Letter: Must Roman Catholic priests always be celibate?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Hugh Lindsay's article (Another View; "The value of celibacy", 5 July) is misleading, implying that celibacy is a normal requirement for Catholic priests, re-affirmed by Vatican II. This is not the case. The Oriental Rites within the Roman Catholic have a married clergy; married Maronite priests in Lebanon are as Catholic as the Pope, and Vatican II went out of its way to acknowledge the "venerable tradition" of married clergy in the Eastern (Uniate) Churches. What is right for the Eastern Churches could well prove pastorally beneficial to the present-day Western Church.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Gee

London, W14

The writer is a former RC priest.

From Mr Robert Nowell

Sir: Bishop Hugh Lindsay (5 July) is indeed right to point out that clerical celibacy is

an outstandingly idealistic way of showing we are made to live not only in the here and now of this world but also in the next life, with God.

But would not this witness be far more effective if celibacy were voluntary and not, as at present in the Latin Church with the exception of married former clergy of other Churches, a compulsory requirement for the exercise of the priestly ministry?

Yours faithfully,

Robert Nowell

New Barnet,


6 July