Paint the Town Black
The National Council of Priests is calling on the Vatican to revisit the centuries-old prerequisites of celibacy to meet the council's global goal of having one priest ordained for every 50 families or 200 Catholics. But priests acknowledge that the targets cannot be met unless the criteria for priesthood are radically altered.
As well as opening vocations to married men, the council, which represents about half the country's Catholic clergy, has reopened debate on women priests, questioning whether their exclusion from the priesthood is as a result of divine direction.
In a submission to a bishop's synod in Rome that began yesterday, the council says: "Vocation is very much God's calling. The discernment about whom God is calling to the priesthood at this time is possible only if the whole church is speaking to God and listening to God."
A Melbourne priest and statistician, Father Eric Hodgens, estimates that in Australia there is one working priest for every 4500 Catholics. As priests from the baby-boomer generations retire and die the ratio is likely to grow.
First off, a priest for every 200 Catholics means that a diocese of 1 million would have 5,000 priests. Could you imagine the oversight that would require? And some think that the curial bureaucracy is overbearing as is....
Just keep the focus on weeding out those dangerous "tribal chief" types and we'll all be OK.