Married Priests Coming
To The Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church is experiencing a dangerous shortage of men electing to enter the priesthood. So, Pope Francis has a solution: married priests.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis said the lack of Catholic priests was such an “enormous problem” for the Church, he is actively considering a change in the rules governing eligibility for the priesthood.
“We need to consider if ‘viri probati’ could be a possibility,” the pope said. “If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”
Viri probati is the Latin term for “tested men” or married men of outstanding faith and virtue.
The proposal would not allow existing priests to re-enter the dating scene in an attempt to find a wife and enjoy a sex-filled life. Instead, it would allow men who are already married (particularly senior citizens) to be ordained as priests.
“Voluntary celibacy is not a solution,” he said.
Interestingly, the Catholic Church already allows for some married men to be ordained as priests. Protestant married priests, for example, who convert to Catholicism may remain married and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives’ permission. Additionally, Eastern Catholic churches in communion with the Roman Catholic Church can also maintain their tradition of married priests.
The Roman Catholic Church has maintained a long-standing belief against priests being married. The Church thinks priests should not marry based on certain passages in the Bible. They also believe priests should act “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and should be celibate, like Christ, who the Church maintains was never married. The feeling is that a married priest would likely be devoted to his wife and children first, and the church second.
Although the Roman Catholic Church has successfully been able to mandate such stringent rules against its priests for hundreds of years, modern times and a desperate need for clergy has forced Pope Francis to reconsider the ancient tradition.
The pope’s new position is in direct conflict with a passage from his book, “On Heaven and Earth,” which says: “For the time being, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy with the pros and cons that it has, because it has been ten centuries of good experiences more often than failure.”
Oh, the times, they are a changin.’