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Brazilian prelate recounts conversation with Pope on ordination of married men

Catholic World News - April 16, 2014

An Austrian-born missionary bishop in Brazil recounted a recent conversation with Pope Francis on the ordination of married men to the priesthood. The bishop met with the Pope on April 4.

“I told him that as bishop of Brazil’s largest diocese with 800 church communities and 700,000 faithful I only had 27 priests, which means that our communities can only celebrate the Eucharist twice or three times a year at the most,” said Bishop Erwin Kräutler of the Territorial Prelature of Xingu, according to a report in The Tablet.

“The Pope explained that he could not take everything in hand personally from Rome,” he added. “We local bishops, who are best acquainted with the needs of our faithful, should be corajudos, that is ‘courageous’ in Spanish, and make concrete suggestions … Regional and national bishops’ conferences should seek and find consensus on reform and we should then bring up our suggestions for reform in Rome.”

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Apr. 16, 2014 10:16 PM ET USA

    Unorthodox remarks made by the Faculty during 'open house' events at major seminaries are a sure way of driving valuable candidates away. That worked for me anyway. And had I been married, it would have had the same unfortunate effect.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Apr. 16, 2014 7:24 PM ET USA

    Let's get real. Are we ready to pay a family wage to married men who have children? I doubt it. One of the principal reasons we don't have married priests is economic. When Catholics begin to tithe seriously, then we can support wives and children and give all the benefits that come along with it.

  • Posted by: shrink - Apr. 16, 2014 4:26 PM ET USA

    1. Not sure what this illustrates about the problem of celibacy. the North American Martyrs had a large territory with only a small band. 2. The larger question should be asked: what's killing the priesthood? You can only prudentially propose a cure (e.g., married priesthood), when you have defined the disease. If celibacy is the disease, then why didn't it kill the priesthood 1000 or 100 years ago? Some other disease must be operating that makes young males afraid to become priests?

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 16, 2014 3:45 PM ET USA

    The FSSP seminaries are bursting at the seams. If we had a larger mandate, we would produce more orthodox priests.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Apr. 16, 2014 2:35 PM ET USA

    Yes, we all know how eager married men are to serve in the Amazon. It is noteworthy that Francis offered a marvelous defense of the celibate priesthood during his visit to Assisi last fall.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 16, 2014 2:02 PM ET USA

    I can't help but wonder if this would be true today if Vatican II hadn't been so "pastoral"?

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 16, 2014 10:16 AM ET USA

    I read the link you give here. It has seemed clear to me now for several years that the discipline of celibacy will soon be declared optional in the Latin Church, with an arrangement similar to that prevailing among the Maronites. I am sure this will cause consternation among les irréductibles, but personally it seems only reasonable in light of the pressing shortage of priests seemingly everywhere. It is clear to me that Francis will not be an obstacle to this change.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 16, 2014 9:50 AM ET USA

    I read the link you give here. It has seemed clear to me now for several years that the discipline of celibacy will soon be declared optional in the Latin Church, with an arrangement similar to that prevailing among the Maronites. I am sure this will cause consternation among les irréductibles, but personally it seems only reasonable in light of the pressing shortage of priests seemingly everywhere. It is clear to me that Francis will not be an obstacle to this change.

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