'I did not say that'
The Editor, Sir:
Your article 'Priests should be allowed to marry, says Archbishop', in the March 31 issue, is contrary to what I said in the interview that Gleaner had with me last week. What I actually said is that the very ancient tradition in the Church - a custom still maintained in the Eastern Catholic Church as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches - is that married men were allowed to become priests, and not the reverse.
I cited two such cases in the Caribbean of former Anglican priests who were received into the Catholic Church and were subsequently ordained as Catholic priests.
It is true that although I treasure my own call to celibacy, nevertheless I personally think that the discussion on married clergy could be entertained, though it was at onetime considered closed by the late Pope John Paul II. The reason for my personal observation is based on two relatively new developments in the Catholic Church (in the West). One of these is the crossing-over of several non-Catholic clergymen into the Catholic Church and who were subsequently ordained. Their ministries as married priests are remarkable. The second - which was not discussed in the interview - is that in many Catholic dioceses married deacons have made a very positive mark on the life of the church, their wives being a bulwark of support for their valuable work in the church.
In the interview I made my position abundantly clear, which is in keeping with the church's position: priests cannot get married, but married men could become priests. To state it the way the article was carried is sheer attention-grabbing.
I am, etc.,
Donald J. Reece, D.D.
Archbishop of Kingston