Institute for Church Life to host bishops’ discussion of celibacy

Author: Michael O. Garvey


Some 25 Catholic bishops will be among the theologians, pastoral ministers, men and women religious and interested laypeople gathered at the University of Notre Dame Feb. 15 to 17 (Wednesday to Friday) for the Symposium on the Charism of Priestly Celibacy.

The symposium, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will explore several dimensions of an old, distinctive and occasionally controversial discipline of the Catholic priesthood.

“The value of priestly celibacy is often questioned these days,” said ICL director John Cavadini. “We hope that this conference will help its participants and the Catholic faithful as a whole to appreciate priestly celibacy as a treasured and revered gift of the Holy Spirit.”

John Cavadini

Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M., preacher to the papal households of both Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, will be among the symposium speakers. Cantalamessa will speak on “The Prophetic and Missionary Dimension of Priestly Celibacy” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the McKenna Hall auditorium. The symposium schedule is available here.

Other symposium speakers addressing the theological basis, human value and pastoral implications of priestly celibacy will include Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit; Mary Healy, S.T.D., associate professor of sacred scripture Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit; Rev. Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., professor of theology at Fordham University; Rev. Michael Heintz, director of Notre Dame’s Master of Divinity Program and rector of St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend; Rev. Carter H. Griffin, vice-rector of Blessed John Paul II Seminary and vocations director of the Archdiocese of Washington; Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle; and Rev. Stephen J. Rossetti, associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs at the Catholic University of America.

Contact: Jennifer A. Monahan, assistant director of ICL, 574-631-9195 or 574-807-2360,