Germany's Catholic head questions celibacy requirement for clergy

Newly elected head of the German Catholic Church has already stirred up controversy saying clerical celibacy is a "gift" but not necessarily essential.

He also added it would be a "revolution" if celibacy within the Church was dissolved.

Deutch Welle and Catholic World News reports Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, (pictured, left) who was elected to president of the German Bishops' Conference a week ago said the option of priestly celibacy should be reconsidered.

Furthermore, the outspoken Archbishop of Freiburg distanced himself from a Vatican pronouncement that Protestant communities cannot be regarded as churches.

His comments prompted a swift response from Regensburg's bishop, Gerhard-Ludwig Müller. 

"All of the specifics of being a priest and the corresponding rules of celibacy could not be expanded upon, as a theological context would require, in a quick interview," Bishop Ludwig said in a press release.

"The Second Vatican Council made clear in Article 16  - Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests what the decisive requirements are.

"That is and will remain the policy of the Catholic Church."

SOURCE

Catholic Church Chief Stirs Controversy With Celibacy Comments (DW 19/02/08)

German bishops' leader airs controversial views (CWN 19/02/08)