The motion of the debate will be: “Celibacy should no longer be a compulsory requirement for the Roman Catholic priesthood.”
For the motion:
Prof. Tina Beattie, Helena Kennedy QC, Fr. John McGowan OCD.
Against the motion:
Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, Jack Valero, co-ordinator of Catholic Voices,
Fr. Stephen Wang, Dean of Studies at Allen Hall.
The event, which will take place two days before the UK visit of the Holy Father, will be hosted at at the Odeon West End Cinema in Leicester Square, London, and will follow a screening of Irish feature film Conspiracy of Silence, about a priest who wishes to marry.
Could be an interesting night, I think.
As recently as last month, the Holy Father responded to a question about the depth and meaning of ecclesiastical celibacy, during the Vigil on the Occasion of the International Meeting of Priests, at the close of the Year for Priests.
There is too much to reproduce here, but I include this quotation:
One great problem of Christianity in today's world is that it does not think anymore of the future of God. The present of this world alone seems sufficient. We want to have only this world, to live only in this world. So we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy as an anticipation of the future is to open these doors, to make the world greater, to show the reality of the future that should be lived by us already as present. Living, then, as a testimony of faith: we truly believe that God exists, that God enters into my life, and that I can found my life on Christ, on the future life. And now we know the worldly criticism of which you spoke. It is true that for the agnostic world, the world in which God does not enter, celibacy is a great scandal, because it shows exactly that God is considered and experienced as reality. With the eschatological dimension of celibacy, the future world of God enters into the reality of our time.
The full text of the Holy Father's answer is here, (scroll down to the question from Europe).
Thanks to the Catholic Herald