Category Archives: pope francis

Are married priests on the way?



By: Sandro Magister

ROME, September 21, 2016 – Pope Francis received in audience a few days ago the Brazilian cardinal Cláudio Hummes, accompanied by the archbishop of Natal, Jaime Vieira Rocha.

Hummes, 82, former archbishop of São Paulo and prefect of the Vatican congregation for the clergy, is today the president both of the commission for the Amazon of the episcopal conference of Brazil and of the Pan-Amazonian Network that joins together 25 cardinals and bishops of the surrounding countryside, in addition to indigenous representatives of different local ethnicities.

And in this capacity he [Hummes] supports, among others, the proposal to make up for the scarcity of celibate priests in immense areas like the Amazon by also conferring sacred ordination upon “viri probati,” meaning married men of proven virtue.

The news of the audience therefore gave the idea that Pope Francis had discussed this very question with Hummes, and in particular an “ad hoc” synod of the 38 dioceses of the Amazon, which is effectively in an advanced phase of preparation.

Not only that. There is renewed vigor behind the rumor that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wants to assign to the next worldwide synod of bishops, scheduled for 2018, precisely the question of ordained ministers, bishops, priests, deacons, including the ordination of married men.  Read more.

Pope taps interim replacement for prelate facing abuse charges

From John Allen’s Crux blog:

Ines San Martin, June 6, 2016

In his latest effort to show resolve against clerical sexual abuse, Pope Francis on Monday appointed an apostolic administrator to take over the Church in Guam, where the island territory’s archbishop faces multiple allegations of abusing minors in the 1970s while he was a parish priest.

Until the situation surrounding Archbishop Anthony Apuron is clarified, his archdiocese, Agaña, will be supervised by the Hong Kong-born Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, currently the number two official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Tai-Fai was appointed apostolic administrator “sede plena,” a rare practice used for grave or special reasons, typically when the current bishop is either incapacitated by illness or advanced age, or unable to govern for some other serious motive.

The appointment of an apostolic administrator means that the sitting bishop, in this case Apuron, no longer has jurisdiction over the archdiocese.

In recent weeks Apuron has come under fire for allegedly sexually abusing altar boys over 40 years ago, when he was serving as a priest in the Mount Carmel Church in Agat. The first accusation was made by Roy Taitague Quintanilla, now 52, who says he was 12 at the time the abuse allegedly happened.

Although he said he’s not sure the bishop remembers him, he’s asked for Apuron to step down and for other victims to come forward.

“I have been silent for 40 years. Mainly because I thought all this time I was your only victim and because I was embarrassed, humiliated, degraded and terribly confused about what to do,” Quintanilla said at a press conference in May.

“I thought if I said anything that people would not believe me or that people would retaliate against me for coming forward. Archbishop Apuron, I will not be silent anymore.”

A day after Quintanilla came forward, Vincent Pereda, a member of a board within Guam’s diocese that reviews sexual misconduct complaints, wrote an email to the church’s sexual abuse response coordinator saying he believes “credible, reasonable cause does exist … that the archbishop had engaged in sexual misconduct.”

A few weeks after Quintanilla came forward, Doris Concepcion, the mother of a man who was allegedly abused by Apuron decades ago when he was 11, also spoke out.

The bishop has repeatedly denied the allegations, and recently hired a United States law firm to represent himself.

“To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement, I deny all allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla,” he said in a video published in the diocesan webpage.

However, last week the former sexual abuse response coordinator of the diocese of Agana, Deacon Steve Martinez, called out the archbishop, saying that Apuron had purposely kept church policies on clerical sexual abuse weak in order to protect himself.

“Some people question why is Rome doing nothing,” Martinez said. “My comment to that is we don’t know if Rome’s doing nothing. All I can do from my point is hope and pray we can find a quick resolution to the problems we have.”

Monday’s announcement confirms that Rome was, in fact, doing something.

These are not the first allegations against Apuron.

In 2014, John Toves of California, accused the bishop of molesting his cousin, but Toves’ cousin never came forward to confirm the claims, and the archbishop was never charged.

Because of the statute of limitations, Apuron’s case is not prosecutable under criminal law based on the victims who have come forward so far and the dates of the alleged offenses.

However, the Vatican has the authority to set aside the usual statute of limitations in Church law, to prosecute clerics accused of sexual abuse. If a canonical investigation finds Apuron guilty, in theory he could be laicized, meaning removed from the clerical state.

Seven Gifts

On Wednesday, June 11, 2014, Pope Francis concluded a series of talks he began in early April at his Wednesday General Audiences on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit is certainly not limited to gracing us with only seven gifts – one recalls for example the many charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit – the Church has long reflected on the gifts bestowed on the Messiah mentioned Isaiah 11:2-3.

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear.”

The gifts are classically listed as:  Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that they make us “docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit”  and that they “complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.” [CCC 1830-1831]  “Docile” in this context means “teachable” and “obedient.”

I have found the Pope’s words on these gifts to be short, provocative, and well worth my time.  Check them out.

1)  Wisdom, April 9, 2014

2)  Understanding, April 30, 2014

3)  Counsel, May 7, 2014

4)  Fortitude, May 14, 2014

5)  Knowledge, May 21, 2014

6)  Piety, June 4, 2014

7)  Fear of the Lord, June 11, 2014