Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Celibacy rebels put under pressure

DIE RHEIN-NECKAR-ZEITUNG IM WEB - Heidelberg: Erzbischof Robert Zollitsch setzt Zoelibat-Rebellen unter Druck

The "Heidelberg Petition" which calls for the abolition of celibacy for Catholic priests meets with tremendous resonance. In only two weeks, several thousand Catholics have signed the petitions for the Pastoral Area of St. Christopher (Wieblingen, Pfaffengrund and Eppelheim). Even four Roman Catholic priests now openly declare their solidarity with the petition. Now,

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch tries to stop the rebellion at the grassroots level: Father John Brandt and parish organiser, Daniel Saam have been emphatically told by the Freiburg Ordinariate "to refrain in future" from promoting this petition. "
Therefore, no more posters hang in the Catholic churches in Heidelberg West, the stacks of petitions have disappeared. Only an unhelpful request for "understanding" remains on the homepage of the Pastoral Area of St. Christopher, instead of inflammatory words blaming celibacy for the catastrophic shortage of priests in the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Freiburg expects that the number of parish priests of today will go down from 600 today to less than 200 in 2030.

"Despite this dramatically declining number of priests, the Church with the celibacy requirement places a thin bottleneck on access to the ministry," the "Heidelberg Petition” states. Their basic argument: If young men who felt called to be Catholic priests could marry, the Catholic Church would no longer suffer from a shortage of priests. "We urge the leaders of the church, no longer place a higher value on the commitment to celibacy than the availability of the Sunday Mass."

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