DW, a German media company published an article coinciding with World Youth Day. In the online post talks about priest shortages in rural mission areas and the “creative” ways in which priests are dealing with it. Hear is a short clip of the article.
Many Catholics (Who are these Catholics? And where are they? Are they the Catholics that don’t go to Mass and respond to a poll outside their local grocery store?) hope Pope Francis will strengthen laymen and women in church, who have been taking on responsibilities of priests (What are they doing? There are many things we priests do, that anyone can do and some things that only a validly ordained priest can do, an some things that only a priest given jurisdiction by the proper authority can do.) in some rural areas. That might trigger a revolution, (There was the Protestant Reformation, is that what they hope to achieve? If so, they have or will break communion with the Church founded by Christ.) experts say.
The Catholic Church in Latin America has a way of dealing with contradictions: Instead of discussing whether women should be allowed to be ordained to the priesthood or debating the celibate, laymen go ahead and create precedents in their religious communities. They’ve come up with new forms of church services – services without a priest. (No priest, no Jesus, plain and simple!) Hopes are high during this year’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro that Pope Francis will give more power to ordinary people (If he gave that power to ordinary men, they would no longer be “ordinary,” they would be priests. Wouldn’t that just frustrate the problem? They don’t want more priests, but lay people to do what priests do.) in the church: the laypersons. That would ultimately change the Catholic Church. (No, there are some things that even the Pope has no authority to change.)
Erwin Kräutler, bishop of the diocese Xingu in the Brazilian Amazon region, steers clear of tricky subjects such as women priests and celibate. Kräutler, an Austrian native who came to the Amazon region some 40 years ago, takes a more pragmatic approach: “I have 28 priests for 700,000 people in an area that’s about the size of Germany,” he said. “We started to ask ourselves: How can we enable people in the jungle, wherever they are, to take part in the Holy Communion?”
No priest around
Many laypersons have already come up with their own solution: they simply hold church services without the support of the clerics (Priest less services are not now, and never will be the Mass). They pray together (It is good for people to pray together), break the bread, administer wine, (There is a name for this. They are apostates. Simulating the Sacraments is a grave sin.) and care little about Catholic regulations, which specify that only priests are allowed to administer the sacrament of the Holy Communion. (This is such a serious crime, that it must be investigated by the Bishop. If they Bishop finds the “accusation credible” he no longer has the power to deal with the situation. It must be referred to the Congregation of the Faith.)
You can read The Procedure and Pracis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding Graviora Delicta. It deals with the procedures to be followed when someone simulates either the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist or the Sacrament of Penance. Laity who become involved in a situation like this and priests who promote or encourage it need to repent.
Read the whole article in DW here.