National Catholic Reporter ®

March 21, 2003
Vol. 2, No.30

Send This Page to a Friend   | Printer Friendly Version
For pacifist Jim Douglass, a stop in Rome on way to Baghdad

“We can’t stop the attack, but we can help those who are under attack. Most of them stand between two forces, their own government and the U.S. government now invading their country, and they are caught in the middle.” 

Jim Douglass
Since the Iraq crisis erupted, a string of political heavyweights, including Joschka Fischer, Tariq Aziz, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair and Jose-Maria Aznar, beat a path to the pope’s door. As it turns out, this flurry of diplomatic activity was not enough to avert war, but it did convert the papacy into one of the most significant poles of opposition on the world stage. 
    Amid the flock of high-profile visitors, it was easy enough to miss Jim Douglass, a mild-mannered, bespectacled figure in a red ball cap, who quietly passed several days under the pope’s window in mid-March. 
    Aziz, Blair, and the other VIPs were whisked in for private sessions with the pope, while the closest Douglass came was watching John Paul deliver his March 16 Sunday Angelus address, just another face in the crowd. Douglass observed a nine-day, water-only fast sitting in St. Peter’s Square, with just a spiral notebook, a water bottle, and a cap bearing the “CPT” logo (for “Christian Peacemaking Teams”) keeping him company. 

    It is likely that none of those diplomats and heads of state who arrived in St. Peter’s Square, however, had thought longer or harder about matters of war and peace than Jim Douglass. He represents an uncompromising Christian pacifist option that, whatever its intellectual or political merits, stands out for its attempt to take the gospel seriously. 

    I caught up with Douglass on March 18, his last day in St. Peter’s square. That afternoon, he was set to leave for a rendezvous with nine other members of the Christian Peacemaking Teams movement in Amman, Jordan, their last pit stop on their way to Baghdad. In the very moment in which most Westerners are scrambling to get out of Iraq, Douglass and the others were desperate to get in.

    Though he does not use the term, Douglass, 64, was on his way to become a “human shield,” putting himself in harm’s way as a witness for peace. 

    A longtime adherent of the Catholic Worker philosophy, Douglass had opted to prepare himself spiritually by passing some time in Rome, charging his batteries, so to speak, with the pope’s words and witness. One senior Vatican official, a man who knows Douglass from his anti-war activism over the years, sought him out twice in St. Peter’s Square, encouraging him to press on. 

    Douglass, who was born in Princeton, British Colombia, and who now hails from Birmingham, Alabama, is the author of several books on pacifism and Christian thinking on war, including The Nonviolent Cross (Macmillan , 1968) and Resistance and Contemplation (1972). 

    During the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Douglass found himself in Rome as a lay student at the Gregorian University, and became part of a small group of Catholic pacifists pushing the bishops to take an anti-war stance. This informal pacifist “lobby” included luminaries such as Eileen Egan, Jean and Hildegard Goss-Mayr, Dorothy Day and, at a distance, Thomas Merton. Douglass was close to council fathers such as Bishop John Taylor of Sweden and Archbishop George Flahiff of Canada. 

    After the council, Douglass felt drawn to extend his commitment to non-violence beyond the realm of the merely theoretical. Early on, it was clear he was not going to last long in a traditional ecclesiastical or academic environment. In 1972, for example, he landed a one-year job at the University of Notre Dame as part of a program dedicated to the study and practice of non-violence. He organized a “resistance Mass” to the war in Vietnam, celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Roberts of Bombay, India, and a number of Notre Dame priests. The climax came in the offertory, when Douglass and six others ripped up draft cards and placed them in the chalice as part of the presentation of the gifts. 

    That was, as Douglass puts it, “the beginning of the end” of his academic career. 

    In the small world of faith-based advocacy of pacifism and non-violence, Jim and his wife Shelley are legends for this kind of stuff. (Shelley grew up in a CIA family posted in the 1950s to Switzerland, Pakistan and Germany, and is a convert to Catholicism, lured in part by the Catholic Worker tradition). The two co-founded the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, next to the Trident nuclear submarine base near Seattle, Wash., to coordinate resistance to the nuclear weapons establishment. Jim has passed some one and a half years behind bars for various acts of opposition to the Trident site, including penetrating the most secure zone on the base in order to pray for disarmament. 

    The two currently run a Catholic Worker house, called “Mary’s House,” in Birmingham. This will be Jim’s fifth trip to Iraq. 

    What do they hope to accomplish in Baghdad, in the middle of the Second Gulf War? 

    “To be with the people,” Douglass told me. “We can’t stop the attack, but we can help those who are under attack. Most of them stand between two forces, their own government and the U.S. government now invading their country, and they are caught in the middle.” 

    “Our purpose is to be with the Iraqi people, and to report what we see to the rest of the world, especially to Americans who don’t know the whole story,” Douglass said. 

    I pointed out that we were having this conversation in a week in which a fellow American “human shield,” 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, was killed in the Gaza Strip. Douglass must know he and his wife are courting death. How do they come to such a choice? 

    “It’s the gospel,” Douglass said. “Jesus’ central call is to agape, to self-giving love, which is God’s love. We need to be with the people who are under the bombs. That’s Jesus’ teaching.” 

    The Christian Peacemaking Teams movement, the umbrella under which Jim and Shelley are travelling, was born in 1984, when an American Protestant theologian and social activist named Ronald Sider sought to spur Christians to a more aggressive pacifism. 

    “Unless we ...are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic, vigorous new exploits for peace and justice ... we dare never whisper another word about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands filled with injustice,” Sider has said. CPT is the response of the Church of the Brethren, the Friends United Meeting, and Mennonite congregations in Canada and the United States to his call. 

    The group began by dispatching delegations to war-torn areas in the early 1990s; today it sends trained volunteers and members of its full-time Christian Peacemaker Corps to live in zones of conflict. Funded by individual and church donations, CPT maintains projects in Hebron, the Chiapas region of Mexico, and northern Colombia, as well as with several native American groups in Canada and the United States. 

    Douglass said that he was catalyzed to make the trip by the recent experience of hearing Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama address a group of schoolchildren near Birmingham. Shelby showed a map, Douglass said, and in a sort of “Mr. Rogers in reverse,” talked about what a “dangerous neighborhood” the Middle East is. All the time, Douglass said, he thought about the Iraqi children, some 500,000 by UNICEF estimates, who have died under the impact of United Nations-imposed sanctions after the first Gulf War in 1991. 

    Douglass does not mince words in speaking about the possible impact of a war in Iraq. 

    ““It could well be the end of the United States of America,” he told me, forecasting a backlash of anger around the world that will lead to explosions of terrorism and anti-American protest. “So far as the Muslim world goes, it will create a real inferno,” Douglass said. 

    At the same time, Douglass said he found the burgeoning anti-war activism around the world “a dramatic sign of hope.” He said John Paul II has been “inspiring,” “a spiritual voice speaking the truth.” 

    One can perhaps find Douglass’ analysis of the consequences of war extreme, his choice to “stand in the gap” foolhardy. But one cannot help but admire the gritty, literal fidelity to the gospel of Jesus Christ — the whole gospel, including the tough stuff — that drives Jim Douglass. 

Jim Douglass and his team reached Amman, Jordan, but due to the start of hostilities were unable to proceed to Baghdad. They are presently considering other plans. One possibility is to go to the Gaza Strip. 

* * * 

    John Paul II is not a man who goes off script much these days. In the vast majority of his public appearances, the pope limits himself to reading a prepared text, keeping the crowd hooked with a wave, a smile, at most a small quip, perhaps a refrain or two from a favorite Polish folk song. 

    Thus last Sunday’s Angelus address, when the pope spoke in ad-lib fashion from his own biography about the danger of war in Iraq, is yet another measure of his deep personal anxiety about the U.S. assault. The pope’s voice boomed, and his right hand chopped the air, reflecting a level of vigor that had not been seen in years. 

    From a certain point of view, one could say that the papal appeal fell on deaf ears. Yet John Paul has always been addressing multiple audiences, one of which is the Islamic street. His last-ditch appeals have been, in part, designed to hammer home the point that this war is being waged by George Bush and Tony Blair, not by Western Christianity. A less overt, but equally compelling, aim is to protect Christians scattered across the Islamic world. 

    Some Catholics, especially those sympathetic to the Bush administration on the war, wish the pope would premise his opposition more straightforwardly on the fate of Christian minorities. 

    “If the pope were to say that an attack by Western countries on Iraq would not augur well for Christians in that country, everyone would (at the least) appreciate the good sense of his position,” American Catholic conservative Tom Bethell recently wrote in his column for Beliefnet. 

    “But here, as so often in his papacy, the pope seems to subordinate the welfare of the church he presides over to the promotion of a woolly theistic humanism. It is the whole world that he is concerned with, not these merely parochial concerns. All too often, he sounds as though he would rather be, instead of pope, a one-man United Nations, filled with caring for the material welfare of all the people in this world,” Bethell wrote.

    If only for their eventual historical value, it’s worth recording John Paul’s words, the strongest and most dramatic of what are by now more than twenty papal statements on Iraq in recent weeks. 

    “I have to say, I belong to the generation that remembers well, that lived through — and, thanks to God, survived — the Second World War,” John Paul added halfway through his prepared remarks. 

    “For this reason I have the duty to remind all these young people, younger than me, who have not had this experience, I have the duty to say to them: ‘War never again!’ as Paul VI said in his first visit to the United Nations. We all know that it is not possible to demand peace at any cost, but we also know that how great, how very great, is our responsibility for this decision,” the pope said. 

    Raising his hand again, he exhorted his listeners to “prayer and penance!” 

    The pope’s prepared remarks for the Angelus, hammered out on this occasion in collaboration with his top diplomats, contained pleas for both the Iraqis and the Americans. 

    “The coming days will be decisive for the outcome of the Iraq crisis,” John Paul said. 

    “The responsible political authorities in Baghdad have the urgent duty to collaborate fully with the international community, to eliminate every reason for an armed intervention. To them is addressed my pressing appeal: the fate of their citizens must always take priority!” 

    “I would also, however, like to remind the members of the United Nations, and in particular those who make up the Security Council, that the use of force represents the last recourse, after having exhausted every pacific solution, according to the well-known principles of the United Nations charter.” 

    All political logic to the contrary, John Paul insisted there was still time to avoid bloodshed. 

    “Before the tremendous consequences that an international military operation would have for the peoples of Iraq and for the entire Middle East region, which has already endured so much, as well as for the extremism which could derive from an attack, I say to all: there is still time to negotiate; there is still space for peace; it is never too late for understanding and for continuing to talk.” 

    The pope added one final remark, seemingly directed above all at President George Bush. 

    “To reflect on one’s duties, to involve oneself in difficult negotiations, does not mean to humiliate oneself, but to work with responsibility for peace,” he said. 

    When Bush set a final ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to go into exile, signaling abandonment of any hope of securing United Nations backing for the war, the Vatican put out a terse statement. 

    “Whoever decides that all the peaceful means made available under international law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his conscience and history,” said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. 

    One thing is certain: future historians will not be able to dissect a papal “silence” on this war. 

* * * 

    I was among the speakers at a March 19 conference on world hunger sponsored by Rome’s Lay Centre and the Vincent Pallotti Institute, two first-class operations run by American lay scholar Donna Orsuto. Though the conference was scheduled well before we knew that the war in Iraq would begin just hours later, the coincidence offers a useful reminder that despite a suffocating media focus on the war, other crisises equally worthy of our attention will not simply go away. 

    Diane Spearman of the World Food Program recited a now-familiar litany of data on global hunger. Roughly 840 million people, she told the gathering of diplomats, activists and journalists, are chronically hungry — not just missing the occasional meal, but hunger serious enough to threaten life. Of that number, 799 million of the chronically hungry are in the developing world. 

    At the United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit in 1996, the international community committed itself to cutting that figure in half by 2015. That aim was built on the realization that a relatively modest investment of resources, split between direct relief to crisis situations and longer-term investments in rural infrastructure and agriculture, could work wonders. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the cost of such an effort at roughly $24 billion. 

    By way of scale, industrialized nations spend some $300 billion each year on agricultural subsidies, i.e., propping up their own national agricultural operations. The United States alone has private agricultural sales each year of $56 billion, and spends $38 billion on domestic hunger relief (by way of comparison, the U.S. contributes about $2 billion annually to global anti-hunger campaigns). 

    Another sense of scale may come from a team of Australian researchers, who recently pegged the negative global economic consequences of a short war in Iraq — in other words, the opportunity cost of the war — at roughly $600 billion. They based the estimate on models of the economic after-effects from the 1991 Gulf War. 

    In the context of a global economy whose cash flows are measured in the trillions, economist Jeffrey Sachs has said that the $24 billion needed for hunger relief could be considered a “rounding error.” 

    Yet the investment has not been forthcoming. In fact, from 1992-2000, the number of hungry people in the world dropped only 2.5 percent. At that rate, the goal of cutting the number in half would not be reached until 2150, some 100 years late. Even this slight progress masks backward steps in some places. In 47 nations across the globe, an additional 96 million people have become hungry since the 1996 goals were set. 

    “Hunger in a world of plenty is a scandal,” Spearman said. “We must not allow it to continue.” 

    Obviously money, or its absence, is not the only cause of hunger. Spearman identified a lack of rural infrastructure, disasters both man-made and natural, drought, governmental corruption and incompetence, and HIV/AIDS as important factors. Still, substantial progress on hunger relief is to some extent a question of resources. 

    Several observers made the point that in a world concerned about the possibility that war in Iraq may trigger conflicts elsewhere, a serious program of hunger relief could help ease tension. 

    Two of America’s three ambassadors in Rome took part in the event. U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See James Nicholson offered an unusually personal response, noting that as a young man growing up in Iowa, one of seven children of an alcoholic father who was frequently absent from the family, he knew what it is like to go hungry. As a result of that experience, he said, he feels a special passion on the hunger issue. 

    Nicholson argued that in the context of the crisis of global hunger, opposition in some quarters, especially Western Europe and Africa, to genetically modified food is “irresponsible.” Forty percent of the corn that Americans eat and 75 percent of soy beans, Nicholson said, are the result of GMOs, so far without a single stomach ache or allergic reaction. 

    European opposition to GMOs, he suggested, has more to do with protecting their agricultural markets than with any real concern about the health consequences of these crops. Yet the effort to generate concern about so-called “Frankenstein food” has been effective. Nicholson noted, for example, that Catholic leaders in Zambia had supported a government decision not to distribute American-donated maize because it was genetically modified. 

    Nicholson rejected criticism that a “capitalist exploitive interest” was behind the push for GMOs. 

    The other American ambassador at the conference was Tony P. Hall, who represents President George Bush at the Food and Agriculture Organization. A former Democratic congressman from Ohio, he is the only Democrat in Bush’ ambassadorial corps. 

    Hall, a non-Catholic, spoke of his strong Christian faith and how addressing the hunger issue allows him to “bring the scriptures into my work.” He spoke of watching hungry people die during a 1984 fact-finding trip to Ethiopia as a member of congress, and the challenge of convincing the people of his Dayton, Ohio congressional district that the global hunger issue ought to be of concern to them too. 

    One stunning figure Hall cited is that the United States wastes some 110 million tons of food each year. While still in Congress, Hall launched a project to “glean” this food and redirect it to the hungry. 

    I was part of a media panel that reflected on why the world press covers this issue only episodically, failing to create the kind of sustained interest that leads to action. 

    Though the Vatican was not a main player in the conference, it was nevertheless represented through the presence of two heads of curial offices. American Archbishop John Foley, who heads the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, offered an opening Mass and then chaired a morning session, while Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, chaired the afternoon session and then led a vespers service. 

    In his homily, Arinze reflected on St. Joseph, given that March 19 was his feast. He argued that Joseph’s leadership of the Holy Family offers a model for anti-hunger efforts, which must always be based on “recognizing, respecting and protecting” the family. 

    “Hungry children should ordinarily not be fed from a central kitchen, bu*t by their own families,” he said, describing the nuclear family as the most “natural, healthy arrangement.” 

* * * 

    I closed my U.S. speaking tour March 14-15 in Jackson, Tennessee, where I was able to indulge two of the great passions of my life: Vatican analysis and barbeque. 

    When I’m outside Rome, I wake up dreaming about buccatini all’amatriciana, but when I’m not in the States, it’s always visions of BBQ ribs that dance in my head. Several distinguished eateries across Western Tennessee provided exactly the culinary fix I needed to fortify me for the return across the Atlantic. 

    I was in Jackson to lead a weekend seminar at Lambuth University, a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Methodist denomination. My audience was strikingly ecumenical — Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, and a cross-section of other traditions — but uniformly engaged and informed. Everyone seemed to concur that the policy choices facing the Roman Catholic Church, whether on ecumenism, or the war in Iraq, or the American sex abuse crisis, are of obvious relevance for all Christians. 

    To prepare for the Lambuth visit, I rang up a friend of mine, Fr. Donald Bolen, who staffs the desk for relations with Anglicans and Methodists in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Bolen gushed about the Roman Catholic/Methodist dialogue, calling it “a joy to work on,” saying it has always been marked by “tremendously friendly relations.” 

    John and Charles Wesley, founders of the spiritual movement that came to be known as Methodism, were adherents of Anglicanism. Their low-church ecclesiology, however, has meant that the theological distance between Catholics and Methodists is commonly regarded as greater than that separating Catholics and Anglicans. Ironically, Bolen said, that distance has in some ways been an asset in the dialogue, which is not “burdened with the expectations” that sometimes weigh down other relationships. 

    The dialogue is organized in five-year cycles, with each cycle ending in the presentation of a report before the international gathering of the World Methodist Council. The most recent document, presented in 2001 in Brighton, England, was entitled “Speaking the Truth in Love” and examined the role of teaching authority in the church. It’s a sensitive subject, and not only because it has been for centuries one of the flashpoints separating Catholics from other branches of Western Christianity. The fault lines also run through Methodism, since British Methodists do not have bishops, for example, while other branches of the church do. Even where Methodists have retained an episcopacy, however, their understanding of the bishop’s office often departs from the Catholic view. 

    “Speaking the Truth in Love” did not resolve these differences, but it placed them into clearer relief and identified areas for future conversation. 

    The dialogue has now turned to an even more sensitive project: an ecclesiological assessment of each side by the other. That is, Roman Catholics participants will produce a list of the essential elements of church, and then examine Methodism employing that list. The Methodists will do the same thing for the Roman side. The idea is to clarify the major ecclesiological differences in the two traditions. 

    It is, as Bolen said, a “very delicate” exercise, yet one that is unfolding with “complete calm” because of the respect and good will on both sides. 

    The first meeting for the project took place last October in France, near Strasbourg, and the second will take place this coming October in York. In the meantime, several members of the dialogue on both sides are working on preparatory essays, with a document expected in 2006. 

    I brought Bolen’s compliments to the Methodists in Jackson, expressing the gratitude of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity for three and a half decades now of brotherly relations. Based on the hospitality and graciousness shown me in Jackson, I understand what Bolen is talking about. 

* * * 

    The pope’s forthcoming encyclical on the Eucharist is expected to be issued on April 17, or Holy Thursday, and is carrying the working title Ecclesia de Eucharistia (“The Church of the Eucharist”). Some press reports have suggested that it will be accompanied by disciplinary documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

    Vatican sources tell me, however, that the accompanying materials will actually be issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the agency responsible for liturgical matters. The congregation, sources say, is working on a follow-up to the encyclical that will deal with the importance of observing the rites of the Church in the Eucharist. It will also provide a standard menu of abuses in this area, inviting bishops to greater vigilance of liturgical practices. 

    One indication of curial attitudes on the subject came March 15 in Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuit-edited journal whose pages are reviewed by the Secretariat of State before publication. In that issue, Jesuit Fr. Giuseppe de Rosa penned an editorial decrying the practice of “Eucharistic hospitality,” or admitting non-Catholics to the Eucharist in defiance of church discipline. Such a practice, de Rosa argued, forces the issue by suggesting a unity that does not yet exist. In the end, he said, it might even set back efforts for ecumenical progress. 

* * * 

    In the wake of the American sex abuse crisis, the canonical issues surrounding involuntary laicization of priests have become a matter of unusually broad public interest. Some Catholics have forgotten, however, that these are not the only offenses for which the pope imposes the canonical equivalent of the death penalty. A reminder of the point came March 13with the forced laicization of an Italian priest named Franco Barbero. 

    The outcome was not a bolt out of the blue. Barbero, 64, has long been an irritant to ecclesiastical authorities. He is one of five well-known priests profiled in the March 2003 book Preti Contro by Italian journalist Corrado Zunino, all of whom have repeatedly found themselves in hot water. 

Barbero’s bishop, Pier Giorgio Debernardi of the Pinerolo diocese, announced last September that Barbero was “no longer in communion with the Church,” in part for his views on the Eucharist and the virginity of Mary, but above all for his practice of blessing gay unions. At last count, Bernardo has celebrated 43 same-sex marriages (three with lesbian couples, 40 with males). Debernardi said at the time that Barbero’s actions had already disqualified him as a priest, and did not rule out that the Vatican might take further action. 

    I met Barbero the evening of March 19 in Rome, where he spoke on the subject of gay marriage. The talk was held at the Waldensian church in the Piazza Cavour, ironically a frequent gathering spot for progressive Catholic activity in Rome. (I’ve often remarked that, if nothing else, you have to admire the Waldensian sense of humor. This tiny Protestant island in a vast Roman Catholic sea has as its logo the image of a single candle under the slogan, Lux lucet in tenebris: “A light shines in the darkness”). 

    Barbero is a diminutive, bespectacled figure with thinning gray hair and a constant smile, very much the image of a country Italian pastor. Unfazed by the drama of recent days, he told me he has no plans to appeal the pope’s decree, since it states specifically that it is “unappealable.” Instead, he said, he wants to pursue a “theological and ecclesiological reflection” on the grounds for his removal. 

    Barbero told his listeners that he does not believe “anyone can take from my heart the ministry to which God has called me,” indicating that he will continue to lead his small base community in Pinerolo. 

“I didn’t think I needed ecclesiastical permission to recognize a gift from God,” Barbero said. “Where there is love, God blesses it, and the church has no choice but to welcome it.” 

    Whatever one makes of Barbero’s argument, his case is noteworthy because the pope rarely removes a man from the priesthood against his will. The number of such disciplinary acts may rise in coming months as American sex abuse cases make their way through the new judicial system established in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Hence it is of interest to read the language of Barbero’s decree of dismissal; clergy guilty of sexual abuse in the United States may be seeing similar decrees soon.


(dismissal from the clerical state and dispensation from obligations) 

Prot. N. 26/82 

Mr. Franco Barbero 

from the diocese of Pinerolo 

25 January 2003 

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, having heard the report of the secretary of this congregation concerning the grave mode of acting of the above-cited priest of the diocese of Pinerolo (Italy), and having seen to all the preliminaries, in a supreme decision with no possibility of appeal, has decreed that upon the above-cited priest is imposed the penalty of dismissal. 

    To the same presbyter he has also conceded a dispensation from all the duties connected with sacred ordination, with the following criteria: 

+1 The dismissal and the dispensation enter into vigor from the moment of the decision of the Roman Pontiff. 
+2 The decree of dismissal and of dispensation will be communicated to the presbyter by the competent ordinary of the place, to whom it is prohibited to ever separate these two elements. The same is valid for any eventual absolution from censure. 

+3 The news of the dismissal and dispensation will be noted in the books of the baptized of the parish of the above-cited presbyter. 

+4 For that which concerns the eventual celebration of a canonical matrimony, the norms established by the Code of Canon Law are to be applied. The ordinary should in any event handle the matter so that it takes place with circumspection and without publicity. 

+5 The ecclesiastical authority whose task it is to communicate the decree to the above-said priest, should exhort him vividly so that, in conformity with his new condition, he participate in the life of the people of God, giving edification and demonstrating himself a good son of the Church. At the same time, he will communicate what follows: 

    +a) the dismissed priest automatically loses the rights of the clerical state, all dignities and ecclesiastical offices; he is no longer held to the other obligations connected with the clerical state;

    +b) he remains excluded from the exercise of sacred ministry, and neither may he have a directive role in a pastoral environment;

    +c) equally, he may not perform any office in seminaries or equivalent institutes. In other institutes of study at the higher levels that depend in any way upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not have a directive office or teaching role;

    +d) even in institutes of study at the higher levels that do not depend upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not teach any theological discipline;

    +e) in institutes of study at lower levels that depend upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not have any directive function or teaching role. The dismissed and dispensed presbyter is held to the same law regarding the teaching of religion as in institutes that do not depend upon ecclesiastical authority.

    +6 The ordinary of the place should take an interest in the dismissed presbyter, so that he does not give scandal to the faithful due to an absence of necessary prudence. 

    +7 At an opportune time, the ordinary will report to the congregation concerning the outcome of the notification, and in the case of any astonishment among the faithful, he should proceed to a prudent explanation. 

    Notwithstanding anything even minimally to the contrary. 

From the seat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 25, 2003. 

+ Joseph Ratzinger, prefect 

+ Angelo Amato, S.D.B., titular archbishop of Sila, secretary

The e-mail address for John L. Allen Jr. is

© 2003 
The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company
115 E. Armour Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111

TEL:  1-816-531-0538
FAX:  1-816-968-2280