Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz, Germany has called for discussion of optional celibacy for priests. The abuse scandal in the Catholic Church shows that “the system is called into question,” said the bishop.
On the question of optional celibacy, Bishop Kohlgraf said, “For myself I would say that that it must not be a taboo topic that one may not discuss.”
The vocation to the priesthood could attract people who, “because of their personality structure, become perpetrators,” he said. “Certain conceptions of the church’s moral teachings” could hinder an open engagement with experiences and questions of human sexuality, he stated in a letter sent to all the parishes in his diocese.
Bishop Kohlgraf was named bishop by Pope Francis in August, 2017. As of last year, the newly-named bishop had stated that no departure from celibacy would be part of the church’s immediate future. “Intentional renunciation of marriage belongs to the charism of the Catholic Church,” he said at the time. The one who wishes to become a Catholic priest must “affirm celibacy as a spiritual way of life.”
Bishop Kohgraf also noted the secular courts are “no help whatsoever” in those many cases where clerical abuse happened before statutes of limitations. He suggested some type of church court for such cases which would enforce uniform standards for all of Germany.