have already been defined as fully and as well as we can.], and any bishop who discussed them would be in trouble. And theologians who wrote about them would get into trouble [Shepherds questioning doctrine are bad shepherds.]. So this is part of a bigger question of how much open discussion Pope Francis is going to allow in the church, [The Church is not a democracy. Discussion informs the life of the Church, to be sure, but rooted in Scripture and Tradtion.]” Reese said.
“This would be exactly the kind of open discussion that the Vatican [The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is just a mouthful, isn't it? I think Fr Reese butts heads with officials there most often. One of them just abdicated the papacy a month ago.] does not like,” Reese added. “Their attitude is that you shouldn’t confuse the children by having the parents argue.”
Canon 277 of the Vatican’s legal code [No. This is from the Code of Canon Law, which governs the Latin Church. Canon and civil law govern Vatican City-State.] reads: “Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven [That sounds like Matthew's Gospel, no?] and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbor.” [Dr. Peters has a lot to say, of which I am mostly in agreement, on this issue regarding the permanent diaconate, FWIW.]
Still, celibacy is not dogma — a law of divine origin — [More like, a belief expressed through human terms defined from the material passed down in Scripture and from the Apostles and their successors.] but a tradition of the Roman Catholic church. Dogma cannot change, but traditions can [Not Tradition, though, which flows from the Holy Spirit and cooperates with Scripture and is preserved as part of the full deposit of Faith infallibly expressed in the Magisterium.].
“We’re very enthusiastic and hopeful that Francis could reverse this canonic [sic] measure,” said Guillermo Schefer, a former priest [Once a priest, always a priest. The indelible mark of ordination never leaves. It is a question of being in the clerical state.] who along with his wife, Natalia Bertoldi, are vice presidents of the Latin-American Federation of Married Priests [?]. “It’s important that the priests can also opt for a life of marriage and family. It would help them integrate more with the people.”
In the Eastern Rite Catholic Church [The Eastern Churches have differing rules on celibacy. More Latinized churches have mandatory celibacy, as well as some that never had married priests. Besides, their bishops love it for the (right) reasons the West has it as found in Canon 277 of the CIC], seminarians who are already married can be ordained later as priests. Some married Anglican priests also have been allowed to convert to Roman Catholicism [of course they were. The question is whether they could proceed to presbyteral ordination. Only the exceptional ones were. Besides, isn't Fr. Bradley of the English and Welsh Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham celibate? Dr. Marshall is brilliant, and is a professor, not a priest. Fr. Longenecker wouldn't advocate it as the norm.] , and some widowers with families have become priests later [This is just plain silly. Marriage is normally an impediment to orders. When the impediment is gone, it's gone. Often the children must be independent, but that's not necessarily required.]
But as Gahl notes, no Roman Catholic tradition allows men who have already “married the church” to later marry a wife. This would create a divided heart, a weakened commitment, and go against much of what Francis has said since becoming pope about the need for priests to deny themselves earthly pleasures as they spread the Gospel, he said [Something tells me that if Papa Francis hasn't said it yet, he won't say it at all.].
“He’s been preaching this pretty much every morning” at the Vatican, Gahl said. Advocates for optional celibacy are “saying priesthood is too hard; why don’t we make it easier? But what the pope is saying is, “If you make this sacrifice, it would bring you pure joy.’ ” [Yes! It would be a reason for God to bring you to Heaven, for sure!]
Those resisting change say celibacy has other benefits, not least among them financial: Imagine if the world’s 400,000 Roman Catholic priests all had families, presumably large ones given the church’s ban on contraception [Sigh. It is foreign to God's existence. The Church cannot grant what it has not the power to grant. Sounds like Sacerdotalis Ordinatio, too...]. Suddenly, relatively meager priestly salaries would have to increase exponentially.
Still, tens of thousands of priests have left their ministries to marry [CITATION NEEDED], and many others, particularly in Africa and Latin America, have remained while having relationships with women and children on the side. Bergoglio condemns that practice in his books. [I almost commented mid-sentence. But, His Holiness says it well.]
“What I won’t permit is the double life,” he said. “If he can’t carry on his ministry, I tell him to stay home, that we seek a papal dispensation, and that way he can receive the sacrament of marriage.”
Benedict reaffirmed mandatory celibacy in response to a high-profile crusade by a married African archbishop who was excommunicated after defying the Vatican and ordaining four married men as bishops [Who have never, ever been bishops, so far as I am aware. St. Gregory Nanzianzen's father complicates this, but an anomaly this would be. Also, Milingo would have been excommunicated regardless. Archbishop Lefebrve, sadly, could have told him that. The repeated attacks on priestly celibacy by himself and with others aggravated the situation, certainly.]
Bergoglio’s great friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil got into hot water when he noted that priestly celibacy is not a matter of divine law during a 2006 newspaper interview he gave before arriving in Rome to take over the Vatican’s office for the world’s priests [the Congregation for Clergy]. It sparked such speculation about a potential change that Hummes had to issue a lengthy statement reaffirming celibacy.
Luro was 39, separated [So, this at least looks like adultery, with a priest no less.] and with six children when she met Podesta, then 45, in 1966. He was already a bishop, and very committed to social causes, advocating liberation theology as part of the Movement of Third World Priests [Way to politicize the priesthood, and into a camp set against Europe, the seat of the Church, using Marxism no less-the chief enemy of the Church since its inception as a school of thought in 1848].
“I was the first woman for Jeronimo,” she recalls. Far from hiding it, they made their relationship public [Ruh-roh] and launched a campaign for optional celibacy that took them to the Vatican’s doors. Shortly thereafter, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus” [On the Celibate Priesthood] in 1967, ratifying priestly vows of perpetual celibacy [and continence. Oh, by the way, there is probably an argument for this being part of the ordinary Magisterium which we are bound to accept by assent of faith.]
Luro said Bergoglio’s Sunday phone calls were a huge support for her. “We would speak of the church, we debated. I sent him Jeronimo’s writings.”
And after becoming Francis, he called her again, she said. Out of respect for the pope, she won’t say what he told her.

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