Irish Bishop Calls for Optional Celibacy
Reuters reports that Edward Daly, Retired bishop of Derry, has made a forceful call for a serious discussion about ending mandatory (diocesan) clerical celibacy. Money quote:
I feel now that celibacy is damaging to the church and I do feel now that we have to look at that issue very profoundly at this point in time and quite urgently.
Well then, perhaps he should convene a gathering of bishops who feel the same way, and present a common document to the Vatican? Some bishops might advocate such a move but might fear to be “outed” on this issue if they’re still active, not retired like Daly. So the document could be signed by name and status, or as “Anonymous, retired” or “Anonymous, active.” I will personally buy snacks for any such gathering. (Were I wealthy, I’d offer to host. One does what one can…)
An intriguing statement in the Reuters piece that took me by surprise:
Supporters of a married priesthood caused a stir earlier this year when they unearthed a 1970 appeal to ordain older married men signed by nine German theologians including the then Father Joseph Ratzinger, the present pope.
Pardon me for my lack of attention if this made headlines, but does anyone have any info on this? Did they use language of “viri probati,” i.e., deacons? And did they mean ordination, or expansion of diaconal duties beyond their current scope, but stopping short of priestly ordination?
While I’m stirring the nest, I wonder if religious orders with stable apostolates might also consider more complete inclusion of non-celibates? Yes, yes, community, but look at the deep devotion and assiduous labor of many associate members of men’s and women’s orders. I’m not at all sure that the apostolates of at least a substantial proportion of religious actually require celibacy to embody the charism of the institute.
But for now, a real push on the diocesan side is enough. And Bishop Daly, if you’re out there, let’s talk–chips and salsa? Honey roasted cashews? You name it, it’s there.