In an interview with the Argentine publication Infobae, Pope Francis stated that celibacy in the Catholic Church is a temporary rule and that there is no contradiction for a priest to marry. He clarified that while priestly ordination is forever, celibacy is a discipline that can be changed.
The practice of celibacy began in the 11th century as the church wanted clergy with no children who would leave their wealth to the church. While Francis' remarks do not signal an imminent change in Church practice, they represent a significant shift from the longstanding tradition of requiring celibacy for priests.
A Possible Change in the Tradition of Celibacy
The Vatican prohibits priests from sexual activity, but there have been calls to lift this ban. According to Fox News, the Catholic Church in Germany has voted in favor of a resolution urging Pope Francis to end the celibacy requirement for priests.
When asked about this issue, the Pope commented that in the Eastern Church, priests could be married or celibate before ordination. He mentioned meeting with an Eastern Catholic priest who works in the Roman Curia and has a wife and son.
There is an ongoing debate surrounding celibacy among Catholic priests, with some arguing that lifting the ban would help address issues such as the shortage of priests in some areas. However, others argue that celibacy is a longstanding tradition in the Catholic Church and an important part of religious practice.
In the report in ABP Live, the source explains that celibacy was only made a requirement for clergy in the 11th century, primarily for financial reasons. The church believed that clergy without children were more likely to leave their financial heir to the church. The Pope responded that priests could be married or celibate before ordination in the Eastern Church, and he seemed open to reviewing the requirement.
This was a shift from his previous position in 2019 when he had stated that he believed celibacy was a gift to the church and did not support optional celibacy. The source also noted that the German Synod has voted in favor of a resolution requesting that the Pope end the requirement for priests to be celibate, adding to the ongoing debate surrounding the issue within the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis on The Increasing Number of Divorce Rates Worldwide
Pope Francis gave an interview to mark the tenth anniversary of his election as Pope. According to the article in Daily Mail, in the interview, he talked about the increasing divorce rates and expressed concern that young people may be getting married too early. He also suggested that some weddings may be more like social events than religious sacraments.
He questioned whether young people truly understand the meaning of "forever" when they make marriage vows. He exclaims that people should understand the meaning of marriage in some ways so that they may hold this promise as everlasting and consider every wedding sacred and holy.