European theologians call for end to celibacy

February 14, 2011

More than 140 Catholic theologians from universities in Austria, Germany and Switzerland called for the Church to end priestly celibacy, ordain women and allow laypeople to help select bishops, among other changes.

The 143 professors said their appeal Feb. 4 was made in response to the clergy sexual abuse scandals and that they no longer could remain silent in the face of what they say is a lingering crisis in the Church.

The theologians also called for the Church to welcome same-sex couples and divorced and remarried couples.

Most of the changes sought by the theologians have no chance of being adopted since the Church considers them nondebatable issues.

The Church teaches that it has no right to ordain women to the priesthood, and it teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage, understood to be between a woman and a man only, is sinful.