Posts Tagged celibate priests
It is time for the Catholic bishops to stop hoping for an increase in vocations to the celibate priesthood and to acknowledge that the church needs married priests to serve the people of God. We cannot have a Catholic Church without sacraments, and a priest is needed for the Eucharist, confession, and anointing.
“At the Last Supper, Jesus said, ‘Do this in memory of me,’ not ‘have a celibate priesthood.’ The need for the Eucharist trumps having a celibate priesthood.
“For at least 50 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has seen a drop in the number of priests. According to CARA reports, in 1970, there were 59,192 priests in the U.S.; by 2016, there were only 37,192. Meanwhile, the number of Catholics increased to 74.2 million from 51 million. That means the people/priest ratio grew from 861 Catholics per priest in 1970 to 1,995 per priest in 2016. These numbers include all priests both religious and diocesan, as well as retired priests. When the priests currently over 65 years of age die, these numbers will be even worse.”
By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
We could not have said this better ourselves.
“Christian Churches are not in good shape today. Reform is urgently needed. Instead, in many parts of Europe, Roman Catholic bishops are destroying local communities…
“Roman Catholic bishops in Europe are abolishing local Christian communities: pointing to the shortage of celibate priests, they are closing or amalgamating parishes into larger regional units. Parishioners are told to get used to finding a mass elsewhere – as if Christian faith could be reduced to merely getting to Mass. Such bishops are convinced that the church depends on priests. However, this thinking is deeply flawed …
“… The rich sacramental life in the Catholic Church gives expression and structure to the local community. The celebration of the Eucharist gathers the community in Christ’s presence around one table. However, a shortage of (celibate) priests does not have to mean the end of Christian vocation and community.
“It is a tragic misunderstanding that the prime task of bishops is to organize people around priests. Rather, priests are called to serve the local community. If this clericalist misunderstanding is to continue, bishops will quickly become the grave diggers of the church …”
Commentary by Prof. Werner Jeanrond, Roman Catholic theologian and Master of St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, in Oxford Mail, as compiled by Pete Hughes — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Voice of the Faithful® encourages interested Catholics to join with FutureChurch supporters and ask U.S. bishops to open a dialogue “about restoring our early traditions of married and celibate priests and male and female deacons.”
In an open letter to U.S. bishops, FutureChurch urges bishops “to discern the needs of all the people of God and to listen to Pope Francis’ call for courage in realizing reforms that will bring new vitality to Eucharistic communities.”
You can join this effort by clicking here to send your bishop a copy of the letter.
We need to shout loudly for our bishops to hear our Spirit-filled voices and help us change the Church.