Bishop?s Confession Renews Celibacy Debate

When Fernando Lugo, president of Paraguay and former Catholic bishop, admitted recently to fathering a child while still in the priesthood, he renewed the calls from some quarters to do away with celibacy altogether.

When Fernando Lugo, president of Paraguay and former Catholic bishop, admitted recently to fathering a child while still in the priesthood, he renewed the calls from some quarters to do away with celibacy altogether.

Father Ameen (not his real name), a Catholic priest and author of Confessions of a Passionate Priest, condemns President Lugo?s actions because President Lugo fathered his child with a sixteen-year-old girl. But Ameen also insists that incidents like these will continue without some change in the law.

?President Lugo?s actions do call into question the ability of priests to keep from partaking in the basic human need for intimacy,? says Father Ameen, who admits in his own book to a long relationship with married woman.

?The Church?s celibacy laws are a recipe for disaster,? he says. ?Sex is a wonderful expression of love and the first act in creating a family. How can the Church deny that right to its most fervent supporters??

While Father Ameen condemns President Lugo?s relationship with a minor, he does think that priests should be allowed to marry and have families, and says he believes that allowing them to do so will also help replenish the Church?s dwindling number of priests.

In Confessions of a Passionate Priest, Father Ameen discusses his opposition to celibacy and talks about several ways in which he believes the priesthood could be improved by changing the law, including:
? Married priests could better counsel married couples.
? Married priests could serve to renew a focus on the importance of family.
? The happiness and well-being of priests would improve, keeping more of them in the church.
? Diversity of voices in the priesthood would increase.

?The Church should embrace the idea of allowing priests to experience the joys of fatherhood and intimacy with their partners,? says Father Ameen. ?Priests in the Eastern Rite Church have shown it to be a good thing.?

Father Ameen remains dedicated to the priesthood despite his contradiction of specific Church rules. He currently lives in an undisclosed location in the United States, preferring to remain anonymous to avoid recrimination. His book is available at the Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders websites.

(Confessions of a Passionate Priest by Father Ameen; ISBN: 0-9816892-0-5; $14.95; 224 pages; 5?? x 8??; softcover; East Mountain Books)

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