Further to your worthwhile editorial (August 25th) on clerical celibacy and the future of the Catholic Church, relaxing the rule on clerical celibacy would doubtlessly help to make the priesthood more family orientated but it would not solve the shortage of priests in any significant way. Ordaining married men to the priesthood would be a stopgap solution. As would inviting priests who have left the priesthood and are now married back into ministry.
What is needed is a thorough re-examination of the role of priesthood within the clericalised church and this review must include the role of women within ministry.
Not alone are Catholic women barred from the priesthood at present but they cannot even access the bottom rung of the clerical ladder as only males need apply for the Catholic diaconate.
Unless the Catholic Church offers women equality of access to all ministries within the Catholic Church, the shortage of priests will increase.
Meanwhile, women who are affronted by being denied equality in the church will increase their abandonment of an institution that continues to institutionalise gender injustice.
IRISH TIMES, 29 August 2015