Pope Francis: "No to married priests, no to female deacons"

…Talking about band-aids that the Pope has correctly ripped off in the Amazon exhortation, Pope Francis said…

It will be interesting how laity and clerics in the United States reevaluate the idea of older married men as priests when international priests simply stop coming to the United States. Honestly, in many parts of the US international priests make up about 15%-20% of the priests in full time ministry. In many cases these priests are coming from Africa, South America, and Asia where the ratio of laity to priests is 1 to 5000 or much worse. It is something like 1 to 2000 in the US.

  1. a priest needs to learn the language before becoming a missionary

  2. many of these priests are sent to the US and Europe to educated the laity about the needs of their home diocese. They often spend part of their week meeting with people & charities to raise funds for programs back in their dioceses or counties.

However, the Pope has a point. The retired Bishop of Rockville Center (Long Island, NY) said he told the Pope that an “easy solution would be for each country to ID at least one priest who can learn the language and be sent to the Amazon for x-amount of time.

He said we simply need to model what the Irish and others did back in the 1800s (let alone what the Spanish did in the 1400/1500/1600/1700s)

That’s a matter of record. It is above all the German Bishops’ conference led by Cardinal Marx, who were heavily involved in the organisation of the Synod on the Amazon in Rome and who clearly hoped that it would produce a blueprint which they could use in Germany and replicate elsewhere. The Pope’s refusal to go along with this synodal path to reform of the priesthood may perhaps explain Cardinal Marx’s decision not to seek re-election next month.

Yes but there is another aspect to this: the distinction which you rightly point out has been used by some priests as an argument in the course of seducing other priests. “Your vow of Celibacy isn’t a vow of chastity…” despite the fact that chastity is implicit in celibacy.

Realistically priesthood in Ireland (and a priest getting to leave Ireland) in the 1800’s was a way to escape poverty and sometimes death (e.g. during the potato famine). As for foreign/Spanish missionaries, while I just loved the movie the Mission, large scale missionary efforts in South America have been epic disasters. The Jesuits were simply kicked out.

I think it is a very pastoral approach, to leave open space for reflection, with confidence in the Holy Spirit’s guidance to turn our hearts and minds to God’s will.

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I’m not sure I’d agree with the first part - Trent would be an obvious example of change not to mention some of the preceding councils. Somehow I doubt Rerum Novarum went over well in certain circles, and the First Vatican Council wasn’t short of controversy either. As for naming the Pope, I’d say it wasn’t so much they didn’t care as actually didn’t know - given widespread illiteracy, the absence of mass media and a whole host of other factors.

Still, while I’d certainly agree with you if it what about change for the sake of change, the reality is that the Church, being a pilgrim Church, is not static. As Pope Francis put it: reflecting Christ “means humbly acknowledging that some things concretely need to change, and if that is to happen, she needs to appreciate the vision but also the criticisms of young people.”

Ordination of females to the priesthood was closed, not the diaconate. We need to have faith in the Church not just as a human institution (as in one made up of people) but a divine one (as in instituted by Christ) and in Christ’s assurance that the Church will not fail. If nothing else, as far as controversies go, the Church has seen more than a few and, by historical standards at least, this is nothing!


According to CARA, as of 2018: there are approximately 68,700,000 individuals (not families - it is a nose count) Catholics according to parish records. There are 17,007 parishes.

Out of those parishes, there are 3,363 which do not have a pastor (as in a priest in residence).

There are 25.254 diocesan priests, of whom 66%, or @ 16, 667 who are active (and there are retired priests who can fill in for saying Masses; with a retirement at age 70, they are generally older than that).

If we take only active priests, that works out to an active priest for every 4,121 parishioners.

Given that not all who may register in a parish may be actively going to Mass regularly, that number can be lower. On the other hand, the priest is responsible for all Catholics within his parish boundaries, not just those who show up, or those who show up and donate…

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Chastity is also implicit in both marriage and non-ordained individuals.

Continence is not implicit in married individuals but may be followed upon agreement of the two. Continence is required of all who are not married. Chastity is required of all. Continence is required of some.


They were not epic disasters when they were allowed to function. They did a great job. In many (most) places, the population is still primarily Catholic.

While this is true for the Jesuit settlements in the south America, it is completely a moot point in my opinion. Just like in the 1970’s and 1980’s a widespread control of a government or region by a religious order will not be tolerated. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the Jesuits were holding significant positions in central and south American governments. History repeated itself in a way. It wasn’t tolerated by surrounding governments and the US.

I fail to see how souls saved is a moot point. Also know that the redoubts lasted for over 150 years (the movie compressed the history). That’s a lot of souls

Yes…but…you only have so many pearls to throw, so to speak. One needs to think through their resources and effectiveness of a specific ministry and evangelization effort and compare it to all possibilities. We have to be good stewards…and be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16).

I believe the relatively short but effective lifetime of the Jesuit missions are a moot point because they’ve been tried. If something like this were tried today on the same large scale, they’d be lucky to last 15 months.

Pope Francis of course has never been a diocesan priest. Religious orders are not directly affected by modification of the celibacy rule.

Perhaps he regards this issue as some thing that a pope from that background should address.

It is untrue that a married man with a family cannot also serve as a priest. It’s only in the Latin Rite Catholic Church that celibacy is mandatory. I grew up Protestant with many married clergy.

Married men can serve God in many ways. You’re not the only one with that opinion, but it is just that… an opinion, and ultimately it’s not up to you. The Church has the authority to impose disciplines.

I think you’re overlooking that a priest freely and knowingly chooses celibacy when he’s getting ordained… it’s not imposed upon him as an afterthought. This is actually a good for the priest as it gives him the freedom to focus on God alone, rather than dividing his attention towards a wife and children. Look at how many marriages are struggling in today’s world… how many frustrations and worries there are. How many end in separation or divorce. God is their helper, which is better than any wife could be… they can put complete trust in God and they will be rewarded for it. Yes, it’s a sacrifice… putting aside all focus away from self, but we are built for sacrifice… we’re here to serve God first and foremost. And in another sense it’s a foreshadowing of our life in heaven where we won’t be married.

Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that have been instituted by God.

1 Corinthians 7:32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife and his interests are divided.

Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdgom of heaven. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Very little forced conversion occurred in the Church’s missionary functions. That is largely a myth if the Spanish Black Legend.

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Are you kidding me? You’re putting sexual abuse and rape up as reasons against clerical celibacy? That if priests can’t have sex they’ll rape people, including children?


Funny how you never hear people calling for monks and nuns to be married in the same way they do with priests.


I never said that if priests can’t have sex they will rape children. I said it’s obvious from the worldwide sex abuse scandal that celibacy has not been practiced by many, many priests and religious for a very, very long time. The model of the priesthood that everyone thinks is sacred should be reassessed because it has failed countless thousands of children and seminarians. It would behoove the Catholic hierarchy to conduct an impartial, in-depth study of the priesthood, the sex abuse crisis, and role of mandatory celibacy. I suspect that celibacy has been used as a cover by many men and women to hide homosexuality and/or pedophilia.

The late Richard Sipe, a former priest believed that you could not solve the crisis without examining celibacy.

Having married and celibate priests is the best model.

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