Petition to end compulsory celibacy launched

To the members of the ACP:
I am encouraged to know that you exist and what your aims are.
I am an Irish man living in England in the diocese of East Anglia.
Although I was unable to attend the Call to Action meeting in London a
couple of weeks ago, a few of us are proposing to set up a diocesan group of the “A Call to Action”. Please remember our efforts in your prayers.
Quite separate from that, but very much in sympathy with it, I set up
a website towards the end of the summer to petition the Pope for a
change in the law of celibacy for the ordained priesthood. A bit
ambitious, I know, but I feel that the laity, in common with the
ordained priesthood, have a prophetic voice and that irrespective of
whether we are listened to or not we should use it.
It has been shown that the internet can give a voice to those who previously had none,
the Arab Spring, for example. The Rev. Booth, founder of the Salvation
Army, famously said, “Why should the devil have all the best tunes!”
Could this not also be applied to the internet!
My website has, so far, received 106 signatures. This is a bit disappointing, but
encouragingly 26 of those have come in October. Also, apart from the
United Kingdom, people from the US, Argentina, Australia, Spain,
Finland and indeed a few from Ireland have signed
Can I look to you for support? I appreciate that your organisation
can not allow itself to be seen as a ‘single issue’ organisation,
whereas my petition must necessarily be so. It would be great to have
much more support from my own country.
Tony Hoey

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  1. DR. HENRY says:

    Dear Brothers in Christ: Your bishops and the CDF are hostile, rigid, dogmatic, and obstinate. Their sights are focussed on you at this time. They will fight you tooth and nail. Rome has driven a wedge between you and your bishops. Your prime minister may be the best person to enlighten you. The loss of vocations to the priesthood is only a symptom of far deeper problems. Do you not recall who gave Ireland to England as a fiefdom?
    You will understand your present problems, only in the light of the origins of the ROMAN Catholic church in your land. Soon, Rome will get rid of your traditional 26 or so dioceses. You will probably find yourselves with four dioceses headed by Vatican dictators. The Vatican was naive enough to send in a number of Irish-American-Canadian cardinals to straighten you out. That did not work. The next attack on you will come in the shape of canon law that will stifle all your efforts at reform.
    My godly advice to you is to try to live in communities of about twelve priests. With cars and mobile phones you can make communications quickly these days. You can continue to carry out your pastoral duties in your own parishes.
    If you do not do this, you will end up with seriously depressed aging priests, and suicide could become commonplace. BUILD CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES in groups of twelve. Alcoholism may become widespread. As Pope Paul V1 has pointed out “the smoke of Satan” has entered the Church. The rivalries, hatreds and power struggles within the Vatican, have reached an all time high. You are already victims of this struggle.

  2. Fr. Kieren says:

    I may be mistaken, but the choice of celibacy is only required within the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and of course there are exceptions even then. Prof. Haldene argued recently that the model of the Eastern Rite should be adopted more widely, of which I agree. I don’t like the word compulsory, because it implies a choice that is forced. Just my humble opinion though.

  3. The ordinariate introduced by Rome is welcome, but is an insult to all those good Ordained Priests who fell in love and then were expelled from active ministry. Today we need Priests more than ever before. Our Church is dying, but those in Rome are so smug in their high positions, that they believe they are running a business, rather than God’s Church on earth. Tony Hoey, I support your hopes and ambitions. May you succeed sooner rather than later.

  4. Dr Henry, from afar you see our problems and offer some credible solutions. Many of our Priests and people are crushed by the arrogance of both our Hierachy and Rome. We are all waiting for signs from The Holy Spirit, that there is hope in the future. Keep up your support for us in our time of need.

  5. There is already an “inconsistency” in the hierarchy’s attitude to celibacy: married Anglican clergy have been welcomed into the Roman church and ordained, yet cradle Catholics are considered “unsuitable” for ordination! What is so unacceptable about those whose parents brought them up as Catholics? Fie to those who are so insulting!

  6. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    ACP, act now – I can’t get any clearer than this. You have to start petitioning the Vatican to clearly define whether Canon Law has to adhere to Natural Law. They can’t turn away from this “theological debate”. This is the only debate that the Pope can’t run from. Less talk, more debate.

  7. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Oh, and while I’m at it. Tony, I commend your commitment. If I could offer some feedback. It will be very difficult to petition for change. However, it is more likely that a petition, if signed by a certain percentage of the Roman Catholic Faithful, could request that a world wide vote be held to call current leadership into question, including the Canons governing celibacy. This is the question I wish the ACP would ask of their leadership. They need to stop representing themselves and start representing the Catholic faithful who want the change they too desire. The question they should be asking their hierarchy is “how many signatories will it take on a petition for the Vatican to acknowledge the need for a world wide vote?” That would be a nice way to show support to us, don’t you think.

  8. Therese Tynan says:

    All of the contributors here would appear to be male. Perhaps we women are more cynical by nature. The changes we need to see within our church would inevitably relieve the Vatican of its absolute power. The Vatican will not allow this to happen.
    Therefore, we are left with two options; schism or a massive turning to the Holy Spirit of the people of God, praying round the clock that He/She will effect the changes that will lead as a church to live truly in Christ.
    I have seen miracles happen around the world as a result of heart prayer to God. So that is my preferred road – enmasse we plead with the God of Love for a Catholic Church which truly embodies the principles of Truth, Beauty and Love, and will be renowned for its Justice, Mercy and Compassion.

  9. Soline Humbert says:

    Like Therese I place my wholehearted faith in the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer to effect the massive breakthrough we seek. May the saints of Ireland whose feast is today help us!

  10. Sean (Derry) says:

    I set up a website towards the end of the summer to petition GOD for a change in the law regarding women priests and celibacy for the ordained priesthood. A bit ambitious, I know, but I feel that the laity, in common with the ordained priesthood, have a prophetic voice and that irrespective of whether we are listened to or not we should use it. I am also calling on GOD to have the courage to meet with me at my next gathering.
    My website has, so far, received 0 signatures. This is a bit disappointing, but encouragingly someone said they might sign it after she, Fr. Nice and Sr Anathema are finished saving a baby polar bear trapped on the last piece of floating ice in the artic.

  11. Sean Finlay says:

    Good on ya lads, keep up the good work and dont let the buggers get you ( and us) down.

  12. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Sean(Derry), I’m really flattered to hear that you believe in me. I must confess that I haven’t been able to summon up the courage to return the compliment. Sorry! 🙂

  13. Philomena Carolan says:

    Why should priests remain celibate, God made us through the love of our parents, so, if he has done that, then why is celibacy put in place?
    The Pope’s former butler is spending 18 months in prison and now a computer technician is on trial, who denies even knowing the former butler. Either the butler is hiding more for the Pope or something! There is much more to this that meets the eye, and there is too much suffering going on here and is that what God wants…..I don’t think so.
    I think the Catholic church has hidden too much for too lon, all in the name of money, now come on: there are people out there, in third world countries and others who need our help, they are dying, don’t be greedy.
    If Permanent Deacons can marry (if they so wish) then why can’t priests, nuns and monks and anyone else who is deprived of a full life, let people relax and live instead of being jumpy when they see someone they love but can’t admit it to anyone for the sake of te church, God is not the problem here it is the Pope, like Cardinal Martinni said before he died, there are many things that need changing, the first one is the Pope and that is Cardinal Martini’s comments not mine.
    Thank you

  14. Philomena Carolan says:

    This pope seems to be a reasonable man, he mentions about a girl he was ‘dazzled’ by her beauty and he could not gather himself but took control but at the same time he thinks celibacy is holding on tight.
    Should not what he went through make him think twice and abolish it, especially with all that is going on now, now is actually the very time when celibacy should be abolished, Pope Benedict XVI created all the problems and then resigned, will things be better with this pope?…..I hope so.

  15. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “now is actually the very time when celibacy should be abolished, Pope Benedict XVI created all the problems and then resigned, will things be better with this pope?”
    O Sancta Simplicitas! Remarkable how Benedict is fair game for inconsequential digs from every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Philomena, have you read his two trilogies yet: 3 encyclicals and his ‘Jesus of Nazareth’? No, he didn’t create all the problems and then resign. Life and Catholicism is sometimes more complex than this website’s commentariat credits it with.

  16. Philomena Carolan says:

    It was actually Pope Benedict who did create all the problems, he was fully aware of them, this pope has been chosen, even after what he went through before being ordained: that is why we have him. Pope Benedict knew full well of the problems, there was fraud being committed, the Vatican bank had to close, the list of problems is endless, I don’t know where you have been hiding.

  17. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “It was actually Pope Benedict who did create all the problems, he was fully aware of them,”
    “I don’t know where you have been hiding.”
    Philomena, perhaps the underlying question is not where I’ve been hiding since 1981, so much as where you’ve been hiding for the previous 1950 years. The great consolation about our commentariat is that, without the slightest bother, Pope Francis could pick a curial team of 15 from among us, full of neo-dogmatic judgementalism. I’ll be the goalie, and I’m sure we wont be short of point scorers up front.
    But, no, on balance I’d suggest that Benedict probably didn’t cause all our problems. He wasn’t/isn’t the Devil, the Devil’s Apprentice, or even a Borgia. In fact, I’d be inclined to trust his judgement and enjoy his company much more than that of his predecessor, Simon who was called the Rock. Very ironically, I’m sure. Jesus had a sense of humour, which all the evangelists managed to miss.

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