Religion and Ethics: Rising Tensions in Rome

If you have seen the Oscar-nominated movie The Two Popes, you will know it ends with Francis and his predecessor, Benedict, cheering on their teams, as Argentina and Germany play each other in the soccer world cup.

This fictional account of their relationship is drawing millions of viewers. But in real life there’s widening gulf between the so-called Francis and Benedict factions of the church.

The cause of the latest tension is a new book about compulsory celibacy for priests. Are hard-line traditionalists in the church using the 93-year-old former Pope to undermine Francis and his reforms?

For a video clip from the ABC Religion and Ethics site on this topic, go to The Two Popes.


2 thoughts on “Religion and Ethics: Rising Tensions in Rome

  1. Yuri Koszarycz

    Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution to a new book on priestly celibacy paid no attention to the uninterrupted presence of married priests in Catholic Eastern Rite churches or the whole Orthodox tradition.

    It is expected that Pope Francis soon would publish his reflections on the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, with the possibility of ordaining some married men to the priesthood for service in isolated communities.

    Many have questioned the aptness of a retired pope intervening at this time, and, Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein requested Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the publishers of the book, to remove the name of Benedict XVI as co-author of the book, and to remove his name from the introduction and conclusions. Though Sarah agreed to do so, Ignatius Publications insisted that the book is released under the authorship of both men – probably more so for commercial reasons than theological ones!

    Ever since the Second Vatican Council it is well accepted even in the Latin Rite that the charism of celibacy is “not demanded by the very nature of the priesthood.” Though Benedict’s chapter offers a brief history of celibacy in the Latin Rite, his essay does not mention the millennial-old practice of ordaining married men to the priesthood in the Christian East within the Orthodox tradition and the Eastern Catholic Rites.

    Presently in Australia, for example, we have many priests and deacons within the Orthodox Ukrainian Church AND within the Catholic Ukrainian church that are married and serve their communities with great love and distinction. Sadly, this factual reality that one can be totally devoted to the vocation of priesthood and be a married man with a family is omitted in this flawed contribution by the emeritus pontiff.

  2. Brother Mac Campbell tssf

    This movie asks us to believe that a man who has been an implacable enemy of change for fifty years, is now happy to open the floodgates. Not plausible.

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