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17. 05. 10. - 13:00

Schnborn shares Ibys concern about celibacy

Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schnborn said today (Mon) he shared the concern of Eisenstadt Bishop Paul Ibys concern about mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests.

"The concern that Bishop Iby expressed is shared by all of us (Austrian bishops), and I am happy to be in a Church in which there is freedom of speech and opinion," he said.

Austrian bishops had been expected to discuss celibacy at last weeks parish council conference in Mariazell, Styria, that they all attended but there has been no public confirmation that they did.

The cardinal added that the process of selecting Ibys successor was proceeding "normally" and would be more transparent than in the past. Iby is to retire soon.

Schnborn cited the conferences approval of the drawing up of guidelines for the handling of sexual-abuse cases in the Church for consideration by bishops at Junes meeting of the Austrian Bishops Conference as a "concrete achievement."

Wolfgang Mller, a spokesman for parish councils in Salzburg diocese, said the conference had been "an instance of democracy in the Austrian Church.

Austrian Roman Catholic bishops had said last week that they would refuse to comment on Ibys controversial call for an end to mandatory celibacy for priests.

A media survey of bishops press offices produced the same "no comment" response in each case. One spokesperson said that bishops had agreed not to comment publicly on each others statements.

Roman Catholic lay organisations welcomed Ibys call for an end to obligatory priestly celibacy.

Peter Hurka, chairman of the platform "We are the Church," said that Ibys call would promote public discussion of celibacy. Both Herbert Kohlmaier from the "Lay Initiative" and he were sceptical, however, that change would occur.

Hurka said that it was "clear that the Vatican controls bishops and a resignation is one way of escaping from such control."

Kohlmaier claimed that Ibys suggestion was reasonable even if it had come "a little late" and added he might have spoken out because he wanted to retire.

Kohlmaier added that he expected no change as long as Pope Benedict XVI was in office since the Vatican did not "take bishops opinions seriously." It was positive, however, that more and more bishops were calling for an end to celibacy, he added.

Helmut Schller from the Pastors-Initiative called on bishops who agreed with Iby to speak out. He claimed the Vaticans authority was "exaggerated. The entire absolutist system built on a spiral of silence will rapidly collapse if the bishops work together for change."

A politician also came out in support of Iby. Social Democrat (SP) Defence Minister Norbert Darabos, who is from Burgenland, praised Ibys "courageous suggestion, the first step on the way to a more humane Church."

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  • Shannon wrote on 20. 05. 2010 from W

    I too have always been in the Church with priests that were susposed to be celebate. Look at the history of our Church and see married priests for half or more of the total history. Celibacy is not a condition that has to exist. Look at the total reasons why celibacy was instituted--How much did wealth and inheritance play a role. Look at Africa and South America today--- many have families even if they can't marry!!!


  • Cliff Wale wrote on 20. 05. 2010 from Bedfordshire UK

    In the 60's-which dates me!- I was frends with the then pp of the Ukrainian Uniate Church in Bedford, Fr Hasiak. we were having tea one day when I had the temerity to ask his views on marriage, knowing that he was single. Readers will understand my feelings when he said without bitterness "Hitler & Stalin between them didn't leave me that possibility" He added that he believed a married clergy had great pastoral benefit in a settled agricultural community such as the typical Ukranian parish, but that married priests were totally unsuited to modern urban industrial life. i am sure he was right.


  • Myke Rosenthal-English wrote on 20. 05. 2010 from Füssen Germany

    Catholic Priest,Father Bryan Storey makes a very good point.I do not see that married priests in the evangelical church having the same commitment as our Catholic Celibate Priests.As a married man I also have a fair amount of stress in my life.Two people trying to live together as man and wife have to daily accept the grace God gave them when they married.Often one has to give up ones own will and allow the other their way for peace to prevail.The Priest also has so much do do in bringing the Gospel to others.How he will also find time for a wife and children and all the extra responsibilities that entails as well as keeping up with his pastoral duties is really a question that needs answering.What happens when family and pastoral duties conflict?Better that we keep the celibate Priesthood.Surely taking up ones cross daily wether it is marriage or Priesthood is what Christ asks of us.Sacrifice and prayer in all that we do.Anything less is a cop out!


  • Father Bryan Storey wrote on 19. 05. 2010 from Tintagel UK

    Things will get much worse if this rule is changed; it's revival that's needed not capitulation.


  • Anthony wrote on 19. 05. 2010 from Newcastle, NSW

    Faithful and orthodox Catholics should not fear such comments from bishops and laity. Our Lord predicted apostasy and disobedience in His Church, all of which has its roots in pride. Of course, we know whose Church these dissidents really want it to be - such names like "We are the Church" says everything about their agenda. Their "cause" is sure to attract the likes of Socialist politicians, as their thinking is clearly Marxist. However, we are called to pray especially for them. Through the intercession of Our Lady, she will be sure to deliver them from evil.


  • Sister Mary Patrick wrote on 18. 05. 2010 from Illinois

    I fear this man is getting senile. No joke! He once was pretty solid. I hope it's old age and not Satan!


  • Mark wrote on 18. 05. 2010 from Adelaide, SA

    I do not agree under any circumstance to allow priest to marry. The priesthood is a call from God and the reponse is voluntary. Celibacy is a 'gift' from God, first we must realize that the Church does not condone to divorce what if a priest after marrying divorce? Can the priest serve 2 masters, God first or his family if someone is very sick, does he abandon celebrating Mass to attend to his family's needs.? Or if a dying parishioner also needs him to administer to that person's last rites? Let's not compromise the church's teaching with those hypocrites who wants to be "politically" correct like those corrupt & immoral politicians. What is good for the geese is not necessarily good for the gander. I rest my case. God Bless!


  • Zorro wrote on 18. 05. 2010 from USA

    Why doesn't the Cardinal take notice. The fewer priest, the less spiritual and obedient the flock. Without a flock that is spiritually on fire, there won't be any priest. He should address the problem and stop babbling about the symptoms.


  • Maria wrote on 17. 05. 2010 from Texas,USA

    I'm Eastern Catholic and have no problem with married priests, but the Roman Catholic consideration of allowing married priests at this time is based on negative events and is a poor solution for those problems. The child molestation crisis is caused by homosexuals and sociopathic sexual deviants. Neither group would be 'cured' by heterosexual marriage, nor should they be inflicted on confused women. Homosexual marriages are understandably and rightly out of the question. It's interesting that the communities clamoring for married priesthood-Italian, African nations, Latin Americans to name a few) are also notorious for tolerating and accepting extramarital affairs. So, in these cultures it's likely that adulterous priests would be condoned because men are often viewed as men first, priests second. Married priesthood as a cure for pedophilia and sexually undisciplined priests is nonsense. In considering married priests, it would be useful to also take a look at the benefits of, and problems experienced by married priests and their families in the East. Who would support married priests and their families in small, struggling parishes? How would married clergy square with Roman Catholic theology concerning priest and celebrating daily masses? ( No sex the night before mass) Again, I'm not anti-married clergy, but not as a quick fix or in response to flawed reasoning.


Cosmo and Nanu