Amid the stir about the Vatican’s creation of “personal ordinariates” for Anglican communities seeking communion with Rome, the discipline of clerical celibacy has again become the focus of the media’s sensitive and admiring attentions. It is still unclear whether these ordinariates will enjoy a permanent exemption from this Latin Rite discipline, or merely a non-renewable exemption (limited to those who are already Anglican priests or seminarians). Either way, there seems to be some expectation in various quarters of the Church that the new provision will undermine the Latin Rite tradition of celibacy. Depending on which quarters of the Church are canvassed, naturally, the prospect excites either anxiety or glee.
I often wonder whether the use of term “discipline” is not partly responsible for this insecurity about priestly celibacy. Read the rest of this entry »