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Sex Lives Of Priests Trigger Papal Schism

Both worn to lives of celibacy, Popes Francis left, and Benedict are presumably virgins. The two are now engaged in an embarrassing public rift over whether their fellow priests should now be allowed to have sex, as many want. Image: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP | Fair Use

HOLY WAR | 

Vatican in turmoil as popes appear to spar over celibacy |

Jan 14, 2020 | 

Vatican City (AFP) — The Vatican was gripped Tuesday by a dispute over whether elderly ex-pope Benedict XVI was being used by the Catholic Church’s ultra-conservative wing to undermine his successor Pope Francis.

Following the controversy, the former pontiff asked that his name be removed from a controversial new book in which he comes down firmly against married priests, saying he had not co-authored it with a conservative cardinal.

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When France’s Le Figaro newspaper published extracts of the book on Sunday, it was presented as a collaboration between Benedict and the ultra-conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah.

Benedict was quoted in the book saying he “cannot keep silent” about the divisive issue of whether or not to allow married men to become Catholic priests — and coming down firmly against it.

Francis is currently considering allowing it in remote locations, such as the Amazon, where communities seldom have Mass due to a lack of priests.

He is expected to publish his decision in the coming weeks.

Vatican experts expressed astonishment that the retired pope would speak out on such a sensitive topic.

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But Benedict’s private secretary, Georg Gaenswein, told ANSA on Tuesday that on behalf of the former pope he asked Cardinal Sarah “to contact the publishers of the book begging them to remove the name of Benedict XVI as co-author of the book itself and also to remove his signature from the introduction and conclusions.”

The book in question, “From the Depth of our Hearts,” was expected to hit bookshelves in France on Wednesday with images of the former pope and Cardinal Sarah on the cover. Read more. 

Who’s right about sex – Benedict or Francis?

For the first time ever, the Catholic church has two living popes; here’s what happens when they disagree … 

Jan 14, 2020

Wall Street Journal, ROME—Retired Pope Benedict XVI is publicly defending the Catholic Church’s traditional rule of priestly celibacy, the former pontiff’s most explicit effort so far to influence a decision by his successor Pope Francis, who is considering a proposal to routinely ordain married men as Roman Catholic priests for the first time in almost a millennium.

The move poses the latest test of a historically unique arrangement: the coexistence of two popes in the Vatican, made especially complex by the theological differences between the two men, whom many observers see as representing conservative and progressive wings of a polarized church.

Pope Benedict, who retired in 2013 and holds the title pope emeritus, has long frustrated the desires of conservatives that he weigh in on the internal church battles of the current pontificate, remaining largely silent as his successor deviated from his own course.

“‘Parallel magisterium’ can lead to disunity”

But more recently he has delved into major controversies, writing an essay on clerical sex abuse last year.

Now he is publishing a book in support of clerical celibacy just as Pope Francis is expected to decide early this year whether to allow the ordination of married men in South America’s Amazon region to alleviate a priest shortage there.

“From the Depth of Our Hearts” is co-written by Pope Benedict and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Vatican’s office for liturgy, an outspoken conservative whom Pope Francis has previously rebuked for championing traditional styles of worship.

News of the book, due to be published in French on Wednesday and in English next month, was earlier reported by French daily Le Figaro.

It has already intensified a debate over the proper place of a former pope in the Catholic Church.

“Of course it is his right to say whatever he wants,” the Rev. James Martin, a prominent American commentator on church affairs, wrote on Twitter. “But given his unique role, some may see this as a ‘parallel magisterium,’ which can lead to disunity.”

Pope Francis has taken a markedly different approach from his predecessor to a number of controversial issues, pursuing a more lenient line on divorce, homosexuality and contraception, to the alarm of conservatives.

The current pope has praised clerical celibacy as a “gift to the church” … Read more. 

“Priests want to have sex” – Priest Explains Church Crisis

Father Edward Beck is a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Passionist Community, and serves as a CNN religion commentator.

February 13, 2019

Father Edward Beck, CNN – Pope Francis sure knows how to make headlines — and not always in a good way.

Last week, aboard his flight returning from the United Arab Emirates, when asked about reports of the sexual abuse of nuns by some priests and bishops, Francis spoke about a case in which Pope Benedict dissolved an order of nuns “because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder.”

A Vatican spokesman said the Pope’s comments referred to a small group of sisters from France, the Contemplative Sisters of Saint-Jean.

But the Pope’s use of the term “sexual slavery” was what raised more than a few eyebrows. Pope Admits That Sex-Abusing Priests Are Non-Believers

The Vatican spokesman later clarified that Francis “spoke of ‘sexual slavery‘ to mean ‘manipulation’ or a type of abuse of power that is reflected in a sexual abuse.”

That clarification did little to ameliorate a rapidly spiraling crisis that continues to engulf the worldwide Catholic Church — a crisis that some commentators have deemed the most serious threat to the church since the 16th century Reformation. Rome is burning, and sex is fanning the conflagration.

The church rarely has dealt well with issues of human sexuality. Despite lofty documents, such as John Paul II’s “The Theology of the Body,” practical and useful guidelines in negotiating the nitty-gritty realities and complexities of human sexuality have been lacking.

Pious platitudes have failed Christians (never mind celibates) in coping in a sexualized culture that screams sex in nearly every ad, TV show, movie and dating app.

Priests, like everyone else, want to have sex. We want to be touched. We want to be desired. In order to forgo these natural impulses, we employ coping mechanisms to offset the sexual urges. We do so for the sake of a “higher good,” but let’s not delude ourselves that it is natural or easy — or that sometimes we don’t fail … Read more. 

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