New York City’s Archbishop Says Celibacy Up For Debate
(Marion, MA)—The newly appointed archbishop of New York recently added fuel to the debate over clerical celibacy.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan stated in an interview with New York’s CBS affiliate that while he is in favor of the Church’s celibacy requirements, he believes that open debate and discussion is called for.
“Priest celibacy, while a jewel, is not Church doctrine,” Archbishop Dolan told the station. “Could discussion lead to a change in discipline? Sure it could.”
Hearing a high-ranking member of the clergy support open discussion is just what some advocates for change have been looking for.
“It’s about time that someone higher up in the Church admitted that debate on the topic is healthy,” says Father Ameen (not his real name), author of Confessions of a Passionate Priest.
Father Ameen has chosen to keep his identity secret to avoid retribution for his book, which chronicles his love affair with a married woman and the loss of his parish as a result.
“Eventually the Church will have to realize that without a change in their stance on celibacy, they will quickly run out of priests,” says Father Ameen, and he may be right. The Archdiocese of New York ordained just three new priests so far in 2009.
In Confessions of a Passionate Priest, Father Ameen questions several aspects of the Church’s stance on celibacy, including:
• A refusal to acknowledge that intimacy is a basic human need.
• Inconsistent rules—e.g., Eastern Rite priests can marry.
• A “look the other way” policy that ignores most rule breakers.
• The Church’s tendency to only punish priests whose relationships have become public knowledge.
“The Church needs to realize that celibacy as a requirement is doomed to failure,” says Father Ameen.
Father Ameen’s 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; 5½” x 8½”; softcover; East Mountain Books)
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