Leonardo Boff on Pope Francis and Vatican II

Here’s an interesting story from La Stampa’s Vatican Insider:

Born in Brazil 1938, Leonardo Boff joined the Franciscans in 1959 and was ordained priest in 1964. After gaining doctorates in theology and philosophy at the University of Munich, Germany, he went on to teach theology, ethics and philosophy at university level throughout Brazil and in many other countries. Silenced in 1985 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for his book “Church: Charism and Power” and risking a similar penalty in 1992 he decided to leave the Franciscan order and the priesthood, but he continues teaching and lecturing.

 

He was in Buenos Aires last week for the presentation of a book detailing the correspondence between Jeronimo Podesta, a former Argentinean bishop active in the human rights field, and his wife Clellia Luro, with leading figures in the Catholic Church, the political world and social organizations.  Cardinal Bergoglio was at Podesta’s bedside when he died in June 2000.

In an interview with La Nacion, one of Argentina’s main newspapers, April 28, Boff claims the book “reflects that which will be the future of the Church, which is moving towards putting aside the law of celibacy as an imposition and leaving it as an option”.  He doesn’t predict when that might happen, or whether Pope Francis could be the one to bring about this change, but he is convinced that change will come, “but it will depend on the head of the Church, who will have to have the courage to break a whole tradition.”

He believes that Pope Francis’ “first major challenge” is “the reform of the (Roman) Curia, to redeem the credibility of the Church and to give it an acceptable face for modern man, to take it back to being a spiritual home.  Today it is not that. It’s a field of tensions, ruptures, persecution of theologians. He will absolutely change this.”

 

Two questions arise for me from this excerpt.

How likely is it that Pope Francis will change the discipline of celibacy for the Latin Rite?  (And, related to this, is how likely is Pope Francis at the very least likely to continue approving on a case-by-case basis married former-Anglican priests for the Catholic priesthood in the Ordinariates?  I have a feeling he will be open to that given his experience as Ordinary for the Eastern Catholics in Argentina.)

The second—how important is it the Church have “an acceptable face for modern man, to take it back to being a spiritual home”?

What does this mean?   Having the Church become more appealing to modern man by being more modern?   Frankly, I am distrustful of too much applause from the world for the Church and for Church leaders.   We as the Church would be either enjoying a triumphal entry into Jerusalem—and we know how that worked out—or somehow we are not imitating Christ enough because He promised the world would hate us as it hated Him.

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Leonardo Boff on Pope Francis and Vatican II

  1. William Tighe says:

    “He doesn’t predict when that might happen, or whether Pope Francis could be the one to bring about this change, but he is convinced that change will come, ‘but it will depend on the head of the Church, who will have to have the courage to break a whole tradition’.”

    Why should “having the courage to break a whole tradition” be something that any Catholic can advocate, let alone tolerate? Contrast this with one of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s early statements as pope that the pope’s most important ministry was to be “guardian and defender of Catholic tradition,” including the traditions of particular sui juris Catholic churches. What Boff is realy seeking is an ultra-ultramontanist pope who sets himself up as supreme over all Church tradition. Such an “antichristian pope” could just as easily “have the courage” to allow for the pretended ordination of women or the pretended blessing of pseudogamous “marriages.” An orthodox Catholic can (and should) reply to such a propositionn in two words: Anathema sit!

  2. Pingback: Leonardo Boff on Pope Francis and Vatican II | Catholic Canada

  3. Ioannes says:

    When you are following a beneficial and ancient tradition and everyone hates you for it, you’re doing something right. It’s unavoidable. When you advocate for a revolution, gradual or immediate, which involves abandonment of the good old things and the whole world congratulates you for it- beware. The world will abandon you much quickly than how you abandon the old things.

    Dr. Tighe is correct. Innovations that we face today can only be replied with ANATHEMA SIT!

  4. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: Born in Brazil 1938, Leonardo Boff joined the Franciscans in 1959 and was ordained priest in 1964. After gaining doctorates in theology and philosophy at the University of Munich, Germany, he went on to teach theology, ethics and philosophy at university level throughout Brazil and in many other countries. Silenced in 1985 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for his book “Church: Charism and Power” and risking a similar penalty in 1992 he decided to leave the Franciscan order and the priesthood, but he continues teaching and lecturing.

    Leonardo Boff incurred the Vatican’s wrath (see a href=”http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19850311_notif-boff_en.html”>notification on Vatican’s web site for details) for his advocacy of a major heresy bordering on apostasy called “Liberation Theology.” I would not ascribe much credibility to his writings.

    You asked: How likely is it that Pope Francis will change the discipline of celibacy for the Latin Rite?

    I really don’t expect the Vatican to initiate a major change in the policy of celibacy in the near future, as there are too many practical difficulties in its implementation — the need to pay a “living wage” sufficient to support a family to married clergy, the fact that many Catholic rectories and seminaries are not configured in a suitable manner for families with children, etc. Thus, the more likely scenario is that some dioceasan bishops or episcopal conferences will request exceptions in circumstances beyond the current normal practice, but I think that the Vatican would be open to granting such requests if they appear to be manageable. The discipline of a celibate episcopacy, however, will not change, as that could impair the progress of ecumenical dialog with the Orthodox Communion and probably also with some of the ancient oriental churches.

    You asked, parenthetically: And, related to this, is how likely is Pope Francis at the very least likely to continue approving on a case-by-case basis married former-Anglican priests for the Catholic priesthood in the Ordinariates? I have a feeling he will be open to that given his experience as Ordinary for the Eastern Catholics in Argentina.

    I doubt that there will be any change. The practice of granting dispensations for Catholic ordination of married former Anglican and former Protestant clergy goes back to at least the 1950’s and Pope Pius XII, and has continued without interruption since that time. Neither the “pastoral provision” established in 1980 to process hundreds of requests for such dispensations coming from the United States at that time nor the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which establishes ordinariates as an alternate hierarchical structure primarily for those coming into the Catholic Church from the Anglican tradition, represent a change of policy in this regard.

    You wrote: The second—how important is it the Church have “an acceptable face for modern man, to take it back to being a spiritual home”?

    Very.

    The gospel does not change, but an evangelist and the pastor must always present it in a manner to which his audience can relate.

    You asked, perhaps rhetorically: Having the Church become more appealing to modern man by being more modern?

    No, that’s much too superficial. We cannot change the gospel, but we certainly can change the manner in which we present it.

    Some years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer to take telephone calls at a Billy Graham Telephone Center that was located in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. In our training, we learned to seguay to “Question Number 1” — “Was there ever a time in your life when you surrendered your life to Jesus and embraced him as your Lord and Savior?” — from whatever the caller said when we answered call, as that’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Of course, the manner in which we would seguay would depend on what the caller said at the beginning of the call.

    The same is true in presenting the gospel: the evangelist must meet people where they are — and I mean this spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally as well as physically — so that the audience can relate to the message. If the audience cannot relate to the message, the message will fall on deaf ears.

    Norm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s