Should the Catholic Church accept married priests?

Rules of thumb for processing the latest papal bombshell

Pope Francis has said he may consider ordaining married men - under very specific circumstances - to address the shortage of Catholic priests.

"We need to consider if "viri probati" could be a possibility", Francis said, "viri probati" meaning married men of upstanding virtue. "Then we have to decide what tasks they can take on - for example, in remote communities", Francis said.

Despite his remarks on the limited possibility of allowing married men to enter the Church, the Pope ruled out dropping celibacy as a requirement for the priesthood.

It is thought the option could allow men who are already married to be ordained as priests.

In the interview, which was recorded before he began his Lenten Retreat, the Pope said that Cardinal Burke remains the patron of the Knights of Malta, although the Pontiff saw the need to appoint another prelate to preside over the spiritual renewal of the order.


Despite that aforementioned "enormous" priest shortage, Pope Francis did not mention opening the priesthood up to women.

The idea of permitting married priests has been simmering at lower levels in the church in recent years. However, it wouldn't allow unmarried men that are already priests to get married. Back in November, he told reporters the ban on female priests was likely to remain forever.

The bishop said the pope made it clear he would be open to ideas from the bishops as to how to address the problem, including ordaining married men, according to The Tablet, an worldwide Catholic newsweekly.

'Fears close doors, freedom opens them, and even when [the space for] liberty is small, it opens a window, ' he added. Still, Pope Francis said the shortage is enough to prompt consideration of married men taking on some roles in the church. In the United States, the celibacy requirement is partly what sets priests apart from clergy in Protestant denominations.

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