The Vatican has confirmed that there will be no change to its policy on celibacy in the priesthood or on married priests in wake of the threats coming from Emmanuel Milingo, the former Catholic archbishop who married Maria Sung, a Korean acupuncturist and member of the Moonie sect in 2001. Milingo, who escaped in July from surveillance where he was living just outside Rome, is now living in the United States and has formed a new group called Married priests now. In September he ordained four bishops without papal approval and was automatically excommunicated.

After a top-level conference in the Vatican this week Pope Benedict XIV has reaffirmed the absolute rule of celibacy for priests, the continued necessity of a dispensation for priests wishing to leave the church in order to marry (a regulation widely ignored), and the necessity of those priests wishing to be readmitted to the church after having married to swear to celibacy within their marriage.

According to the Vatican congregation for the clergy about 1,000 priests leave the ministry every year.

Married priests from other Christian denominations, such as the Anglican Church, can be accepted into the Roman Catholic Church under certain conditions.