The Pope says he will never authorize the elimination of celibacy

The Pope says he will never authorize the elimination of celibacy


Francisco closes the doors to optional celibacy

"It is a gift to the Church and I do not agree with allowing optional celibacy." Francisco was so sharp after his return from Panama. On board the papal plane and after being asked about this question, he referred to the words of Paul VI to put an end to the discussion: "I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy. "

In this way It clears all the doubts raised during his pontificate on the possibility of ordering married men to put an end to the lack of vocations in the Catholic Church. Just a year ago, the prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, opened the door to study "in a careful manner" the possibility of admitting to the sacred order of the priesthood the "viri probati" – married men, of advanced age and mature faith-, in an interview included in the book "Todos los hombres de Francisco" (San Pablo). Bergoglio himself spoke of this possibility in 2014 when referring to the lack of vocations and in 2015 he went a step further in this direction by communicating that at the Synod of Bishops of 2019 on the Pan-Amazonia "new paths for the evangelization of the People of God, especially the indigenous, often forgotten.

Yesterday, again, he returned to the subject but was more explicit than usual. He acknowledged that in some areas, the Catholic community is in the hands of deacons, religious sisters and laity, and that the priesthood could be given to married men but only to administer three sacraments: the Eucharist, confession and the anointing of the sick. However, he stressed, only this possibility would fit in remote places like the Pacific islands and only "when there is pastoral need". "Am I closed? Maybe, but I do not feel like putting myself before God with this decision," he added.

Optional celibacy is not contemplated as a possible preventive measure to abuse the clergy. This has become the problem of greater magnitude for a Pope who seeks effective measures, which do not happen in any case to accommodate young people who have a vocation but doubt the difficulty of the journey on the subject of celibacy (as the Church does Anglican). On February 21, the presidents of the episcopal conferences will meet with Francisco in the Vatican to discuss and seek solutions to pedophilia in the clergy. A meeting necessary to design concrete measures, because according to the Holy Father has recognized many obiospos do not know how to act when a case arrives; The bishops have no idea how to deal with the issue. "They should know what they should do, the procedure. Because sometimes the bishop does not know what to do. It is necessary that programs be made, general, but that they reach all the episcopal conferences: what the bishop, the archbishop, the president of the conference have to do … Protocols that are clear: this is the main thing ". Many say that this meeting, a pioneer in the Church, will be a before and after, but Bergoglio wanted to lower the high hopes placed on it: "I would like to say that I have sensed a little bit of an inflated expectation. points of which I speak because the problem of abuse will continue: it is a human problem that occurs everywhere, "he said.

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