This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019

Former Bishop of Derry calls for end to clerical celibacy

One of the Catholic Church’s most prominent clergymen has made a direct call for mandatory celibacy within the priesthood to be scrapped.

Former Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly.
Former Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE FORMER BISHOP of Derry Dr Edward Daly has called for an end to mandatory clerical celibacy for priests in the Catholic Church, saying that removing the requirement would “ease the church’s problems”.

Daly, one of the most well-known figures in the Church, describes the issue of celibacy as “the other conflict” in his memoir, A Troubled See: Memoirs of a Derry Bishop.

Daly said he believed that not allowing priests to marry was causing potential candidates to turn away from their vocations, writing: “I believe there… should be a place in the modern Catholic Church for a married priesthood and for men who do not wish to commit themselves to celibacy”.

He noted that, in recent years, allowances had been made for former Anglican bishops who were already married but wished to convert to Catholicism. The Pope has created a special place in the Catholic Church for some Anglican church bishops who reacted angrily to the ordination of women priests within their original faith.

“Admission of married men to the priesthood could well create new problems and issues,” Daly admitted. “However, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, major decisions must be made”.

Daly is one of the most well-known members of the Catholic Church; he gained widespread recognition following Bloody Sunday in 1972. A photograph showing Daly waving a white handkerchief as he tried to bring a dying victim to safety remains one of the most iconic of the Troubles.

The former bishop also commented on the issue of child sexual abuse in the Church, saying that he was “heartbroken and appalled that colleagues in the priesthood could engage in such horrible criminal acts against the most vulnerable”.

Poll: Should priests remain celibate?

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Read next: