For Release :
September 15, 2006
Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, on Recent Actions by Archbishop Milingo
I am greatly saddened by the recent words and actions of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo concerning his campaign to end mandatory celibacy for Catholic priests.
His actions fly in the face of what we all believed was an honest reconciliation with Pope John Paul II several years ago and certainly will cause much distress to all who understand that his actions are contrary to the teaching and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church. That he has again chosen not to honor his word and his ordination promises is most unfortunate.
It is important to remember what the Church has long taught and practiced concerning celibacy: that those of us who answer the call to Holy Orders in the Latin Rite Church give ourselves entirely to God. Chaste celibacy – or to put it into more practical terms, the active agreement of a priest to forego the bonds and obligations that marriage entails – permits the priest to dedicate himself completely to a new life of service. It is a gift to God, the Church and her people, freely given.
I can only pray that Archbishop Milingo will soon rediscover the core of his own priestly promise of celibacy, and work then to undo the confusion and sorrow he is causing with his current actions.