Monday, September 21, 2009
Benedict Puts Male Celibate "Priesthood" ahead of Eucharist
What is the most important sacrament in the Catholic Church? Benedict would seem to say "Ordination." Benedict met with the bishops from the poor and northeastern area of Brazil, which suffers horrifically from a priest shortage. He told them to hold fast in preventing the line between the laity and priesthood from being blurred. In many of the remote areas of Brazil, lay people have been trained to lead discussions of faith and scripture. The people of these areas are lucky if they see a priest every six weeks. As such, some of these communities also celebrate eucharist together. Benedict does not state this, but his reminder that the priest "is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the word and celebrating the sacraments" makes clear his two concerns. Perhaps this blurring would not be the case if the reins on ordination were not so restricted. And although I respect the amount of education that is normally required for priests, exceptions should be made in rural areas where people do not have academic training so that eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, and other "priestly" minstries can be readily available. In the mean time, how can we expect Catholics to go six weeks to six months at a time without Eucharist? Would we simply accept this situation of "no eucharist" in a place like Milwaukee? I do not think so.
A Faithful Catholic