Pope Francis calls the Catholic Church’s ban on priests having sex “temporary” that opens the door to revision of 1,000-year-old celibacy rules
- Pope Francis, 86, hinted that priests might not have to be celibate in the future
- It comes after growing calls to abandon the 11th century government after child abuse scandals.
The Catholic Church is open to reviewing its millennial practice of celibacy, Pope Francis has suggested.
He said the ban was only “temporary” and there was also no “contradiction” for a priest to get married.
Celibacy was a requirement of the Catholic Church in the 11th century for financial reasons, as childless clergymen were more likely to leave their wealth to the church.
Pope Francis, 86, said celibacy was only a “temporary prescription” and there was also no “contradiction” for a priest to marry.
The Vatican enforces the rule among priests, but there are increasing calls to end the ban due to child abuse scandals.
It comes as the Catholic Church in Germany has just voted on a resolution asking the Pope to end the obligation for priests to be celibate.
In an interview with the Argentine publication Infobae, Pope Francis, 86, said: ‘There is no contradiction for a priest to get married. Celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription.
It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever, whether you like it or not. On the other hand, celibacy is a discipline.
The Pope also cited the example of the Eastern Church, a branch of Catholicism that allows more leeway, saying: ‘Everyone in the Eastern Church is married, or whoever they want. Before ordination there is the option to marry or be celibate.’
It marks a departure from his position in 2019, when he suggested celibacy was a “gift” to the church and disagreed with “allowing optional celibacy.”
In the interview, which is one of many to mark ten years since he was elected pope, who falls today, he also spoke about rising divorce rates and suggested that young people sometimes married too early.
Pope Francis said: ‘Sometimes you go to a wedding and it seems more like a social reception than a sacrament.
‘When young people say forever, who knows what they mean by forever.’