At Catholic News Agency, Mary Rezac reviews Pope Francis’ words on the priest shortage (which are a far cry from what the media portrayed), and explains the theological and historical background behind the celibate priesthood.
Pressed specifically about the married priesthood, the Pope said: “optional celibacy is discussed, above all where priests are needed. But optional celibacy is not the solution.”
While Pope Francis perhaps signals an iota more of openness to the possibility of married priests in particular situations, his hesitance to open wide the doors to a widespread married priesthood is in line with his recent predecessors, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as the longstanding tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
So why is the Church in the West, even when facing a significant priest shortage, so reticent to get rid of a tradition of celibacy, if it is potentially keeping away additional candidates to the priesthood?
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