Posts Tagged priesthood

Now is the time for married priests / National Catholic Reporter

“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.”

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 …

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Next synod likely to focus on ordaining married men / Cruxnow.com

In response to acute priest shortages around the world, Pope Francis may well decide that his next Synod of Bishops should focus on ministry—including the question of whether married men could be ordained to celebrate the sacraments, in effect creating a parallel priesthood.

After the bruising but fruitful experience of the synod on the family, one thing is clear: Francis has created an instrument of discernment that is capable of wrestling with big issues in the contemporary Church.

“The reformed synod – a global consultation, followed by two assemblies separated by a year, concluding in a major papal teaching document that resets pastoral strategy for the next generation – means that big topics can no longer be kicked into the long grass on the basis that they are just too big to deal with.

“If a vast topic such as the Church’s preparation for marriage and its handling of divorcés can be discussed, it means other burning issues can be too. And top of that list are questions about ministry: access to the sacraments, the role of women and lay people, as well as the role of deacons.

“Some are saying that pastoral ministries will the topic for the next synod, likely to be scheduled for 2018-19.

‘No one doubts the question is an urgent one. More than half of the Catholic Church’s communities worldwide have no resident priest.”

By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Reformist Austrian Catholic Priest Will Undertake U.S. Speaking Tour — Calling for institutional change and an inclusive priesthood

Fr. Helmut Schuller

Fr. Helmut Schuller

Amid calls for institutional change and an inclusive priesthood for the Roman Catholic Church, Austrian reformist priest Fr. Helmut Schuller is touring the United States this summer to raise awareness of his campaign.

Fr. Schuller’s speaking tour, called The Catholic Tipping Point: Conversations with Helmut Schuller, will cover 15 U.S. cities. The worldwide Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® is a member of a coalition of Church reform organizations sponsoring his tour and is directly sponsoring his talks in New York City on July 16; Dedham, Massachusetts, on July 17; and Manhasset, New York, on Long Island on Aug. 7.

VOTF supports Fr. Schuller’s calls for transparency in Church governance, a greater lay voice in running the Church and the ordination of married Catholic men as priests.

Fr. Schuller founded the Austrian Priests’ Initiative in 2006 to address a global priest shortage and his U.S. tour comes in the midst of a crisis in the number of Catholic priests. A 2009 National Federation of Priests’ Councils study found that for every 100 priests who retire, only 30 are available to replace them.

In 2011, he led a “Call to Disobedience” among Austrian priests that was well received by more than 70% of them. Pope Benedict XVI rejected this initiative, and Fr. Schüller, who once served Cardinal Christoph Schönborn as vicar general, was stripped of his honorary title of “Monsignor, Chaplain of His Holiness,” though he remains a priest in good standing.

For more information about Fr. Schuller, his initiatives and his U.S. tour, click here.

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