The Austrian Erwin Kräutler, the former bishop of Xingu, Brasil, is taking another step to promote his proposal to allow Catholic priests to marry. In January of 2016, the Vatican expert, Dr. Sandro Magister, had already written (http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351206?eng=y) about this bishop, showing his attempts to undermine celibacy. Then and now, Kräutler repeats that he had been encouraged in 2014 by Pope Francis himself to make “courageous proposals” with regard to the question of the lack of priests in his diocese.
It was Sandro Magister who then, in January, raised the question as to whether the pope is planning the put the question of married priests on the list for the next planned synod of bishops. Now that the question of the “remarried” divorcees is off the table – after the controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia – it seems that new advances are being made to promote the idea of married priests.
Today, on 22 April, the German bishops’ website, katholisch.de (http://www.katholisch.de/aktuelles/aktuelle-artikel/auch-nichtzolibatare-sollten-eucharistiefeier-leiten) reports on a recent interview by Bishop Kräutler. In this interview with the Rupertusblatt (http://www.kirchen.net/rupertusblatt/section.asp?sec=18&menuopt=31030), a local Church newspaper from Salzburg, Austria, he reminds his audience of the importance of Christ’s words to “have courage!” He claims that these words are “among the favorite words” of Pope Francis. Francis, says Kräutler, encourages especially the bishops to be courageous: “I will never forget how he [Pope Francis] told me during a private audience on 4 April 2014 that he expects from the bishops ‘courageous proposals’ ….” When asked what proposals he himself is thinking of with regard to the shortage of priests in some regions, the bishop answers that one needs to rethink the admission requirements for the priesthood. He continues: “But the Eucharistic celebration should not be dependent upon the fact whether or not a priest is present who is celibate. Pope Francis certainly does not want to decide this question all alone, but especially in this context he expects ‘courageous’ proposals.”
With regard to the question of women priests, Bishop Kräutler first responds with the answer: “Nothing at all is here impossible!” He compares this question with some of the decisions of the Second Vatican Council: “The Second Vatican Council made several decisions which would have been considered to be heretical around the time of the First Vatican Council (8 December 1869 until 20 October 1870). Let us only think of the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae (7 December 1965) on Religious Freedom.” The Austrian bishop then proceeds to explain that the topic of women priests is “a little bit more difficult” because John Paul II “seemingly wanted to once and for all close that door and cement his opinion for all times” with his document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (22 May 1994). Kräutler concludes with the words: “But even this Apostolic Exhortation is not a dogma and does not even have the weight of an encyclical.”
According to katholisch.de, the bishop will present a new book of his on 27 April in Salzburg. The title of his book is: Be Courageous! How to Change the World and the Church Now.