Catholics want Priests To Marry, Poll Finds
A recent poll of Austrians found that ninety-two percent are opposed to the Catholic Church’s requirement that its priests remain celibate—a remarkably high percentage in a nation that is three-quarters Roman Catholic.
“I’m not surprised by these numbers at all,” says Father Ameen (not his real name), author of Confessions of a Passionate Priest. “People recognize that this law is outdated and even counterproductive.”
Father Ameen has long been a critic of the Church’s stance on celibacy and speaks candidly in his book about his struggle to balance his love of the Catholic faith with his own intimate relationships.
“I was in a relationship with a woman for whom I cared deeply,” says Father Ameen. “It was very upsetting that I couldn’t openly express my love for this woman while remaining a minister to my congregation.”
As punishment for his relationship, Father Ameen was suspended from his parish—a punishment he believes was meted out only because his relationship went public.
“The officials in the church know that these relationships take place,” says Father Ameen. “They know, just as the Austrian Catholics seem to know, that intimacy is a natural and healthy part of life.”
In Confessions of a Passionate Priest, Father Ameen discusses his beliefs about celibacy, including:
• How it hinders the Church’s ability to find priests.
• The psychological harm it does to members of the priesthood.
• The hypocrisy the Church shows in allowing Eastern Rite priests to marry while denying Roman Catholics the same rights.
• How his own intimate relationship made him a better priest.
“Catholics recognize that this law is outdated and bound to fail,” says Father Ameen. “I would imagine that if you polled other populations, you’d find that the sentiment expressed by Austrian Catholics is very common.”
Father Ameen remains dedicated to the priesthood despite his contradiction of specific Church rules. He currently lives in an undisclosed location in the United States, preferring to remain anonymous to avoid recrimination. His book is available at the Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders websites.
(Confessions of a Passionate Priest by Father Ameen; ISBN: 0-9816892-0-5; $14.95; 224 pages; 5˝” x 8˝”; softcover; East Mountain Books)
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