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Cardinal Prefect of Congregation for Clergy Promotes Possibility of Married Priesthood

This week, there is news from Italy that Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has disclosed some more information about possible plans of reform in the Church with regard to the question of the married priests. In an interview for a new Italian book on Pope Francis and his closest cardinal counselors, entitled “Tutti gli uomini di Francesco” (Saint Paul editions), by Vatican journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona, Stella makes some remarks concerning the larger context of Pope Francis’ own general plans.

Stella speaks here of the possibility of ordaining to the priesthood “old married men.” It is purportedly not about generally ordaining married men. As Andrea Tornielli’s Vatican Insider puts it in today’s report:

Instead, it is about responding to an emergency in certain areas, entrusting the guidance of communities – often impossible to reach by the priest – to older married men of proven faith, by ordaining them priests so that they may celebrate the sacraments.

That Stella himself speaks here also with the pope in mind becomes clear in another quote from Vatican Insider:

From that interview, however, the Pope’s intuition emerges, which exhorts the Church to “recognize the right moment in which the Spirit suggests something”. That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity. With regard to the shortage of vocations, in some areas of the world – think for example of the Amazon or the remote Pacific Islands, but not only [there] – [for] there is an acute suffering for a true “sacramental emergency,” which the few priests present are not able [on their own] to accommodate.

The Vatican Insider article also indicates that the upcoming Amazon Synod will probably deal with this matter, when it says:

It should be noted that Stella speaks of “sacramental emergency”: to open in favor of the ordination of the viri probati – only a hypothesis that will probably be discussed at the Synod on the Amazon – would be motivated by the supreme law for the Church [i.e., “the good of souls”].  [emphasis added]

Most importantly, Vatican Insider‘s journalist Andrea Tornielli – a close confidant of the pope himself – then further reveals that one of the sources of inspiration for these reform ideas is Bishop emeritus Fritz Lobinger (of South Africa) – whom Pope Francis had praised, already in 2015, in the presence of the German bishops during their Ad Limina visit in Rome!

Tornielli says:

From the study – Cardinal Stella observes in the interview – interesting perspectives emerge, whose real scope could be evaluated, such as the possibility of ordaining older men to celebrate the Eucharist in isolated Catholic communities”, according to the proposal that the emeritus bishop of Aliwal, in South Africa, Monsignor Lobinger, did [made] a few years ago; here, the focus is not on the ordination of individual probati viri, but on the maturity and responsibility of the Christian community, from which some “elders” may emerge and who, once they have received their ordination, would be responsible for ensuring the celebration of the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation and the anointing of the sick”. [emphasis added]

Thus, Cardinal Stella – who has as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy an important role in this matter – reveals to us the following: That the pope considers allowing married (older) priests in the Amazon region and in some Pacific Islands (and more); that they might follow ideas of Bishop Lobinger – who is also still publicly raising the idea of ordaining women – and that this most probably will also be discussed at the upcoming 2019 Amazon Region Synod.

As the German journalist, Giuseppe Nardi, has reported over the last couples of weeks, there were clear disclosures given – also by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri – before and during the papal visit to Chile and Peru that part of the pope’s agenda is to meet with bishops of the Amazon region, in order to discuss the Amazon Region Synod, as a kind of preparatory pre-synod meeting. Giuseppe Nardi also related that this new Stella interview makes it clear that the pope wishes to go in the direction of ordaining married men. Moreover, Nardi also translated parts of a recent interview given by Bishop emeritus Erwin Kräutler who indicated, as well, that the upcoming synod will speak about the “communities without the Eucharist” and the possibility of ordaining married men.

Finally, on 11 January, we reported about a priest, Professor Paul Zulehner, who co-authored several books with Bishop Lobinger himself and who now predicts that, “before female priests, there will be married priests.” [emphasis added] He continued, saying:

I guess that the Latin American bishops will decide this at the Synod for the Pan-Amazon region in 2019. The pope probably will back them up. This will then put others under pressure to follow the example of the Latin Americans. This way, the Church will change.

We thus clearly see an immense promotion of the expanding progressivist agenda on all fronts, namely in the questions of married priests, homosexual unions, contraception, euthanasia, as well as abortion. When might the faithful Catholic world stand up now and say “Enough is enough!”?

49 thoughts on “Cardinal Prefect of Congregation for Clergy Promotes Possibility of Married Priesthood”

  1. This Cdl. Stella is in favor of women cardinals like Carinal Tobin.
    The trivialities of these prelates must stop. A return to orthodoxy will solve the priest shortage, not women or married priests.
    From the Detailed Rules for Monks by Saint Basil the Great
    How shall we repay the Lord for all his goodness to us?
    What words can adequately describe God’s gifts? They are so numerous that they defy enumeration. They are so great that any one of them demands our total gratitude in response.
    Yet even though we cannot speak of it worthily, there is one gift which no thoughtful man can pass over in silence. God fashioned man in his own image and likeness; he gave him knowledge of himself; he endowed him with the ability to think which raised him above all living creatures; he permitted him to delight in the unimaginable beauties of paradise, and gave him dominion over everything upon earth.
    Then, when man was deceived by the serpent and fell into sin, which led to death and to all the sufferings associated with death, God still did not forsake him. He first gave man the law to help him; he set angels over him to guard him; he sent the prophets to denounce vice and to teach virtue; he restrained man’s evil impulses by warnings and roused his desire for virtue by promises. Frequently, by way of warning, God showed him the respective ends of virtue and of vice in the lives of other men. Moreover, when man continued in disobedience even after he had done all this, God did not desert him.
    No, we were not abandoned by the goodness of the Lord. Even the insult we offered to our Benefactor by despising his gifts did not destroy his love for us. On the contrary, although we were dead, our Lord Jesus Christ restored us to life again, and in a way even more amazing than the fact itself, for his state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave.
    He bore our infirmities and endured our sorrows. He was wounded for our sake so that by his wounds we might be healed. He redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for our sake, and he submitted to the most ignominious death in order to exalt us to the life of glory. Nor was he content merely to summon us back from death to life; he also bestowed on us the dignity of his own divine nature and prepared for us a place of eternal rest where there will be joy so intense as to surpass all human imagination.
    How, then, shall we repay the Lord for all his goodness to us? He is so good that he asks no recompense except our love: that is the only payment he desires. To confess my personal feelings, when I reflect on all these blessings I am overcome by a kind of dread and numbness at the very possibility of ceasing to love God and of bringing shame upon Christ because of my lack of recollection and my preoccupation with trivialities. (Roman Franciscan Liturgy of Hours)

  2. Perhaps if South America wasn’t so infested with Liberation theology, they’d have plenty of vocations. Perhaps if European and North American seminaries hadn’t been so inundated with homosexuals and heretics during the late 20th century, there would be mission priests, self-denying masculine men, to help and bear fruit in areas where priests are scarce.

    Allowing married priests is a progressive solution for a problem created by progressivism. Tradition is the answer, not more progressivism.

    • Boy, I was just going to say this. Is it not the fault of the people of the region that their children don’t discern vocations? That they don’t even consider the priesthood? Our Archbiship Chaput is want to say: we are the times; we are the culture.

    • Exactly. The solution is to be 100% genuinely Catholic – in doctrine, liturgy, tradition, prayer and penance.

      These men think their post-conciliar reforms are wonderful and we cannot turn back. 50+ years of malaise, parish closings, rampant heresy and immorality, and they refuse to change.

      The Second Vatican Council was called to speak to the modern world and prevent all of this. It is an utter failure, and no amount of canonization of post-conciliar Popes is going to fix this garbage.

  3. Just another cave in on the minor/major orders starting with the laity doing everything the priest does short of the consecration, altar girls and married deacons. With the lack in vocations, this “progression” is obviously no surprise.

  4. Folks, crack open a cold one, sit back and enjoy because in another 12 months or so when the commission studying the female diaconate makes its report, this is going to seem like “the good old days”. Hey……at least the married priests will be men, right? Look on the bright side. When the Bergoglio scatter-gun-poop-shooter really gets fired up, we’ll have female deacons, female priests, homosexual priests “married” to other men, transgender priests…………it’ll be a total freak show.

    Only the Second Coming or a clean break with these apostates can solve this.

      • Are you abolutely certain we don’t already have one? The Pope’s ugly enough….and may well take the black legend of Pope Joan as a model.

        • Indeed, gallows humor is critical to avoid the potential sin of anger. I say potential sin.
          Though it’s one of the 7 deadly sins, there is a moral and obligatory anger that should be aired.

        • Goodness, Deacon Augustine… It’s not cricket picking on Pope Joan like that… at least she was in a heterosexual relationship and the gal got pregnant naturally after all…

  5. If they are old enough that their wives have died then go for it!!! I often wonder why more effort is not spent encouraging widowers to consider the priesthood in places where vocations are in short supply.

    • Generally, the church won’t have them. At least in the diocese that I’ve investigated, you cannot be ordained a priest with less than a Masters degree in some sort of philosophy program, and then Seminary on top of that. How many people who are widowed either have the correct degree already, or are willing to go back to school, so they can go back to school again (Seminary) on the tail end of their lives?

      • Two men I trained with in the seminary were widowed after being ordained as deacons and subsequently returned to seminary for 3 years and have now been ordained as priests. So it can happen and as deacons have to embrace celibacy on widowhood anyway it makes sense to be more proactive in these areas. For dioceses who are willing to look at these options there is a much larger pool of widowed men than among deacons. At least you can be sure they are not faggots.

  6. I think it’s time for the chastisement! Progressives have ruined this country now the progressives have elected one in the last conclave. May God have mercy on us!

  7. Personally I like Michael’s (see below) suggestion. In fact, I agree with the theory, expressed by many, that Pope Francis is a practicing Liberation Theologist

  8. That has already been done. No response to them.

    One of the better suggestions I have seen is to talk with your parish priest, and tell him that if he should find himself in a conflict with the church that could lead to his no longer having an income, or a home in the rectory, that he is very welcome to stay at your house.

  9. Well I have converts whether it be Anglican and Baptist saying that this is not the Catholic church they joined, so I understand your pain. The dilemma is that the shepherds we have at the very top are more concerned with the temporal things of this world than for the salvation of souls.

  10. By any stretch of imagination, and By Default, Viri Probati will turn out to be pro quicumque [for anyone any where, in the course of time and as necessity demands] because the local bishop will be prompted to implement as per his interpretation the indult to be issued, to suit his fancy, just as the celebration of the mass has turned out to be.

    Collegiality is currently interpreted by the bishops as allegiance to Peter of Rome and not to the Vicar of Christ in Rome. Just like ‘a’ permission to give communion in the hand or permit of altar girls (feminization of the sanctuary), eventually not only “married men” but “mulieres probati” too will claim the right to be ‘priest/ess’es.

    A few more progressive steps and Catholics will be no different from other ecclesial communities. And they can now gleefully say “It has taken 567 years for the catholics to catch up with us, hooray !” Our Lady of La Salette continues to weep as she sees her Son’s Bride being ravished by Church’s own ministers. OL of Fatima : the (mass) suicide of altering the Liturgy has led to the exodus of priests and faithful. Indeed Rome has lost the faith, the tradition and her soul. What is/will be left is the facade !

  11. I guess that a “sacramental emergency” is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Judging by our catastrophic vocations statistics here in the UK, it is too obvious that we have a looming “sacramental emergency” where mass closures of churches (and then dioceses) will be inevitable. The dwindling band of elderly and worn out clergy will not be able to run two or three churches each. I call some names on this table “Audi dioceses”: 0 ordinations, 0 entries to the main seminary, 0 entries to propaedeutic seminary and 0 transfers from propaedeutic to main seminary. And 0 reasons to exist as a separate diocese.

    To compound the problem, we have already experienced married priests at first hand. We had a married ex-Anglican vicar as a priest in my parish for a few years. Were not Anglican orders utterly void, as per Leo XIII, and thus was not this (very fine) convert in exactly the same position as an ex-Anglican bank manager or bus driver? Having made that illogical compromise on married clergy and given the long term tolerance of openly gay priests, the English hierarchy are not going to resist any innovations.

  12. Most of the more knowledgeable believe a Catholic priesthood permitted to marry would have immediate benefit, for example many married deacons would make fine pastors. The issue is really long term, that soon afterwards vocations will continue to plummet. The same dearth of vocations of married clergy in long standing Protestant denominations is an indication. The root cause of that is the distortion of what priesthood in Christ means. Sacrifice, a willingness to offer oneself with Christ for the salvation of others, and the spiritual fire that ignites the soul has been virtually extinguished.

        • Correction…the Catholic HAS married priests.

          Has anyone here never heard of the Eastern Catholic Church(es)?

          As a Latin Rite Catholic, I am amazed by the lack of knowledge when it comes to the eastern church.
          Catholic or Orthodox.

          That said, I certainly dont believe a married priesthood is the solution to the darkness in the church.

          I don’t trust those who are proposing viri probati.
          Their track record of permitting ambiguous changes is like the camel nose under the tent.

      • Damask rose has a beautiful scent. Spiritual fragrance is more pronounced in our dogged loyalty to One Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body in the World. He’s being Crucified by his own. Stand by his Cross and weep. Be strong.

      • Rose that isn’t true since you well know the Fr Weinandys and Bishop A Schneiders, Laymen Josef Seiferts out there are many. I too believe married priesthood would have immediate but not lasting benefit. Hopefully and with God’s grace I’ve Crucified and killed dead the carnal man I once was.

  13. I believe that in Brazil* the laity give homilies at Mass now and the laity can marry the laity, I mean preside over the wedding seremony like a Deacon would substitute for a priest.

    The whole permanent deacon thing and the lay “clerical” roles are supplanting the celibate priesthood. The laity have been taught to accept a non-celibate priest.

    South America has been used as the experimental ground and here’s the conclusion.

    Europa has been done over with the lay clerical roles first and then the convert Protestant ministers coming in, when they should be celibate as well as the permanent diaconate.

    Remember they denigrated the Blessed Sacrament first then went after the Blessed Sacrament’s priest.

    *According to a priest who does missionary work in Brazil, people tend to wait to get married when Father turns up….

  14. Some time ago, I read that there are two parts to the Sacred Heart. The first part was revealed to St Margaret Mary Alocoque, the other to Ven Maria Concepcion Carbrera de Armida, La Conchita. The second part, the Sacred Heart reveals the suffering He has with regards to the sanctification of the priesthood. Jesus, the Divine Mercy, revealed to St Faustina Kowalska how the priest was unified to Christ in the priest’s soul, but she was not allowed to reveal this in her diary. Hopefully, my memory serves correct, and I think it was St Mechtilde of Hackeborn to whom Jesus revealed that he loved St John the Beloved so much (who I think was a relative) because he gave up an upcoming marriage to be a disciple. Then there is “In sine Jesu” a book of locutions from Jesus to a priest, edited by Fr Mark Kirby of Silverstream Priory, Ireland. I do believe that the seers of Garabandal had a predilection for priests and that Garabandal is about the priesthood.

    I think heaven will not allow this smuttying of Jesus’ priesthood and the fabulous priest saints in heaven will declare war on Earth.

    Please help us St Edmund Campion, St Edmund Arrowsmith, St Robert Southwell, St John Southworth who died for the Mass. Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos de Seña (holy Jesuit seminarian, brought the Sacred Heart devotion to Spain) help us too.

    I feel like I’m becoming a recusant. I wish this would all go away. It’s quite upsetting.

  15. There is an easier solution to the problem from the Vatican: Give good example, don’t scandalize, be exigent not lenient, exert real authority not dictatorship, respect the tradition, put yourselves in the last position not before Christ, be servants not the masters, understand humility and don’t be so Humble, ask for excellence not for anything goes, be respectful with other clerics and nuns. Then you will have vocations. If not, you won’t have even viri probati, mainly because they are “viri” and they won’t accept to suffer you.

  16. If a selection of maybe 10 or 15 married men were ordained to specifically care for those areas where priests rarely are in the Amazon, then I could maybe see this being not awful… However, we all really know what’s going on here. This is another attempt to subvert tradition and destroy the Church. It’s honestly not even surprising at this point. It just keeps going on and on.

  17. We are spiritually so poor that the priesthood only gets a functionalistic explanation. We need some, so let’s make some.

  18. What i would like to know, and they are quite simple and easy questions:

    How is a priest going to take on an conventional earthly wife, without first divorcing Christ?

    And, how are Pope Francis’ ,”Viri Probati” are going to marry Christ without committing adultry on their conventional earthly wives…

    And the confusion grows… Catholicism is Black and White, because God relates terms (we are talking about a contract, the aboriginal vicar of Christ is written on our hearts, its is the law.) in Black and White.

  19. Women priests?
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    Papal infallibility?
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    The divinity of Christ?
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”
    The existence of God?
    Well, “That is, it is not a question of being for or against something, but rather of carefully evaluating the different possibilities, without closures or rigidity.”

  20. Where are those “Old School Nuns with the wooden rulers” when you really need them. Seems to be a number of folks out there that need to have the Devil beaten out of them. God help us all.

  21. There are very serous historiical and theological arguments in favor of priestly celibacy. This has been clearly researched by French Jesuit Fr. Christian Cochini, whose book on the Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy is avialable from Ignatius Press, and several others. Another Jesuit Fr. Donald Keefe, S.J. on the theological arguments which support it: This is a highly recommendable study. Here is more mentioning two other important studies on the matter In fact, the “lex continentiae” should have been maintained in the case of the Peranent Diaconate, as Cardinal Stickler points out. Dr. Ed Peters argues convincingly regarding this in the current Code of Canon Law Dr. Peters provides all the relevant bibliography on the matter iin this website. If anyone wants to discuss the matter with sufficient seriousness (and one would assume that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy would want to do that, but one may also doubt that he would) then the works he lists there are essential reading.

    Now one can understand why Cardinal Piacenza was removed and demoted from the Roman Dicastery for the Clergy and his place taken by Cardinal Stella, who is considered in line with Francis.

    I hope this will be useful to OnePeterFive readers.

  22. Once Celibacy is lifted as a strict requirement for Priesthood, there will result within a very short time no longer any vocations to Celibate Priesthood, and consequently the ministry will become more academic, like many protestants, and finally orthodox Faith and devotion will devolve into merely a philosophical exercise, being without corporal expression, as is the sacrament of matrimony already being limited to an “ideal.”


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