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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

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

Joe Mulrooney - 1st Anniversary

Joe MulrooneyUnlocking the door to the Upper Room

The current model of priesthood is based on the Last Supper as not only the institution of the Eucharist but the ordination of 11 men as priests.   The gospel accounts have come to be read like documents written by scribes recording events as they happened. In fact what we have are precious memories which have been shared by a community for many years.   The evangelists were most likely not present; they were simply writing down what they themselves knew of the oral tradition. There are some discrepancies in the accounts but basically they are incontestable because the Eucharist was fundamental to the fledgling church.   St. Paul is the first to transmit the core which had been handed on to him. He states very clearly it is exactly what he is doing and nothing else. Art has also played a role. For centuries it has depicted the traditional scene of Jesus and his companions and fossilised it for us.  The event can be re-imagined using good theological principles to reveal it as an inclusive community event.   

Read more: Joe Mulrooney - 1st Anniversary

Funeral Arrangements for Mike Hyland

11am - Tuesday 1st October
Beckenham Crematorium 
Elmers End Road
BR3 4TD  
We would of course welcome anyone that would like to attend from the Advent Group. It was such a huge part of his life that I hope a few of you can make it. 
Very best,
Maeve x

Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology

Download as pdf: Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology

Preparatory Document

Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology


         In accordance with the proclamation by Pope Francis on October 15, 2017, the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, called to reflect on the theme: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, will take place in October 2019. New paths for evangelization must be designed for and with the People of God who live in this region: inhabitants of communities and rural areas, of cities and large metropolises, people who live on river banks, migrants and displaced persons, and especially for and with indigenous peoples.[1]

Read more: Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology


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