The Latinamerican Federation of Married Catholic Priests called on the Vatican to accept “optional celibacy” for members of the Church and acknowledge as something natural that clergy members can marry.
The proposal will be presented directly to the Vatican by the federation, seated in Belgium, following a congress that will take place later this year announced from Ecuador, Mario Mullo president of the organization.
“Our position is the same that that of the International Confederation of married Catholic Priests and Wives, which is precisely to work for the “optional celibacy”, underlined Mullo who stated that the Catholic Church “mandatory celibacy”, is anachronic.
Recent scandals involving paternity claims against former bishop Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo and the revelation of romantic scenes in with a woman in a Miami beach involving a popular priest Alberto Cutié have triggered the discussion inside the Catholic Church said Mullo.
“We’re working and struggling for an optional celibacy in the Catholic Church and we are not against having celibate priests, because we believe it all enriches the Church”, he added pointing out that the Catholic Church should not have such an intransigent position “as is the current hierarchy of the Vatican”.
Mullo said that optional celibacy is the “outcry of the Catholic people” and is needed to avoid the emergence of so “many scandals”.
He said that according to the latest statistics from the International Confederation currently “there are approximately 150.000 married priests in the world”.
“In 1990 it was believed we were 100.000 but in these last few years there has been a considerable increase in the number of married priests that have abandoned celibacy”.
The fact a priest marries does not mean he is no longer a member of the clergy, said Mullo, but rather that he can’t exercise sacramental activity, which means celebrating mass.
“It’s an ad divinis suspension such as has been applied to the President of Paraguay and father Alberto in Miami who are impeded from celebrating mass, although nobody can deny them the right to priesthood because that is a gift from God”.
Mullo said mandatory celibacy is an anachronic situation that has been discussed since the Middle Age and before at the different Church councils. “The Church must listen to the voice of the people that is the voice of God and many times gives the orientation which is not understood or listened to in the Church”.
“Sometimes very drastic decisions are taken, which have no support in the writings or dogmas of the Church and a natural law is prohibited when priests are banned from getting married”, he remarked.