Spanish Catholics want optional celibacy and women priests

Spanish Catholics want optional celibacy

Spanish Catholics want Rome to consider the future of the priesthood, including optional celibacy and the ordination of women.

A document including the priesthood proposals was unveiled by the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) that groups Spain’s leading bishops at a 600-strong gathering in Madrid.

The document was drawn up after consultations with more than 215,000 people, mostly lay people but also priests and bishops.

The CEE will debate the proposals on Saturday in Madrid. Among them will be suggestions put forward by the Archdiocese of Barcelona, led by Cardinal Juan José Omella. He is also the CEE’s president, representing Spain’s 70 archdioceses.

The recommendations will be presented to the Vatican in October next year at its General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The first synod was established by Pope Paul VI in 1965 for the Vatican to consult its bishops about issues concerning the Church.

The CEE document stresses “the need to discern in greater depth about the question of optional celibacy for priests and the ordination of married people; to a lesser extent, the issue of the ordination of women has also arisen,” it said.

“There is a clear request that, as a Church, we hold dialogue about these issues… to be able to offer a more holistic approach to our society,” it said.

It also emphasised the need to “rethink the role of women in the Church”, to give them “greater leadership and responsibility”, notably in places “where decisions are made”.

There was also “a need for greater care” for those who have been divorced or remarried or have an alternative sexual orientation.

“We feel that, as a Church… we must welcome and accompany each person in their specific situation,” it said.

The document was unveiled just months after politicians approved Spain’s first official investigation into child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

The Church itself also took its first steps earlier this year towards addressing alleged abuse by clergy. It engaged lawyers to conduct a year-long investigation that will take cues from similar investigations in France and Germany.


South China Morning Post

The International News



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