Letters > Rahner came to see a need for married clergy

15 August 2014

Rahner came to see a need for married clergy

With reference to Chris McDonnell's article (The Tablet, 17 July) and subsequent correspondence about priestly celibacy, it may be of interest to know how Fr Karl Rahner’s thinking changed. He died in 1984 but his work has been widely researched ever since. The following was printed in the New Catholic Times on 30 March 2009 and the author was Lisa Fulham D.V.M. Th.D. She quotes Karl Rahner’s words:

“When I was younger, I was a believer in priestly celibacy as a powerful witness to the sustaining love of God. While I still believe in the sustaining love of God (and that priests – like all the faithful – should strive to live lives that witness to it), I can no longer say anything positive about mandatory celibacy for priests. Partly, it’s the question of the shortage of priests, a pastoral emergency that requires immediate and focused attention. Getting rid of mandatory celibacy won’t solve the problem, but it won’t hurt. Partly, it’s the dynamic by which celibate men are often subsumed into a clerical culture about which more negative things have been said than I have space to repeat here. But I have seen it in action…”

Christopher David, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

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