VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday reiterated the Church's ban on Communion for divorced Catholics who remarry and told Catholic politicians that the Vatican's stance against abortion and gay marriage is "not negotiable."
In a 131-page document, the pope also upheld the Vatican's requirement for celibacy for priests in the Latin rite Church. "Priestly celibacy lived with maturity, joy and dedication is an immense blessing for the Church and for society itself," the pope wrote.
The document embraced recommendations made by bishops from around the world at a 2005 meeting at the Vatican that rejected any change in the celibacy requirement. Benedict said bishops should "on no account" lower admission standards to seminaries to compensate for the shortage of clergy in some parts of the world.
"Certainly, a more equitable distribution of clergy would help to solve the problem," Benedict wrote, without being specific.
It’s good to see the church sticking to its guns. If something has been working for nearly 2,000 years, why change now? Unfortunately, in the US anyway, people are leaving the church in droves and finding clergymen is becoming increasingly difficult. Scholars conjecture that celibacy was first instituted in the church as a means of not having to take care of offspring or provide them with inheritance. The church was able to amass land by keeping it all for themselves. Due to turmoil in the Episcopalian church, a number of married clergymen have been able to join the Catholic church by special dispensation from the Pope. That could have been viewed as a departure from dogma, but old Benedict made sure to bring us back into line. We feel badly for those priests. It has to be a tough life. Vows of poverty and chastity, at least they get all the blood and body of Christ that they can handle.
In related news, the Pope is also asking Catholic politicians to vote against gay marriage. What would JFK have done?