In late September, some 30,000 petition signatures were presented to the U.S. bishop delegates attending the International Synod on the Eucharist in Rome October 2-23. The five bishops were also given the results of Call To Action’s survey of over 15,000 priests in 55 U.S. dioceses. In this survey, 67% of priest respondents thought the Church should open discussion on the mandatory celibacy rule.
In a nationwide press release, it was stated that “we wanted our bishop delegates to get the petitions and survey results from people in their own dioceses. They represent the tens of thousands of Catholics, including many priests, worried that parishes will close and we will lose access to the Mass if nothing is done about the priest shortage.”
Internationally more bishops are speaking out in favor of married priests. In May, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland said he “can foresee the day when there will be married priests.” In June, British bishop John Crowley predicted that married priests would soon be serving alongside celibate ones.