Pell call to preserve celibacy rule
Cardinal George Pell told the Rome Bishops Synod overnight that abandoning celibacy as a condition of priesthood would be a serious error.
The Australian reports that he weighed into the debate on whether removing the celibacy rule would revive the interest of young men in becoming priests.
Addressing the gathering of more than 250 senior bishops from around the world, Cardinal Pell attacked moves in the church to relax the no-sex requirement.
He referred to "the ancient tradition and life-giving discipline of mandatory celibacy for the diocesan clergy as well as the religious orders".
"To loosen this tradition now would provoke confusion in the mission areas and would not strengthen spiritual vitality in the First World," he said.
The report, by The Australian's religious writer Jill Rowbotham, says the decline in the numbers of new priests - from one for every 1797 Catholics 30 years ago to one for every 2677 Catholics today - has been a strong theme during the three-week synod, called by the late John Paul II to examine the eucharist.
Bishops including Mozambique's Lucio Muandula and Papua New Guinea's Arnod Orowae have told the Synod that the rules on celibacy must be reviewed.
The Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, has also raised the issue, although he maintained support for celibacy.
Cardinal Pell said the Second Vatican Council had "brought great blessings and substantial gains" such as missionary expansion, new movements and communities, but had been "followed by confusion, some decline - especially in the West - and pockets of collapse". "Good intentions are not enough," he said. The cardinal stressed that his recommendations to the synod on how to deal with these "shadows" presupposed the maintenance of celibacy.
Jettisoning the rule "would be a departure from the practice of the Lord himself", he said, and would "bring significant practical disadvantages" to the church.
"It would weaken, too, the witness to loving sacrifice, and to the reality of the last things, and the rewards of heaven."
Priests must stay celibate: Pell (The Australian 12/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Synopsis of the Intervention of His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, at the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Rome, October 11, 2005 (Archdiocese of Sydney 11/10/05)
Synod of Bishops
Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin
Priests Council's Synod call for married clergy (CathNews 4/10/05)
Bush bishop backs priestly celibacy debate (CathNews 31/1/05)
Alternative priests' council hits back on mandatory celibacy (CathNews 28/1/05)
Council of Priests argues for married clergy (CathNews 27/1/05)
Bishops' Secretary confirms priests' survey on celibacy (CathNews 31/10/04)
Irish archbishop says Liturgy of Word can heal (CathNews 11/10/05)
Hobart Archbishop insists on credit for hardworking priests (CathNews 10/10/05)
Opus Dei head argues against giant masses (CathNews 7/10/05)
Oceania bishops plead case for married clergy (CathNews 7/10/05)
Kiwi bishop challenges Synod to review communion ban for divorced (CathNews 6/10/05)
Pope talks to Synod about collegiality (CathNews 5/10/05)
Pope opens Synod with Eucharist link to peaceful, just society (CathNews 4/10/05)
Aussie Synod expert stresses Eucharist values before rules (CathNews 29/9/05)
Two Australians on auditors list for October Synod (CathNews 27/9/05)
Synod tipped to stress Sunday Mass obligation (CathNews 28/9/05)
Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod (CathNews 9/9/05)
Synod threat to youth masses (CathNews 25/7/05)
Twelfth General Congregation (Vatican Information Service 10/10/05)
Thirteenth General Congregation (Vatican Information Service 11/10/05)
Let the Church announce the Resurrection again (AsiaNews.it 11/10/05)
Nigerian archbishop wants respect for African culture during Mass (Catholic News Service 10/10/05)
Eucharist as sign of unity: best way to unite Catholics is faithfulness to Church teaching, says Cardinal Sodano (Catholic News Agency 11/10/05)
Faith and action: Eucharist should encourage faithful to build just culture, say bishops (Catholic News Agency 11/10/05)
Cardinal Herranz: Faithful deserve access to confession, Blessed Sacrament, reverent liturgy (Catholic News Agency 11/10/05)
Bishops mark 40th anniversary of Synod (Catholic World News 11/10/05)
Intercommunion is top issue at Synod (Catholic World News 10/10/05)
Priests Urged to Be Better Preachers (The Guardian/Associated Press 11/10/05)
Key synod themes seem clear, but consensus may be elusive (National Catholic Reporter 11/10/05)
Synod Of Bishops (Vatican Radio English Features 11/10/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Missionary Appeal Made at Synod (Zenit 10/10/05)
Cardinal Husar Suggests a Synod for Eastern Churches (Zenit 10/10/05)
12 Oct 2005