Thursday 8 December 2016

Cork bishop talks marriage, female priests and sexuality in the Catholic Church

Published 19/10/2016 | 18:28

Pope Francis preaching at the Vatican. Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis preaching at the Vatican. Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

A bishop from Cork has said that he would have no issue with priests being allowed to marry, but that it has to be the Pope’s decision.

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“It’s not our decision; it’s a decision for the Holy Father, but it is a regulation and regulations can change,” Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross said on Cork’s Red FM today.

On the subject of women priests, he was more certain that the rules cannot change: “The pope has said that the church has no authority to ordain women to the priesthood; that follows the tradition of Christ himself. But women do marvellous work in the church.”

And on the subject of gay priests, Bishop Buckley said that his own support for the community was not unique in the church.

“The church in Cork has been very supportive of the gay community. Back in the 1980s my predecessor appointed a chaplain to the gay community and that was before the state had decriminalised homosexuality.”

Bishop Buckley was speaking to Neil Prenderville today after manning a stand at the Careers Option Expo in the Rochestown Park yesterday in an effort to encourage young men to think about the priesthood.

“I read about it in the paper and thought ‘Why not?’ The priesthood is a career; it’s a vocation. It’s a great privilege to serve the people, especially in difficult times of sickness and bereavement, and that’s the life of a priest. The vast majority of priests are very happy.”

He said that quite a few people approached his stand and that young men were interested in knowing more about the priesthood.

“I met a lot of young people, and they were very interested. They’d come along and ask a few questions. They were very well disposed.”

“There are more people studying for the priesthood than at any time in history. The decline is confined to the western world,” Bishop Buckley said.

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