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Vatican Discusses Married Priests

On November 16, Pope Benedict XVI met for three hours with 20 heads of Vatican congregations and pontifical councils to reflect on requests made by married priests for dispensation from the obligation of celibacy and readmission to priestly ministry. A statement released after the meeting affirmed the value of priestly celibacy and said participants received  updated information on dispensation requests from priests and the possibility of readmitting those who “meet the conditions foreseen by the church.” Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi said the rule of celibacy has not changed and individual requests will now likely be examined by the relevant Vatican offices. The meeting was called shortly after a recently excommunicated married Archbishop, Emmanual Milingo, wrote an open letter to the Pope, calling for immediate steps to accept married priests in the Catholic Church in order to end what he said was the church’s “dire straits because of the shortage of priests.” The Vatican statement, issued hours after the meeting, made no mention of Archbishop Milingo. (Catholic News Service and Wire Reports 11/16/2006)

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