Priestly celibacy has been a centuries-old tradition and norm within the Catholic Church. But Pope Francis candidly stated that this tradition could be revised, and there is really a view of the possibility of it.
Pope Francis stated in an interview published on March 10 that there is no contradiction for a priest to marry. According to Catholic News Agency, he explained that celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription and is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever. Whether a priest leaves or not, their ordination is forever.
However, celibacy is a discipline. When asked if celibacy could be reviewed, Pope Francis responded affirmatively, citing the example of the Eastern Church, where priests are allowed to marry or choose to be celibate before ordination.
A Controversial Interview by Pope Francis Saying the Revising Priestly Celibacy is Possible
During the interview, the Pope was asked whether making celibacy optional would increase the number of people joining the priesthood. In a shared article in the National Catholic Registrar, the Pope responded by saying he did not believe that to be the case, pointing out that there are already married priests in the Catholic Church in the Eastern rites. He mentioned that earlier that day, he met with an Eastern Catholic priest with a wife and a son.
The Pope went on to speak about the value of priestly celibacy, saying that he believes it is a gift to the church. He also stated that he disagrees with optional celibacy. However, he believes that there is room for exceptions in the Latin rite, such as in remote locations with a lack of priests, where married clergy may be necessary for pastoral reasons.
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Pope Francis Tackled this in the Past and Said that Priestly Celibacy Calls it a ‘Gift’
Pope Francis has already discussed the difficulties of clerical celibacy, calling it a “gift” while also cautioning that it might become heavy without the assistance of family members and prayer, according to Religion News. However, Francis disregarded admitting married priests as a remedy for clergy shortages in outlying regions of South America in his papal exhortation “Querida Amazonia” from 2020. The Vatican has also sent a warning to German reformers who want to abolish the necessity of celibacy for ordination.
In a recent interview with Infobae, Francis emphasized the importance of the church being welcoming to all, including homosexual persons and following Jesus’ example.
Pope Francis used Jesus’ parable of the great banquet to emphasize the importance of welcoming all people into the church, including sinners. He noted that in the parable, the master of the house invites everyone to the banquet, regardless of their background or status.
The Pope stated that the church is made up of sinners, and it is not his place to judge someone’s goodwill. He believes that the focus should be on the essence of the Gospel, which is that Jesus calls everyone.
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