HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) An association of conservative Roman Catholic priests has denounced a petition signed by 160 fellow clergy in Milwaukee arguing that married men should be allowed to enter the priesthood.
The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, which says it represents more than 600 priests and deacons in the United States and Canada, said making celibacy optional would not solve the clerical sex abuse crisis.
The conservative group sent a letter on Aug. 29 to Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in response to a petition circulated last month by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee seeking to lift the celibacy requirement.
The Rev. John Trigilio, Jr., president of the confraternity, blamed the molestation scandal on ''bad theology, bad liturgy and bad morality,'' and urged the bishops to affirm celibacy, and ensure that the theology taught at Catholic colleges and in seminaries adhered to church teaching.
''Only by restoring the sacred, by defending the revealed truths and by upholding the natural moral law can we achieve any victory over the current crisis of faith now affecting the church,'' Trigilio wrote.
Gregory this month rejected the Milwaukee plea and questioned whether optional celibacy would increase the number of priests.
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