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Posted on Sun 8 March 2020

To the Editor: Re

Celibacy is a gift to the church from those who are called to it, like those called to the religious life as monks or nuns. In the Bible, and in subsequent centuries, it was not a condition for priesthood. There were even married men elected to be bishop. Making it a condition for priesthood, even for those not called to it, results in a priesthood that does not represent the church at large and results in the many evils we have seen brought to light in recent years. Celibate clergy and lay people can do what married clergy and laity cannot, but equally the married can serve Christ in ways that the celibate cannot. The experience of married clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Anglican Ordinariates (established by Pope Benedict for those Anglicans who have entered full communion with the Catholic Church) needs to be called upon and listened to if the Catholic Church is to have a rounded view of what kind of priesthood is needed in our time. This is not a time for culture wars in the church but for a priesthood that serves the mission of the church today.

This letter was first published in the New York Times on 8th March and can be accessed here.

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