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Conscience Magazine

Cologne Priests Call for Women’s Ordination and Voluntary Celibacy

April 19, 2017

Eleven priests from the Archdiocese of Cologne published an open letter on January 10 calling for women to be admitted to the priesthood. “It makes no sense continuously to ask the Holy Spirit for vocations while at the same time excluding women from the priestly ministry,” the priests wrote.

The letter marked the 50th anniversary of the priests’ ordination, The Economist reports, and offered a reflection on their many years of service. It also called for an end to mandatory celibacy. “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 accepted celibacy but did not choose it.”

According to National Catholic Reporter, the priests noted that celibacy can cause unnecessary suffering, “often lead[ing] either to fruitless loneliness and social isolation or helpless work agitation.”