In an article published this Wednesday by the daily edition of L' Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, defended the importance of priestly celibacy for the Church, qualifying it as "a precious gift from Christ."
To recall the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical "Sacerdotalis caelibatus," written by Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Hummes emphasizes that celibacy "has to be reflected upon and fortified, especially in the, deeply secularized modern world."
"Studies indicate that the origins of celibacy went back to the apostolic times," said the Prefect. He added that Pope Paul VI’s encyclical emphasized that "priestly celibacy, which the Church has kept for centuries like a brilliant precious stone, preserves all its value even in our times, characterized by a deep transformation in the mentality and framework."
Cardinal Hummes also recalled in his article that during the meeting of the Heads of Dicasteries of the Roman Curia held on November 16, 2006, "the value of the option for priestly celibacy was reaffirmed, according to the Catholic tradition, and so too was defended the demand for a solid Christian and human formation for seminarians as well as for those already ordained priests."