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Pope Francis says priest celibacy ‘can be revised’

Pope Francis has described celibacy for priests as ‘a temporary prescription, not eternal’ in an interview with an Argentinian news outlet.

March 11, 2023
11 March 2023

Pope Francis can in principle imagine abolishing celibacy for priests, the Vatican head said in an interview.

Speaking to the Argentinian news website Infobae, Pope Francis recalled that in the Eastern Catholic Church, married men are allowed to be priests.

“There is no contradiction in the fact that a priest can marry,” said the pope, who for years has been repeatedly asked by various quarters to lift or relax celibacy requirements for priests.

Only on Friday, the delegates of the German Synodal Assembly for the Reform of the Catholic Church adopted a text in which an opening of celibacy is sought. The pope is to be asked to examine the future of compulsory celibacy.

When asked by Infobae whether celibacy could be revised, Francis answered that it could. Celibacy in the Western Church is a “a temporary prescription… It is not eternal like priestly ordination,” he added.

And since celibacy is a discipline, it could therefore be revised, Francis said. However, he doubted that more men would opt for the priesthood if they were allowed to be married at the same time.

According to media reports, the Pope declared only in mid-February that he wanted to retain celibacy. With the help of “true friendships among priests” it is possible to live celibacy, he said.

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