Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Synod Secretary: Why Celibacy?

The French Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, who served as Special Secretary of October's Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, has sparked conversation in Rome and across Europe with the release of a new book which questions the rationale for continuing the discipline of mandatory celibacy for clergy.

NCR briefs:
“If this tradition deprives communities of priests, to the point of bringing them to the brink of extinction, then why not let it evolve?” writes Minnerath, a canon lawyer and member of the French bishops’ doctrinal commission. He is said to be close to Benedict XVI.

“Celibacy was convenient for the priestly vocation,” he said, “but was not dogmatically bound. Ordaining a married man does not cause any doctrinal problem.” Discussing the book on French radio, Minnerath said he thought “married men whose children are grown and [who] have some seniority” would be good candidates for a married clergy.
One crucial element of Minnerath's proposal not mentioned here is that his envisioned viri probati be financially self-sufficient, freeing the church from the obligation to support a presbyteral spouse and home.