We think, every Catholic should be allowed to choose if they would rather be celibate or not, regardless of whether they want to work as priests or not - just like in the Protestant Church or the Orthodox church, really, every church but the Catholic Church," Decker told DW.
A high toll on many priests Decker and his friends argue that while celibacy might make for a good way of life for priests who live in communal monasteries, like many clergy used to, most modern priests often live by themselves and have little spiritual awakening to gain from church-imposed solitude and often suffer from the seclusion.
Eleven retired priests from Germany have called for an end to celibacy in an open letter, written in review of their 50 years as clergy.
They are unusually candid in addressing the isolation many priests face.
But the couple believe their unique marriage sometimes makes it harder to find the right workplace.
After three years in the priesthood serving a Catholic parish in Oakland, Calif., Murphy, an Irish-born Catholic, felt a tug in his heart.
"I know lots of people right now who are priests and in relationships -- gay and straight," he added.He wanted a family, but his vows of celibacy prevented that."I got ordained at 37 in 2001, and I had been in a couple of relationships before that, so the whole celibacy issue was a question for me -- even on the day of my ordination," he said.The subject of married priests in the Catholic Church has been controversial for hundreds of years.That controversy returned this year after an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles admitted he had fathered two children -- about the same time the Vatican released guidelines for accepting married priests from Episcopal churches in the Catholic priesthood.