THE Catholic Church may be preparing to readmit priests who left to marry — as long as they are now celibate.
A Vatican meeting chaired by Pope Benedict on Thursday discussed readmitting priests and issued a more neutral statement than many expected, while upholding celibacy.
Calgary Sun/AP: Vatican sticks with celibacy stance
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican yesterday reaffirmed the value of celibacy for priests after a summit led by Pope Benedict that was spurred by a married African archbishop who has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
The three-hour meeting's conclusions "were not a change in how the present rules (on celibacy) are applied," Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said by telephone.
The actual communique:
"In the Apostolic Palace this morning, November 16, the Holy Father presided at one of the regular meetings of the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia, for a moment of shared reflection.
"The participants in the meeting had at their disposal detailed information concerning requests for dispensation from the obligation of celibacy presented during recent years, and concerning the possibility of readmission to the exercise of the ministry of priests who currently meet the conditions established by the Church.
"The value of the choice of priestly celibacy in accordance with Catholic tradition was reaffirmed, and the need for solid human and Christian formation was underlined, both for seminaries and for ordained priests."