Top cleric urges end to Catholic celibacy

2011-09-13 22:41

Dublin - One of the most prominent members of the Irish Catholic Church has called for an end to celibacy for priests, saying it is pushing new recruits away.

Retired bishop of Derry Edward Daly, who rose to prominence during Northern Ireland's decades of sectarian conflict, said the church should act urgently to address the lack of young clerics.

"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," Daly said in comments broadcast on Irish state broadcaster RTE on Tuesday.

Daly said he was saddened by good men who reject the priesthood because of mandatory celibacy and had been disheartened by the rising average age of priests.

The number of people joining the priesthood in Ireland has fallen sharply in recent decades as a series of clerical sex abuse scandals undermined the church's reputation and ended its dominance in the once devout country.

"I just thought to myself, what is going to happen, where are the younger priests going to come from," he said.

"I am sure many people in the church feel this way."

Daly became a symbol of peace in Ireland on "Bloody Sunday" in 1972 when television cameras captured him holding up a white handkerchief while ministering to the injured after British troops opened fire during a civil rights parade.

A critic of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that fought against British rule in Northern Ireland, and other paramilitary groups, Daly was a leading figure in the campaign to free six people wrongly imprisoned for an IRA bomb attack in the English city of Birmingham.

They were acquitted in March 1991.

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.

Ratzinger turned away from his youthful views in the 1970s, becoming a leading conservative theologian and is firmly opposed to changing the rule which dates back to the 12th century.

  • legens - 2011-09-13 22:50

    why don`t you guys do us all a favour and close shop .you`ve been around long enough and caused enough suffering.

      MagdaKus - 2011-09-13 23:23

      Has any bunch of humans that has been around long enough not caused enough suffering? On the good side... the church has ensured some ancient records, art etc survived since Roman/ancient times (as opposed to being destroyed by some of our ancestors), civilized some of our Goth/Vandal etc ancestors, edited out animal/human sacrifice out of some cultures, infanticide, contributed to science as we know it today (including Mendel's pea experiments with hereditary laws etc)... And heck- just as today not everyone calling themselves Catholic does the right thing, well- that's not new either.

      Oxygen - 2011-09-14 07:49

      Wonder if the blow-up doll in rats*ss's cupboard is male or female?

      wsm - 2011-09-14 12:30

      The Roman Institution (it is not a church) is reaping what it sowed.. prohibiting men from marrying is unnatural.. But this is not the only problem of this ungodly Institution. It is misleading hundreds of millions of people into idolatry and superstition.

      beicime - 2011-09-14 13:19

      The church would have less homosexual inclined priests.

  • NZdreamer - 2011-09-13 23:01

    ......and maybe....will stop all the child sex abuse cases, caused by some, of these Catholic priests we all hear about so often.....hey, maybe??? So now a Priest can have sex, what else, go out and drink jol? If you cannot take the Holy Pledge - do not enter into that situation!! Simple as that....

  • slg - 2011-09-14 04:12

    The smartest thing to come out of this church in, like, forever.

  • zaatheist - 2011-09-14 04:18

    If I said to you, 'don't think of a black cat', what's the first thing you're going to think of? Same with the male "virgins" in dresses and sex. So it is about time that the temptation to rape children as an outlet for their repressed sexuality was removed and they became normal functioning members of society. But the organisation remains evil with is abominable teachings and exploitation of the poor. Thankfully there is every sign that it is losing adherents and tithes at a fast rate. In time people will look back at all religion and view it with the same wonder and amusement as the we do for the worshipers of Zeus, Odin, Thor and Xenu. Their places of worship will make good amusement centres.

      GLY - 2011-09-14 08:27

      @zaatheist "the organisation remains evil", "exploitation of the poor" shame on you. Do you know howmany hospitals, schools. orphanages that the Catholic church has buitl. Surely this is helping the poor. YUeas the Vatican is extremely rich but for anyone to only see one side of the picture is extremely short sighted and selfish. The Christiam faith has stood the test of time longer than any other for of gods. I think that you have serious issues regarding that need to be discussed with an open mind. Whatever hurt you have encoiuntered can be reconciled .....if you want it to be....

      rantoftheday - 2011-09-14 09:19

      "The Christiam faith has stood the test of time longer than any other for of gods" Um, what about Islam and Judaism?

      Victoria - 2011-09-14 09:44

      @rantoftheday. Christianity continues on from Judaism and Islam came afterwards. Wakey wakey!!!!

      rantoftheday - 2011-09-14 11:16

      @Victoria - er, Christianity FOLLOWS Judaism therefore the Christian faith has NOT "stood the test of time longer than any other." Wakey Wakey!

      Victoria - 2011-09-14 14:55

      @rantoftheday. So according to you a tree only starts above the ground, not from the tips of its roots. Are you simple?

  • jansteyn4 - 2011-09-14 06:54

    The Roman Catholic Church is guilty of institutionalized abuse of children. They are the most evil curse mankind has had to suffer for 2000 years. Open their libraries and redistribute their wealth [including their puppets the Rothschild's] Burn the pernicious slime they call clergy at their own stakes. AAAARGH!!!

      tsmit3 - 2011-09-14 09:41

      I assume you are one of SA's previously disadvantaged call for redistribution of wealth.

      jansteyn4 - 2011-09-14 12:24

      No sir I only ask for the wealth to be returned to the peoples they plundered it from while they 'converted' them on the pain of death into followers of their disgusting god.

  • V. Zela - 2011-09-14 07:02

    Very sensible

  • Nibiru - 2011-09-14 07:04

    About time

  • daaivark - 2011-09-14 07:08

    I am not remotely religious, but do not feel the need to abuse religious institutions the way you people do. It is just grossly unreasonable to brand an entire denomination because of the behaviour of a minority. Many Catholics have done amazing humanitarian work and I know many practicing Catholics who could show most people a thing or two about being decent humans. Jansteyn clearly has his own anger issues to deal with. Perhaps you belong to the opposition?

      Epicurius - 2011-09-14 07:29

      Fair point Daaivark, but during apartheid there were level headed, fair minded white South Africans who neither committed nor condoned the acts which the apartheid system promoted, or even implied to be acceptable, yet it was the system of apartheid which needed to be abolished in order to set things straight and restore democracy. Yes i know i am comparing politics and religion but the very fact that they are planning to make such a drastic change to their dogma is reassuring but at the same time indicative of the irrelevance of their religion in today's society.

      amouse - 2011-09-14 07:45

      The Catholic church, especially the top hierarchy (including the pope)should be ashamed of themselves!?? I'm surprised they still have a congregation? But that will change - time will tell!?

      daaivark - 2011-09-14 08:20

      That I don't dispute, nor that religion, to me, is irrelevant. However, it does remain relevant, and dare I say "sacred" to huge sectors of mankind. So by all means debate the issues in a reasonable and reasoned manner, but the almost psyuchotic outbursts of people like Jansteyn are not only uncouth and uncalled for, but show up their own rather nasty obsessions.

      daaivark - 2011-09-14 08:21

      sorry, "psychotic".

      Peter Smith - 2011-09-14 08:35

      you people who use the phrase "you people" disgust me!

      Charci - 2011-09-14 08:41

      I don't agree with the more harsh comments posted here. I was brought up a Catholic and I believe everyone has the basic human right to believe in what they want. However when I hear people including some of my own family members support this institution and choose to ignore the cover-ups, then it really upsets me. Being uninformed is one thing but turning a deaf ear to the victims... A documentary that was nominated for an Academy Award is worth your while watching. It is called 'Deliver us from Evil'. The priest interviewed on this documentary was simply reallocated to other parishes after it was known he was raping children. He was responsible for hundreds of child rapes including that of a 9 month infant for God sakes!!!!! The reallocation policy of these child rapists has been repeated all over the world, a stark indication that the knowledge of these crimes went high up on the churches authority ladder. Protection of the churches image was put ABOVE the protection and welfare of children. Yesterday I read on several international news sites (not sure why it did not make it here), a group of victims of clergy abuse have asked the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Pope for crimes against humanity. I wish them all the strength and courage to finally find justice.

      daaivark - 2011-09-14 09:30

      I'm so sorry, Peter. How would you prefer we put it then? If one prefers not to single out particular individuals, that is.

  • Reader - 2011-09-14 08:45

    Are there any institutions more violent and harmful to humans than organised religion?

      GLY - 2011-09-14 09:11

      Perhaps you should rather ask the question "Why are organised religions more harmful to people? Do not only look at one side of the coin. Every coain has two sides....

  • Daemos1 - 2011-09-14 08:45

    Yeah, let them shag the parishioners so they can leave the altar boys alone

  • HeyApple - 2011-09-14 09:07

    That is quite typical of the church, always changing the rules to please the people and keep the donations coming in. Why even have a religion when you constantly change the rules ?

      GLY - 2011-09-14 09:12

      Heyapple, the Catholic Church is a denomination in the Christian faith. It is only changing the rules regarding its members and not Christian theology.

      Victoria - 2011-09-14 09:59

      @HeyApple. The Catholic Church does NOT always change the rules - didn't you read the article? Celibacy was instituted centuries ago in order to stop nepotism and the passing of parishes from father to son with no regard for their suitability etc. Also, it left the Church free to focus on helping the poor instead of having to support the wives and children of priests. In today's society where women are allowed to earn an income, this is no longer valid, and as a Catholic I would be happy to see married priests rather than no priests. To all of you who criticise the entire organisation based on the actions of some sick individuals, enjoy your forthcoming weekend. THAT was instituted by the Catholic Church when they saw the poor being worked to death by their overlords. They decreed that Sunday HAD to be a day of rest to keep in line with their interpretation of scriptures, thereby obtaining at least 1 day of rest for the disempowered. And finally before anyone throws the child abusers back in my face, consider this - they were put in positions of trust and were working in God's name. Don't you think He is going to deal with them more effectively than any human system is capable of? I know it doesn't help the victims here and I hope and pray they find healing and peace. But I don't think the Lord takes it lightly when His name is taken in vain to the degree it has been by ghastly perverts abusing their positions in society and in His Church.

      rantoftheday - 2011-09-14 11:27

      @Victoria Who do you think created paedo priests in the first place?

      daaivark - 2011-09-14 11:42

      Victoria, your take on things is a bit strange. The institution of a day of rest came LOOOONG before the Catholic Church... before Christ, for that matter. Heard of Genesis? I am not religious, but it seems I have read the bible more sensibly than you have.

      Victoria - 2011-09-14 14:59

      @rantoftheday - Certainly not the Church. Or God. Everyone has free will and if they are going to give in to evil, they along are accountable for their behaviour. @daaivark - You prove my point. The day of rest was stipulated in Genesis, but was only really institutionalised by the Jewish faith. The Gentiles did not have a day of rest until the Church implemented it.

  • Messenger - 2011-09-14 09:57

    I do not know why the Catholic Church applies this priesthood celibacy rule at all. It was never God's intention that people should stay celibate their whole lives. Drop this rule. It will not violate any biblical teaching.

  • wsm - 2011-09-14 12:30

    The Roman Institution (it is not a church) is reaping what it sowed.. prohibiting men from marrying is unnatural.. But this is not the only problem of this ungodly Institution. It is misleading hundreds of millions of people into idolatry and superstition.

  • beicime - 2011-09-14 13:19

    The church would have less homosexual inclined priests.

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