Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the senior prelate of the UK, has said in an interview with the BBC that a future pope may re-consider the question of dispensing with mandatory celibacy for priests to allow married priests, and the question of women priests. Cardinal O’Brien expressed his personal opinion that priests should be allowed to marry.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
‘The Cardinal, the only mainland British cleric with a vote on Benedict XVI’s successor, said it would also be open to the new Pope to reconsider issues such as the ordination of women as priests.’
Speaking to BBC Scotland, Cardinal O’Brien said it would be “within the scope” of the new Pope to reconsider a range of controversial teachings.
Some of them were issues which had “come down from the teaching of Jesus Christ himself”, he said, but not all.
“For example the celibacy of the clergy – whether priests should marry, Jesus didn’t say that,” he said. “There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church – in some branches of the Catholic church – priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine of origin and it could get discussed again.”
He said he did not personally feel the need to marry but added: “I would like others to have the choice. “In my time there was no choice and you didn’t really consider it too much, it was part of being a priest.
“When I was a young boy, the priest didn’t get married and that was it and when you were a student for the priesthood it was really part of the package, as it were, and you didn’t really consider it all that much you just took your vows of celibacy just as somebody else would take their vows of marriage.”
He added: “I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should be married.
“It is a free world and I realise that many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy as they lived out their priesthood and felt the need of a companion, of a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own.
Protect the Pope comment: What’s going on? We expect the usual suspects to lose their heads in reaction to Pope Benedict’s resignation, the likes of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, Bishop Conry and Bishop Burns, but now we have Cardinal O’Brien raising the possibility of a future pope re-considering the ordination of women priests, and ditching the long established tradition in the Latin rite Catholic Church of mandatory celibacy for the priesthood.
In view of Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s comment about women priests makes no senses at all. Pope John Paul concluded, ‘Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.’
In the heat of the moment of the interview did Cardinal O’Brien forget this definitive statement? How could he forget it, it’s black and white, couldn’t be clearer? Why in God’s name did Cardinal O’Brien engage with these issues raised by the BBC interviewer as if he was having a chat with a friend or fellow cardinal? Doesn’t he realise that by accepting the premise of the questions he has now given the impression to the liberal media that Catholics doctrines are like political policies and can be changed with a change of pope! Cardinal O’Brien also made the shocking mistake of leaving the viewer with the impression that the unchangeable doctrines of the Church are only those based on Scripture, and not those rooted in Tradition.
So where are we as UK Catholics after these turbulent days after the Holy Father’s announcement of his abdication? As a result of interviews and lectures given by our two cardinals that have questioned the Church’s teaching on condoms, married priests, and even raised re-considering the question of women’s ordination, there is a sense that the Church is in chaotic free-fall, that certainties so painfully defended and re-established by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are crumbling under the media spotlight, with pastors who should know better speaking without prudence or wisdom, or just plain commonsense. The BBC are one of the enemies of the Catholic Church, so why are bishops behaving as if they’re our best friends who can be confided in?
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.