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Pope Francis considers allowing married men to become priests

13 March 2017

He told the paper: "We need to think about whether "viri probati" could be a possibility". "Then we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities".

Thus, it comes as a huge surprise that Pope Francis may be open towards ordaining married men as opposed to the traditional way!

The same rite already allows some married non-Catholic clergymen who become Catholics to be ordained priests - such as former Anglican clergy.

"I understand that someone might not like [my] way of acting, and I even justify it: there are so many ways of thinking", he said.

Pope Francis acknowledged the stress and loneliness of celibate life past year when he visited a group of former priests who left the church to get married and have children.

The Latin phrase viri probati is used to refer to married men of strong faith, who are often older with grown children. The pontiff said it may be necessary to deal with a shortage of priests worldwide. The pope is from Argentina.

Speaking in an interview marking the 4th anniversary of Francis' election on March 13th, 2013, Gibson said the Pope's legacy will be "to recover those practices of discernment, of really examining one's conscience".

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The Rev. Gerald Dziedzic, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Meriden, pointed out the pope's remarks were in response to situations in the Amazon and other regions where the church counts around one priest to every 10,000 Catholics, and not in the U.S.

Married men are already allowed to become deacons in the church.

To fill that shortage, Pope Francis says he is open to the idea of married men becoming priests.

"It's definitely something that should be considered, especially with our modern-day young people who are considering the priesthood", said Chyva Clarke, the Catholic campus minister at Hofstra University. "Fears close doors, freedom opens them. I just don't", he said.

"In a sense, we've never had enough priests since the days of Jesus", said Fr. Chris Collins, SJ/SLU assistant theology professor.

The Economist reported in January that the number of Catholics connected to a parish has risen from 46 million to 67 million over the past half-century, while the number of priests has fallen from 59,000 to 38,000.

Pope Francis considers allowing married men to become priests