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The Reality of Restored Papal Authority
Pope signals he's open to married
Catholic men becoming priests
by Delia Gallagher
Rome (CNN) Pope Francis has said he is open to married men becoming priests to
combat the Roman Catholic Church's shortage of clergy.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis said the lack of
Catholic priests was an "enormous problem" for the Church, and indicated he
would be open to a change in the rules governing eligibility for the priesthood.
"We need to consider if 'viri probati' could be a possibility," he said. "If so,
we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in
Viri probati is the Latin term for "tested men" or married men of outstanding
faith and virtue.
The option would allow men who are already married to be ordained as priests.
But single men who are already priests would not be allowed to marry, according
to the Pope.
"Voluntary celibacy is not a solution," he said.
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The Catholic Church already allows some married men to be ordained priests.
Protestant married priests who convert to Catholicism can continue to be married
and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives' permission.
And Eastern Catholic churches that are in communion with the Roman Catholic
Church can also maintain their tradition of married priests.
The Roman Catholic Church believes priests should not marry based on certain
passages in the Bible, and because it believes that the priest acts "in persona
Christi" (in the person of Christ) and should therefore be celibate, like
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This teaching was re-affirmed by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis in his book, "On Heaven and Earth," said that "For the time being,
I am in favor of maintaining celibacy with the pros and cons that it has,
because it has been ten centuries of good experiences more often than failure."