Pope Francis speaks out about future of celibacy requirement for Catholic priests

Vatican City - Pope Francis can, in principle, imagine abolishing celibacy for priests, the Vatican head said in an interview published on Friday.

Pope Francis has said he would be open to revising the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests.
Pope Francis has said he would be open to revising the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests.  © JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

Speaking to the Argentinian news website Infobae, 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.

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.

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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.

Cover photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

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