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Vatican cardinal says PNG priests should stay out of politics

Politics is the vocation of the laity and not priests, Cardinal Jan Schotte, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican told seminarians in Rabaul this week.

Schotte said it is the vocation of the laity to work for the betterment of "temporal" society, and no bishops or priests can take this place.

He explainted that if the lay person doesn't participate in creating a better world around himself or herself then he is as much a failure as the priest who does not administer the sacraments.

The cardinal said a priest can not do what the lay people are doing because he would be exercising the mission of a lay person when he is not a lay person.

But he said priests and bishops have become politicians in certain circumstances, and the church allows for that. He said the priest has to get permission from his bishop if he wants to enter politics and it is the up to the bishop to judge if it is justified.

Schotte also told the seminarians that popes do not have the authority to abolish celibacy for priesthood in the Latin church nor can they ordain women to priesthood.

He said the question of optional celibacy was raised after Vatican II when many people believed it would be abolished.

"We don't think there can be any compelling reason to change that."

He said those who are saying that celibacy should be abolished because priestly vocations are dying out in particular areas should question the faith life of that community. He said if the community is not living the faith then there will be no vocations.

PNG bishop sacks would-be MP (24/4/02)

Religious Television Association (PNG)/Religious Television Association (PNG)

30 May 2002