According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis is considering allowing married men to become priests, seeing that there is what some may call a “shortage” of honorable catholic priests.

The clause is known as “viri probati,” as the Pope was quoted as saying: “We must consider if viri probati is a possibility. Then we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities.” Additionally, Pope Francis emphasized that a priest shortage is not a reason to remove the celibacy rule.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on October 16, 2016. Image credit: EFE/Giorgio Onorati.

The Church’s rules are changing

Currently, some married non-Catholics can become priests thanks to a decree signed in 2014 by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, as a way of accommodating married Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism.

Apparently, the proposal has been on the table for decades and was first brought to attention by Pope Francis, who acknowledges that in Latin American countries there is a shortage of priests. In the Amazon, there is one priest for every 10,000 Catholics, which may be associated with Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who has known Francis for years and presided the Vatican’s office for clergy. Hummes appears to be pressuring for paying attention to the issue as it may solve a serious problem of a lack of clergymen.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis speaks to people gathered at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on November 16, 2016. Image credit: EFE/Giorgio Onorati.

Another cause of concern are priests leaving their duties to get married. As a response to all of these events, Pope Francis announced that the church must confront changes without being afraid.

“We also need to determine which tasks they could take on, such as in isolated areas, for example. Voluntary celibacy is often discussed in this context, especially in places where there are shortages of clerics. But voluntary celibacy is not a solution. Fears close doors, freedom opens them. And if freedom is small, it at least opens a little window,” he stated.

Celibacy comprehends continence as a gift for God, allowing priests to be closer to Christ with their hearts undivided. Celibacy is also an act of belief of Christ’s chastity. According to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, the sacrifice of married life is performed for the Kingdom of God, following that Christ was married to the Church as he was profoundly devoted to the institution and to the love of God.

“He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world,” reads 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 7:32-35.

Pope Francis first discussed the matter when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He stressed that celibacy has to do with discipline, not with faith and that it is a behavior that could change alongside what the Church asks of its priests.

Source: Fox News