Rethinking Mandatory Celibacy
Twenty-six Italian women who claim to be having affairs with a priest have written to Pope Francis asking him to lift the Catholic clergy’s vow of celibacy. They say they are being forced to “live in silence” and would like to live their love fully.
Mandatory celibacy for priests has long been a controversial issue. Some claim that it was only introduced in the eleventh century, while others say that it may have been much earlier, however most scholars agree that there is no evidence that the early disciples practiced mandatory celibacy. Pope Francis has previously supported priestly celibacy, yet he has also said that it is more Church tradition than hard and fast doctrine. Miriam Gormally spoke with Fr. John Guiney SJ, director of the Jesuit refuge service about the issue.