Pope Francis calls celibacy a ‘temporary prescription’

  • Pope Francis suggested he'll review priestly celibacy
  • Celibacy became a requirement in the Catholic Church in the 11th century
  • Francis marked the 10th anniversary of his election as pope on March 13

(NewsNation) — In a new interview, Pope Francis has suggested he’ll review the Roman Catholic Church’s vow of priestly celibacy.

Prior to celebrating his 10th anniversary as pope, Francis spoke with Argentine outlet Infobae about his new stance on celibacy.

“There is no contradiction for a priest to marry. Celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription: I do not know if it is settled in one way or another, but it is temporary in this sense,” Francis said. “It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever, whether you like it or not. Whether you leave or not is another matter, but it is forever. On the other hand, celibacy is a discipline.”

Catholic University of America Dean Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau said the remarks must be taken in context.

“Look, we we know that married priest is a possibility, that churches had married priests before. It’s the experience of Eastern Christianity. It’s not been the experience in the West, but [Francis] says it’s probably not a prescription for success,” he said.

Guilbeau noted that denominations that don’t require celibacy don’t necessarily have more people interested in joining the priesthood.

Celibacy became a requirement in the Catholic Church around the 11th century, which followed the tradition for priests to stay abstinent.

In the 16th century, with the rise of Protestantism, the rules started to spark numerous controversies.

While some have advocated for changes to the Catholic priesthood, Guilbeau said it’s a discipline many find valuable.

“I know the priest I studied with, the priest I was ordained with and the ones that I serve with, really do treasure the celibate life,” Guilbeau said.

Francis marked the 10th anniversary of his election as pope on March 13. During that decade, several historic occasions, as well as several unplanned events, helped define the contours and priorities of history’s first Latin American pontiff.

Visits with refugees in Italy and Greece, trips to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the coronavirus pandemic and the death of his predecessor are some of the iconic moments that have shaped his papacy and influenced the direction of the Catholic Church at large.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


© 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation