Ending Priestly Celibacy Could Prevent ‘Double Lives’: Scicluna

Feb 2, 2024 | 0 comments

Archbishop Charles Scicluna – clerical abuse investigator

One of Pope Francis’ top advisers on clerical sexual abuse has called again for the global church to reconsider the celibacy requirement  for ordained priests – to prevent some priests leading ‘double lives’.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna has told the US National Catholic Reporter that: “One of my worries is that people are put in a situation where they are comfortable with a double life.

This repeats a call made by the archbishop earlier in January 2024 for reconsideration of the ban on marriage for Catholic priests ordained in the western church. He was commenting on priests who live in hidden relationships.

Pope Francis is known to respect the opinion of the archbishop, who persuaded him to change his mind on allegations of mishandling of the issue of abuse by the bishops of Chile in 2018.

In 2012 the then Monsignor Scicluna advised that, to help restore trust between bishops and people over the issue of clerical child abuse, bishops should be accountable to their people. The issue of accountability is part of the ongoing ‘synodality’ discussions.

At the Vatican’s 2019 synod on the Amazon a majority of two-thirds of Amazonian bishops voted that priests should be allowed the option of marriage, but so far Pope Francis has not changed the ‘Stop’ sign to green. Might Archbishop Scicluna’s highlighting of the issue for a second time in a month be a signal that change could come in October 2024, at the culmination of the universal synod on synodality?

To read the complete NCR report of the archbishop’s interview, click here.

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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.

Prayer

"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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