(VATICAN CITY) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has damaged his silence to reaffirm the worth of priestly celibacy, co-authoring a bombshell guide on the exact second that Pope Francis is weighing whether or not to permit married males to be ordained to handle the Catholic priest scarcity.
Benedict wrote the guide, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Disaster of the Catholic Church,” alongside along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy workplace and has been a quiet critic of Francis.
The French every day Le Figaro printed excerpts of the guide late Sunday; The Related Press obtained galleys of the English version, which is being printed by Ignatius Press.
Benedict’s intervention is extraordinary, given he had promised to stay “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013 and pledged his obedience to the brand new pope. He has largely held to that pledge, although he penned an odd essay final yr on the sexual abuse scandal that blamed the disaster on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
His reaffirmation of priestly celibacy, nonetheless, will get to the center of a fraught coverage problem that Francis is predicted to weigh in on, and will effectively be thought-about a public try by the previous pope to sway the considering of the present one. The implications for such an intervention are grave, and are more likely to gasoline renewed anxiousness concerning the unprecedented scenario of two popes, one retired and one reigning, residing aspect by aspect within the Vatican gardens.
The authors clearly anticipated that potential interpretation, and harassed of their joint introduction that they have been penning the guide “in a spirit of filial obedience, to Pope Francis.”
Francis has mentioned he would write a doc based mostly on the result of the October 2019 synod of bishops on the Amazon. A majority of bishops on the assembly referred to as for the ordination of married males to handle the priest scarcity within the Amazon, the place the trustworthy can go months with out having a Mass.
Francis has expressed sympathy with the Amazonian plight. Whereas he has lengthy reaffirmed the reward of a celibate priesthood within the Latin ceremony church, he has harassed that celibacy is a practice, not doctrine, and subsequently can change, and that there may very well be pastoral causes to permit for a exception in a selected place.
Benedict addresses the difficulty head-on in his chapter within the temporary guide, which consists of a joint introduction and conclusion penned by Benedict and Sarah, after which a chapter apiece inbetween. True to his theological type, Benedict’s chapter is dense with biblical references and he explains in scholarly phrases what he says is the “vital” basis for the celibate priesthood that dates from the occasions of the apostles.
“The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter right into a life that consists of changing into one with him and renouncing all that belongs solely to us,” he writes. “For clergymen, that is the inspiration of the need of celibacy but in addition of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Phrase of God and the renunciation of fabric items.”
Marriage, he writes, requires man to provide himself completely to his household. “Since serving the Lord likewise requires the whole reward of a person, it doesn’t appear potential to hold on the 2 vocations concurrently. Thus, the flexibility to resign marriage in order to position oneself completely on the Lord’s disposition grew to become a criterion for priestly ministry.”
The joint conclusion of the guide makes the case even stronger, acknowledging the disaster of the Catholic priesthood that it says has been “wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the fixed questioning of their consecrated celibacy.”
Dedicating the guide to clergymen of the world, the 2 authors urge them to persevere, and for all trustworthy to carry agency and help them of their celibate ministry.
“It’s pressing and vital for everybody—bishops, clergymen and lay individuals—to cease letting themselves be intimidated by the wrong-headed pleas, the theatrical productions, the diabolical lies and the modern errors that attempt to put down priestly celibacy,” they write. “It’s pressing and vital for everybody—bishops, clergymen and lay individuals—to take a contemporary look with the eyes of religion on the Church and at priestly celibacy which protects her thriller.”
The guide is being printed at a second of renewed curiosity — and confusion — in fashionable tradition concerning the nature of the connection between Francis and Benedict, because of the Netflix drama, “The Two Popes.”
The movie, starring Anthony Hopkins as Benedict and Jonathan Pryce as Francis, imagines a days-long dialog between the 2 males earlier than Benedict introduced his historic resignation — conversations wherein their completely different views of the state of the church grow to be obvious.
These conferences by no means occurred, and the 2 males didn’t know each other effectively earlier than Francis was elected to succeed Benedict. However whereas the movie takes creative liberties for the sake of narrative, it will get the purpose throughout that Francis and Benedict certainly have very completely different factors of view — which the brand new guide bears out.