The pope defends the celibacy of priests. “It is a gift that requires healthy relationships”pointed out Francisco, who recommends having friends and praying so that it does not become “an unbearable weight”. The supreme pontiff has thus responded, at the opening of a symposium on the priesthood, to a group of European bishops who ask to make this demand of the Catholic Church more flexible.
“The distortion of the vocation occurs whenever we forget that the priestly life is due to others, to the Lord and to the people he has entrusted to us. Forgetting this is at the root of the clericalism that Cardinal Ouellet has spoken of and its consequences. The clericalism is a perversion”.
The pope has not mentioned the question of lsexual abuse by the clergy. An Italian movement for the defense of its victims has begun this week a campaign for the Church of that country to open its files to independent investigators in order to identify the guilty and compensate those affected. Those responsible regret that the Italian Catholic hierarchy has always conditioned everything from police investigations to media coverage.