Saturday, September 01, 2012
In his new book, Where Do We Go From Here? The Crisis in Irish Catholicism, Fr Hoban also suggests that men, married and unmarried, who have proven their worth, should be ordained with a modified formation or education programme, like the new married deacons.
"Ordaining married men is an option that, out of dire necessity, no doubt will be considered in the near future... as the number of Anglican clergy who have been reordained as Catholic priests increases... the reality of married priests will become more accepted," he said. With celibacy becoming less of an issue, he argues, former priests could also start returning to the fold.
Quoting Bishop Edward Daly, he questions "why celibacy should be the great and unyielding arbiter, the paradigm of diocesan priesthood".
Fr Hoban also expresses serious concern about how Catholicism is vanishing from Irish culture. "The difficult truth," he argues, "is that we have no idea now where we’re going."
The only road left open, he believes, is a return to the spirit of Vatican II (Cathcon-!! - that spirit led nowhere for fifty years), where we build a "people’s church". There is a "huge problem of disconnect in the Church between bishops and priests, priests and the people, Rome and Ireland".