CWN - Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai expressed concern about “deficiencies in the pastoral and spiritual formation of priests,” in his address to the Synod of Maronite bishops last week.
The Lebanese prelate saw “a significant drop in the level of scientific and theological competence” among his priests, and consequently a “slacking off in the theological, dogmatic, and moral teaching” of the Maronite community. He observed that too many priests are offering opinions—sometimes online, without proper authorization—that do not correspond to Church teachings, and are consequently “scandalizing the faithful.”
The Maronite Patriarch also voiced his concern about the incidence of marital breakdown. “Our courts are allowing annulments for psychological reasons all too easily,” he said. Rather than accepting the collapse of marriages, he said, the Church should seek out new ways to defend marital unions through “intensive pastoral care, and the creation of centers for marriage preparation and centers for counseling and reconciliation.”