Pope says favors celibacy for priests but door open to change

(Reuters) - Pope Francis on Monday said he believed that Roman Catholic priests should be celibate but the rule was not an unchangeable dogma, and “the door is always open” to change.

Francis made similar comments when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires but his remarks to reporters on a plane returning from a Middle East trip were the first he has made since becoming pope.

“Celibacy is not a dogma,” he said in answer to a question about whether the Catholic Church could some day allow priests to marry as they can in some other Christian Churches.


Gosh I hope that the Church doesn’t remove celibacy- or if they do- they do it in a way that is very limited.

It raises so many uncomfortable questions.

One of the most for me is sort of knowing which priest aspire to the hierarchy by them choosing celibacy. This works in the Orthodox because their church is much more monastic in character but in the west it would be odd.

I have found that it is usually the cradle catholics that have such a hard time accepting this possible change. And why can’t bishops, etc be married? Scripture says that it’s OK, Peter was married ( yes, we don’t know if she was alive during his ministry ) and PK’s (preacher’s kids) can be a trip.

I think that celibacy brings real heroes into the priesthood. Being a priest is no easy thing. It takes real courage and sacrifice. But this puts these men ahead of the lay people, at least in principle, as they are carefully choosing this vocation, and this path to holiness.

To me, this raises priests to where they need to be, especially in that they take on the person of Christ in the Eucharist and offer the mass.

Priests should be holy. While being celibate doesn’t make them more holy, it shows the man strives for holiness and sacrifices. While marriage means sacrifice, the choice of vocation to priesthood means a lot more sacrifice. Marriage binds us to another. Priesthood binds the priest into the family of the church and the hierarchy, of course; but this can still be a lonely place for a person.

Like marriage, the priest plays a supporting role. But, he is THE supporting role in his parish. I believe by being celibate, he is more perfectly able to offer himself and his service- fulfilling his vocation to the fullest extent as shepherd to his flock.

I have always assumed that it was dogma. Not wise to assume anything. :confused:

Priestly celibacy is a matter of discipline, not doctrine, and certainly not dogma. The Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests, as do the Orthodox. Also, there are a number of married priests in the Latin Rite of the Church.

This is exactly what he’s said before on this issue.

He just re-states the fact that celibacy is a discipline not a dogma, then says he favors celibacy.

This is reassuring for those of us that support celibacy, and is basically non-news.

Its not dogma, sure. But its an ancient tradition of the western Church and shouldn’t be cast aside lightly. Why can’t things just stay the way they are? There seems to be an influx of vocations anyway. And from what I have seen from the seminarians I have been around, the future priests of the Church will be smart, holy men.

Let’s hope they don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill and twist his meaning. God Bless. Memaw

Sorry to bring this up but too many priest have done terrible things to children over many years, so I think this has to be at least looked into. The bottom line is we need priest and good ones, if that means allowing married priests into the Church, it may just be a blessing, especially if we start with allowing deacons to become priest. They would certainly know what the role entails and how the family would have to sacrifice.

Some think everything the Church has very taught is dogma, cannot be change and is infallible.

The same old misconception that celibacy causes that sort of stuff.

Gee whiz, all of those celibate scoutmasters, public school teachers, Protestant clerics…wait a minute…!!!


Oh I’m sure they will try to do this as much as possible, (“Pope opens door to married Priests” or whatever), but based on what he actually said, I think this is a good statement supporting celibacy, and (IMO) is pretty reassuring.

I don’t know if this is what you are implying but celibacy DOES NOT lead to pedophilia. A celibate man would desire a WOMAN not a CHILD!!! Nor does the requirement for celibacy encourage pedophiles to enter the priesthood.

Personally, I want to see a priesthood of men who can master themselves in celibacy (as per the tradition of the Church), rather than a diluted priesthood that allows for marriage as a way to “attract more vocations”.

Several months ago I tried to find the Pope’s position on some of the issues being thrown around the media as likely to change under him. I found out just exactly what you have stated here on his position regarding celibacy. Many priests as well as other certain lay people ( for example Consecrated Virgins of the Catholic Church) and other ordained individuals choose celibacy. It isn’t just priests. And they choose it because they feel called to live this way and find it completes their dedication to God. However, I am hopeful that some day married priests will be allowed for many reasons but the main one is that I feel there are many great people out there who would make wonderful priests who have had to choose between marriage and priesthood. I would look to our ordained deacons as those who would be first in line.

I read that there are some Bishops in remote parts of the world who are looking for priests. For example, one Bishop has approx 4 priests ministering to thousands of people over hundreds of miles within the Amazon.

So one theory was that in areas of drastic need, perhaps the Church would allow “veteran,” married Deacons to become Priests.

However, if they do, I would of be surprised if they would need to remain celibate.

After, both Christ and St Paul taught it it was better for priest to be celibate and single so they can dedicate 100% of their time to the Church. Married men have to split their time between God and Family. A celibate priest or religious can dedicate 100% of their time and focus to God and Church.

Bishops will never be allowed to be currently married and if ever married, only married once.

BTW - regarding St Peter, tradition teaches that he most likely was a widower. Note: the Bible never mentions her and only mentions how his mother-in-law serves Jesus and the Apostles. The Bible doesn’t mention Peter’s wife assisting. Of course, this alone isn’t proof that he was widower, but it is interesting that the Bible doesn’t mention her at all. If she were alive, wouldn’t she have been a disciple and hung around the other women? Or at least helped her mother?

God Bless

And any one of them could have left the priesthood, married or whatever rather than hurt children. They had NO chains on them and if they were harming children they had NO place in the priesthood anyway. The percent of married men or at least men that could have sex (boyfriends, partners etc) are the greatest child sex offenders. So don’t blame it on the priesthood. There are many very holy, dedicated, chaste men in the priesthood and they are not the ones that are yelling for married clergy. God Bless, Memaw

As long as no one disagrees and questioning the teachings of the church there is no need to make the particular teaching a dogma, but if it is a growing disagreement about a certain teaching (in a large scale) the Vatican needs to specify its teaching hence making it a dogma or dismiss it all together.

For instants: The Blessed Virgin Mary’s crowning in heaven are NOT a dogma, but its because it’s widely accepted as a correct teaching and has been for long time.
But IF some (maybe an huge order) disagree with it the pope and a council will look at both the Sacred Tradition and the Bible and make up their mind wether or not it should be a dogma or dismissed as false teachings.

Really? So allowing priest to marry will stop them from abusing children? :shrug:

The Church cannot “make” a Dogma. It can define a Dogma, make it clear to all the faithful it is a Divinely Revealed belief. We cannot ‘force’ the Church to make a Dogma. No Council can ‘decide’ to make something a Dogma. Only the Pope can define Dogma, without the Pope the Bishops cannot define dogma. Those things have never happened in the 2,000 year history of the Church. God Bless, Memaw

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