Wednesday, March 8, 2017


I report; you decide:

From 1 Peter5

New Papal Interview Addresses Cardinal Burke, Married Priests

(Image: Screenshot of the papal interview as it appears [with Google translation] in Zeit Online)
Today, 8 March, the German newspaper Die Zeit published an interview with Pope Francis which was conducted at the end of February at the pope’s residence Casa Santa Marta in Rome. In this somewhat lengthy interview, the pope speaks about two important topics which are both timely and of special interest.
First, he speaks directly about Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and the pope’s own decision to intervene into the affairs of the Order of Malta, and also why Cardinal Burke was subsequently sent to Guam. In one section of the interview, Pope Francis says: “I do not consider Burke to be an adversary,” and then later also adds:
Cardinal Burke went there [to Guam] because of a terrible incident. I am very grateful to him for that, there was a bad abuse case, and he is an excellent lawyer, but I believe that this mission is already nearly accomplished.
Later in the same interview, the journalist, Giovanni di Lorenzo, asks Pope Francis about an overall question of the Order of Malta and the pope’s intervention in this specific case. Pope Francis responds:
The problem with the Order of Malta was, rather, that Cardinal Burke was not able any more to act in a just manner in the affair because he did not any more act alone. However, I did not remove his title as Cardinal Patron. He still is Patronus of the Order of Malta, but it is now necessary to clean out a little bit in the order and that is why I have sent there a delegate who has another charism than Burke. [my emphasis]
Another important aspect of the interview is the ongoing debate about married priests. Giovanni di Lorenzo asks the pope about the wide lack of priests, for example in Hamburg, Germany. The pope responds, saying that “also in Switzerland, it does not look good.” He continues with the words: “Many parishes have brave women: they keep up the Sunday and celebrate liturgies of the word, that is to say without the Eucharist. The problem, however, is the lack of vocations.” (In a later section of the interview, Pope Francis explains: “One does not get more vocations with the help of proselytism.”)
When discussing the matter of married priests, Pope Francis answers: “But voluntary celibacy is not the answer.” Additionally, he does show, however, more openness toward the idea of giving more scope and clerical faculties to the “viri probati,” those married men who have lived abidingly a tested and proven virtuous life and who would be thus eligible for the permanent diaconate. Francis says:
We have to reflect about whether the viri probati are a possibility. Then we also have to determine which tasks they could have, for example in far distant parishes. […] In the Church, it is always important to recognize the right moment, to recognize when the Holy Ghost demands something. That is why I say that we will continue to reflect about the viri probati.
With regard to the discussion of female deacons, Pope Francis says that he encourages us all to study the question. He adds that this is the “duty of theology,” to ask, when studying Holy Scripture (in line with the historical-critical method): “What did this mean at that time [of the Bible]? What does it mean today?”  Francis adds: “Truth is to have no fear. That tells us the historical truth, the academic truth: Don’t be afraid! That makes us free.”
The timing of this renewed discussion on the issue of married priests coincides with a meeting of the influential German Bishops’ Conference in Bergisch Gladbach this week, during which the question of a married priesthood (as part of a larger discussion on the priesthood itself) may be on the agenda. That this papal interview — originally conducted last month in Italian — is being released at this precise moment in a German-language publication raises questions about the possibility of a larger, coordinated communications effort to advance the issue. This is, according to Die Zeit, the pope’s “first interview with a German newspaper”.


Anonymous said...


Perhaps it's better to not take that seriously anything this pope says in an interview, Motel 6 homily, tweet, or similar non-magisterial setting.

TJM said...


That is Comedy Gold!!!

rcg said...

The last two points are disturbing. The concept of what something "meant" in one era and what it "means" now is to deny that it means anything at all. This is important to the last point because each of the last several Popes have addressed celibacy of priests conclusively, yet it needs to be "advanced" as a topic again. This is simply renegotiation.

James said...

This summary of the interview misses out the bit where the pope compares Cardinal Burke with St Peter (the headlines should be reading "Pope Francis names successor"!)

Anonymous said...

A "truer" statement cannot be made than who are not the pope are fallible.

Anonymous said...

But an equally true statement may be that men who are popes are also fallible, but their being popes makes their fallibility even more obvious, especially if they open their mouths too casually.

Agnes said...

Am I the only one who has a difficult time understanding what the Pope is trying to say? Are these his words in English, or is someone else translating them in such a poor manner? If the former maybe he should refrain from speaking in English. If the latter, maybe a translator with a better grasp of the English language should be found. I am not trying to be mean when I write this, but I don't recall having such a hard time understanding our last two popes.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Agnes, while there might be some issues with the translation into English, quite frankly, Pope Francis is confusing and creates confusion. I do not know if he does so intentionally or not but he is not a clear thinker at all. Many higher up than me are as frustrated as I am. But with that said, the things the pope says in Italian must be heard in Italian to include facial and hand gestures to understand properly. There is much tongue-in-cheek in casual Italian that must be interpreted while hearing and seeing the speaker.

TJM said...

If you want a real bombshell on Pope Francis, here it is:

I cannot imagine Pope Pius XII and John XXIII, both first rate diplomats, spouting off like this. I also think they had a better grasp of reality.

TJM said...

Last point, when did Pope Francis condemn the Castro regime, a truly evil regime? If I missed that, I apologize.