The celibacy debate must not be allowed to continue, according to the words of Curia Cardinal em. Walter Kasper "not to become a paralyzing permanent discussion". He, too, had argued 40 years ago for a review of mandatory priestly celibacy.
But it has long since taken place at three world synods of bishops and led to clear results, Kasper writes in an article for the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (Friday) on the memorandum of reform-oriented Catholic theologians. The old arguments for the abolition of celibacy could not simply be repeated in view of these results.
Kasper also rejected the demand for the ordination of married men, so-called viri probati, to counteract the shortage of priests. It stands for a hopeless and futureless and thus false conservatism. However, the large-scale consolidation of parish units could not be the solution. Kasper went on to say that the very churches that have opted for women's ordination and recognition of same-sex couples "are in a much deeper crisis than the Catholic Church for this very reason".
Overall, the memorandum, which currently has 228 signatories, "disappointed him beyond measure," said Kasper, who was president of the Vatican Council for Promoting Christian Unity until the middle of last year. He missed a substantial contribution; from theologians he had "expected more". No one in his right mind would deny that the Catholic Church "is in dire need of a new beginning". The demand for a different inner-church legal culture is also correct. The current church crisis, however, was a consequence of the crisis of God in society and was not primarily due to the church's capture. The decisive question is "the testimony of faith in the world of today. Instead of "superficially turning the adjusting screw of celibacy," there is a need for a "radical renewal" of this faith.