Where does the term viri probati appear in Church documents?
The term viri probati appears in Caput III, 20, in Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesia Lumen Gentium, a Vatican II document.
Constituerunt itaque huius modi viros ac deinceps ordinationem dederunt, ut cum decessissent, ministerium eorum alii viri probati exciperent.(42) Cf. S. CLEMENS ROM., Ad Cor. 44, 2: ed. FUNK, 1, p. 154s.) […]
The English translation being [cf. Lumen Gentium – EN]
They therefore appointed such men, and gave them the order that, when they should have died, other approved men would take up their ministry.(6*) S. Clem. Rom., ad Cor. 44, 2; ed. Funk, I, p. 154 s. […]
The footnote references the only genuine writing of Pope St. Clement I, the fourth pope, which is a letter to the Church of Corinth.
In Chapter 44. The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office, the saintly pope writes:
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour. – Fathers of the Church > Letter to the Corinthians (Clement) – http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm [cf. also http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xliv.html | Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)]
From these two Church documents, nowhere does it appear that viri probati [= approved men] means “tested MARRIED men”
So when and how did viri probati come to mean “tested MARRIED men”?
From these web articles What is viri probati? A proposal for extreme situations, which did not advance | ROME REPORTS and VIRI PROBATI DicEc, it appears the idea was floated as such within the Second Vatican Council and got nowhere and it was post-Vatican II that viri probati became a “technical” expression for married men, potential candidates for priestly ordination, witnesses of a mature and contrasted Christian life [Google translated].
Clearly then what Church Teaching and Tradition means by viri probati, that is, approved men who are to be successively chosen to continue the ministry of the Holy Orders after those who appointed them have died, is not what the innovators have co-opted to mean “tested MARRIED men”.
This has nothing to do with “salus animarum” criteria or solving a shortage of priest in certain areas, but everything to do with the attempted destruction of the Holy Orders and of the Church.
This seems to be a to-do on Pope Francis’ very disturbing and destructive agenda and he has floated the idea before, as he is wont to do, via an interview in 2014 [cf. Pope says married men could be ordained – if world’s bishops agree by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, 10 April 2014 | The Tablet], only in the latest interview, he doesn’t mention the bishops being in agreement, perhaps having learned from the Synods on the Family in 2014 & 2015.
(All emphases mine)
[UPDATE November 11, 2017]
Pope Francis open to possibility of ordaining married men https://t.co/PqXV8M5Jfo
— Gerald Murray (@GeraldMurray8) March 13, 2017
Katolikus Válasz: One of the Hungarian bishops recently said that he is about to write a letter to Pope Francis asking him to allow the priestly consecration of ‘viri probati’ in the Latin Church. This has opened up a debate in the Hungarian Catholic Church about this issue and other possible solutions, including the abolishment of mandatory celibacy, to the shortage of priests in the Western world.
Do you think that ‘viri probati’ becoming priests will happen soon in the Latin Church? Can the Eastern Catholic or even the Orthodox practice be an example for the Latin Church?
Do you think that any form of relaxation in the mandatory priestly celibacy would be a good solution for the shortage of priests in the West? What is the main reason for the decline in the number of priestly vocations in the West, and what solution would you suggest to this problem?
Cdl. Burke: No, I do not anticipate any change in the Church’s discipline regarding priestly celibacy because of its roots in the example of Christ the High Priest, in whose person the ordained priest acts. It is my hope that only viri probati, in the sense in which Saint Clement of Rome first used the phrase, will be ordained, that is, men proven through an appropriate period of seminary formation. I do not anticipate the ordination of viri probati, in the sense of married men of proven virtue, according to a current use of the phrase, in the Roman Catholic Church.
The practice of the Eastern Churches regarding priestly celibacy must be understood thoroughly and deeply. It does not constitute an argument for a change in the discipline of the Latin Church. A relaxation of the discipline regarding priestly celibacy will not increase the number of vocations. A priestly vocation is a response to a divine call which includes the grace of celibacy or perpetual continence.
The reason for the lack of response to the priestly vocation is the loss of faith in our times and the lack of instruction of the young in the faith. God is certainly calling a sufficient number of young men to serve His Church. The worldliness of the culture in which we live makes it difficult for a man to hear the call.
Also, the failure of families, parish priests and other Christians to foster priestly vocations deprives those being called of an essential help in understanding and responding to the call.
“I saw a great power rise up against the Church. It plundered, devastated, and threw into confusion and disorder the vine of the Lord, having it trampled underfoot by the people and holding it up to ridicule by all nations. Having vilified celibacy and oppressed the priesthood, it had the effrontery to confiscate the Church’s property and to arrogate to itself the powers of the Holy Father, whose person and whose laws it held in contempt.”
– Jeanne le Royer (Sister of the Nativity), born in 1731 and became a nun in 1755. | Catholic Prophecy by Yves Dupont