Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Priest celibacy rule is in need of an update

I read the article in the Belfast Telegraph headlined 'Argentine bishop resigns over bikini woman snaps" (News, June 28).

The article told of an Argentine Roman Catholic bishop, Fernando Bargallo, aged 57, who was photographed hugging a scantily-clad young woman in Mexico. He later confessed to having "amorous ties" to her. Bargallo later resigned and Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation. Personally, I believe that the Vatican should allow married priests/bishops under certain conditions. I feel that celibacy does allow a new priest to focus more fully on doing God's work and tending to the needs of the Church and parishioners.

There is no distraction of the demands of a family and related burdens, which would eat into a young priest's time and energy. However, I feel that, after a priest has established an unblemished, faithful track-record of 20 years of celibacy, or when he reaches the age of 40, then he should be allowed to marry.

The Vatican has already approved of married Anglican/Episcopal priests converting to Catholicism and maintaining their families. Even the Bible says 'a bishop shall have only one wife'. This would give priests some incentive for good behaviour and allow them to fulfil their dream of having a wife and children (if they so choose) in later life, without sneaking around.

I hope the Vatican will amend Canon Law accordingly.

JAMES A MARPLES

Longview, Texas, USA

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