The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Pope: celibacy stays

The pontiff endorsed the discipline during the final hours of the Year for Priests.

From Rome:

Standing before more than 10,000 Roman Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday strongly reaffirmed the Vatican’s commitment to priestly vows of celibacy, cutting off speculation that he might reconsider the issue in light of the church’s sexual abuse scandal.


At an outdoor vigil in St. Peter’s Square that veered between moments of deep reverence and outbursts of enthusiasm more characteristic of a soccer game, the pope told the gathering of priests, believed to be the largest in history, that celibacy “is made possible by the grace of God … who asks us to transcend ourselves.” Celibacy would be a “scandal,” he said, only in “a world in which God is not there.”

Some critics have suggested that the vow of celibacy may at least be partly responsible for the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, either because it is so difficult to uphold, or because it may discourage men with normal sex drives from becoming priests. In recent months, as the abuse scandal has widened in Europe, an Austrian bishop urged the Vatican to drop celibacy, which he said should be voluntary.


Benedict’s remarks came in response to a question posed by a Slovakian priest, and he made it clear that he supported continuing the practice of celibacy under his pontificate. He compared it to heterosexual marriage, which he called “the foundation of the Christian culture.”

Check out the rest at the link.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 9:51 am

The Pope is for celibacy… this is news?

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posted June 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

The problem with “the topic is closed; all discussion pointless,” is that it also rules out defenses of celibacy. That Pope Benedict is willing to defend celibacy is different, and is good.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

As a non-Catholic I find it a shame that this policy will continue, but not surprised. I’ve tried to understand the reasons, but as an outsider I think it might help the recrutiment of more men for the priesthood if they knew that they could marry if they wanted to. As suggested by a priest in the article, celibacy could be a choice. The Pope did say it would continue as long as he was Pope. He won’t be Pope forever.

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