Church not ready for optional celibacy: Cardinal O’Brien

Cardinal Edwin OBrien meets Brisbane seminarians (The Catholic Leader)

Visiting US Cardinal Edwin O'Brien says we shouldn't sell our priests short when it comes to maintaining vows of celibacy. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Cardinal O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, is in Australia this month to invest new members into the order. He visited Brisbane this week to invest three members into the order, including Townsville Bishop Tim Harris, having already visited Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. 

During his visit to Brisbane's Holy Spirit seminary, where he celebrated Mass with seminarians, Cardinal O'Brien was asked about news reports that the National Council of Priests would push for optional celibacy and married priests in its submission to the Plenary Council 2020.

Cardinal O’Brien said: “I don’t think we are ready for that”.

“I think there’s more generosity amongst our men to step forward; I don’t think we should give up on that and don’t sell them short,” he said.

“We might be turning a corner, but if the bishops of the world think that is necessary – let them do it – but I don’t think we’re ready for that.”

Cardinal O’Brien, born in the Bronx, New York, has served as an army chaplain – during which time he learned to fly and to parachute – became Military Ordinary, and has served as a rector of seminaries in the United States and Rome, and as Archbishop of Baltimore.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal O’Brien the head of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2011.

In his role, he is based in Rome and travels across the world – but said he was keeping a close eye on affairs in Rome.

“There are divisions, tensions, no question. The Holy Father is trying to bring it together,” he said. “It is a very divided Church wherever you go today. I think we are just going to have to pray for him to see what he can do.”

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre has more than 30,000 members worldwide and about 50 lieutenancies. It supports the Church in the Holy Land, particularly the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, through prayer and good works.


Cardinal Edwin O’Brien asks for prayers to help Pope Francis unify the Church (The Catholic Leader


’We live in joyful hope': Plan to allow married Catholic priests (Newcastle Herald)

US Cardinal invests new knights and dames of the Equestrian Order (The eRecord)

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