Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Married priest gets Human Rights Court hearing over termination

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has set November 22nd as the date when it will hear oral arguments in the case of José Antonio Fernández Martínez, a former priest from Murcia, Spain, who was fired from his job as professor of religion at an institute in Caravaca de la Cruz because of his activism in support of optional celibacy and the right of priests to marry.

Fernández Martínez, who has five children, turned to the European Court of Human Rights, represented by lawyer José Luis Mazón, after his appeal to the Constitutional Court of a lower court ruling in Murcia was dismissed. The Spanish courts dismissed his lawsuit against the Diocese of Cartagena over his firing. The higher court dismissed the claim because it did not believe the priest's rights had been violated.

The plaintiff was ordained in 1961. In 1984, he asked for dispensation and got married. Later, in 1991, he began to work as a professor of religion in an institute in Caravaca de la Cruz and then in another one in Mula, but was terminated in 1997, after his involvement in the optional celibacy movement Movimiento Pro Celibato Opcional (MOCEOP) became public.

1 comment:

rosanne said...

San Pietro e Dintorni
by Marco Tosatti
Cardinal Dias opens up the discussion on married priests


A letter dated 2 February 2011 was sent by Cardinal Ivan Dias, former Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, before he left this important role, urging bishops to involve priests who have asked for a special licence from the Church to marry, in parish life.

The letter was sent to a priest who had written to the Congregation, on behalf of an Australian missionary society which is fighting for a loosening of the ban on marriage, for priests who have obtained a licence. In the letter, Cardinal Dias said he trusted that the Vatican would implement reforms that would allow priests in this category to lead a more active life in the Church, under the guidance of their Bishop. The rescript which grants priests the licence, and their consequent “secularisation” prevents said priests from saying mass, pronouncing homilies, administering the Eucharist, teaching or working in seminaries and places restrictions on them teaching in Catholic schools and universities. According to the letter, bishops should have discretionary power over some of these bans; especially those relating to the teaching of theology in both Catholic and non Catholic schools and universities, and to priests’ contact with the parishes where they used to celebrate mass and administer the Eucharist.