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Compulsory celibacy 'damaging' says censured priest

Broadcaster and journalist Fr Brian’ D’Arcy has said the Church’s discipline of “compulsory celibacy is illogical” because “a compulsory gift” is a contradiction in terms.

Speaking to The Tablet as he celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priestly ordination this week, Fr D’Arcy said that though there was a great value to celibate witness, he thought “compulsory celibacy is damaging”.

The Passionist priest, who was censured by the Vatican in 2011, said companionship and having somebody else in your life is “a very maturing thing”.

Describing the Church’s theology of sexuality as “well past its sell-by-date”, he said he based his views on compulsory celibacy on the experiences of his many friends who are former priests.

Read more: Compulsory celibacy 'damaging' says censured priest

The 50th Anniversary of the Advent Group

This December is the 50th anniversary of the Advent Group, that supports priests and religious who are thinking of resigning the priesthood and as I finish a WhatsApp video call to Peter from Mumbai agonising over whether the work he is doing within an NGO working with the poorest unemployed young people is still the work of a priest, I encourage him as he had made contact through the Advent Group web site to say, yes, the work you are doing is an extension of your ministry and is the work of God. He is comforted by these words and is encouraged to continue in the work he is doing. Peter has the added complication that for the past twenty five years he has been married to a Hindu lady. Leaving the priesthood in India has the same stigma it had when I left back in the 80’s. 

Read more: The 50th Anniversary of the Advent Group

Catholic bishops back limited relaxation of celibacy rule

Roman Catholic bishops have voted to allow married men to become priests in the Amazon region, exempting them from the centuries-old rule on celibacy.

The vote came at the end of a Vatican assembly on the Amazon, where there is a severe shortage of priests.

For the proposal to take effect, it must be backed by Pope Francis, who is due to make his position clear soon.

Traditionalists fear a slippery slope to married priests throughout the Church, diluting its unique character.

The vote was taken at a three-week assembly, known as a synod, of some 180 bishops in Rome. It also looked at the role of women in the Church's work, and environmental issues.

The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the Western world, tracing its history back almost 2,000 years, and counts more than a billion members.

Read more: Catholic bishops back limited relaxation of celibacy rule

Advent leads to light

Chris McDonnell

A new Liturgical Year begins, with the four weeks that culminate in the feast of Nativity, the days we call Advent.


The song of the colder days is sung in words of Waiting 

from one dark day to the next, each one closing a time 

of expectation, till finally Nativity is come. 


December dawns, spreading a chill, raw sky of washed out 

greens and faded blues, sunrise breaking the nothingness 

of night, early light beyond the immediate houses. 

Read more: Advent leads to light

Priest told undercover police officer he wanted to abuse boy

(Sadly it looks like even with all the appropriate psychological screening for entry to the seminary, an individual like Jolley can be accpeted for the priesthood and be permitted to continue year on year to further study. When an individual displays conservative behaviour and a propensitiy for dressing up in clerical garb long before ordination, why does this not set alarm bells ringing for the Seminary staff? Untold damage has been caused by Jolley's evil behaviour and a married priesthood would give the checks and balances required for a healthy lifestyle).

A CATHOLIC priest told an undercover police officer that he wanted to sexually abuse a two-year-old boy.

Father Matthew Jolley, from Great Sankey, exchanged a string of vile messages online with a man who he thought was the toddler’s dad.

But in reality, he was talking to a police officer who had set up a fake account on a dating app – and the 32-year-old was arrested after travelling to meet up in order to act out his sick desires.

Read more: Priest told undercover police officer he wanted to abuse boy


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Advent Group celebrates the 40 anniversary of its inauguration in 2009...