Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic World News News Feature

Australian bishop backs reconsideration of celibacy, women's ordination August 23, 2007

Bishop Pat Power, an auxiliary of the Canberra, Australia diocese, has indicated his support for an end to mandatory clerical celibacy, and suggested a new discussion of the possibility of ordaining women.

In a public response to a campaign by Australian Catholic activists to end the celibacy discipline, Bishop Power said that while Vatican leaders are unwilling to reconsider the issue, among "ordinary Catholics" he has found both support and "a sense of urgency" about the need for change.

"Where there is the conviction that the Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic belief and practice, there must be questions asked about disciplinary laws in the Church which have the net effect of denying many Catholics regular access to the Eucharist," the Australian bishop wrote. He said that by limiting priestly ministry to celibate men the Church was in effect restricting access to the Eucharist "because of the scarcity of priests."

Bishop Power went on the praise Australian activists for raising the question of ordination for women. The bishop said that he recognized "the sensitivity to the question at the level of the Vatican," but called for "a more open and thorough examination of the issues around the ordination of women and the whole structure of the priesthood."

Pope John Paul II closed the discussion of women's ordination with his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Pope John Paul wrote: "I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

The Australian bishop said that he had often suggested changes in Church teaching and discipline regarding the priesthood, but found little support for his proposals. He blamed the problem on the opposition of Vatican officials-- whose attitudes, he said, have produced "a greater encroachment on the life of the local Church" in recent years.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

The common good: isn't that just a weasel word? 7 hours ago
St. Katharine Drexel shows how spiritual poverty and submission to Providence go hand in hand 8 hours ago
The Human Mix of Good and Evil January 30
Conscientious objection to vaccinations January 30
Can Islam confront its problem with violence? January 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals CWN - January 5
In ‘state of the world’ address, Pope decries ‘throwaway culture’ CWN - January 12