Recent Events

Le clergé est en train de s'éteindre, et c'est précisément cela qui nous donne la lumière de l'espoir. J. M. Castillo

Célibat des prêtres : le calvaire de l’Église : à voir sur ARTE

Cléricalisme, patriarcat et genre de la vulnérabilité. Paola Cavallari

Rethinking Priesthood : Opening up is not enough. Colm Holmes, WAC-I

Prêtrise et célibat. Le Symposium au service de la lettre, pas de l'Esprit. Rufo González

Le malaise des prêtres. Raffaele Iavazzo

Le malaise des prêtres : le célibat obligatoire, c'est l'enfer ! Eletta Cucuzza

MIQUEL Marie-Christine, La soutane et la blouse blanche, Pippa Editions, 226 pages

Le célibat des prêtres : une proposition. Giannino Piana

La sacralité, question-clé de la sortie du cléricalisme. Danièle Hervieu-Léger

C'est l'ordination elle-même qui est en cause. Gaston Piétri

Le célibat des prêtres, clé de voûte du système clérical. Danièle Hervieu-Léger

Belgique. Décès de Paul Bourgeois

Plutôt mourir ou démissionner. Les prêtres non célibataires ne sont pas morts. Ernesto Miragoli

France. Étude sur la santé des prêtres


Most of the regional or national groups of married priests were formed in the 1970s following a hemorrhage without precedent among the catholic clergy.  After the Second Vatican Council, which was a remarkable “springtime for the church” ( the fresh air of the Gospel, the hope of renewal, dialogue with the modern world), there was an inevitable quick disillusionment……Humanae Vitae in 1968, then the synod of bishops in 1971, already gave indications of a return to t\he Vatican II situation, as much in the moral domain (a dogmatic rigidity on questions of sexuality) as in the domain of ecclesiology ( a sudden chill , even the manipulation against the attempt to launch a minimal democratic system).  Faced with that, more than 100.000 catholic priests, all over the world and whatever their cultures, that is a quarter of the total strength, married and were forced to leave their ministry, sometimes also their surroundings, their family,  their domicile, the majority of them obtaining easily enough from Rome a canonical dispensation from celibacy.

Without any doubt the vitality of these groups was a response as much to a personal as to a social necessity.  These priests and their partners, and sometimes even their children were compelled to bear the weight of a guilt which was very often baseless but which trapped them in a suspicious silence.  To talk together, to support each other, to help each other and to welcome others has been the principal, and perhaps the most important, function of these friendship groups.  However, a shared reflection, the desire to give meaning to the experience acquired without any nostalgic longings, the inability to submit to the passive attitude so often imposed on the faithful, have led these groups of married priests to engage in a second, more militant and more structured, function in the setting up of “renewed ministries”.  This commitment was well received by a good many priests who had remained in service, sometimes well beyond retirement age, and of lay associations longin for democracy and reform.  Particularly at the international level this struggle has benefited from the researches and the different developments that nourished the three yearly congresses of the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests.

However, it is not an overstatement to say that what motivated these groups 20, 30 or 40 years ago is still current, and perhaps more so today than ever.  The scandals of sexual abuse among the clergy, the carefully maintained silence concerning the clandestine relationships of priests, the systematic refusal to open up the debate about the obligatory law of celibacy, the prohibition against even discussing the rights of women in the church and their participation in decision making, the sealing off of the clerical administration of communities with the importing of foreign clergy are just as many building sites which continue to make demands on us and provoke our speaking out and our commitments…