Church will not take bishop’s celibacy remarks ‘too kindly’

THE ASSOCIATION of Catholic Priests (ACP) has said the Vatican “won’t take too kindly” to calls from the former Bishop of Derry to end clerical celibacy.

A bishop for 20 years, 77-year-old Dr Daly raised the issue in a book about his life, A Troubled See.

“I ask myself, more and more, why celibacy should be the great sacred and unyielding arbiter, the paradigm of diocesan priesthood?” wrote Dr Daly.

“Why not prayerfulness, conviction in the faith, knowledge of the faith, ability to communicate in the modern age, honesty, integrity, humility, a commitment to social justice, a work ethic, respect for others, compassion and caring.”

The ACP also said that Dr Edward Daly is just one of several Irish bishops who have called in recent years for a debate on celibacy within the Church.

Such calls were made by the then Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, in 2005 and the then Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, in 1995. Both were serving bishops at the time and such was the outrage at Bishop Comiskey that he was summoned to Rome to explain himself.

In 2005, Dr Walsh called for a courageous, rational discussion of celibacy.

“I have known some very fine priests who have left the priesthood because they found the challenge of celibacy not life-giving for them. Men like that are a great loss to the ministerial priesthood,” he said.

Ten years earlier, in 1995, the then Bishop of Ferns said the Catholic Church should consider allowing priests to marry so that more people would be attracted to the priesthood.

“Where there is no priest, there is no Eucharist; where there is no Eucharist, there is no Church,” Bishop Comiskey said.

Fr Brendan Hoban of the ACP said the need for a debate on celibacy was “part of the organisation’s founding agenda”. Up to 500 priests are now members.

“The Vatican won’t take too kindly to the former bishop’s comments. Why didn’t he say this before? But then it is better that they are said now than not said at all,” Fr Hoban said.

Dr Daly is best known for his work in Derry during the height of the Troubles and is the priest waving a white handkerchief in the iconic photograph of Bloody Sunday.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said he did not wish to comment on Bishop Daly’s remarks.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Breaking Stories

Married 'bishop and vicar' from organisation founded by St Patrick transform home into 'church'

Donald Trump drops plans to build wall at Doonbeg golf course

Labour urges Taoiseach to apologise on behalf of State to gays convicted of homosexuality in past

Man who stabbed mother to death found not guilty by reason of insanity in 'very distressing' case

Lifestyle

Children's hospice makes sure families experience a truly precious Christmas

Making Cents: PCPs are the deals for those looking for new wheels

Other Voices has been expanding horizons on the Dingle peninsula

100 years ago Cork knuckled down to the coldest winter in living memory

More From The Irish Examiner