VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a declaration made today by Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, concerning his comments on priestly celibacy that appeared on the pages of "Estado de Sao Paolo," a Brazilian newspaper.
"On the subject of the echoes provoked by my words as reported by the newspaper 'Estado de Sao Paulo,' I would like to specify the following:
"In the Church it has always been clear that priests' obligation to celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary norm. Indeed, it is valid for the Latin Church but not for the oriental rites where, even in communities united to the Catholic Church, it is normal for there to be married priests.
"Yet it is also clear that the norm prescribing celibacy for priests in the Latin Church is very ancient and is founded upon consolidated tradition and upon strong motivations, both theological-spiritual and practical-pastoral, as reiterated also by Popes.
"Even during the recent Synod on priests, the most widespread opinion among the fathers was that a relaxation of the rule of celibacy would not be a solution even to the problem of the lack of vocations, which is, rather, to be linked to other causes, in the first place the modern culture of secularization. This is clear also from the experience of other Christian confessions that have married priests and pastors.
"This question is not, then, currently on the order of the day for the ecclesial authorities, as was recently reiterated following the latest meeting of heads of dicastery with the Holy Father."
.../PRIESTLY CELIBACY/HUMMES VIS 20061204 (280)