Priest appeals for 'optional' celibacy

Posted at 06/20/12 11:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A priest who was suspended from his duties after he decided to marry a parishioner is appealing for “optional” celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church priesthood.

Hector Canto, now married to wife Cynthia, wants to abolish the mandatory celibacy of priests.

“Gusto namin i-appeal sa simbahan na tapusin na itong mandatory celibacy sa simbahan. We are seeking optional celibacy. Sana ‘yung mga pari na nasa active ministry, tulungan ang mga married priests na makabalik,” he told dzMM on Wednesday.

Canto said he tried to live a celibate life while he was serving a parish in Iloilo for 10 years.

However, Canto said forced celibacy is almost “impossible,” citing a number of priests in the seminary who have girlfriends.

“Celibacy is just a state of being unmarried. As long as you don’t get married, you are still celibate even though you have illicit affairs,” he said.

“’Yung mga totoong celibate na walang ka-relasyong babae o lalaki, you can count it in your fingers sa isang diocese,” he added.

Gay priests

Canto also said having gays in the ministry is not a secret among priests.

“There are so many gay priests in the Church. Masyado pa tayong Catholic country, may clout pa ang simbahan. Pero ang dami nang nangyari diyan [na mga scandals] katulad sa ibang bansa,” he said.

Canto married his wife in Iloilo on May 31, 1998. They now have 3 children.