From ALAN McELWAIN in Rome
REPORT that Pope
Paul is writing a document dealing with the life and role of the 20th century priest which will reiterate, naturally, his rigid stand on clerical celibacy, has been denied by the Vatican Press Office.
Nevertheless, it would not be unusual were the Pope to cornpile into a single document all he has been saying for some time about the challenge to his authority by increasing numbers of priests throughout the world, especially over celibacy and birth control, and release it with the force and solemnity of a Papal decree.
Vatican reports suggest that the Pope, increasingly concerned over the open defiance of his and the Church's Magisterium by the Dutch bishops and priests and others elsewhere, had hoped to release the document on the priesthood by May 29, the 50th anniversary of his ordination.
However, he was taking meticulous care with it and it might not be ready by then. He was giving the same attention to a document on mixed marriages, which has been expected for some time.
LENTEN RETREAT Pope Paul resumed his official duties of office on Saturday after a week's Lenten retreat led by a former Marseilles docker, Fr. Jacques Loew.
With the Pope were 19 cardinals, including Cardinal John Wright.