Bishop Stika Supports Married Priests

News: US News
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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 9, 2019   

An ancient discipline has become a source of contention

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Richard Stika of the diocese of Knoxville, Tennesee, has voiced support for married priests. 

In a tweet from July 5, Stika supported the notion of married priests in the Amazon as a solution to individuals who do not have ready access to the sacraments because they live in remote locations.

"Someone asked me today about the Church ordaining married men as priests in the Amazon," he said. "Since the Church already has married priests in the world, I see no reason not to."

"To deny the Eucharist because of Church discipline to a remote area is wrong," he added.

Since the Church already has married priests in the world, I see no reason not to.

Stika tweeted a rhetorical question on the topic later that same day.

"So which is more important, a celibate clergy that is not able to visit remote areas more then once a year or ordaining married elders of the tribe who could celebrate Mass?" he asked.

Father James Martin agreed with Stika, offering a similar rhetorical question.

"I agree with @BishopStika. Discussing the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood, especially in areas where the Eucharist is unavailable, is an urgent matter. A theologian once described the dilemma to me as: 'What is of more value: celibacy or the Eucharist?'"

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Many of the responses to Stika and Martin were negative.  

"Why is this being promoted by German Bishops. Once one hears of Cardinal Kasper's involvement one should be greatly concerned. This isn't for conversion of indigenous people but universal change in the Church, away from the True Faith," responded one person to Stika.

"Classic modernism. Use edge cases to bend and then break the rules," Noel Kelly responded to Martin.

Pope Francis told reporters in January that he believes celibacy is a gift for the Church and that optional celibacy is not the way forward, in his opinion. 

"Am I someone who is closed? Maybe, but I don't feel like I could stand before God with this decision," he said

However, the pontiff then talked about how there could be some possibility of ordaining married men to minister to those living in remote locations.

This possibility will be an official topic of discussion according to the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the upcoming Amazon synod. 

Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, it is requested that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination of elders, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community, be studied, although they may already have an established and stable family, in order to ensure the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life.

China and Amazonia are half a world apart but the Vatican seems to have both regions on the same path to apostasy.

On Saturday, Bp. Joseph Strickland of the diocese of Tyler expressed concern at the direction the Vatican has taken in different parts of the world, tweeting that "China and Amazonia are half a world apart but the Vatican seems to have both regions on the same path to apostasy."

That tweet has since been removed.

The Special Assembly for the Amazon of the Synod of Bishops will take place Oct. 6–27.

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