Vatican, 10 March, 2023 / 7:55 pm (ACI Africa).
In a new interview, Pope Francis has discussed the possibility of revising the Western discipline of priestly celibacy.
“There is no contradiction for a priest to marry. Celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription: I do not know if it is settled in one way or another, but it is temporary in this sense,” Pope Francis said in an interview published on March 10.
“It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever, whether you like it or not. Whether you leave or not is another matter, but it is forever. On the other hand, celibacy is a discipline.”
When asked by the Argentine journalist Daniel Hadad if celibacy “could be reviewed,” Pope Francis responded: “Yes, yes. In fact, everyone in the Eastern Church is married. Or those who want to. There they make a choice. Before ordination there is the choice to marry or to be celibate,” according to a transcript provided by Infobae.
In response to the interviewer’s inquiry if the pope thought that making celibacy optional would lead more people to join the priesthood, Pope Francis said: “I do not think so,” noting that there are already married priests in the Catholic Church in the Eastern rites.