Those who want to overturn the ancient discipline are energetic, well organised and influential. But can they persuade Pope Francis to make such a radical change?
by Jon Anderson,
Priests lie on the floor as Pope Francis leads a Mass during their ordination ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)
The Catholic Church is once again embroiled in arguments about whether priestly celibacy has a place in today’s world. As Catholicism in most Western countries faces a rapidly ageing priesthood, a severe shortage of vocations and declining congregations, abolishing or at least relaxing the ancient rule has become a major item on the agenda of those who advocate large-scale change in the Church. Moreover, the very idea of requiring perpetual celibacy from the clergy seems odd to today’s secular society.Continue reading →
Emotionally charged letters sent by Pope John Paul II to a married woman have shed new light on the pontiff’s personal life and raised questions about the meaning of celibacy.
Tymieniecka and Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1977Photograph provided by Bill and Jadwiga Smith
His relationship with Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka lasted more than 30 years, and researchers believe Ms Tymieniecka fell in love with the future Pope, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, in the early days of their friendship.
In the accounts of a German theologian and a Brazilian bishop, Francis’s plan to allow local exceptions to the norm of clerical celibacy. Beginning with the Amazon.
An exchange of letters, a conversation, and an innovation already become law confirm the intentions of Pope Francis to extend the presence of married clergy in the Catholic Church, as already anticipated in this article from www.chiesa: The Next Synod Is Already in the Works. On Married Priests
One of the most carefully fostered aspects of the image of the Catholic priest is that he is without a wife.
The sick call by Matthew Lawless. (Courtesy of The National Gallery of Ireland)
by Professor Thomas O’Loughlin, 1995,
Indeed, this image has been built up by the church administration as an essential part of its own esprit de corps. In recent centuries, certainly since clerical problems in mid-eighteenth-century France, church authorities have perceived in celibacy a badge of identity for its officers and presented it as representing a willingness to pay any price for the survival of their religious system. Popes have spoken of it as ‘the jewel in the crown of the priesthood’. And some, notably Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and Pius IX in 1846, have suspected that attacks on celibacy were part of a vast conspiracy to undermine Catholicism.
When anyone asks what my father does, I say he’s a retired teacher. He did, after all, teach high school science and Latin, so I’m not lying. I’m just not telling the whole story: My father, married to my mother for 45 years, is a Catholic priest.
Few Catholics, and fewer non-Catholics, know that the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests is not absolute.
The following is an excerpt from Keeping the Vow: The Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests by D. Paul Sullins (Oxford University Press, 2016): “Wait—what?! How can that be? Priests can’t be married.” Carlos, a well-educated traditional Catholic Hispanic man, had just heard me, a Catholic priest, casually refer to my wife.
The Jan. 14 issue of the Inquirer reported the baptism of the children of two married Roman Catholic priests in Lambunao, Iloilo, by their own fathers.
This was just two days before the visit of Pope Francis to our country. Canon Law allows any Catholic to validly baptize a person, especially in case of imminent death. Hence the outrage that followed this news in social media was not about this particular baptism, but about the fact of married priests publicly practicing their priestly profession in full violation of Canon Law.