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Goodbye Father – The Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Goodbye Father: The Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church

Richard A. Schoenherr and David Yamane


A single unavoidable fact looms large in the future of Catholicism – in the last half‐century the number of priests has plummeted by 40% while the number of Catholics has increased by 65%. The specter of a faith defined by full pews and empty altars confronts the church. The root cause of this priest shortage is the church's insistence on mandatory celibacy, a requirement in place since the 1100s. Today, one in three ordained American priests under the age of 35 says he would marry if permitted. Given the potential recruiting advantages of abandoning the celibacy requirement, Richard Schoenher ... More

Keywords: Catholic Church, celibacy, patriarchy, priesthood, priest shortage, USA, women's ordination

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780195082593
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004 DOI:10.1093/0195082591.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Richard A. Schoenherr, author
University of Wisconsin, Madison

David Yamane, author
Author Webpage