My platform is this: We should maintain celibacy as the ‘norm’ in the Latin rite but allow dispensations on a case by case basis. This is consistent with the Magisterium, without abolishing celibacy.
In 1952, Pope Pius XII began dispensations of married men to the Latin rite priesthood before Vatican II in Germany. This was the first of 4 other married Latin rite priests that were also ordained in Germany within 12 years.
Dispensations continued under Paul VI who allowed the first married Roman Catholic priest to be ordained in the USA: Fr. Beck.
John Paul II then dispensed married men and allowed them to be ordained to the Roman rite priesthood through the Pastoral Provision.
Benedict XVI allowed married Latin rite Catholic priests through the Ordinariate. (At the time of this writing, Francis is examining the question for married deacons in the Amazon.)
None of these 20th Century Popes asked these men to remain continent when dispensing them from the celibacy canon. This is true for married Latin rite permanent deacons, too.
While celibacy and continence can be traced to the Twelve Apostles, ‘mandatory’ celibacy and ‘mandatory’ continence cannot be traced to the time of the Twelve Apostles. The key word is ‘mandatory’ or ‘compulsory’.
Earliest evidence points to the LOCAL Elvira Synod of AD 305 mandating continence. But this is a local council from Spain, not a UNIVERSAL mandate which came later. No earlier evidence exists for mandated celibacy or mandated continence. Even ‘conservative’ scholars admit that they cannot find evidence for ‘mandated’ celibacy before AD 305.
Finally, this is not a liberal issue, and it is not a conservative issue. It is a Catholic issue. Many conservatives are for a married Latin rite priesthood. It is not an intrinsic evil.
Thank you, Catholic Answers. I believe this position is consistent with what you have publicly taught.
The bottom line is that the Church has the authority to bind and loosen on the married priest issue. The Church taketh away, but the Church also giveth.