Friday, September 11, 2009

A WAY OUT?

An old story, but new to me.

NCR Oct 12, 2007

Dutch Dominican priests are proposing a bold solution to the priest shortage in the Netherlands: Have the laity select leaders from their own faith communities and designate them as the official presiders at Mass.

Using a model based in the early church, the Dominicans propose that the communities then present their chosen local leaders to bishops and request that they be ordained.

The leaders selected may be men or women, homosexuals or heterosexuals, married or single, the Dominicans say in a 38-page booklet, Kerk en Ambt ("The Church and the Ministry"), which was widely distributed to Dutch parishes, religious orders and bishops on Aug. 31.

The Dominican authors of the booklet, subtitled "Toward a Church with a Future," maintain there is no theological barrier, but only a clerical impasse --the law of celibacy--to ordaining a lay clergy. They cite, for instance, a statement made by the fifth-century Pope Leo the Great: "He who has to lead all should be chosen by all."

Although the booklet reflects questions being raised not only by many of the 4.4 million Catholics in the Netherlands, but by the faithful in many parts of the Catholic world, the primate of the Dutch Catholic church, Cardinal Adrianus Simonis of Utrecht, quickly objected.

Dominican Fr. Jan Nieuwenhuis, one of the booklet's four authors, noted in an interview that Dominicans had anticipated official displeasure over the booklet's distribution without the cardinal's permission. "We knew if we requested it, it would be forbidden, so we went ahead," Nieuwenhuis told NCR.

taken from here

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