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Ratzinger’s Married Flock

category international | irish social forum | news report author Wednesday February 15, 2006 00:39author by Liam Mullen - Freelance Journalist Report this post to the editors

According to a report published by the London School of Economics and written by Joan O’Mahony, the Pope in his position as Cardinal and head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith knew of the existence of married priests in the Czech church in 1990.
The problem arose because Czechoslovakia was under strict Communist rule for 40 years, and launched a crackdown on Catholic clergy. Under the Communist regime, a “secret clergy” or “underground” church developed when Czech bishops took over the clandestine ordination of men whom the state refused to approve for ordination. This was a requirement of the Czech State at the time.

When the Czech Republic emerged from the odious shadow of Communist rule, it emerged that 200 of these men, secretly ordained in either the Czech Republic or neighbouring Germany, were married. Strictly forbidden under Roman Catholic rules, the Czech hierarchy launched an investigation, which was swiftly taken out of its hands by the Vatican.
According to the report the Vatican’s handling of the subsequent investigation left much to be desired and left tensions between authorities within the Czech church and the Vatican watchdogs. The dictum from Rome to resolve the problem was four-fold. Men were ordered to retake a theological examination, to undergo a re-ordination process, to transfer to the Greek Catholic church which allowed married clergy, and finally, they were urged not to discuss the matter in public.
This sweeping of matters from the gaze of public view probably highlights why the Vatican, under the tutelage of Pope Benedict XVI, has never commented publicly on the findings of the Fern’s Report, and why the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic church remain shrouded in secrecy.

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