Celibacy Initiative Off to Great Start

FutureChurch's newest initiative "Optional Celibacy: So All Can Be at the Table" is off to a roaring start. Nearly 2, 000 paper and electronic postcards have already been ordered and/or sent to Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. While in Brazil, Cardinal Hummes publicly said the mandatory celibacy rule could be changed. His Vatican office also processes parish-closing appeals from around the world, including some forty so far from the US alone, hence the decision to send postcards to him. Over thirty people have ordered education/advocacy resources to begin educational programs and prayer experiences, and an additional 1,000 postcards have been ordered and sent to local bishops in the U.S. FutureChurch staff members are now busy networking with national and international groups and translating the postcard into German, French and Spanish to encourage the next phase of this effort.

In June, Fernando Lugo, who is a former bishop and now the president of Paraguay, said the church should rethink its stance on celibacy. Lugo created a sensation when he admitted to fathering a child after he resigned as a bishop but before being laicized. His remarks prompted archbishop Eustaquio Cuquejo Verga of Asuncion to say the Catholic Church has no reason to reconsider celibacy for Latin-rite priests. This, despite a February 2008 petition from some 18,000 South American priests asking to change celibacy rules.

Facts about the Priest Shortage

What You Can Do

1. Send a paper or electronic postcard to Cardinal Hummes and your local Bishop asking for discussion at the highest levels of the Church about the need to return to our earliest tradition of permitting both a married and celibate clergy. Order paper postcards or email an electronic one at www.futurechurch.org where you can also send a message to all your friends in your email address book.

2. Sponsor a special Optional Celibacy: So All Can Be at the Table education program and prayer service on the priest shortage and best practices for preserving vibrant parishes. Download a Free Education/Advocacy resource a www.futurechurch.org.

3. Organize a delegation to meet with your local bishop. Ask him to use his influence with church leaders to promote open discussion of the need for the church to return to our early tradition of welcoming both celibate and married priests and female deacons. Discuss the Do Not Stifle the Spirit! (Thess 5:19) statement which contains eight best practices for preserving vibrant parishes. (free download at www.futurechurch.org)

Focus on FutureChurch

Summer 2009

Archive of Past Articles