The Cardinal Sarah/Benedict XVI book is getting a lot of attention for its defense of mandatory clerical celibacy. One of the most-quoted conclusions reads as follows:

The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter into a life that consists of becoming one with him and renouncing all that belongs only to us. For priests, this is the foundation of the necessity of celibacy but also of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the renunciation of material goods.

One of the first things a Catholic learns in comparing priests and sisters concerns the vow of poverty. The latter take it, the former do not–at least not outside life in a religious order.

Priests I’ve known, even very good ones, live in nice homes, have hired help with cleaning and cooking, own cars, go on nicer vacations than I can afford, and generally live somewhat above what defines the middle-class in their parishes.

Bishops have been in the news recently, and some of the bad ones certainly do not exemplify the “renunciation of material goods.” A quote like this in context of that suggests laughter in the direction of the good cardinal and the pope emeritus. And that’s too bad. Celibacy is an honored tradition that likely needs better support that this brand of churchmansplaining.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Renunciation

  1. Liam says:

    Well, well, well, it’s interesting to read a position attributed to the pope emeritus (that renunciation of material goods is essential to the priesthood) that would have, um, drawn bolts from the Lateran 800 years ago.

    A most interesting example of potential development of doctrine?

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