In Letter, 600 Clergy Reaffirm Vow of Celibacy

Confraternity Says “Option” Won’t Solve Church’s Problems

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, SEPT. 8, 2003 ( More than 600 Catholic clergy are publicly standing behind their promise of celibacy in the wake of a letter by some Milwaukee priests who asked that celibacy be optional.

Members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy wrote their own letter (see to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. episcopate, after the Milwaukee petition made headlines. The Milwaukee letter was backed by 163 priests.

The confraternity of priests and deacons reaffirmed their unequivocal support for priestly celibacy and stressed that modifying or abandoning it would not solve the Church’s problems.

The president of the confraternity, Father John Trigilio, wrote: “Optional celibacy is not the answer, nor is it the panacea; it is a placebo. It will do nothing. The current crisis in the Catholic Church in America is threefold. Bad theology, bad liturgy and bad morality have caused the damage and, like a malignant tumor, needs to be excised.”

Father Trigilio added, “Only by restoring the sacred, by defending the revealed truths and by upholding the natural moral law can we achieve any victory over the current crisis of faith now affecting the Church.”

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy was founded in 1975 and seeks to implement the call of the Second Vatican Council for ongoing intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation of clergy. It holds an annual convention, publishes the quarterly journal Sapientia and has local chapter meetings.

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