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Irish priests question mandatory celibacy

Irish priests question mandatory celibacy

The Irish Times reports that an organization of Roman Catholic priests calls for the end of mandatory celibacy for priests in that Church.

Fr Brendan Hoban told the paper that “many Catholic priests were ‘mesmerised’ by the Vatican’s recent creation of a new personal prelature for disaffected married Anglican clergy, now recognised as Catholic priests.

“They cannot understand how the rule can be ignored or disposed with in cases and yet not be acceptable generally,” he said.

THE ASSOCIATION of Catholic Priests has supported calls by the former Bishop of Derry Edward Daly for a removal of the compulsory celibacy requirement where Catholic priests are concerned.

The association’s founder member Fr Brendan Hoban said yesterday: “It is one part of our platform. The vocations situation is one thing, but it is also important as an issue.

“In 10-15 years’ time it will be a drastic situation [where priest numbers are concerned] and there is no plan B.”

He said many Catholic priests were “mesmerised” by the Vatican’s recent creation of a new personal prelature for disaffected married Anglican clergy, now recognised as Catholic priests.

“They cannot understand how the rule can be ignored or disposed with in cases and yet not be acceptable generally,” he said. Writing in the July 2009 edition of Furrow magazine, Fr Hoban forecast that priests “will have effectively disappeared in Ireland in two to three decades”.

In his memoir A Troubled See , which will be published this evening at the University of Ulster in Derry, Dr Daly writes that “something needs to be done and done urgently” about removing the compulsory celibacy requirement for Catholic priests.

The former bishop says he hopes “senior members of the clergy and laity make their views more forcefully known” on the matter, “views that are often expressed privately but seldom publicly”. He believes “there should also be a place in the modern Catholic Church for a married priesthood and for men who do not wish to commit themselves to celibacy”.

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