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Irish bishop calls for change in celibacy discipline

September 13, 2011

A retired Irish bishop has called for a change in the discipline of clerical celibacy.

“I ask myself, more and more, why celibacy should be the great sacred and unyielding arbiter, the paradigm of diocesan priesthood?” said Bishop Edward Daly, who led the Diocese of Derry from 1974 until 1993, when he resigned at the age of 59 following a stroke. He called clerical celibacy “an obligation that has caused many wonderful potential candidates to turn away from a vocation, and other fine men to resign their priesthood at great loss to the Church.”

“There is certainly an important and enduring place for celibate priesthood,” he added. “But I believe that 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.”

Bishop Daly also criticized the Vatican's criteria for the selection of bishops. “Teaching and orthodoxy were primary and … parish pastoral experience was secondary.”


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  • Posted by: - Sep. 14, 2011 3:13 PM ET USA

    The celibate priesthood served the Church pretty well for a thousand years. Its appeal diminished only when the "modern & ecumenical" Church stripped the liturgy of sacredness, degraded its sacraments and rites, and rendered diocesan priests mere social welfare functionaries. By admitting any applicant no matter how unfit, the "progressive" Church produced a dearth of priests and a horrific sex abuse scandal. Orthodoxy yields vocations. A married clergy is no panacea; just ask the Protestants.

  • Posted by: visions - Sep. 13, 2011 2:44 PM ET USA

    There's that word, paradigm. The last time I heard that word being used was by a judge in Massachusetts who described marriage as an "evolving paradigm." So now I guess this may apply to priestly celibacy?