Pope Open to Considering Married Men as Priests in Catholic Church

Pope Open to Considering Married Men as Priests in Catholic Church

Pope Francis's comments definitely bring increased attention to the issue, but the debate over celibacy is nothing new.

Pope Francis is considering allowing married men to become priests in the Catholic Church.

It is no secret that the Catholic church is built on strong, "unchangeable" principles such as celibacy amongst priests and only ordaining young, single men.

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The pope has been an active supporter of Colombia's peace process and has invited Colombian Catholics to continue working in favor of "dialogue and understanding" throughout the 10-year process that seeks to end more than half a century of violence.




There are some exceptions already.

Francis has, however, said celibacy is more about church tradition than doctrine, recalling how it was an option until 1100. "If you dismantle [the celibate priesthood], people will say, what's the difference between us and Episcopalian, us and Lutherans?"

A number of priests in the early days of the church including Peter, an apostle of Jesus and the first pope, were married as well, so the practice could easily be undone by Pope Francis. In 2016, there were about 37,000 priests, compared to 58,000 in 1965, according to Georgetown's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. Priests from other sects of Christianity, such as Lutheranism or Episcopalianism, where marriage has been allowed for clergy, have been accepted as Catholic priests with the permission of their wives. "For that I'm very grateful to him; he's an excellent lawyer", the Pope said.

The Roman Catholic Church could see a big change - for men - in the near future. "I think initially there would be a great rush to become a priest". Celibacy, he said, suggests to many Catholics that priests have almost superhuman spiritual gifts, to resist the normal human drive toward sexual and romantic relationships. "Then we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities", he was quoted as saying.

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