What led to the Church’s adoption of celibacy and do those reasons remain valid in days when the number of priests in the U.S. continues to decline and access to the sacraments may be restricted as a result?
VOTF's Priest Support Working Group asked those questions as part of a two-year look at the overall state of the priesthood. We followed up in 2012 by asking the USCCB to request a pastoral provision that would permit the ordination of married Catholic men the same way that bishops now ordain married converts to the priesthood.
Now we ask YOU to help us roll out the next phase: bringing the request to ordain married men directly to your bishop.
The pastoral provision applies now to a male minister from another faith tradition who wishes to become a priest. He can be ordained, and remain married, while married men born Catholic are denied the same opportunity. Voice of the Faithful supports a new pastoral provision that would extend this opportunity to married Catholics.
How Can You Help?
The call for a new pastoral provision grew out of work initiated by VOTF's national Priest Support Group, which asked two key questions: What are the problems and promises affecting the priesthood today? How do those realities affect our parishes and sacramental lives?
In addition to preparing Study Guides and a DVD for that project, VOTF also sent a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who then was the Chair of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. We requested an ecclesial review of mandatory celibacy for diocesan priests. The materials developed remain available for use in parish or affiliate meetings, and as background for your meeting with a bishop--some data references should be updated with current statistics from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) as noted in the Talking Points.