Saturday, January 26, 2008
Dutch Domincans Say Sacrament of Eucharist More Important than Ordination
Last September, the Dutch Dominican Order distributed Kerk & Ambt (Church & Ministry) to all 1300 parishes in the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands, communion services have been running rampant for years because of the priest shortage. At many parishes, rather than deny people communion because their parish has run out of previously consecrated hosts, the parish will add unconsecrated hosts beforehand without letting the congregation know.
The document states: "Though in theory the Eucharist is said to be the center of the church's liturgy, celebrating it is in fact made dependent on the person presiding at it, which in fact makes ordination the most important sacrament." This is a sad, but true assessment of our church.
In response, the Order wanted to make the Eucharist the center of the Church's life again by urging congregations to bring forth their own priestly candidates, whether man, woman, married, single, gay, or straight. These candidates should be presented to the local bishop. If the bishop refuses to ordain them, the present emergency situation would make it alright to have that candidate celebrate Mass. The document states of appropriate candidates: "For such a function we think first of all of the pastoral workers, male and female, who have been officially appointed, but also of the many volunteers. These men and women are the heart of the local community, often more so, in face, than the ordained priests [who are spread about among multiple parishes]."
Earlier this month, the Vatican decided to take no disciplinary action against the Dutch Dominicans who distributed the document or the three theologians who authored the document. They are asking that an "official" Vatican response to the document be distributed to all the parishes that Kerk & Ambt was distributed.
Kerk & Ambt is an excellent theological work and worth checking out. It is also of note that the Vatican (under Benedict) has not chosen to silence or expel the authoring theologians - very un-John Paul of him - and that's a positive sign for the future of our Church.
A Faithful Catholic