Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Austrailian Priests Council Petition Vatican to Allow Married Clergy

From Catholic priests demand the right to marry:

"Australian Catholic priests are urging Rome to overturn its ban on married clergy as the church grapples with a chronic shortage of ordained priests.

The unprecedented submission to the Vatican directly challenges the obligation of celibacy, a prerequisite of the Catholic priesthood, and has reignited a debate within the church that has been simmering since the Middle Ages.

The National Council of Priests wrote to the Vatican's Synod of Bishops last month arguing that marriage should be no bar to ordination and asking the church to consider readmitting priests who had left the clergy to marry.

It also asked the church to extend the right held by thousands of married clergy who converted to Catholicism from other faiths to practise as priests to other married men.

About half of Australia's 1649 Catholic clergy, including 42 bishops and three cardinals, are members of the National Council of Priests, including the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell "