‘I would rather give my life than change the law on celibacy.’ Pope Francis, in citing St. Pope Paul VI’s famous words, has expressed clearly where he stands…
The Vatican gave this reminder of the Pope’s words on the return flight from his Apostolic Trip to Panama for the occasion of World Youth Day, in the statement issued today, Jan. 13, by Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, in response to the new book by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on priestly celibacy.
The release of “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” published originally in French by Fayard and in English by Ignatius Press, is already available for preorder in English, and ships on Feb. 20. It will be published in French on January 15th.
In the book, Benedict says it is a “contribution” in filial obedience to Francis, and recognizes how Francis, as a rule, has reaffirmed celibacy.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office’s statement in response to the book follows:
Answering questions from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, stated the following:
The position of the Holy Father on celibacy is known. In the course of his conversation with journalists on his return from Panama, Pope Francis said: “A phrase from Saint Paul VI comes to mind: ‘I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy'”. And he added: “Personally I think celibacy is a gift for the Church. I don’t agree to allow optional celibacy, no. Only a few possibilities would remain in the most remote locations – I think of the Pacific Islands … […] when there is pastoral need, there, the pastor must think of the faithful “.
Regarding the way in which this topic fits into the more general work of the recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon region and its evangelization, during the final session the Holy Father said: “I was very pleased that we did not fall prisoners of these selective groups who of the Synod want to see only what has been decided on this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point, and deny the body of the Synod which are the diagnoses we have made in the four dimensions. “(Pastoral, cultural, social and ecological) .
As many media try to illustrate a difference between Francis and Benedict on the matter, the Vatican reminds how Francis has said that priestly celibacy is not optional.
Moreover, in the light of the upcoming Apostolic Exhortation following the Synod on the Amazon, expected perhaps as early as next month, the Vatican reiterated how the Synod–according to the Pope–is not to be reduced to one or two issues, but in the four aforementioned dimensions.