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Catholic theologians call for end to celibacy for priests

The Local · 4 Feb 2011, 11:04

Published: 04 Feb 2011 11:04 GMT+01:00

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In a letter published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, the group said the Catholic Church in Germany had suffered an "unprecedented crisis" last year and that "2011 must be a year of departure for the Church."

"The Church needs married priests and women in the ministry," the group wrote.

They also called for acceptance of same-sex partnerships and divorce, in a radical departure from current Catholic thought.

"The high value that the Church places on marriage and a celibate form of life should not be called into question.

"But this does not demand that we exclude people who live responsibly with love, fidelity and mutual respect in a same-sex partnership or as re-married divorcees," the group wrote.

The letter marked the strongest internal criticism of the Church in Germany since the Cologne Declaration of 1989 in which more than 200 German-speaking theologians attacked the conservative teachings of then Pope John Paul II, the paper said.

The current pope, Benedict XVI, himself German, also questioned the issue of celibacy when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, the paper recalled.

Ratzinger was part of a group of nine German theologians who in February 1970 wrote a letter to bishops in Germany asking whether the practice was still necessary, the paper wrote, citing archives in Regensburg.

The 83-year-old Benedict is due to visit Germany for his first official visit to his native land on September 22 to 25, 60 years after he was ordained as a priest.

Story continues below…

Germany has faced revelations over the past year that hundreds of children were physically and sexually abused in institutions throughout the country, all but a handful run by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church in Germany has said it failed to properly investigate claims of abuse and that in some cases there was a cover-up, with offending priests simply moved elsewhere instead of being disciplined and reported to the police.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:22 February 4, 2011 by auniquecorn
Catholic priests were Celibate?

Man, Thats news. since when?
12:43 February 4, 2011 by johncrwarner
The driving force for the second Vatican council were the German and Dutch bishops - interestingly the present pope was a supporter as a junior theologian of the liberalisation of catholic doctrine.

The present pope I would expect to block all attempts at reform - he has invested too much in defending the status quo for the last forty years since he had his liberal crisis in the late 1960s so he will do the minimum in reform - in fact he has been drawing the definitions of the second vatican council even closer to the pre-council positions since he has been involved in the vatican under JPII and now as pope.
12:53 February 4, 2011 by freechoice
where in the world in the bible that mentions man must be celibate? it is so unnatural to be celibate, like other sins mentioned in the bible!!
15:02 February 4, 2011 by Nemesis
Not content with raping thousands of children, they intend to do the same with adults.

Thats all we need, sexually depraved priests hitting the nightclubs looking for vulnerable people.

I suppose at least if they are attacking adults then they may be leaving children alone.
16:10 February 4, 2011 by BR549
A cattle farmer can teach the Vatican how to handle the "priest dilemma"...USE RUBBER BANDS. Once they drop off...ordain them.
18:30 February 4, 2011 by frankiep
All Muslims are bloodthirsty terrorists

All Germans are racist Nazis

All Americans are right wing creationists

All Italians are in the mafia

All Turks are incapable of integration

I guarantee that at least one of these (or any other such statements) would, rightfully, outrage and offend you. Yet somehow you all think that it is just fine to refer to Catholics and Catholicism as being nothing but a collection of perverted rapists and sex criminals.

You people utterly disgust me.
19:55 February 4, 2011 by lumberjack
Why do people still follow this bunch of "Pedophiles and Hypocrites", giving them their hard earned money, on the belief that they are getting closer to heaven. When a lot of the money goes to helping these rapists cover up their crimes and paying off the victims of their abuse.

If you really want to follow a "Supreme Being" there are a lot of options, even one that promises a bunch of virgins waiting for you on the other side instead of burning in hell for eternity. Be careful about the virgin thing though, I have heard many times that two good hookers are better than eleven virgins.

Open your eyes and stop believing this bunch of ring kissing liars, just use common sense in your life.


An Ex-Catholic
20:01 February 4, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
The letter published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung by a large group of theologians, about the "unprecedented crisis" in Catholic Church last year contains both positive and negative suggestions. While agreeing that the Church needs married priests and women in the ministry," the call for acceptance of same-sex partnerships completely contradicts statements made in the Bible.

The church is not a club, in which the rules can be changed according to the wishes of some eccentrics, who are unwilling or able to control their desire for abnormal acts. This does not mean that people in a same-sex partnerships, or divorcees, are as human-beings necessarily of less value than others. It cannot be however, that those who quite openly dispute the (according to the Christian religion), rules of God or Christ's teachings, are placed in positions where they preach but do not practice the same. This would be the height of hypocrisy!
20:21 February 4, 2011 by auniquecorn
Your right frankiep

But you left 1 out:

All Catholic priests are Perverts.
23:21 February 4, 2011 by romber58
@Kennneth Ingle

Of course the church is a club in which the rules can be changed according to the wishes of some eccentrics;Why until a few years ago they taught that unbaptized children would go to Limbo and therefore caused untold heartache to millions of parents.Or are you saying that God changed his mind when the Pope said well actually we dont think that any more.

Or that for the first few hundred years the concept of reincarnation was church teaching until they realized that they would have more power over people if they renounced that dogma.

Its a sad but true reality that children are subjected to the church,s brainwashing from birth.I was and i suspect you were too.and it is normally not an overnight process to rid oneself of all that,but the shear joy of freeing oneself from these mental shackles and thinking for onesself is worth it .
00:53 February 5, 2011 by lumberjack
@ frankiep

Shouldn't you rather be disgusted by the Criminals running the Catholic Church?
03:31 February 5, 2011 by wood artist

Your logic is absolutely right. However, it's also seriously flawed.

It is possible to find support for almost anything "in the Bible." For example, if you want to quote the section where homosexual behavior is banned, then you should also honor the nearby section where it says you should never wear clothing of mixed fibers. Do you? That nylon/wool blend shirt you like is banned in the Bible. That comfortable 80% cotton knit is...specifically banned in the Bible.

There are many direct contradictions between the old and new testaments, not to mention the questions raised if you include the books that, over the years, have been "removed" from the "official" Bible.

In fact, I'm pretty sure there is no place where Jesus said that his apostles couldn't be married, and, if I'm not wrong, some of them were. Peter wasn't, so that somehow became the accepted model.

Personally, I'm not Catholic and it really doesn't matter to me. However, if the church seeks to be relevant for people today, it needs to address some of the more archaic traditions that cause people to walk away.

10:26 February 5, 2011 by kbillman
In fact, I'm pretty sure there is no place where Jesus said that his apostles couldn't be married, and, if I'm not wrong, some of them were. Peter wasn't, so that somehow became the accepted model.

wood artist,

Ummm.... check Matthew 8:14, Mark 1:30, Luke 4:38, 1Cor. 9.5. Peter was indeed married.
15:00 February 5, 2011 by hanskarl
It is possible to find support for almost anything "in the Bible."....................yes, when taken out of context.
15:24 February 5, 2011 by romber58
T note that Kennneth has well and truly tucked his tail between his legs in this thread,,,,lol
17:55 February 5, 2011 by parografik
The church most certainly is a club, and the although a tradition of celibacy tends to follow many religious and spiritual faiths as it did within Christians, it became codified particularly to disentangle the church from property ownership issues that were part of medieval society. To say that the church does not bend to social concerns is a convenient denial of history.

Early on women were involved in the power structure, the inquisitions were in some measure to the renaissance, particularly in Florence, and the counter reformation was a reaction to Martin Luther and others who objected to elements within the church, in order to raise the popularity of the church and maintain it's power. These are just a few small examples.
20:03 February 5, 2011 by BR549
@Frankiep - I think you are taking this a little too serous. Lighten up! It's only life....and no one gets outta here alive.
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