Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rome: Clerical celibacy to remain normative and extended to the entire church including the East

From an interview with Father Laurent Touze (emphasis mine).
ZENIT: With this measure, do you think that one day, celibacy might become voluntary also for priests of the Latin rite?

Father Touze: No, because the Church is understanding more and more the relation between priesthood, episcopate and celibacy. It is something that could be likened to the revelation of a dogma, though it isn't so at this time; one tends increasingly to understand that a practice must be promoted among all priests and also among Eastern Catholic priests which is truly similar to the one lived in the first centuries.
Read the rest here.

23 comments:

Taylor said...

And people wonder why I didn't simply become a uniate when I decided to head east...

Fr Mark said...

When Orthodox zealots say that the catholic Church is graxeless, do people think that they speak for the EP? When the monks of Athos object to the Pope being received in hieratiic vestments, do you suppose that this is the attitude of the Phanar? Then why do people persists in taking these foolish and prejudiced declarations of Catholic zealots for the official position of the Catholic Church? He is a theologian, no more. You can find a theologian to say almost anything you like, and anything quoted with approval on Rorate Caeli is going to be prejudiced in the extreme.

Fr John W Fenton said...

Fr Mark - Your comment points to a necessary context for reading the musings of a theological professor. At the same time, one wonders if the professor is reflecting a view more widespread amongst certain in the Vatican.

Fr Mark said...

Fr John,
Certain, undoubtedly. Many or most, fortunately not!

Adam said...

This article is of a piece with an increasing, and dangerous, movement on the part of more and more Latins to equate "ontologically" celibacy with priesthood, such that the very being of the latter is defective if missing the former. on this, see Basilo Petra's recent article in the 50th volume, nos. 3-4 (2009) of LOGOS: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. He unearths some real absurdities.

This priest claims celibacy "could be likened to the revelation of a dogma, though it isn't so at this time." This is also of a piece with an increasing, and even more dangerous, tendency on the part of some Latins to view dogmas as playthings that one can confect when the mood strikes. In this regard, cf. recent and ongoing agitations to dogmatize certain claims about the Theotokos--co-redemptrix, etc. One papal-dogmatic move along these lines in either direction--celibacy or Mary--would blow up, for a century or more, all good will so painstakingly established with the Orthodox over the last generation. And for what? To "prove" the Latins are right? To declare victory in establishing that their heavily fetishized local tradition is somehow universal and superior? Are these people for real??

If Zenit were a real news organization, instead of the propaganda arm of a certain strain of ideological Catholicism, they would not have let this priest get away with claiming that "Studies have convincingly shown that this must be questioned: Celibacy of all clerics wasn't lived, but from the moment of inclusion in the priestly order these men had to live continence with the permission of their wives, because this was a commitment of the couple." There are no such studies--he's just made this up. And then he continues: "Historically because there has been a manipulation of texts and I believe a bad translation that the Eastern Church, which has separated from Rome and has recognized that what they had declared contrary to tradition, could be accepted." Au contraire: it is precisely the Latins who have been manipulating texts or tendentiously interpreting them. This shell-game was given away by one of their former apologists and propagandists, who finally retracted his efforts: I refer, of course, to Roman Cholij.

He ends by reiterating, albeit in stronger terms, with reference to episcopal celibacy, "that at stake was the dogmatic issue." That's just nonsense on stilts. There's no dogma here at all--it's purely "disciplinary" just as it is with priests. The apostles were married, and a legitimately married episcopate (i.e., as opposed to concubines and fornication after promises of celibacy became common in the west from the 11th century onward) is common until at least the 4th century. There was no "dogmatic" issue then, and there is none now.

parepidemos said...

Dear Fr. John,

Several of Zenit's articles are far from being what is truly taught by those in communion with the See of Rome. As Adam mentioned, any serious publication would not tolerate a statement such as "Studies have shown..." without requiring further explanation: which studies and by whom?

The comments made by this university professor are his own(poorly thought out and evidence-deprived) opinions and nothing more.

Fr Paul said...

Adam
"a certain strain of ideological Catholicism" - very well summed up. One should point out that the theologian in question teaches at the Pontifical Holy Cross University. This instution is an organ of Opus Dei, an organisation well inserted into the said strain. there are, I think, some serious scholars on the staff there, but in general it is a mechanism for members of the prelature to award each other doctorates. Please don't let's take it too seriously! You will find that this ill-judged intervention excites as much ire within the Latin Church as without.

Visibilium said...

When Orthodox zealots say that the catholic Church is graxeless, do people think that they speak for the EP?

Did the EP disown our 1848 Encyclical while I was eating dinner?

Anonymous said...

NCR, ( National Catholic Reporter), has an article discussing the same event;

http://ncronline.org/news/people/exceptions-celibacy-rule-puzzle-priests

The comments are quite interesting

Bob Glassmeyer said...

No offense to anyone, but I wouldn't wrap fish with the NCR.

So lovely. Another hot button issue to get people good and honked off.

What a lovely thing for Lent.

Spiffy.

Bob Glassmeyer said...

Being RC, it's easy to get swept away in a sea of hot button issues. Usually, if you want to get a room full of RC's to say the F word, there are typically 5 such issues, to wit: clergy sex abuse, liturgy, priestly celibacy, women priests, and inclusive language.

Happy Lent.

Tom said...

When the monks of Athos object to the Pope being received in hieratiic vestments, do you suppose that this is the attitude of the Phanar?

Obviously not, but then Orthodoxy does not necessarily reside in the Phanar. This wouldn't be the first time in our history that the holy monks got it right. At the very least we shouldn't dismiss them out of hand as "zealots" just because they're not cuddly.

Fr Paul said...

Visibilium
I rather think he did, implicitly at least. But you must have been eating dinner a long time.

Tom
I think zealot is a word some of them use to describe themselves. I didn't mean it to be dismissive.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"You can find a theologian to say almost anything you like, and anything quoted with approval on Rorate Caeli..."

The article was not "quoted with approval" on Rorate Caeli, since I merely posted the entire article, without commentary. If you really are so unprejudiced, perhaps you could try reading what we actually post on Rorate -- let's see, frequent quotes from the Popes, from cardinals, Catholic theologians in communion with Rome who aren't "traditionalist" at all, etc. etc.

VSO said...

"When Orthodox zealots say that the catholic Church is graxeless, do people think that they speak for the EP?"

Do I care what the EP thinks?

@Bob, no offense taken

Anonymous said...

1Corinthians 9:5

"Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas (Peter)?"

That sounds pretty first century to me.

Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
LaCrosse, WI

Visibilium said...

Fr. Paul (or Mark), well, as a matter of fact, I have been continuously gorging myself on the typically varied and luxurious fare on which I feast during this time of the year. The noise of my lips' smacking must have drowned out the EP's latest Turret's-style theological ejaculation.

Maybe you know better than I--for whom does the EP speak? The Vatican Philosopher is hanging his kamelauchion on a chimera.

Contrarian said...

Carlos, Rorate didn't seem to like my mild posts contra the wild-eyed claims on the power of the popes over patriarchs.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Carlos, Rorate didn't seem to like my mild posts contra the wild-eyed claims on the power of the popes over patriarchs."

It all depends on who happens to be doing the moderating at any given time.

Phil said...

Same here, Carlos. I wonder how many supportive comments were moderated? Probably didn't depend on who was doing the moderating; I'm guessing none. Have the guts to allow dissent.

Anonymous said...

Here's one Roman Catholic take on the interview: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/03/11/are-married-priests-an-exception/

Miguel

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Same here, Carlos. I wonder how many supportive comments were moderated? Probably didn't depend on who was doing the moderating; I'm guessing none. Have the guts to allow dissent."

Go and read the 71 comments there. There are some that do give the Eastern side of things, FIVE OUT OF THE FIRST EIGHT comments, for instance. Your comment tells me that you haven't actually read the discussion (given that you say that you're merely guessing). And who are you to lecture me about guts? Do you know my life?

The only kind of comment I don't tolerate is the nutty kind, whether from extreme Traditionalist, extreme Modernists, and extreme Orthodox.

Tom said...

I'm not sure whether the mods on Rorate Caeli would consider Cardinal Schonborn to be on the "extreme modernist" end of the spectrum, but he certainly doesn't appear to have discerned, as yet, any "revelation of a dogma" with regard to priestly celibacy.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7058065.ece