Chapter

Celibate Exclusivity Is the Issue

Richard A. Schoenherr

Edited by David Yamane

in Goodbye Father

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195082593
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834952 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195082591.003.0001
Celibate Exclusivity Is the Issue

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This introductory chapter argues that celibate exclusivity of the priesthood is the issue at the root of the malaise in the Catholic Church in America. Its symptom is priest shortage, and the issue of male exclusivity, sorely challenged by feminism, stands in the wings. This conclusion follows from a consideration of the social conditions that are changing the face of Roman Catholicism and society at large; it gives an outline of the sociological arguments that are used in the book. The last part of the introduction discusses the survival of the Eucharist in relation to the conduct of a new Sunday liturgy that can be celebrated in the absence of a priest, and argues that priest shortage – the loss of a critical economic resource in the Catholic Church and a linchpin linking the structural elements of the Church – is a powerful force for structural change. It includes a plan of the book.

Keywords: Catholic Church; celibacy; priesthood; priest shortage; social change; USA

Chapter.  5042 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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