October 19, 2005

The celibacy tradition

Online Catholics

R. John Kinkel responds to the synod intervention of Cardinal George Pell
Synopsis of the Intervention of His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, at the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Rome, October 11, 2005

Many Synod Fathers have spoken of the difficulties experienced by the Church throughout the world. Some of these are caused by our own mistakes.

The Second Vatican Council brought great blessings and substantial gains; for example, continuing missionary expansion and the new movements and communities. But it was also followed by confusion, some decline, especially in the West, and pockets of collapse. Good intentions are not enough.

Two areas of decline in Oceania are the number of priestly vocations in Australia and New Zealand (but not everywhere in Oceania) and the confusion evident in the proliferation of Communion services.

My recommendations to the Synod on how to deal with these "shadows" presuppose the maintenance in the Latin Church of the ancient tradition and life-giving discipline of mandatory celibacy for the diocesan clergy as well as the religious orders. To loosen this tradition now would be a serious error, which would provoke confusion in the mission areas and would not strengthen spiritual vitality in the First World. It would be a departure from the practice of the Lord Himself, bring significant practical disadvantages to the work of the Church, e.g. financial, and weaken the sign value of the priesthood. It would weaken, too, the witness to loving sacrifice, and to the reality of the Last Things, and the rewards of Heaven.

Posted by kshaw at October 19, 2005 09:58 AM