In a changing Church, how long more will I be left in limbo?

In an article in the current issue of La-Croix, Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent, gave three examples of top Church figures, two cardinals and an archbishop, making public statements calling for radical change in Catholic Church teachings and practice, and even in doctrine.

The first was Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich. Cardinal Marx is one of the select group of advisors, and also a close friend, of Pope Francis.The 68-year-old cardinal made a big splash this past week when he said clerical celibacy should be optional. Marx said it would be better for some priests if there were allowed to be married. In other words, he called for the abolition of the long standing Church teaching in relation to priesthood, that it was only open to celibates.

Coming from him, that is a very significant statement.

A few days before Marx’s statement, Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin also urged an end to mandatory priestly celibacy. And he went even further by calling for the ordination of women deacons. This has been an issue under discussion in the Vatican for some time, with now a second commission set up to study it. Koch cuts through all that, saying get on with it.

Probably the top European churchman at present is Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg. He is president of the Episcopal Conference of the European Union.

He has openly called recently for a change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality. 

“I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer true,” he said bluntly in an interview published February 1 in Germany. “I think it’s time we make a fundamental revision of the doctrine,” the 63-year-old cardinal.

A top cardinal calling for a change in Church doctrine. That is really significant.

The other indication of the changing times in the Church is, of course, the Synodal Pathway, and the clear and strong call for change that is coming from the ‘People of God” here in Ireland.

The Church is a very different reality now to what it was when I was suspended indefinitely more than ten years ago. As everything changes so radically around us in the Church, am I going to be left ‘in limbo’ for the rest of my life, however long or short that may be? How can the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Michael Brehl, justify continuing to impose this sentence on me as he did in 2012? How can the Irish bishops, while they support and encourage this radical new way of being Church outlined by Francis, stand by and do nothing about my situation?

Maybe if I lived in Munich or in Luxembourg I might have a better chance of getting some justice.