Cardinal Walter Kasper has said that if bishops from the Amazon together propose that married men should be ordained to the priesthood, Pope Francis would “in principle probably accept it.”
Speaking with the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau on June 4, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said the change to the tradition of a celibate priesthood in the Latin Church (which dates back to apostolic times) could come at the Synod on the Amazon next October.
Cardinal Kasper, who is considered one of Pope Francis’s preferred theological advisors, said in the interview that “celibacy is not a dogma, it is not an unalterable practice.”
He added that while he favors mandatory clerical celibacy in the Latin Rite as a way of witnessing to the priest’s undivided commitment to Christ, he would not “exclude that in special situations a married man could undertake the priestly ministry.”
In January, Pope Francis gave mixed signals about where he stands on the ordination of married men in the Latin Rite. During an inflight press conference on his return from Panama, the Pope said that while he is personally opposed to the idea, in exceptional cases, it is “something to study, think about, rethink and pray about.”
In his remarks aboard the papal plane, the Pope said there might be “some possibility” for married clergy in “very far-away places,” adding that when there is a “pastoral necessity, the pastor should think of the faithful.”
What peaked interest in the Pope’s comments, however, was his reference to the ideas of German Bishop Fritz Lobinger, whose controversial 1998 book ‘Like his Brothers and Sisters — Ordaining Community Leaders,’ advocated ordaining a “team of elders” from local communities, including married men who had not attended seminary.
Bishop Lobinger also predicted that his proposal would lead to increased pressure to ordain women “because the majority of proven local leaders are women.”
According to a January report by the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, has suggested to the Pope during their ad limina visit in 2015 that he read all of Bishop Lobinger’s works.
•Culled from Life Site News.com
The idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood in the Latin Rite in exceptional cases has also been openly supported by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
At a conference on priestly celibacy hosted at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2016, Cardinal Parolin concluded his lengthy address by suggesting that a sacramental crisis or “exigencies of evangelization” might warrant such an exception to the constant apostolic tradition of the Church.
In his 2016 address at the Jesuit-run pontifical university, Cardinal Parolin said: It remains true now as ever that the exigencies of evangelization, together with the history and multiform tradition of the Church, leave open the possibility for legitimate debate, if these are motivated by the Gospel proclamation and conducted in a constructive way, [and] safeguarding the beauty and high dignity of the choice for celibate life.
Meanwhile, in March, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who will serve as general relator at the Amazonian Synod, and has long advocated ordination of married men (called viri probati), echoed Cardinal Parolin’s statement, saying it will be for the synod to decide “yes or no” about such a change, but it “will be necessary to discuss” the matter at the Amazonian Synod.
Cardinal Hummes said it “does not mean that it is for the whole world, but for situations of extreme necessity,” but as many observers in Rome have noted, if the door is opened even a crack, the German and Austrian bishops will push for the same exception to be made in their countries, where vocations to the priesthood are at an all-time-low.
Culled from Life Site News.com
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