the church wants to exclude priests who have children – Jeune Afrique

A few months before a papal visit, the Congolese bishops’ conference officially calls on every priest with a child to give up his priesthood. lifting a taboo?

Successor to the stern and secretive Benedict XVI, the easy-going and transparent Pope Francis intended to cleanse the stables of the Augeas of a somewhat worm-eaten church on a moral level. Even if the Vatican head of state does not forget that, faced with the crisis of Western vocations, the future of Christianity lies on the African continent, particularly in Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ukrainian detour or not, the Holy Father’s stay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has already come to a standstill. From July 2-5, he will remain in this country where the 47 dioceses of the Catholic Church claim 40% of the country’s nearly 90 million population.

Is it the prospect of this informal scrutiny that is urging the Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Cenco) to put its little affairs in order? His Holiness Francis has the well-being of children at heart and the Church of the former Zaire is delaying the response to the calls by the NGO “League of the African Zone for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Students” (Lizadeel) regarding pedophilia , the bishops have decided to extend their benevolence to other infants: the children of priests who are nevertheless subject to the vow of chastity. And the prelates regret that these “fruits of sin […] suffer in silence.

Accept the overflows of flesh

Strictly speaking, the fact that men in cassocks “put polichinella in drawers” ​​is an open secret. An official Cenco document released March 4 tends to lift the taboo. The bishops’ conference explains in passing the current reasons for the violation of priestly obligations: “the globalizing movement of sexual freedom” or “the cultural heaviness in certain circles that know no ban on the sexual plan.

We ask every priest […] having a child who takes care of it completely

But the originality of the letter lies in the exhortation of the bishops to embrace the excesses of the flesh: “Considering on the one hand the rights and duties of parents in relation to ‘their family’, on the other hand the incompatibility of the office of the father with the ministry and priestly life in the Roman -Catholic system we ask every priest […] having a child, caring for it fully, and doing so in order to seek dispensation from priestly duties from the Holy Father. »

“Dad, quit!” The sudden light shining on an opaque clergy will be truly unprecedented if the Church carries out its threat to “submit to the Holy See the maximum penalty of expulsion from the clergy,” the cases of deaf priests who would turn a deaf ear the calling. In a nod to the Pope, the bishops’ 19-page document is titled “In the School of Jesus Christ.” For an authentic priestly life”. Really revolutionary?

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