Over 500 priests want celibacy replaced, women priests allowed
By ANTOINETTE KELLY,
"Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests is pushing for reform in the Catholic Church, calling for the ordination of women and an end to mandatory celibacy at a meeting held in Dublin early this month.The liberal group has only been in existence for one year, but the growth of the association has been rapid with 540 Irish priests op ting for membership. In its first year, the group opposed the new translation of the Roman Missal and appealed to the Irish bishops' conference to delay the introduction of the changes. The hierarchy dismissed the concerns.At the Oct 4-5 meeting, Fr. Kevin Hegarty, a member of the association’s leadership team, said what was needed was a church that would open its doors to "married priests and women priests."According to the National Catholic Reporter, Hegarty said that church structures were a barrier to conversation and “despite the promise of the Second [Vatican] Council ... the church in Ireland failed to evolve a strategy that could learn from and contribute to the new consciousness.” An authoritarian hierarchical structure “is contemptuous of intellectual challenge and is fearful of leaps of the imagination. The consequences have flowed.”
One priest attending the meeting, Dominican Fr. Wilfrid J. Harrington, said he was motivated to join the association because of “the betrayal of Vatican II over the past 30 years.”“I now know, from our meeting, that Vatican II is not dead. Now I am aware that I belong to a sizable group of priests, diocesan and religious who still believe in Vatican II. And, happily and vitally, not only clergy, but very many lay women and men."
Bridget Mary's Reflection: The Irish Priests Association and the Austrian Priests are leading the way forward for women priests in the Catholic Church. Good news for Roman Catholic Women Priests who stand in solidarity with our courageous brother priests! It is our hope that more of our brother priests will stand up and join the "holy shakeup" leading to the renewal of the Catholic Church.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests