Archbishop Wuerl on July 12, 2006 Press Conference by Archbishop Milingo

July 12, 2006

Below is a statement from Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, regarding a press conference held today in Washington, DC by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo:

The news of a press conference by Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, in which he announced his involvement in a movement to end obligatory celibacy for Catholic priests, comes as a surprise and is also a disappointment. Archbishop Milingo had reconciled with Pope John Paul II some time ago concerning a number of matters that earlier Archbishop Milingo had disputed. His appearance in Washington has once again placed himself in opposition to the practice and teaching of the Church on the matter of priestly celibacy.

As recently as the Synod on the Eucharist, October 2005, bishops from all over the world reaffirmed again the value of celibacy and the significant place it has in the life of the Church and Her ministry.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which presents the teaching of the Church throughout the world, speaks of priestly celibacy in these words:

“Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to ‘the affairs of the Lord,’ they (priests) give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.” (1579)

While at this point there is no clear indication of the direction that Archbishop Milingo intends to bring to his new effort, we offer a word of encouragement that once again he renew his reconciliation with the Church and accept Her direction and teaching.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]