Irish priests back Pope Francis’ comments on end to celibacy

( The Pontiff’s views have been hailed as “refreshing” and “uplifting” by a large number of priests here.

“It’s a new way of looking at things and it makes total sense,” Fr Seamus Ahearne of the Association of Catholic Priests told the Sunday Independent.

“We raised the question of celibacy with the bishops in the early days of June as an issue to be looked at and the fact that Pope Francis has opened that discussion matters. Our view would be that Christ takes flesh in the messiness of everyday life. The wider the ministry the better, it’s the mixture that is necessary.

“It can’t just be male – old males, celibate males – it has to be a mixture of male, female, young people, old people, married people and unmarried people, anyone,” he added.

Father Ahearne said it is now a matter of time before the Catholic Church also begins to reconsider its stance on women joining the priesthood. [more]