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A group of 11 retired high ranking Catholic priests is causing
vocational drama across Germany with their request to abolish
celibacy in an open letter, written in review of their fifty (50) years
as clergy. They are part of a group of clerics who were anointed in
1967 in Cologne, a city considered both a Catholic stronghold and
one of Germany’s most progressive and gay-friendly cities.
Speaking to DW, Franz Decker, a retired priest who for over a
decade led the Catholic Relief Service in Cologne, said:
‘We believe that requiring that every man who becomes a
priest to remain celibate is not acceptable. We think, every
Catholic should be allowed to choose if they would rather be
celibate or not, regardless of whether they want to work as
priests or not – just like in the evangelical Church or the
Orthodox Church, really, every church but the Catholic
What moves us is the experience of loneliness, as elderly people who
are unmarried because our office required this from us, we feel it
vividly on some days after 50 years on the job… We agreed to this
clerical life because of our jobs, but we didn’t choose it.'
Decker and his friends also noted that celibacy might make for a
good way of life for priests who live in communal monasteries, like
many clergies used to.
However, the Pope of the roman catholic church, Pope Francis, is yet
to react to the open letter.