Priest celibacy not optional, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis said yesterday celibacy for priests was a “gift to the Church” and not “optional”, nixing the prospect of married men being ordained.

“Personally I think that celibacy is a gift to the Church,” the pope told journalists aboard his plane returning to the Vatican from Panama. “Secondly, I don’t think optional celibacy should be allowed. No,” he said.

The pope nevertheless conceded “some possibilities for far flung places”, such as Pacific islands or the Amazon where “there is a pastoral necessity”. “This is something being discussed by theologians, it’s not my decision,” he said.

The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly said there is no doctrinal prohibition on married men becoming priests, and therefore the discipline could be changed. Saint Peter, the church’s first pope, had a mother-in-law, according to the bible.

Celibacy was imposed in the 11th century, possibly partly to prevent descendants of priests inheriting church property. Some within the church believe it is time to join many eastern rite Catholic Churches in permitting married men to take the cloth. Married Anglican priests keen to convert to Catholicism have already been welcomed over.

The Vatican’s number two, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, suggested in an interview last year that the church could “gradually look in depth” at the issue, while ruling out any “drastic change”.

The post Priest celibacy not optional, says Pope Francis appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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