A few words of clarification from the new prefect of the Congregation for Clergy:
- "This question is not … on the order of the day for ecclesial authorities"
- "In the Church it has always been clear that priests' obligation to celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary norm."
- "it is also clear that the norm prescribing celibacy for priests in the Latin Church is very ancient and is founded upon consolidated tradition and upon strong motivations, both theological-spiritual and practical-pastoral, as reiterated also by Popes."
- "during the recent Synod on priests, the most widespread opinion among the fathers was that a relaxation of the rule of celibacy would not be a solution even to the problem of the lack of vocations, which is, rather, to be linked to other causes, in the first place the modern culture of secularization. This is clear also from the experience of other Christian confessions that have married priests and pastors."
What the mainstream media don't seem to report is that seminaries are filling up in places where there is orthodoxy, not a departure from it. The shortage is due to the latter, in fact, that having been the norm (dissent from the Magisterium of the Church) in too many places. But the shortage is temporary, for the seminaries are filling up, which means that we will have more priests right after these new batches of seminarians are ordained.
Note also that there are places where there is no shortage of priests at all, e.g., Poland, where priests find themselves assigned overseas where there are shortages. Still it doesn't hurt, and in fact it is entirely for our benefit, that we ask the master of the vineyard to send more workers, for the harvest is ready. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.
And I must mention again my fond dream of the Orthodox Church filling up the slack in places where there is a shortage of Catholic priests and/or parishes. If one day, God willing, the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches came back into full communion.. wow.. Veni Sancte Spiritus!