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Universal Declaration

Pierre et Georgine De Grauw (F)

BOESPFLUG François, Pourquoi j'ai quitté l'Ordre et comment il m'a quitté, Éditions J.C. Béhar, 124 p., 15 €

« Hémorragie » : 3000 religieux et 650 prêtres partent chaque année. Gino Hoel

Muchos se hacen curas para tener nivel de vida, dignidad o categoría. José María Castillo

The Gospel Rather than Caesar; Anthony Padovano

Le bien-être et le mal-être des prêtres. Une enquête au diocèse de Liège (Belgique). Pierre Collet

Italia. Francesco visita sette ex preti sposati e le loro famiglie

Is Pope Francis campaigning for married priests ?

Un tiempo ambiguo pero esperanzador. Ramón Alario

France. Les abandons du ministère inquiètent dans l'église baptiste

Presentation

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…