Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can only celibates show that God is alive?

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza recently gave an address on priestly celibacy, drawing on papal teaching from the past century (from Pius XI to Benedict XVI).  An English translation is provided by ZENIT.  The address was brought up in a recent thread on Pray Tell, about German politicians and clergy calling for the ordination of married men to the priesthood.  Bill deHaas had something to say about it, and I was not at all pleased.  Here's the exchange.  My reply is currently awaiting moderation... [No longer moderated: 12:32 PM]

#82 by Bill deHaas on January 29, 2011 - 11:10 am
Mauro Cardinal Piacenza: “…only celibates can show that God is alive…..”

Vita of this Cardinal:

15 September 1944 – Born in Genoa
21 December 1969 [25] – ordained a Priest in Genoa
13 October 2003 [59] – President, Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church
15 November 2003 [59] – Ordained Bishop [extinct Diocese of Victoriana]
28 August 2004 [60] – President, Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology
7 May 2007 [62] – Secretary, Congregation for the Clergy
7 May 2007 [62] – Appointed Archbishop [extinct Diocese of Victoriana]
7 October 2010 [66] – Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy

20 November 2010 [66] – Cardinal
24 January 2011 [66] – Address to Priestly Celibacy Congress in Ars [France] – “Only Celibates can show that God is alive” [Zenit]

Curious about the 30 years between ordination and his elevation to the episcopal ranks. Hopefully, he has a little pastoral experience that can relate to the “average” diocesan or missionary priest in the field. Sorry, his speech truly does resemble a archeological dig into the past 100 years but not much linkage to current reality on the ground. If we are going to quote from popes, can we include the behavior of popes during the Renaissance; for example, Julius III, who made a 15 year old Parma boy found on the streets a cardinal and then secretary of state.

From Teilhard de Chardin, “The Evolution of Chastity”:

“Every unborn and new-born child is a Gift-from-God – “A-Deo-Datus” – the name that Augustine (354-430) gave to his only son (372-389) before they were Christened together in 387.
However `sublimated’ man may be imagined to be – he certainly is NOT a Eunuch. Spirituality comes down NOT upon a MONAD but upon the human DYAD.
First we have the appearance of a Reflective MONAD [individual] and then – to complete it – the formation of the Affective DYAD [loving couple].
There is no future in Celibacy – no earthly future. The Celibate has no personal stake in the Future. On the other hand, we are all called to CHASTITY – Celibate Chastity [unmarried and childless] or Conjugal [Married] Chastity.
Thus we have the Evolution not of Celibacy but of Chastity.”
#83 by Jeffrey Pinyan on January 29, 2011 - 12:06 pm
Bill, did you read the ZENIT article, or are you simply copying and pasting (without attribution) from the Catholica forum? Or are you “Roch” there?

You put “only celibates can show that God is alive” in quotes and attribute it to Mauro Cardinal Piacenza. That is a blatant false attribution; you should have attributed it to Helen. Piacenza never said that, and you do a disservice to casual readers of this blog who don’t have the time to read Piacenza’s address. They see your sound-bite quote and think he actually said it.

Here’s some of what he did say:

> The essential question, then, is not to direct the debate so much to Celibacy as to the quality of the faith of our communities. Could a community which lacks great esteem for Celibacy, as an “awaiting” for the Kingdom or as a Eucharistic “yearning”, be truly said to be alive?

> [W]e must recuperate the reasoned understanding that our Celibacy offers as a challenge to the world, placing its secularism and agnosticism in profound crisis and crying out, through the centuries, that God is Present and Active!

I challenge you to present evidence from his address that he believes that “only celibates can show that God is alive”, or else to retract the statement entirely.
We'll see what comes of this.

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