Pope should bring laicised ‘back to church’

Denis Bradley.
Denis Bradley.

A former Derry priest believes Pope Francis should initiate a way of bringing back to the priestly ministry thousands of men who have left because of compulstory celibacy.

Denis Bradley, in an interview with ‘The Irish Catholic’, said he wished the Pope could “find a way of bringing back a lot of people who have left or were pushed out and find a sacramental role for them”.

Mr. Bradley left the priesthood in the late 1970s, got married and now has three grown up children. He said: “If I was Francis, I’d say to the hierarchies of the world, go and find a way of bringing back as many as possible of these people.”

He insists the issue should be dealt with in a “sensitive and indirect way” and believes his suggestion “poses no theological or doctrinal difficulty”.

Mr. Bradley added: “The Pope could say to the hierarchies: find a method within your own culture, within your own communities and within your own churches of bringing these people back.”

He suggested that a return to the priestly fold of many former priests would help redress the current situation where he claimed “the Church at a clerical level has been taken over by very young and very conservative young men” .