Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the 72 year old Brazilian cardinal is merely the latest Catholic church man to state the obvious that “celibacy is not a dogma”. On December 2 he told a Brazilian newspaper that the Vatican “may revise the question” and that “most of the disciples were married.” Immediately the word travelled around the world and poor Cardinal Hummes had to eat some Vatican crow, offering all kinds of caveats which amounted to “Don’t get your hopes up any too soon.”
Hummes has lived in the real world and has had much experience with the poor of Brazil especially in the area of workers’ rights. At present he is watching as Latin America is rapidly abandoning the Catholic Church in favour of Protestant sects. There are simply not enough priests to stem the leakage.
A leading papal candidate, Hummes, possibly to to prove his bona fides, made the shocking statement that, loosening the centuries-old rule would not help boost the number of clergy. Every study has indicated otherwise.Most suggest it would quadruple the number of priests.
The plain fact is that the Church is fishing in an overfished pool. If it were to cast its net in other pools of the faithful, the fish woud come leaping out. A healthier church would begin to take shape.
The hypocrisy however will continue.Hummes well knows that concubinage is rampant in Latin America and Africa;North American and European Catholics shake their heads as married priests coming over from other Christian communions are welcomed into the thinning ranks of priesthood while married Catholics with a greater feel for Catholic culture and history are rejected.When married priests join the Catholic church they take an oath to be quiet about their shift and not give “undue publicity”. As well they must agree to “secondary celibacy”.Should the spouse die, they must swear that they will not remarry.That old devil sex rears its head again.
Meanwhile the hierarchical Church in its desperation to keep the system functioning squirms as it knows that the priesthood is becoming known as a gay occupation. One of the tragic causes of the pedophile crisis was the terrible pressure bishops felt keeping
churches open-even with criminals abusing children. Instead of demanding Rome wake up to the whole crisis and start doing the obvious—ordain healthy heterosexuals, male and female, they turned these monsters loose on our children.
Too bad Cardinal Hummes did not stay the course and start pushing for the obvious solution.