Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Photo

Edward Pentin Interviews Cardinal Sarah

NCReg: Cardinal Sarah: The Priesthood Today ‘Is in Mortal Danger’
In an exclusive English-language interview, the African cardinal discusses his new book, the status of the Catholic priesthood, and addresses those who say he opposes Pope Francis.
Edward Pentin

(via Fr. Z)

But what about exceptions to the law of celibacy that already exist, for example in the Eastern Catholic rites or the Anglican Ordinariate?

An exception is transitory by definition and constitutes a parenthesis in the normal and natural state of things. This was the case of Anglican pastors returning to full communion. But the lack of a priest is not an exception. It is the normal state of any nascent Church, as in the Amazon, or dying Churches, as in the West. Jesus warned us: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” The ordination of married men in young Christian communities would prohibit the raising of vocations of unmarried priests. The exception would become a permanent state. A weakening of the principle of celibacy, even if limited to one region, would not be an exception, but a breach, a wound in the internal coherence of the priesthood. On the other hand, the dignity and greatness of marriage is increasingly better understood. As Benedict XVI points out in this book, these two states are not compatible because they both demand an absolute and total gift.

In the East, some churches have married clergy. I do not in any way question the personal holiness of these priests. But such a situation is only livable because of the massive presence of monks. Moreover, from the point of view of the sign given to the whole Church by the priesthood, there is a risk of confusion. If a priest is married, then he has a private life, a conjugal and family life. He must make time for his wife and children. He is unable to show, by his whole life, that he is totally and absolutely given to God and the Church. St. John Paul II stated it very clearly: The Church wants to be loved by her priests with the very love with which Jesus loved her, that is to say, with an exclusive spouse’s love. It is important, the saintly Polish pope said, that priests understand the theological motivation of their celibacy. He said: “Priestly celibacy should not be considered just as a legal norm or as a totally external condition for admission to ordination, but rather as a value that is profoundly connected with ordination, whereby a man takes on the likeness of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Spouse of the Church” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 50). This is what we wanted to recall with Benedict XVI. The true foundation of celibacy is not juridical, disciplinary or practical; it is theocentric. On this subject I refer you to the extraordinary speech of Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia on Dec. 22, 2006. Celibacy for God is an absurdity in the eyes of the secularized and atheistic world. Celibacy is a scandal for the contemporary mind. It shows that God is a reality. If the life of priests does not concretely show that God is enough to make us happy and to give meaning to our existence, then who will proclaim him? More than ever our societies need celibacy because they need God.