Pope Francis open to the possibility of ordaining married men

Pope Francis attended the first day of his Lenten retreat at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat center in Ariccia 20 miles southeast of Rome March 5. The pope and top members of the Roman Curia were on retreat from March 5-10

Pope Francis attended the first day of his Lenten retreat at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat center in Ariccia 20 miles southeast of Rome March 5. The pope and top members of the Roman Curia were on retreat from March 5-10

Finally, the pontiff suggested the Catholic Church should look at ordaining married men to minister in remote communities where there are priest shortages.

In an interview with a German news outlet, Pope Francis addressed a variety of topics, one of those topics was the future of priesthood in the Catholic Church.

The Pope said he was open to the idea of so-called viri probati - meaning married men of proven faith - becoming priests.

"If so, we would need to determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities".

In 2014, the pontiff told bishops from Brazil that discussing the pluses and minuses of ordaining married men would be appropriate.

Pope Francis, as the first Latin American pope, sparked hope that this proposal could find traction in the church's hierarchy. Men who are already priests and not married would not be permitted to marry.

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The Roman Catholic Church already allows some married clergy to become ordained ― such as former Anglican or Episcopalian priests who were married before their ordination into the Catholic church. They look at priests being married as a huge, huge break from the Catholic Church, a huge break from tradition, and to get enough votes to get that done, I just don't see that happening.

He noted that as archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio said celibacy is "a matter of discipline, not of faith". "Fears close doors, freedom opens them". The vicar acts as the de-facto bishop of Rome given the pope's other duties.

This teaching was re-affirmed by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

"In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls, but to build bridges", he said in a weekly statement in early February, The Hill reported.

Pope Francis met with some of the small town's elderly and sick in the parish hall where he also gave a short sermon. A similar commission was formed in 2002 among high-level officials at the Vatican, and the panel produced a document that considered whether women might be eligible to become deacons.

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