Catholic Church 'Unlikely' To Introduce Voluntary Celibacy

'Its roots are deep, and it touches upon the discipline of the universal Church.'

An Australian archbishop believes it is unlikely the Catholic Church will act on introducing voluntary celibacy for some of its priests.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse called on the Church to consider changing universal canon laws for diocesan clergy so that celibacy is not mandatory.

Accepting the recommendation in a formal response on Friday,  Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Mark Coleridge said dialogue is underway within the Church, but he remains doubtful.

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Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Catholic Religious Australia president Sister Monica Cavanagh. Image: AAP

"It's roots are deep. It would have to be decided by the universal church," he said.

"That's a possibility ... but is it going to happen soon? I doubt it."

The Catholic Church has handed down its formal response to the Royal Commission, accepting 98 percent of its recommendations and vowing to end the Church's "shameful history".

But it cited religious freedoms as a reason to reject lifting the seal of confession to report abuse -- a key recommendation.

Pope Francis addressed the clergy sexual abuse crises earlier this month. Image: Getty

Voluntary celibacy is among several recommendations handed to the Holy See, the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, for canonical and theological advice.

The ACBC noted the Royal Commission found no causal connection between celibacy and child sexual abuse, instead saying "inadequate initial and continuing formation of priests and religious for celibate living may have contributed to a heighten risk of abuse, but not celibacy as a state of life in and of itself".

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Archbishop Coleridge said it is likely to act on some recommendations, but not on others.

"I suspect that on that question of mandatory celibacy, given its implication for the Church in every place around the world, that there won't be much movement on that particular issue," he said.

With AAP.