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Cardinal Turkson says ordination of married men may get further study

Vatican City, Oct 22, 2019 / 09:05 am (CNA).- Cardinal Peter Turkson said Monday that the ordination of married men will likely be the subject of further study for the universal Church after the Amazon synod.

“This issue will probably be made the subject matter of a more detailed study of the issue with view to the Church taking a consistent position, not only in view of the Amazon, but in view of the universal Church,” Turkson told EWTN News Nightly Oct. 22.

Read more: Cardinal Turkson says ordination of married men may get further study

Heart and Soul: Husbands and Priests

Heart and Soul: Husbands and Priests
BBC world service

If nothing else, Blanche Girouard’s tactful account of the rise of the married priest (6 October) was big on statistics. Did you know, for example, that the minister/flock ratio in an average West European Catholic parish is 1:1,300, whereas along the Amazon it can be as high as 1:17,000? Or that between 400 and 500 married Anglican priests have taken advantage of the transfer scheme initiated by Pope Benedict?

One of the latter was Jeff Woolnough, incumbent of a church in Southend-on-Sea, who had flown the C of E coop after the admission of women bishops. It was his wife, Julia, Fr Jeff admitted, who gave his ministry its sheen, got him out of bed in the small hours to administer succour to the dying, and provided a settled domesticity beyond the resources of a single man.

Meanwhile, the celibacy that the Woolnoughs had left behind was, various experts insisted, a discipline, not a dogma. The Eastern Catholic church has had married clergy for a millennium or so, and Fr Augustin, with whose six-person family Girouard spent time in Romania, spoke feelingly of the solitude he had experienced alone in his seminarian’s room in Rome, long before he met his wife, Violeta.

Before we reached the now ongoing Synod on the Amazon, Girouard talked to Alex Walker and his wife. The now long-married couple had met when Jan arrived at her north country parish priest’s front door bearing the rent for a gymnastics session at the church hall. “I never thought there would be a romantic connection,” she reminisced of their failed three-year attempt to stay apart from each other, after which Alex resigned from the priesthood.
Husbands and Priests packed a great deal into its half-hour. Frank discussions about whether or not celibacy encouraged child abuse led to an equally frank admission that the introduction of married priests would create problems as well as solving them. There were financial issues, as Fr Augustin – whose wife worked as a teacher to support their family – could happily testify.

As for the future, celibacy still had many advocates (including the uxorious Fr Jeff). The churchgoers whom Girouard interviewed counselled caution. Any decision reached by the Amazon synod to admit married men would be a momentous step for Western Catholicism. But for Alex, who still keeps his vestments under the marital bed, the call can’t come soon enough.

BBC World Service: Husbands and Priests

From Europe to Latin America, the Catholic church is woefully short of priests. In the Amazon region of Brazil, the shortage is so dramatic that bishops are getting ready to discuss a radical solution: allowing married men to become priests, after a thousand years of priestly celibacy.

What even most Catholics do not know is that within pockets of the Catholic fold, married priests already exist. In the Eastern Catholic churches, they are very much the norm. During a recent visit to Slovakia, Pope Francis even held these married priests up as a shining example: “The families of priests live a unique mission today.”

Blanche Girouard meets some of those married priests to find out whether and how it could work to open up the Catholic priesthood to married men more widely.

Among them is Fr Augustin Butica, who lives in Romania with his wife Violeta and four children. At one point, the couple and three of their children had to share one room because the church had no house for them to move into; but he has never questioned his dual commitment to his priestly ministry and his family.

Meanwhile in the UK, Fr Jeff Woolnough, a former Anglican priest who has transferred to the Catholic church, is grateful that his wife Julie is there to support him at the worst of times - when he is called to the local hospital in the middle of the night to give an accident victim the last rites.

Presenter/Reporter: Blanche Girouard.
Producer: Kristine Pommert

Brazilian Bishop on married Priests

BBC World Service: Husbands and Priests

Friday 4th October, 13:32

Sunday 6th October, 09:32 and 23:32


Dear Friends,

I’m writing to say a very warm thank you to all who have contributed to our round of interviews for this BBC World Service documentary, both in Romania and the UK. Blanche and I are very grateful to you for agreeing to share your experience, both personal and professional, for what has become an insightful yet very accessible radio programme. 

Special thanks go to Fr Augustin Butica and his family in Romania, who welcomed our team so warmly and provided a beautiful and warm-hearted example of married Catholic priesthood; and to Alex and Jan Walker, who also welcomed us into their home.

We came away with a wealth of strong material, far more than can ever be fitted into a half-hour programme. This means that unfortunately we will be unable to include everyone we interviewed in the final cut. Some people who do appear will only do so relatively briefly. However, it is important to stress that everyone played an important role in helping us understand and assess the complete picture, and none of your contributions were therefore wasted.  Where we were unable to use a contribution, this was mostly because there was someone else who said something similar, and we were only able to fit it in once.

When and how to listen:

The programme has been scheduled for the following dates:

Friday 4th October, 1332

Sunday 6th October, 0932 and 2332

These times (according to the World Service schedule) should be local to listeners both in the UK and Romania.

Transmission times for other parts of the world can be found on the BBC World Service’s website:

The easiest way of listening in the UK is via DAB radio, which offers the World Services amongst other BBC networks. In Romania and other parts of the world, as well as the UK, you can listen live via the BBC World Service home page:

If you miss the transmission, you can listen in your own time via the BBC World Service website. The programme will appear on the Heart and Soul page at some point after the first transmission:  The same page also offers the opportunity to download the programme as a podcast. 

Please note that the BBC is currently migrating all its radio content to a new site, BBC Sounds; if you don’t get any joy with the link above, try and put Heart and Soul into the search window.

Once again, our warmest thanks to all who have contributed to our programme. You have given our World Service listeners a lot of food for thought about the Catholic priesthood, marriage and celibacy, as well as some lovely human insights into family and personal lives. We have really enjoyed working with you, and very much hope that you will enjoy the programme.

With all good wishes,


Kristine Pommert | Head of Radio    






Follow me on Twitter: @Kristine3108 | @ThingsUnseenPod


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