Pope Francis and Benedict XVI at the Vatican, in December 2018. - HANDOUT / AFP
Former Pope Benedict XVI has publicly urged his successor Francis to abandon the idea of ordaining priests to married men, a very unusual initiative at the Vatican. Faced with the local lack of priests in the Amazon who can give sacraments, a synod suggested ordaining priests of married men of mature age (called " viri probati "), preferably indigenous. François must make a decision on this very sensitive issue in the coming weeks.
Benoît, 92, who left office in 2013, spoke in a book written with ultra-conservative cardinal Robert Sarah, extracts of which were published exclusively on Sunday by the French daily Le Figaro . “The similarity of our concerns and the convergence of our conclusions decided us to put the fruit of our work and of our spiritual friendship at the disposal of all the faithful like St. Augustine. Indeed, like him, we can say: “ Silere non possum ! I cannot be silent! ", Write the two ecclesiastics. "It is urgent, necessary, that all, bishops, priests and laity, find a look of faith on the Church and on priestly celibacy which protects its mystery", they affirm.
Don't let yourself be "impressed"
They ask the whole Church not to be "impressed" by "bad pleas, theatrical productions, devilish lies, fashionable mistakes that want to devalue priestly celibacy". “The conjugal state concerns the whole of man, and since the service of the Lord also requires the total gift of man, it does not seem possible to realize both vocations simultaneously. Thus, the ability to renounce marriage in order to place oneself fully at the disposal of the Lord has become a criterion for priestly ministry, ”writes Benedict. For Guinean cardinal Sarah, “priestly celibacy, if understood at times, is a liberation. It allows the priest to establish himself in all coherence in his identity as husband of the Church ”.
Benedict, the first sovereign pontiff to resign in almost six centuries, first imposed himself on a life of contemplation and calm but then expressed himself more and more openly on the key issues of the Catholic Church.
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- Pope Francis
- Benedict xvi