Friday, November 17, 2006

Pope Benedict's Nov 16 meeting

The Pope met yesterday with members of the Curia to discuss the disobedience of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and requests for dispensation from celibacy by some priests as well as requests for readmission to priestly ministry presented by married priests.
For those who don't know Archbishop Milingo has attempted to ordain and raise to the episcopate several married men, all without Rome's approval, of course. The Holy See has declared that Milingo, and the men he has ordained are in a state of excommunication by their actions.
Jimmy Akin has a good look at the subject at his site.
I have mixed feelings about celibacy. Jesus never married and since he was without sin it can be assumed he was both celibate and a virgin. St. Peter was married, and it is likely that so were at least some, if not most, of the other apostles. St. Paul was likely not married.
Mandatory celibacy of priest did not come about in the Latin Church until the twelfth century. In the Eastern Churches in union with Rome it is still not mandatory for priest, though in most a bishop cannot be married. As for Roman Catholic deacons a married man can be ordained but a priest cannot marry once ordained.
I believe there will always be orders of celibate priest. I also believe that eventually the Church will decide that God is calling many men to the priesthood who are also married, and that the Church is denying the vocations for a reason rooted in niether scripture nor (that's big 'T')Tradition. Certainly the Roman Catholic Church has a thousand year old (little 't') tradition of celibacy, but such a tradition should be held only as long as it serves the Church.
In the last 100 years it has not served the Church. It has contributed to the shortage of priests. I believe it has resulted in a higher percent of homosexuals in the priesthood than in the general population. I also believe it has contributed to the pedophile problem in ways I will not go into here except to say that I would find it hard to believe that a bishop with children of his own would think it reasonable to move a priest who has had several accusations of molestation against him to an assignment in another parish, where he would then once again have access to minors.
Do I expect a rapid change in the policy of marriage and priesthood? Not likely. But at least the Pope is discussing it.

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