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IN BRIEF

Priests to Push for Celibacy Discussion

August 30, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Catholic priests in at least five U.S. dioceses probably will follow the lead of priests in Milwaukee and ask church leaders to open a discussion on mandatory celibacy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Local priest groups in New York, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and southern Illinois said they will circulate letters to their bishops asking them to consider allowing married priests to help ease the clergy shortage across the country.

The Catholic Church has required clergy to be celibate since the 12th century, although some Eastern Rite priests can be married. Since 1980, married Episcopal and Lutheran priests who convert to Catholicism also can serve as clergy.

Pope John Paul II has said celibacy is not optional.

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