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Pope Francis says he may consider allowing married men to become priests

Many in the Roman Catholic Church believe a new path to ordination should be opened.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Image: Andrew Medichini AP/Press Association Images

POPE FRANCIS HAS said the Roman Catholic Church may consider ordaining married men who could potentially then work in remote areas faced with a shortage of priests.

“We must think about whether viri probati are a possibility,” Francis said in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit, referring to older, married men who are already involved in church business.

“Then we have to decide what tasks they can take on, for example in remote communities,” he added .

Many in the Church believe, given the lack of priests in many places, that a new path to ordination should be opened.

They think that in addition to priests who take a vow of celibacy, older, married men with a long commitment to the church could also be considered.

Celibacy 

Pope Francis said in May 2014 that “there are married priests in the Church” citing married Anglican ministers who joined the Catholic Church, Coptic Catholics and the priests of some Eastern churches.

The Church, and notably the current pope’s predecessor Benedict XVI, had previously said that celibacy was not a matter of inflexible church dogma unlike, for example, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

However, Francis said allowing priests in training to choose whether or not to be celibate was “not the solution”.

© AFP 2017

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