Switzerland: Campaign against priestly celibacy

Source: FSSPX News


At the beginning of December, the Catholic Synod of Basel-Country declared itself opposed to the obligation of celibacy for priests, and pronounced itself in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood. This decision, taken by 87 delegates against 2, was passed on to Mgr. Kurt Koch, the bishop of the Basel diocese.

At the beginning of November, the synod of the Roman Catholic Church of Lucerne pronounced itself, with 73 votes "for", 8 "against" and 9 abstentions, in favor of the abolition of obligatory celibacy of priests, and for the rehabilitation of priests who have been relieved of this obligation, for having violated it. It declared itself equally in favor of the ordination of women.

On November 18, a letter of support to the Lucerne synod was signed, by 147 of the 180 members of the Catholic synod of the canton of St. Gall.

A collection of signatures against obligatory celibacy for priests, and for the ordination of women was recently launched in Catholic circles of St. Gall. This initiative comes "at a bad time", said the bishop of St. Gall, Mgr. Ivo Fürer: "Under the pontificate of John-Paul II, there is no possibility for the ordination of women. The head of the Catholic Church has clearly stated this. As a bishop and member of the bishops Conference, I stand by this principle".

Mgr. Fürer was less categorical on the issue of priestly celibacy. With many other bishops, he is of the opinion that this question must be studied seriously. Owing to the growing shortage of priests, the ordination of married men would, according to him, constitute an effective emergency solution. But it would also be necessary to take in to consideration what the celibacy of priests and religious has contributed to society, in consecrating themselves to others, without counting the cost, especially in their work in hospitals and schools.

After the synods of the cantons of Lucerne, St. Gall and Basel-Country, the Catholic delegates of Thurgau addressed a petition to the Conference of Swiss bishops on December 11. It was signed by 84 of the 90 delegates present.