that was quick

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 04, 2006

Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Sao Paolo, widely known as the Marie Osmond of the Brazilian hierarchy, gave a farewell interview on leaving his diocese en route to Rome, where he is to head up -- God help us -- the Congregation for Clergy. In the interview, Hummes was quoted as saying:

"Celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma of the church. ... Certainly, the majority of the apostles were married. In this modern age, the church must observe these things, it has to advance with history."

By his statement that the Church "has to advance with history," it turns out that his Eminence meant the opposite. The story broke yesterday, and the Holy See got a "clarification" issued under Hummes's own signature this morning. Here's an unofficial rendering of the conclusion:

It is however also clear that the norm of celibacy for priests in the Latin Church is very ancient and based on solid tradition and strong reasoning -- both of a theologico-spiritual and practical pastoral nature -- which has been confirmed by the popes as well.

Also, in the recent Synod of Bishops on the Priesthood, the opinion shared more widely among the synod fathers was that a relaxation of the rule of celibacy would not even solve the problem of the shortage of vocations, which has other causes located in modern secularized culture, as shown by the experience of other Christian denominations that have married priests or pastors.

Such a question, therefore, is not currently under scrutiny by the ecclesiastical authorities, as was recently confirmed at the latest meeting of the heads of dicasteries with the Holy Father.

Bottom line: if you've already registered for your patterns, Father, call Bloomingdales this morning and cancel.

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  • Posted by: voxfem - Dec. 05, 2006 5:44 PM ET USA

    jbrown, The clarification doesn't sound like a coverup to me. It sounds like a real teaching moment, for Hummes and anyone following the story. At any rate, he's no longer in charge of the faithful in Brazil.

  • Posted by: jbrown629 - Dec. 05, 2006 4:06 PM ET USA

    Quadradratus, that is not exactly good enough to overturn a discipline rooted in ancient Christian practice and doctrine, being the honoring and extollation of virginity for the Kingdom of God and the holy state that each priest must aspire to in his life. Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom is objectively a path to greater holiness than consummated marriage. A virginal marriage, of course, is unique unto itself-I'm guessing that's not what Claudio Hummes is 'discussing'.

  • Posted by: Mangy Donkey - Dec. 05, 2006 3:13 PM ET USA

    I would like to point out that even churches with married priest are not getting as many candidates to their respective priesthoods either. The problem doesn't stem from allowing/disallowing married priest. It stems from the overly materialistic and secular mindset our world is currently holding. Allowing a married priesthood would feed into that mindset (I understand that is not the intention with some).

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Dec. 05, 2006 2:38 PM ET USA

    If a MAN is married to a woman before being ordained, he can be admitted to the priesthood and remain married. He can not remarry if the wife dies, he can not divorce of course, and he can not therefore “date”. He would be ORTHODOX in his beliefs. The Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic Rites do it; there has been no scandal. Celibacy is not dogma; it is not weather we like a man to be “married” to the Church, but rather the fact that the celibate priesthood is in a crisis.

  • Posted by: ladybird - Dec. 05, 2006 12:01 PM ET USA

    Claudius, who says no priests? We are getting priests and the dioceses with the most orthodoxy are getting the most vocations! We don't want careerists with pensions and medical plans; every other weekend off; 2 weeks paid vacation and all national holidays; etc. We want holy young men with courage; willing to sacrifice for our Lord, our Church, and us! I'll hop a bus, walk, whatever, to get to Mass. I don't want just any BODY to celebrate the Sacrifice; I want a MAN married to the CHURCH.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2006 8:18 AM ET USA

    When all you bright fellas get done bashing Hummes, I would love to read your ideas on how the church is going to answer the already critical and growing shortage of priests here and world wide. No female priests? OK. No married priests? OK, again. But no priests? Surely, that is not OK.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2006 12:06 AM ET USA

    Isn't it wonderful that the nice white-haired grandfatherly type with the title of "Pope" hasn't forsaken his German ancestry? An old saying encourages, "Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer." What better way to teach a little good old fashioned "discipline" than to have immediate access to the "trainee"? This method also keeps some of the "dirty laundry" off the front pages and out of the sound bites.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 8:41 PM ET USA

    Levada is heterodox to the max.... put him in charge of doctrine... Hummes is anti celibacy ....put him in charge of priests.... I am jumping up and down here I am so excited.... it has to happen..... I can see the news release now..... Cardinal Mahony takes over Cardinal Arinze's job in regards to the liturgy..... yippee yahoooo...does this mean Bishop Skylstad gets to run the Vatican bank?Maybe Cardinal McCarrick can take over the press office...

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 5:54 PM ET USA

    Bringing Cardinal Hummes to Rome was a good idea and I applaud B16 for doing it. Now Hummes must toe the line in Rome rather than preach liberation theology in Brazil. I do the same thing here at work. I love to have the young headstrong lieutenants and captains assigned to my area where I can burst their naive know-it-all bubble and make real leaders out of them! Trust me, this approach WORKS!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 4:52 PM ET USA

    Some revisionists are hoping for a dual level of priesthood; one celebate and traditional with the ability to advance up the ecclesial ladder. The other married and frozen at that level permanently as local servants of the faithful. I doubt that such a system is workable even if it became a fact. They are dreaming again that we can have it both ways. The attempt to radicalize the Church is simply a disaster-a dead star.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 3:56 PM ET USA

    Quadratus, a priest is married to the church, as a male. Also, once marriage is legitimate for a priest, then we will be provided with the spectacle of the dating priest, the priest's pregnant girlfriend's abortion, the priest's divorce and subsequent "remarriage", etc. Not a theological point at all, but I don't want to add those scandals to those we've got already.

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Dec. 04, 2006 2:26 PM ET USA

    What is wrong with the possibility of married clergy? Perhaps it would bring heterosexual men to the priesthood. As the status stands, at least in the United States, the priesthood is a gay profession riddled with abuse. The statement that celibacy is a Church discipline and not a dogma is totally correct. The eastern Churches have married priests and so the Orthodox. The first pope was married. What is so terrible about that?

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Dec. 04, 2006 12:21 PM ET USA

    Convert, ratzinger & Pseudo: wanna bet? I fear we have another John Paul II here: somebody who says totally orthodox things and does---something altogether different.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 12:11 PM ET USA

    Pseudodionysius, you are funny! But you are also right on target.....

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 11:39 AM ET USA

    I still maintain that Benedict XVI does not do something without a reason behind it and that he knows exactly what he is doing and why.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 10:53 AM ET USA

    Rumour has it that the pro wrestler known as Panzer Hammer has been causing a lot of elbow pain with his trademark "Chicken Wing", which he sets up by using a classic Greco Roman belly to belly suplex. This will soon result in the Congregation for Divine Physiotheraphy -- staffed by prelates trained in Greek, Latin and Kinesiology -- to work on the damaged bursa sacs and the collateral cauliflower ear of certain displaced North and South American prelates.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 10:29 AM ET USA

    I wonder how long it will take Hummes to fall in line under Benedict XVI. THis is probably the last "uncensored" comment this guy will make.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 9:47 AM ET USA

    My mind is not boggled at all. B16 did the same thing to Cardinal Hummes that he did with Cardinal Levada. He brought them to Rome for some personal instruction. He let Cardinal Hummes screw up once and BAM!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2006 9:42 AM ET USA

    It concerns me that remarks like those of Cardinal Hummes lead to "expectations" and media speculation that celibacy will become optional soon, and, therefore, a little dating by priests could be seen as acceptable. All of the talk of the 1960's about celibacy becoming optional led to many disappearances of priests in the 70's to marriage as mandatory celibacy remained and priests left. Cardinal Hummes comments will get wide circulation in the media which loves this story.

  • Posted by: jbrown629 - Dec. 04, 2006 9:14 AM ET USA

    The bottom line also seems to be that there is no difference of management of Curial appointments under B 16 than JP 2. There are still terrible miscalculations which scandalize the few believing faithful around the world who actually support Church discipline and dogma. It is incredible that the Pope would have chosen a man for whom the Vatican must start covering for even BEFORE he is formally a part of the Curia. The mind boggles here.