PETITION: Support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's Defense of Priestly Celibacy

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Against the perennial discipline of Roman Catholic priests of the Latin Rite, the final document on the Amazon Synod calls for married men to be ordained to the priesthood as an exception in remote areas of the Amazon.

But, this recommendation is not in keeping with, and, indeed, in opposition to the following:

  • The example which Christ gave to those who followed in His footsteps to the priesthood.
  • To many priests and bishops in the Amazon region who believe that the celibate priesthood provides a great pastoral example of fidelity and sacrifice to their flocks, and something which must be promoted.
  • To thousands of years of tradition in the Latin Rite;
  • And, to the idea which Pope Francis, himself, has of clerical celibacy, as a "gift to the Church."

Nevertheless, the Holy Father must now make a decision about clerical celibacy in the highly-anticipated post-apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod.

Therefore, in an "esprit filial" (spirit of a son), Cardinal Robert Sarah has written a new book, with contributions from Pope Emeritus Benedict, strongly defending celibacy in the priesthood.

And, this petition supports their firm stand.

The new book, entitled “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” [De profoundeur de nos cœurs], will first be released in French on January 15, and contains theological and spiritual reflections on this crucial topic from the retired pontiff and from the current prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Although there has been some "controversy" surrounding the format and presentation of the book, there is no doubt that both Cardinal Sarah authored the book and Pope Benedict contributed to it.

The main point is that the Cardinal and the Pope Emeritus have written a beautiful and timely defense of priestly celibacy.

So, at this critical juncture, we are calling on the Catholic laity to support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's defense of a celibate priesthood.

Cardinal Sarah writes in the new book: “I cannot in conscience, as a son of Africa, support the idea that the peoples on the road to evangelization should be deprived of this encounter with a priesthood lived to the full. The peoples of Amazonia have the right to a full experience of Christ the Bridegroom. They cannot be offered ‘second class’ priests. On the contrary, the younger a Church is, the more it needs to meet the radical nature of the Gospel."

And, in one of his contributions to the book, Pope Emeritus Benedict writes: "The ability to renounce marriage in order to place oneself totally at the Lord’s disposal is a criterion for the priestly ministry. As for the concrete form of celibacy in the ancient Church, it should also be pointed out that married men could only receive the sacrament of Holy Orders if they had committed themselves to sexual abstinence, that is to say, to a Josephite marriage. Such a situation seems to have been quite normal during the first centuries.”

By signing this petition, you will send a note of support to Cardinal Sarah and Pope Emeritus Benedict for the strong stand in defense of priestly celibacy, taken in "From the Depths of Our Hearts."

Thank you for SIGNING, today!