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Rome, Italy -- Conference on priestly celibacy

A conference reflecting on the value of priestly celibacy was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross on March 4-5. The event brought together hundreds of priests and dozens of lay people and religious, including the prefects of the Congregation for the Clergy (Cardinal Claudio Humes, OFM) and of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints (Archbishop Angelo Amato).

Archbishop Amato outlined a theology of the celibacy of Jesus Christ, while Msgr. Damiano Marzotta (from the Pontifical Gregorian University) discussed the connection between priestly celibacy and fraternity.

Professor Stefan Heid, from the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology, discussed how the Church throughout history had been discerning and assimilating the importance of priests living perfect continence for the Kingdom of God. Father Laurent Touze, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, gave an address entitled “Is Celibacy Linked to the Sacrament of Holy Orders?” in which he presented reflections on a spiritual theology of celibacy.

Other presentations included those by Professor Pablo Gefaell (from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross) on celibacy in the eastern Churches, and by Antonio Malo from the same university, who approached the question of celibacy from the viewpoint of an anthropology of affectivity. Dr. Aquilino Polaino (Professor of Psychiatry at the CEU–San Pablo University in Madrid) spoke, in turn, about personal fulfillment in celibacy. The conference included a round table on formation for a life of celibacy, in which rectors and formation directors at seminaries in several countries discussed their experiences in this regard.

Romana, No. 50, January-June 2010, p. 164-165.