Skip to comments.Vatican asks bishops to create ministry roles for priests who left to marry (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 10/08/2011 2:09:08 PM PDT by NYer
Facing a growing shortage of priests, the Roman Catholic Church is turning to former priests who left their callings to get married.
While the “dispensed” priests won’t be allowed to take confessions or celebrate mass — they will be asked to serve as teachers and lay workers in such roles as helping serve communion to the congregation, roles already filled by lay members of local congregations.
“The Vatican has appealed to diocesan bishops to encourage priests who have left ministry in order to get married to play a more active role in parish life,” reports Catholic Herald magazine, which reports that Cardinal Ivan Dias, the Prefect for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, has written a letter giving more discretionary power to bishops for involving a dispensed cleric in parish life:
The letter, dated February 2, 2011, was sent to a priest who had written to the congregation on behalf of an Australian missionary society that is seeking a relaxation of the prohibitions on dispensed clergy.
Cardinal Dias wrote of his confidence that the Vaticans reforms would enable dispensed priests to lead a more active life in the Church as committed Catholics under their bishops guidance.
In the past, former priests were prohibited from celebrating mass, delivering homilies (sermons), administering communion, teaching or working in seminaries. They were also restricted on how much teaching on the faith they could do in Catholic schools and universities.
The cardinals letter means that the enforcement of half of those prohibitions now come under the discretion of the local bishop.
Is this a move in the direction of allowing married ex-priests to return to the priesthood? Married Episcopal Church ministers who switch to the Catholic Church are now allowed to serve in the full capacity as priests — and remain married.
In February, a Lutheran preacher and married father of two was ordained as a Catholic priest. Harm Klueting, 61, a professor of theology at universities in Cologne and Switzerland, also ordained as a Lutheran minister is now serving as a Catholic priest. His wife has become a nun in the Carmelite order — and neither was required to take the traditional vows of celibacy nor chastity.
“The Vatican has tried repeatedly in recent years to avoid giving any credence to speculation, especially in North America, that the church may have to end mandatory celibacy in order to remedy the growing shortage of priests,” reported John Dart in the Los Angeles Times.
Pope John Paul II, he noted, made it clear that a married priesthood and celibacy were not on the agenda. Pope Benedict is even more strict.
However, the topic continues to be discussed.
All true. And, since we would expect such a married priest and his wife to be true to Catholic teaching, the parish could expect a large family to support.
Freakin’ unbelieveable. I’ll just stay with my faith and forget the excuse for a church.
“And there will continue to be a priest shortage until they finally broom out the dissidents and heretics in positions of power and finish cleaning up the seminaries.”
Cicero, you are so very correct! I’m certainly no expert. I do think, though, that the best way to obtain proper priests in a needed volume is to ensure that seminaries are orthodox, traditional, and that those who teach at said seminaries are themselves orthodox and traditional in both demeanor and teaching. Make sure, as much as possible, of the discerned vocation, screen those seeming unsuited. If it’s working for the more traditional orders and societies (and it does seem to be), then fewer liberal, neo-modernist seminaries should equal a greater amount of solid, orthodox priests. No?
I reckon the title is going to get a lot of responses.
Freegards, thanks for all the pings.
Makes one wonder if you'd beat feet if you heard the sound of gunfire too.
Alberto Cutie comes to mind. This is probably not a good idea, at least for the USA.
First of all, this is a private letter sent to an individual. It is not a magesterial or juridic statement of the Holy See.
Second of all, this is a letter sent by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, not the Prefect of the Congregation of the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (the proper dicastery to issue such a statement of policy in this area) (note: up to 1988, the CDF dealt with it. Many of the documents pertaining to the subject are still from the CDF).
Third, read what the Herald actually reported the letter as saying: his confidence that the Vaticans reforms would enable dispensed priests to lead a more active life in the Church as committed Catholics under their bishops guidance.
In other words, no controversy, nothing new, but yet the Herald is reporting it as such? WTF?
For those who don't know, the process of dispensing priests is a fairly standard process, although not broadcast that well.
Canon 290 §3 states: A cleric, nevertheless, loses the clerical state…by rescript of the Apostolic See which grants it to deacons only for grave causes and to presbyters only for most grave causes.
The rescript of laicization is boilerplate. It reads as follows (recripts after 1988 would be from the CDWDS):
Rescript of Laicization
Prot. N. ___________________
Father __________________, a priest of the (Arch) Diocese of _____________________, has petitioned a dispensation from priestly celibacy.
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, after having received a report on the case from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on (date, month, year), has granted the request but with the following provisions:
1. The rescript has its effect from the moment of notification made to the petitioner by the competent ecclesiastical authority, and inseparably includes a dispensation from priestly celibacy and, at the same time, loss of the clerical state. The petitioner never has the right to separate those two elements, that is, to accept the first and refuse the second. If the petitioner is a religious, the rescript also contains a dispensation from the vows. Further, the said rescript carries with it, insofar as it is necessary, absolution from censures, not excepting the excommunication which may have been incurred because of a marriage attempted by the parties; it also includes legitimation of offspring.
2. Let notice of the grant of dispensation be recorded in the baptismal register of the petitioners parish.
3. With regard to the celebration of a canonical marriage, the norms set down in the Code of Canon Law must be applied. The Ordinary, however, should take care that the matter be discreetly handled without pomp or external display.
4. The ecclesiastical authority to whom it belongs to communicate the rescript to the petitioner should earnestly exhort him to take part in the life of the People of God in a manner consonant with his new mode of living, to give edification, and thus to show himself a most loving son of the Church. However, at the same time, he should be informed of the following points:
a) the dispensed priest automatically loses the rights proper to the clerical state as well as ecclesiastical dignities and offices; he is no longer bound by the other obligations connected with the clerical state;
b) he remains excluded from the exercise of the sacred ministry, with the exception of those functions mentioned in canons 882 and 892, §2, and, as a result, he may not give a homily. Moreover, he may not function as extraordinary minister in the distribution of Holy Communion nor may he discharge any directive office in the pastoral field;
c) similarly, he may not discharge any function in seminaries or equivalent institutions. In other institutions of higher studies which are in any way whatever dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not exercise the functions of director, or office of teaching;
d) however, in those institutions of higher studies which are not dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not teach any discipline which is properly theological or closely connected with the same;
e) on the other hand, in institutions of lower studies, which are dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not exercise the function of director or the office of teaching unless the Ordinary, in keeping with his prudent judgment and provided that there is no scandal, shall have decided to decree otherwise as far as the office of teaching is concerned.
5. As a rule, the priest who has been dispensed from priestly celibacy, and, all the more so, a priest who has married, ought to stay away from places where his previous status is known. Nevertheless, the Ordinary of the place where the petitioner is staying, after he has listened, insofar as it may be necessary, to the Ordinary of incardination or the major religious superior, will be able to dispense from that clause attached to the rescript, if it is foreseen that the presence of the petitioner will not beget scandal.
6. Lastly, some work of piety or charity should be imposed on him. At an opportune time, however, a brief report should be made to the sacred Congregation on his performance, and, finally, if there should be any wonderment on the part of the faithful, let a prudent explanation be provided.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the offices of the S. C. for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the (date, month, year).
While there are a lot of very common sense restrictions, you will also note that there is a whole bunch that is not excluded.
And I think that this is the point of Cardinal Dias' letter (at least as far as it was reported). And something that utterly escaped Beliefnet and, shockingly, the Herald.
Exactly. The conservative orders of nuns are expanding at a great rate, with more applicants than they can handle. The old liberal orders of nuns have mostly disintegrated, and with some orders none are left but a few old nuns in nursing homes with no younger sisters to care for them.
Same in the men’s religious orders. The Jesuits are going to the dogs, as they continue to elect dissident, traitorous leaders. There are still some good ones, but they are aging rapidly. In contrast, the few conservative orders also have many applicants.
A number of American seminaries had problems like gay leadership, so everyone but gays was thrown out, and especially any candidates who were orthodox. The results were obvious.
Things are better now. But a lot of university theology departments, in fact most of them, need to be cleaned out. And a lot of seminaries need to be cleaned out. And a lot of diocesan catechetical directors need to be cleaned out. Because they are all sabotaging their students.
So what will it gain to bring back gangs of dissident priests? Nothing at all, especially if they are not allowed to hear confessions or say Mass, to relieve the real priest shortage. And I agree that they should not be allowed to, because they would merely undermine the Church worse than they did earlier. What could be worse than invalid confessions or invalid masses, or sermons leading people into sin?
I do not understand how someone leaves the priesthood and remains in the Catholic Church. I realize that we are all sinners and we do very serious things that are against God's laws and that our confessor can forgive them.
I do not understand how we can trust a priest that has turned his back on the priesthood?
I am concerned with all the Catholics that have turned their backs on the Catholic Church and with Catholics that seem to be Catholic in name only “CINO”. I am concerned that many will not be invited to heaven, and I truly hope that they see the Light and return to Jesus as Lord and the Catholic Church.
Second name that comes to mind: Richard Sipe
For their sake, I try not to judge harshly, but my instinct is, "keep 'em away from any highly visible role," because I guess by that instinct I don't trust them. But I'm sure there's more to it all than I understand.
Could certainly be the fallout from the pressure being put on young people think "discern a calling." A sincere person can imagine/wish/hope/be persuaded that they're being called to something.
I also know a Sister -- a solemn and devout one -- who was not "invited" to renew her vows. So out she goes into the world, an "ex" nun -- would have no trouble trusting her.
sounds like one Cardinal in the office wrote one letter to one priest with his personal opinion.
And then that priest released the statement to the press...
another case of the Vatican bureaucrats working against the pope?
Priests have never been allowed to lawfully contract marriage and remain Priests.
You are wrong priests were at one time allowed to be married.
For the first 1200 years of the Churchs existence, priests, bishops and 39 popes were married. 3 Celibacy existed in the first century among hermits and monks, but it was considered an optional, alternative lifestyle. Medieval politics brought about the discipline of mandatory celibacy for priests.
Lets remember the words of Jesus: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” St. Peter, the pope who was closest to Jesus, was married. There are three references in the Gospel about St. Peters wife, his mother-in-law and his family. Based on Jewish law and custom, we can safely assume that all of the Apostles, except for young John, were married with families. 4
Your specious, at best, solution comports so well with the teaching of Christ and is indicative of your lack of understanding of the ministerial Priesthood of the ordained.
Maybe it is you who lack understanding , and I am not so specious.
I didn’t see my post back to you so wanted to repeat it. I said I guess you will just have to continue wondering about it since I will not respond to that portion of your arrogant and insignificant post. The end!
There is nothing inherent that says that a deacon cannot eventually be allowed to say Mass. The order of Presbyter (commonly known as priests) can remain as was originally intended as an assistant to the Bishop in a certain location. All three levels of Holy Orders, Bishop, Presbyter and Deacon, could, with a fiat from the magisterium, say mass, hear confessions........
Just to be clear on this, Orthodox priests can only be married if they were married before they became ordained. If the priest’s wife dies or they get divorced, the priest is not allowed to remarry and remain an Orthodox priest.
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;.......
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Tts 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Tts 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Tts 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;.....
This verse refers to bishops that were widowers. Paul is instructing that these widowers could not remarry. The verse also refers to those bishops who were currently married. They also could not remarry (in the Catholic Church's Eastern rite, priests are allowed to marry; celibacy is only a disciplinary rule for the clergy of the Roman rite). Therefore, this text has nothing to do with imposing a marriage requirement on becoming a bishop.
Where’s the Vatican letter or a document, I can’t find it.
This is a no go. Period.
Even though I saw the letter referred to was in February, I will contact the Cardinal (he retired in March btw).