Tags: Pope Francis | Religion | priests | africa | marriage | brazil

Report: Pope Francis Allows Debate of Lifting Priest Celibacy

Report: Pope Francis Allows Debate of Lifting Priest Celibacy
Pope Francis (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 02 November 2017 07:26 PM

Pope Francis has reportedly requested a debate over allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests — a move likely to outrage conservatives.

The pontiff took the decision to put a partial lift of priestly celibacy up for discussion and a possible vote by Brazilian bishops following a request made by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the president of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon, Il Messaggero reported.

Cardinal Hummes reportedly asked the pope to consider ordaining so-called "vidi probati" — married men of great faith — capable of ministering spiritually to the many remote communities in the Amazon, where there is one priest for every 10,000 Catholics.

The cardinal's request reportedly has been echoed by Monsignor Erwin Krautler, the secretary of the Episcopal Commission, who has also suggested bishops attending the synod in 2019 on the Amazon, now being prepared in Rome, should consider ordaining women deacons as priests.

According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, the Austrian news agency Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur reported Monsignor Krausler quoted the Pope as telling him "speak to the bishops and tell them to make valid proposals."

A Brazilian pilot project could be extended to regularize the position in Africa, where many Catholic priests already have mistresses and children, Monsignor Giacomo Canobbio, a leading Italian theologian, told Il Messaggero.

"In Africa a good percentage of priests de facto have a family," he said.

The idea is not new; the pope earlier this year said the Church should consider allowing married men to become priests in specific circumstances.

The Pope has said while he remains in favor of celibacy for priests, the principle is part of the discipline of the Church, rather than dogma — meaning it is open to discussion.

Yet, even the discussion is likely to fuel criticism by conservatives who were already angered by the pope's decision to allow divorced people who re-marry to receive communion if their priests or local bishop approve.

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A move likely to outrage conservatives, Pope Francis has reportedly requested a debate over allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests.
priests, africa, marriage, brazil
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2017-26-02
Thursday, 02 November 2017 07:26 PM
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