Thursday, March 23, 2017 e O cial Newspaper of the Diocese of Greensburg Volume 56, No. 21 MARY SEAMANS THE CATHOLIC ACCENT LENTEN DEVOTION: Father William J. Lechnar leads parishioners at Church of the Good Shepherd Parish, Kent, in the Stations of the Cross March 17. Thinking of the cross is a way to acknowledge the means to salvation. For more on this devotion, see page 11. Priests and marriage: Pope Francis’ openness to possibility not so new after all By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — While Pope Francis’ recent comments on the subject of married priests made headlines around the world, his response falls clearly in line with the thinking of his predecessors. In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit published in early March, Pope Francis was asked if allowing candidates for the priest-hood to fall in love and marry could be “an incentive” for combating the shortage of priestly vocations. He was also asked about the possibility of allowing married “viri probati” — men of proven virtue — to become priests. “We have to study whether ‘viri probati’ are a possibility. We then also need to determine which tasks they could take on, such as in remote communities, for example,” Pope Francis said. Expressing a willingness to study the question of allowing married men to become priests was hardly a groundbreaking response given that the topic was explored in two meetings of the Synod of Bishops and by both Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II. During the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, the possibility of ordaining men of proven virtue was raised as a way to provide priests for areas of the world where Catholics have very limited access to Mass and the sacraments. “Some participants made refer-ence to ‘viri probati,’ but in the end the small discussion groups evalu-ated this hypothesis as a road not to follow,” a proposition from the synod said. Eight years before he was elected pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzing-er said that while married priests in the Catholic Church were not on the horizon in “the foreseeable future,” it was not an entirely closed subject. In a 1997 book by Peter Seewald, “Salt of the Earth: e Church at the Continued on page 9 SAVE THE DATE: DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY OUTDOOR SERVICE AND EUCHARISTIC PROCESSION LED BY BISHOP EDWARD C. MALESIC APRIL 23, 3 P .M. ST. CLAIR PARK, GREENSBURG In case of inclement weather the service will be moved to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. INSIDE THIS ISSUE PAGE 5 South Greensburg parishioners support Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for the earth. PAGE 6 Kent parish continues 25-year Lenten tradition that offers more than just dinner.