Just over a week ago, Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the US bishops’ conference, said in response to the Milwaukee priests’ petition for optional celibacy that there should be an “honest conversation” about the topic.
Now a week and a half later, he says, “I don’t see this fostering another review of a topic that has been fairly well discussed.” So which is it? What happened in the intervening week? Possibly, it was the sight of numerous heterodox groups, like Call to Action, FutureChurch, and CORPUS, jumping onboard and supporting the petition. It’s one thing to entertain the idea from an admittedly liberal group of priests, but when lunatic fringe joins in,there’s no way he could justify that discussion to Rome.
By the way, Bishop Gregory also reports that the audit of diocesan abuse policieses would be complete and have a report ready by December. He says that it will be a “pretty positive review.” I’m not so sure. After all, in the past year and several months since the Dallas policy, we have continued to see new cases come out, including those concerning priests who should have been removed long ago.
He finishes by saying that the Scandal should not be used to discuss priestly celibacy. After all, if celibacy was the cause, or even one cause, of the Scandal, then how do you explain the fact that the majority of child sex abusers are married men?