Catholic Priests and Their Right essay

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They reminded readers that Father Cutie joined the priesthood under those rules, with full knowledge of the requirements of priesthood, but that he placed himself above church law (Mayo, May 14, 2009).

Still earlier, in 2006, the Catholic Church in Australia became embroiled in a debate over whether the small and struggling Catholic Church there should cease insisting on clergymen's celibacy when a priests' association said that doing away with the requirement might reverse the decline in the number of priests. More than 40 bishops in Australia and half the Catholic clergy (1,650 in number) wrote to the Vatican's Synod of Bishops requesting they consider changing the requirement to allow married priests to be ordained and to allow priests who had left the church to marry to be reinstated. Father Hal Ranger pointed out that in Australia many priests converting to Catholicism were married and were allowed to remain married while serving as ordained priests. He urged the synod to examine the position that priesthood is a gift, and celibacy is a gift, but that they are not the same gift (Goodenough, Jan. 28, 2006.).

Ironically, Elizabeth Abbott states that "North America and Australia were specifically exempted from this indulgence when she observed that the priests allowed to be accepted in the Australian Catholic Church were "outraged ex-Anglicans. . . egregious misogynists, united in their rage over female ordination" and Quit their church because of its decision to permit women into the priestly ranks, turned to Rome as a solution and requested permission to become Roman Catholic priests, despite their married status. . . . The most truly stunning aspect of these Statutes for the Admission of Married Former Anglican clergymen into the Catholic church is their unbridled misogynism. How else to explain the otherwise inexplicable reversal of the celibacy-principle-cum-policy sanctioned by centuries, popes and canon law? How else to understand how the same Church that shrugged off the protests, pleas and anguish of its own Catholic clergy was suddenly so responsive to the spirituality of clergymen whose sole reason for resigning from the God-given vocation was their church's decision to permit the ordination of women?. . . .Certainly, after years of indifference to them, the church did not have a crise de conscience about its unmanned pastorates, not a moment de panique about the relentless flight of conflicted religious from their cloisters back into the uncelibate world. No, what motivated the Church was the strength of the Anglican rebels' conviction about the fundamental unsuitability of women as priests, a conviction today's Church Fathers share and are committed to sustaining. Indeed, so strongly did this antiwomen ideology resonate with the Catholic hierarchy that it drowned out questions about just how sincerely these Anglican newcomers could ever accept such tenets as papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception. (Abbott, pp 382-385).

In 2003, in Milwaukee, 120 priests signed a letter asking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to allow for married priests, saying this would help alleviate the need for more priests. (Goodenough, Jan. 28, 2006.)

In Cleveland, Ohio, a Catholic reform group called "FutureChurch" has drawn up a petition calling for the end to obligatory celibacy.

Another group in the United States entitled "Call to Action," which claims a membership of 25,000 members including clergy, calls for ordination of women, optional celibacy for priests, a focus more on social teaching and for consultation with Catholic laity in Church decision-making. (Goodenough, Jan. 28, 2006.)

According to Elizabeth Abbot, the vast majority of the members of the Catholic Church in the U.S. enthusiastically embraces ministry by married priests -- a whopping 71% (Abbott, 2001, p. 385).

The author of this paper supports the reinstatement of married priests, something which was disallowed only in 1054 under the rule of Pope Gregory VII. This repealing of a law enforcing what might be considered abnormal conduct in male priests would stop the flight of priests from the Church and allow more married clergy to join the ranks of the priesthood. New Testament writers who quoted Jesus and followed Jesus' teachings did not condemn marriage among their church leaders. It is contradictory to nature and the ongoing needs of mankind for this to now be the rule among Catholic clergy.


Abbott, Elizabeth, (2001). A history of celibacy, New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 382-385.

CNN, (2009). Florida priest removed after beach photos with woman published. Reviewed on June 26, 2009 at May 6, 2009.

CNN, (2009) Priest who broke celibacy vow joins Episcopal Church. Reviewed on June 26, 2009 at May 11, 2009.

Deffinbaugh, Robert, (2008). Sex and the Spiritual Christian: True Spiruality: A Study in 1 Corinthians, Reviewed on June 26, 2009 at:

Goodenough, Patrick, (2009). Australian Catholic Church Divided Over Priestly Celibacy. CNS News, Reviewed on June 26, 2009 at pacific/more/australian_catholic_church_divided_over_priestly_celibacy / Jan. 28, 2006.

Mayo, Michael (2009). Should Catholic Church scrap celibacy rules for…[continue]

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