Sunday, September 15, 2013

Celibacy can be Discussed

This past week Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, gave an interview with the Venezuelan news agency "El Universal."  A few of his comments during the interview although they did not go viral did raise a some eyebrows.

About celibacy he said: "No es un dogma de la Iglesia y se puede discutir porque es una tradiciĆ³n eclesiĆ”stica." Translation "It is not a dogma of the church and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition."

While Archbishop Parolin did not say any changes were being proposed or that any discussions were taking places in the Vatican, headlines and tweets immediately started insinuating that is was so. One headline I saw asked: "Is Pope Francis about to Eliminate Celibacy?" On twitter "celibacy" never became a TT worldwide but it certainly got some attention. My favorite tweet was "Pope Francis to consider changing the celibacy rules."

Cardinal Parolin was not proposing a specific change nor was he stating that the discussion was taking place at the Vatican level. Just saying that it could be discussed based on what type teaching it was. Francis has not chimed in and probably won't at this time. Reading some of the book Francis' co-authored while he was still Cardinal in Argentina "On Heaven and Earth" gives some insight to Francis' thought on the subject. In the book he wrote:

"In Western Catholicism  the issue has been discussed by some organizations. For now the church remains firm on the discipline of celibacy. There are some of those who say, with certain pragmatism, that we are missing out on more manpower. If, hypothetically, western Catholicism would change on the issue of celibacy, I believe it would be for cultural reasons (like in the Eastern Church), not as much as a universal option. For the time being, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with the pros and cons that it has, because it has been ten centuries of good experiences more often than failure."

Looks like the discussion has already begun on twitter and in the mass media... Discussion is a good thing but the Archbishops comments have not caused a flood of new phone calls to the Glenmary Vocation office yet. Nor do I think it has moved the discussion up to the Vatican level. In my checking of the @pontifex's tweets this week - the word celibate did not appear once... Keep praying for peace #prayforpeace 

1 comment:

  1. I think that a married priest would be more careful with associating women exclusively with the sin of abortion( abortion is most times an easy way out for men)

    But, instead, would give some homilies on fatherhood or rather fatherless children....
    just a thought.......