Rorate Caeli

Stuck in the 1960s


The New York Times reported on September 9, 1967, a few months after the publication of the mighty encyclical in defense of priestly celibacy, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus:

One hundred fifty Roman Catholic priests today called upon American delegates to the forthcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome to place on the synod agenda the question of whether priests may marry.
On February 21, 2008, months after the strong defense of priestly celibacy by Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, several news agencies report:

Brazilian priests have spoken directly to Pope Benedict XVI to ask him for a revision of the canonical law obliging celibacy for those carrying out priestly functions. The decision appeared in the final document of the 12th National Meeting of Priests, which ended on Tuesday in the Itaici monastery in the Indaiatuba municipality (in the state of Sao Paulo). Therequest will be sent to the Holy Congregation for the Clergy under the direction of Claudio Hummes, former archbishop of Sao Paulo ... .
...
As reported by the Spanish daily El Pais, quoting a bishop who did not want his identity revealed, married laymen have long been ordained in Brazil. "Rome is aware of the fact, but does not want it to be made public." Brazilian priests have also asked for the appointing of priests to be made more democratic, and for those who have divorced to have a right to the sacraments as well.
Like the liturgical reform, whose aesthetics are stuck in the most problematic decade of the 20th century, the spirit of clerical rebellion - also a fruit of the "Spirit of the Council" - keeps bringing forth the same old arguments and demands.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

No wonder thousands of Brazialians are leaving the faith.

Anonymous said...

If married priests were allowed as an option, I would leave the Roman Catholic Church for the Greek Orthodox.
Married priests in the Catholic Church would turn us too much into the same as Protestants - with their married ministers.
We're already too much like Protestants already with the Novus Ordo.

Prof Basto said...

My double nationality does not make me fell less ashamed of my country right now...

MISERERE NOSTRI DOMINE, QUIA PECCAVIMUS TIBI!

And please, o Lord, provide Your Church that is in Brazil with some kind of miracle, whereby discipline and true religion may be restored to the Clergy, for the good of the souls of us, your humble servants, and the greater glory of Your Most Holy Name.

New Catholic said...

Sorry... name fixed.

LeonG said...

Paradoxical that those who have cried "obedience" to the pope are now bent on disobedience.

It is clear that they never understood the nature of true Catholic obedience.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a Brazilian issue, it's a worldwide issue. These Brazilians wouldn't be saying this to a world forum if they felt they were only a local majority.

No kidding, better get that consecration done SOON or you'll be overthrown, Holy Father.

Anonymous said...

I know most of you know this, that celibacy in the West is a late addition and is not in any deposit of Faith; celibacy is a discipline of the Western church -- it is not an issue in the Byzantine Catholic church (or the Orthodox for that matter). There is nothing necessarily protestant about a married clergy. This much being said, the debate should continue.

Curmudgeon said...

Married priests...divorced priests...yada yada. It's all OK so long as they don't pray for the conversion of the Jews.

Braadwijk said...

Actually, celibacy is also the practice in the East. Bishops are required to be celibate, and I do not believe that priests may marry once they have been ordained. There are also various disciplines regarding married clergy and the marital act before certain priestly duties. Overall a married clergy is rather problematic.

Anonymous said...

"Overall a married clergy is rather problematic."

Only for the sick and twisted, like Cathars of Jansenists (plenty of the latter even today).

Anonymous said...

"If married priests were allowed as an option, I would leave the Roman Catholic Church for the Greek Orthodox."

Please leave now. It's clear you are an apostate.

You've already consented to the sin.

Or else, humbly admit publicly that you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

Clerical celibacy has apostolic roots and was encouraged in the primitive Church.The eastern Churches relaxed the discipline of celibacy but the western part retained it.
This is from Cardinal Sticklers book on Clerical celibacy.

Anonymous said...

-This is from Cardinal Sticklers book on Clerical celibacy.


The above work misrepresents the historical situation.

See "Celibacy, Gift or Law?" by Heinz-Juergen Vogels for a proper treatment of this question.

Anonymous said...

Heinz-Juergen Vogels isn't he the one who wrote "Alone against the Vatican"?

Hardly a reliable source as he is a married priest himself.

Braadwijk said...

Now now, anybody who knows me will tell you I am no Jansenist. Why do you think celibacy even became mandatory in the West in the first place? Why do you think in the East you cannot be a bishop and have a wife, or be a religious and keep a wife? All sorts of problems arise when priests have families and must balance their familial obligations with their priestly ones, and in the end both the family and the parish lose out in such situations. In addition to the theological virtues of priestly celibacy, there is the practical use as well. I fear that those who advocate the abandonment of celibacy fall into the Protestant mentality of the priest being there because of what he does rather than who he is.

Anonymous said...

Saint Peter: "Behold, WE have left all things and have followed thee: what, therefore shall WE have?"
Our Lord: "And everyone that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or WIFE, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall possess life everlasting."
- Matt XIX. 27-29.

Thus, as tradition claims, Saint Peter and any other married Apostles lived separately from their wives after their calling to the priesthood.

If the Orthodox really embrace married priests, go there and be welcomed and leave us to the better portion. But I doubt they will want you - the phrase "unfit for the priesthood" comes to mind. Hunger for the soft life, do you? Kindly choose.

Anonymous said...

ROTFL! Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, my chaplain here at university is an advocate of permitting the clergy to marry, as well as increasing their pay. Which made me wonder, as long as he thinks the priesthood is a job rather than a calling, why didn't he just become an accountant or something?

Jordan Potter said...

Only a heretic would dare insultingly brand a faithful Catholic who accepts the Church's teachings and laws on priestly celibacy as a Cathar.

And applying the same kind of argument, one cannot expect impartial treatment of the topic by Cardinal Stickler, because he was celibate.

It's not a matter of impartiality per se, it's a matter of accuracy and truth. There's a bit of a difference between a celibate priest arguing that the Church is right about celibacy, and a married priest arguing that the Church is wrong about celibacy. In the one case, you have a priest whose agreement with the Church comports with his behavior and arguments, and in the other, you have a priest whose disagreement with the Church comports with his behavior and arguments.

So, your argument is itself a locus classicus for illustration of your own intellectual bankruptcy.

Jordan Potter said...

Some anonymous heretic said: In the first place, our Lord was not ordering the apostles to leave their wives here.

How could the text show Jesus ordering the apostles to leave their wives if the text says they had already given up everything, even wives, for Him?

In the second place, I Cor 9:5 confirms that the apostles did not break up their marriages, they took their wives with them when they dispersed from Jerusalem.

It says no such thing. It could indicate that perhaps some of the apostles may have sometimes traveled with their wives, but you know full well that it doesn't say they were uncelibate even in those cases. St. Paul's point wasn't to insist on a right to marry, but on a right for the ministers of the Gospel and their wives (if they had any) to receive support from the Gospel.

Stop reading Scripture like a Protestant heretic and start reading it like a Catholic.

Finally, mind your manners. Naturally we must doubt your orthodoxy, but even so, if you say you are a Catholic, then start acting like one.

Anonymous said...

"All sorts of problems arise when priests have families and must balance their familial obligations with their priestly ones, and in the end both the family and the parish lose out in such situations."

Only because the laity, thanks to the counter-reformation, have been brought up to be exceedingly selfish for about 450 years, and if a priest dares complain about the unjust attitudes (not only in regard to celibacy, but say, also in relation to their obligation to support the priest financially), he "doesn't love sacrifice", or he is "insufficiently spiritual". Well, such laity will expiate their evil stupidity in purgatory.

Are you going to argue that the marriages of doctors and lawyers cause either their practices, or their families to suffer? You and I both know that you would never dare. So why be hypocritical, and argue in such a way in relation to priests, if, as you assert, you are not a Jansenist??

Even Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre conceded that your argument is a non-starter - he frankly admitted that the real reason for compulsory celibacy is cultic purity (if not in those exact words). But that is just as erroneous an argument.

Jordan Potter said...

Only because the laity, thanks to the counter-reformation, have been brought up to be exceedingly selfish for about 450 years, and if a priest dares complain about the unjust attitudes (not only in regard to celibacy, but say, also in relation to their obligation to support the priest financially), he "doesn't love sacrifice", or he is "insufficiently spiritual". Well, such laity will expiate their evil stupidity in purgatory.

We can only hope that you will expiate your own evil in purgatory. Your arguing against the Church's teachings and discipline regarding celibacy is sure to be placing your soul in greater jeopardy.

Also, throwing insults and invective at those who agree with the Church is not going to win you any arguments.

Finally, if it is selfishness of the laity that causes them to notice how much more difficult it is to be both a spiritual father and a biological one, then what was it that causes St. Paul to notice the same thing in I Cor. 7?

No man can serve two masters. Rare is the married man with children who can devote time and energy to serving his family AND serving an entire parish or an entire diocese. That's why St. Paul so strongly urged celibacy for those who wished to serve the the Lord and the Church. Really, those priests who long for a female companion and who wish for children simply have no idea what it is they're wishing for -- I speak as a happily married father of five. There is simply no way I could be a good father and also have to supervise one or more parishes, celebrating four or five or more Masses every weekend and at least one Mass every day, and praying the Office, and overseeing parish finances and parish meetings and diocesan conferences and retreats and . . . . For most celibate priests who want to marry, what they're asking for is the practical end of any effective priestly ministry. When a priest begins to desire such things, then his singleminded commitment to serving His Bride the Church is effectively at an end.

Are you going to argue that the marriages of doctors and lawyers cause either their practices, or their families to suffer?

It's telling that you equate the divine vocation to the priesthood with temporal careers in the professons of medicine and law. Such a low view of the priesthood is inevitable once the focus is placed on temporal goods like marriage (which will not exist in the world to come) instead of spiritual goods like ministerial priesthood. Priesthood is not a career, not a way to provide for a family while also providing a service to customers at a fee. Someone who is ordained is a priest forever, but doctors and lawyers stop being doctors and lawyers when they die.

New Catholic said...

Dear commentators:

Priestly celibacy is NOT up for debate - not in the Roman Curia, and certainly not here.

Any other comment against this most venerable practice of Apostolic origin will be deleted. Please, do not make me waste my time.

"Only recently, on 16 November 2006, Pope Benedict presided at one of the regular meetings held in the Apostolic Palace of the Heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. On that occasion, the value of the choice of priestly celibacy in accordance with the unbroken Catholic tradition was reasserted and the need for the sound human and Christian formation of seminarians and ordained priests was reaffirmed." (source)

Anonymous said...
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arturovasquez said...

The allowance of a married clergy in the West would inevitably lead to the "Protestantization" of the clergy rather than the paralleling of the the Eastern discipline. Why? Since in the East, the culture of what it means to be a priest is different than the West, and the East has an ascetical culture that has made a married secular clergy a viable option. Case in point: the Eucharist. Many people don't know that in the East, a priest must be sexually continent the night before he celebrates the Divine Liturgy. A priest thus has to abstain from marital relations before he says Mass, in other words. That is why it is highly uncommon for priests serve Divine Liturgy every single day; indeed, even laity are expected to refrain from marital relations before Holy Communion. Imagine trying to enforce this in the Western Church; people would look at you as if you are from Mars.

Indeed, even in the Orthodox Church, the monastic clergy has much more respect than the married clergy, and I can only think of one married priest (St. John of Krondstadt) who was canonized by the Orthodox Church. The rest were monks.

It wouldn't work in the West. It would just be a huge mess.

Anonymous said...

"Case in point: the Eucharist. Many people don't know that in the East, a priest must be sexually continent the night before he celebrates the Divine Liturgy."

Heresy.

And the average pious catholic is sostupid that he/she can't see it, or so proud that he/she refuses to admit it.

How utterly Satanic.

What do you do, prohibit married people from communion after sex the night before??

arturovasquez said...

"What do you do, prohibit married people from communion after sex the night before??"

What can I say, that is the tradition of the Eastern Church, and probably be the reason why the Orthodox to this day only receive Communion a few times a year, and daily Communion is unheard of outside of the context of monasticism. (The prayers for preparation for Communion in Orthodox prayer books is exceptionally long, and in many Orthodox jurisdictions, Confession is required before Communion regardless of whether the communicant is guilty of a serious sin or not.)

I found this on my old blog apropos of the original subject of priests in Brazil proposing to the Pope that mandatory clerical celibacy be abolished. It turns out that such a petition on the behalf of the Brazilian clergy is not so innovative after all:

"Clerical celibacy remained an ideal [in colonial Brazil] but a highly theoretical one. The vicar general of Rio de Janeiro, for example, joyously and notoriously ignored his vows of celibacy. His example inspired others to follow in his footsteps. Imaginative and unauthorized modification of Catholic ritual occasioned little notice. A folk Catholicism emerged unimpeded by dogma. In a celebrated case, a priest-showman conducted Mass in honor of his mother's soul and that of his mistress's mother. In the excitement of the moment his mistress, who took part in the ceremony, declared she could see her mother in front of the tabernacle, at which point her priest-lover ordered the congregation to sing hymns of praise. Less flamboyant clerics lived more privately with their mistresses and children. On occasion, when things got out of hand, the Vatican protested. In 1834, for example, when the regency government nominated as bishop of the capital Antonio Maria de Moura, well known for his call for an end to clerical celibacy and other unacceptable positions, Rome refused to proceed. When he withdrew his nomination, matters returned to normal."

-from Colin M. MacLachlan's A Modern History of Brazil: The Past Against the Future pgs. 31-32

arturovasquez said...

And it should be noted that the idea of abstaining from intercourse before Communion would not be so strange for Catholics one hundred years ago. Catholics back then pretty much had the same discipline as the Orthodox, and would only receive Holy Communion a few times a year.

Anonymous said...

Yes Arturo, but they had a false, neo-Platonic view of the body and sex. Not an Aristotelian, Thomistic or Christian one. That's the whole problem with that outlook, shared by some church fathers, many monks and nuns throughout the ages, and most latin-rite practising catholics from the late 16th c to just prior to the council, whether lay or clerical.

In retrospect, I can see why God has allowed the present disaster to occur - such an attitude as above just will not survive it, and the church that emerges will not only be orthodox, but orthopractic.

New Catholic said...

Thank you for your comments, Mr Vasquez.

Caritas said...

"Yes Arturo, but they had a false, neo-Platonic view of the body and sex. Not an Aristotelian, Thomistic or Christian one."

Anonymous, please restrain from sharing your "perfect" view of the body and sex for priesthood. It is the heretic view that has infiltrated Holy Mother Church for half a century.

This has led to false, neo-protestant views of His Precious Body and Precious Blood.

The Eucharist is an encounter with Jesus Himself. Roman Catholics a hundred years ago prepared for weeks, if not months, before receiving Holy Communion. Their lives were transformed as they would give thanks for days after. Their homes and families were filled with the Holy Ghost as a result.

Most daily/weekly communion goers today, forget who they just met a few minutes ago and like to discuss weather, sports on Sunday or the latest movie etc. Unless you are too busy talking, just listen for yourself.

Providence never fails!

Caritas

Jordan Potter said...

An anonymous heretic spluttered: Heresy.

And the average pious catholic is sostupid that he/she can't see it, or so proud that he/she refuses to admit it.

How utterly Satanic.

What do you do, prohibit married people from communion after sex the night before??


Not only is it not heretical for the Church to require sexual continence and abstinence the night before Communion, but it was anciently a common discipline throughout the Church, in both East and West.

For example, Pope St. Gregory I wrote to St. Augustine of Canterbury on the question of Communion after sexual relations:

"It is not fitting that a man who has approached his wife should enter church before he has washed, nor is he to enter at once, though washed. The ancient Law prescribed that a man in such cases should wash, and forbade him to enter a holy place before sunset. But this may be understood spiritually; for when a man's mind is attracted to those pleasures by lawless desire, he should not regard himself as fitted to join in Christian worship until these heated desires cool in the mind, and he has ceased to labour under wrongful passions. And although various nations have differing views on this matter and observe different customs, it was always the ancient Roman usage for such a man to seek purification and out of reverence to refrain awhile from entering a holy place. In making this observation, we do not condemn marriage itself, but since lawful intercourse must be accompanied by bodily desire, it is fitting to refrain from entering a holy place, since this desire itself is not blameless. . . . Lawful intercourse should be for the procreation of children, and not to satisfy lust. But if any man is not moved by a desire for pleasure, but only by a desire for children, he is to be left to his own judgment either as to entering church, or to receiving the Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord; for we have no right to debar one who does not yield to the fires of temptation. But when lust takes the place of desire for children, the mere act of union becomes something the pair have cause to regret; and although the holy teachings give them permission, yet this carries a warning with it. For when the Apostle Paul said: 'If they cannot contain, let them marry,' he at once added, 'I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.' This concession makes it lawful, yet not good; so when he spoke of permission, he indicated that it was not blameless."

Pope St. Gregory also cites the example of Israel at Mount Sinai, where Moses ordered the men to abstain from sex prior to the giving of the Decalogue, and the example of David and his men eating the Showbread -- only those men who had not recently had sex were given the Showbread.

He concludes, "Similarly the man who has cleansed himself with water after intercourse with his wife is allowed to approach the mystery of Holy Communion, since he may enter church in accordance with this decision." (Quoted from St. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People)

Now it is a horrendous thing to accuse St. Gregory and the Church of heresy and of promulgating Satanic teachings. Such an accusation is also an implicit denial of the infallibility and indefectibility of the Church. Such an accuser has departed from the faith of the Church and gone astray into Satan's path.

Anonymous said...

Why is there sexual immorality in a Church? Most often it is because someone who burns with passion needs to married. Paul answers this in 1 Cor. 7:2-3 "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband."

Anonymous said...

(If married priests were allowed as an option, I would leave the Roman Catholic Church for the Greek Orthodox.)

YOU MAY LEAVE RIGHT NOW!!!!