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Ordination of married men is raised at Vatican synod
Yahoo News ^ | October 3, 2005 | Phillip Pullella

Posted on 10/04/2005 10:33:31 AM PDT by NYer

The Roman Catholic Church may someday have to consider ordaining married men in order to deal with the desperate shortage of priests, according to some participants at a Vatican synod that began its work on Monday.

While the possibility is still far off, the fact that it even surfaced on the synod's first working day was significant because the 1.1 billion member Church is grappling with ways of stemming the shortage in many areas of the world.

In the past few decades, some theologians have proposed the ordination of "viri probati," which is Latin for "tested men."

That term is Church shorthand for older, married men with families who are known to lead exemplary personal lives in their communities and have a solid background in Church doctrine.

The topic of ordaining "viri probati" was raised with a question mark over it in a speech by Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, whose role at the synod is to coordinate and summarize proposals for discussion by the more than 250 members.

"To confront the issue of the shortage of priests, some ... have put forward the request to ordain married faithful of proven faith and virtue, the so-called 'viri probati,"' he said.

Scola, who read his speech in Latin in the presence of Pope Benedict, did not say which bishops from which countries had suggested discussing the ordination of older married men.

He said the possibility of older married men becoming priests in the future would not detract from the validity of rule of celibacy for those entering the priesthood in the traditional manner at a much younger age.

But Scola indicated to reporters at a news conference afterwards that he was personally opposed to the idea.

'LOCAL CHURCHES'

Asked about his personal position, he felt the shortage of priests might be confronted by seeking "ways to redistribute the forces (of priests) among the different local churches."

The synod's official theme is the Eucharist, the sacrament in which Catholics believe a priest turns bread and wine into Christ's body and blood. Only priests can do this.

But their numbers are falling in western countries -- the United States went from 58,909 in 1975 to 42,528 while the total number of U.S. Catholics rose from 48.7 million to 64.8 million.

In that same period, the number of permanent deacons -- laymen trained to help out in the liturgy but not allowed to consecrate hosts or perform other duties reserved for priests -- has risen from 898 to 14,574 as the Church sought to ease the burden on its remaining priests.

"I think that anything that is connected to the mystery of the Eucharist will be discussed," Scola told reporters.

The shortage of priests in many parts of the world means some faithful cannot attend a Mass but often take part in a "prayer service" led by a deacon or a senior member of the community.

At such prayer services, communion hosts that have been consecrated by a priest are distributed to the faithful.

At a news conference, Bishop Luis Tagle of the Philippines said the situation in some parts of his country was dire.

"We should face squarely the issue of the shortage of priests," he said. "We rejoice in the gift of the priesthood but we still cannot cope."

Tagle did not say what his position was on the eventual ordination of married men to serve as priests.


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; History; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
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1 posted on 10/04/2005 10:33:33 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...


2 posted on 10/04/2005 10:34:08 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

>>>> Tagle did not say what his position was on the eventual ordination of married men to serve as priests.

No bias from the reporter in that statement, now is there?


3 posted on 10/04/2005 10:40:43 AM PDT by patent (A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. Carl Sandburg)
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To: NYer
But their numbers are falling in western countries -- the United States went from 58,909 in 1975 to 42,528 while the total number of U.S. Catholics rose from 48.7 million to 64.8 million.

An oft-cited statistic, but as many as 10,000 priests left their ministry to get married (and also divorced in many cases) in the mid-to-late seventies.

The number of true celibates hasn't changed much.

In the meantime, the number of US Catholics increased by 40%, but Mass attendance declined by about 30-40%.

4 posted on 10/04/2005 10:44:12 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: NYer

I think this is eventually going to happen.


5 posted on 10/04/2005 11:06:22 AM PDT by x5452
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To: x5452
I think this is eventually going to happen.

Based on what?

The Eastern Catholic Churches allow for married priests but under scrupulous assessment. Even the Eastern churches encourage a celibate priesthood. It is only in the Latin Church that ALL priests take a vow of celibacy.

6 posted on 10/04/2005 11:20:30 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
Are p[ermanet deacons laymen?
7 posted on 10/04/2005 11:24:33 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: NYer

Based on populations mostly.

Encouraging will remain the norm, however the Catholic church already allows many exceptions to celibacy.

Personally I'd be far more comfortable knowing a priest was going home to his wife every night than wondering whether he's from a gay semenary which frequently overlooks the vow of celibacy in an affront to God and desecration of holy places.

I do not suspect I am alone in that.


8 posted on 10/04/2005 11:27:27 AM PDT by x5452
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To: NYer; x5452

" The Eastern Catholic Churches allow for married priests but under scrupulous assessment."

Absolutely...and this cannot be stressed enough, once one is ordained, one may not contract a marriage. In other words, save in a very few rare instances, you marry before you are ordained to the diaconite or you don't marry at all.

"Even the Eastern churches encourage a celibate priesthood."

Celibacy is considered the highest calling. All Orthodox celibates are monastics. If they are priests, they are called priest/monks.

I trust we will never see the day, and I don't think we will, when the Eastern Church allows formerly celibate priests to marry.


9 posted on 10/04/2005 11:33:53 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: x5452; Kolokotronis
Personally I'd be far more comfortable knowing a priest was going home to his wife every night than wondering whether he's from a gay semenary which frequently overlooks the vow of celibacy in an affront to God and desecration of holy places.

Indictment: Married priest beat wife twice

10 posted on 10/04/2005 11:46:30 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

So your saying one bad heterosexual priest warrents tolerance for swarms of gay seminaries?

I don't see the logic.


11 posted on 10/04/2005 11:48:35 AM PDT by x5452
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To: wideawake
Some other items worth mentioning;confessions take up about one hour a week whereas they used to take up at least 6 to 8 hours a week. Baptisms are often done en masse rather than individually,converts are sent into RCIA classes rather than the old one on one dialogue. Preparation for marriage and counseling for troubled parishioners,married and single have been turfed to group preparation for marriage classes in the first case and mental health counselors and /or spirituality classes in others. Ministers of help are sent to visit the sick at home or in nursing homes and often take take Communion to them.

Back before this crisis priests used to live in the rectory,they often had an assistant pastor and a housekeeper and a secretary,now they may be alone with ten paid staff,including the parish administrator,music minister,the youth minister,the minister of helping services,the education director,the cleaning and maintenance staff,a receptionist or two,the secretary,the liturgy and worship coordinator and who knows what else.

Meanwhile Father tinkers with his voice messaging machine. And,I have said nothing of the army of bureaucrats down at the chancery offices who also cost a lot of money to complicate any subject or issue even more.

Please know that I know there are many hard working,tireless,holy and wonderful priests and I happen to be well acquainted with several who serve parishes close to my home. Nonetheless,most of the ones who are doing the whining are in situations much like the ones I just described.

12 posted on 10/04/2005 11:50:49 AM PDT by saradippity
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To: x5452; Kolokotronis
So your saying one bad heterosexual priest warrents tolerance for swarms of gay seminaries?

No ... but you are making a judgment call. Catholic priests, regardless of their orientation, take a vow of celibacy. It has been this way for more than 1000 years. Celibacy is a discipline. For those properly disposed, it is a personal and joyous gift to God.

As for ridding the seminaries of homosexuals, there is a review board currently evaluating each and every seminary in the US. One of its goals is to scrutinize seminarians and applicants to ensure that those "not properly disposed" are turned away, regardless of their orientation.

13 posted on 10/04/2005 12:14:30 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

It ha been that way for a long time but not since the begining.

Everyone SHOULD take that vow seriously whether they think it's right they had to take it or not, however there is an epidemic of homosexuals within the church, and the churches are losing parishioners because they no longer trust the clergy.

I think allowing men who have married but who now feel a call to the priesthood to join would help to convey to parishioners that the same values they hold with regard to family, are held by the priest, and reassure them the priest is not a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Further it would be in line with ancient tradition.

Further scrutinization will lead to less wolves in priest clothing but it will reduce the number of the priestshood and put preassure to reduce the number of churches. It also doesn't do a whole let to reassure parishioners in individual churches. It won't help stem the tide of those not attending because they cannot trust the clergy.

I think that allowing married men, who've suitably proven themselves to be fit for the priestshood to enter into it would be much more reassuring, and in keeping with ancient tradition.


14 posted on 10/04/2005 12:23:42 PM PDT by x5452
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To: NYer

The larger question is not married priests, but divorced priests. "Goes together like a horse and carriage," as the old song used to go.


15 posted on 10/04/2005 12:31:10 PM PDT by Cookie123
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To: x5452
Everyone SHOULD take that vow seriously whether they think it's right they had to take it or not, however there is an epidemic of homosexuals within the church, and the churches are losing parishioners because they no longer trust the clergy.

I think allowing men who have married but who now feel a call to the priesthood to join would help to convey to parishioners that the same values they hold with regard to family, are held by the priest, and reassure them the priest is not a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Further it would be in line with ancient tradition.

Again, you are speaking in generalities. Allow me to cite a specific example. Several years ago, my pastor died and was replaced by a younger priest who was manifestly 'light in the loafers'. He took his time before implementing any changes but did so slowly and methodically. He had an excellent decorating style and everyone 'oohed and aahed' over the minor transformations. He created a very welcoming environment and the parish began to grow.

Cognizant of certain plans he had to introduce 'liturgical dance', I confronted him and the CCD Director, giving them documents to substantiate the fact that liturgical dance is banned. He tried to persuade me that this was 'liturgical movement'; I wrote to the diocsan office. In their initial response, they threw their support behind his terminology of 'liturgical movement'. Still not persuaded, I wrote back, citing Sacrosanctum Conciliam - "every catholic is entitled to a valid liturgy". That was the key that shut down the dance.

Inspired by this confidence, I moved on to other liturgical abuses that I witnessed each week. I even tried to enroll the support of more 'orthodox' parishioners. They all loved this priest and stood behind him, abuse and all. After watching a EEM drop a consecrated host on the ground, I asked Him to guide me to a holy man, a reverent liturgy and a welcoming community.

I found it in a local Maronite Catholic Church. Our pastor is bi-ritual (Maronite and Latin). You will find him up ladders repairing the church roof, fixing the plumbing, visiting the sick, saying mass during the week at the priestless diocesan parishes, in order to consecrate a sufficient number of hosts for their weekend priestless services. He is as straight as they come, celibate, Eastern and a tireless worker in the vineyard. When I discovered this church, I began spreading the "good news". Truth be told, many catholics don't want to hear orthodox homilies and our pastor refuses to serve up the pablum scooped out at the RC parishes. Our parish is small and shrinking; the other one is large and growing.

As I mentioned above, one's personal orientation has nothing to do with it.

16 posted on 10/04/2005 12:45:58 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
An oldie but a goodie on this issue:

Reforming the Church with Pope Benedict XVI


17 posted on 10/04/2005 12:46:07 PM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org)
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To: NYer; Salvation
One of the examples of the power of the Holy Eucharist not being discussed among the secular media (and what may not be realized by fellow Catholics) is the very real spiritual war that has been fought and is still being fought here in America with the Holy Eucharist. Jesus Christ Himself leads the way.

Perhaps the greatest reason for having so many priests per Catholic in the USA is for Christ's confrontation against the liberal heresy that would have easily swallowed up the last two presidential elections. All of those priests and all of those Holy Masses have had a terrific effect. The Holy Eucharist and solid Catholic teaching concerning Communion and being in a State of Grace has dealt a tremendous blow to Satan. Heretical liberals are still reeling in pain. If America had fallen to liberalism, her errors would have spread uncontrollably throughout the world.

This has to be the right answer because we know from Stalin's genocide against Catholics (especially Catholic clergy) resulted in a massive blow against humanity. If WW2 hadn't seen Stalin using the popularity of and preservation of the Russian Orthodox Church, he would have wiped them out along with the Russian Jews. Enough evidence points to such Stalinists' wickedness to make this conclusion inescapable. The Vatican suffered tremendous losses against Stalin, but the Church did not fail. She knew how to confront such a beast as America was slowing being infected. Wafers and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ was and remains the cure. Jesus Christ is risen!
18 posted on 10/04/2005 12:58:53 PM PDT by SaltyJoe (A mother's sorrowful heart and personal sacrifice redeems her lost child's soul.)
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To: NYer

Homosexuality is a sin, plain and simple.

If someone is routinely practicing that sin, and to boot not confessing it, they are an unrepentant sinner commiting an abominal sin. They are not fit to preach if they are intent to throw sand in the eyes of God.

Homosexuals should be welcomed to the church to confess before god and truly try to change their ways, not to desecreate a holy place by commiting homosexual acts in church, the rectory etc.

Further with regard to generalities.

The general public perception is very important, it is keeping people home on Sunday who used to and would like to attend church. It is closing churches due to low attendance and high costs of finding clergy. Further it is causing folks once devoutly Catholic to consider a move to a non catholic church.

Benedict has been firm from the top in that homosexuality and the priesthood do not go together but little has come from the various dioses to confirm they to beleive this, and it is hurting the church, and turning away the faithful.

If all Catholics are entitled to a valid liturgy certainly they should also be entitled to one led by someone other than an unrepentant sinner.

If the Catholic church is to remain a powerful institution doing the work of God it is critical that the faithful not be afraid of the clergy, that they have confidence that the priest is indeed a man of God.

If, in keeping with ancient tradition, there is a way to attract good priests into the priesthood who will uphold the liturgy why not cease upon it?

I have great respect for the Catholic church, and it's ability to do the work of God, and I am quite worried for the future of the church because of the scandalous behavior which has been publicised. Benedict has shown that clearly the church in Rome has not faltered but parts abroad have. When I went to Catholic school the average class size was 12, I worry whether there will still be Catholic schools left when my Children are old enough for school.

I think it matters surpemely whether the church in Rome can continue the same tradition abroad and whether the faithful in need of such a church can find it, and are welcomed to it.


19 posted on 10/04/2005 1:09:00 PM PDT by x5452
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To: RobbyS; NYer; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
IIRC, there are three levels in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: Deacon, Preist, and Bishop. Since Deacons receive Holy Orders, they are clerics (clergy.) They are not laity.
20 posted on 10/04/2005 1:41:19 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Live and Let Live)
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